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Carol

Canada
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  • 16
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  • Door into Faerie

  • The Shards of Excalibur
  • By: Edward Willett
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Klett
  • Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

In the climactic fifth book of the Shards of Excalibur, Ariane, Wally, Flish, and Rex Major are on a collision course, converging on the resting place of the final piece of the sword: the hilt, long ago removed from its original hiding place by the descendants of King Arthur. When Wally uncovers its surprising location, far closer to hand than they’d ever guessed, it seems all Ariane and Wally have to do is claim it and reforge the sword to defeat Merlin forever. Except…how, exactly, do you reforge a magical sword? Especially, how do you do it when the richest man in the world is on your trail and pouring all of his enormous resources into stopping you? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An extremely satisfying end to the saga

  • By Carol on 11-30-18

An extremely satisfying end to the saga

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-30-18

Based on the previous 4 books in this series, I expected another great adventure. I certainly got that in spades! The action took off as soon as the ice melted near the end of the first chapter, and didn't stop until the end of the last chapter. This is the final book in the series, so of course, the last shard of Excalibur has to be found, but there were a whole lot of twists and turns along the way, many of them in unpredictable and surprising directions. I really enjoyed the ending to this very fun book series. Without giving anything much away, I will say that Ariane and Wally behaved magnificently, and I was extremely satisfied with the fate of that nasty Rex Major!

Elizabeth Klett finishes the series off with another top notch narration job, adding Scottish to her repertoire of accents. She has made listening to this series a great experience for me.

Mr. Willet has written a wonderful saga that any teenager (or teenager at heart) should enjoy, and I recommend it whole heartedly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Cave Beneath the Sea

  • The Shards of Excalibur, Book 4
  • By: Edward Willett
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Klett
  • Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

The fourth shard of Excalibur might come with a price Ariane doesn’t want to pay: her mother. Thanks to Wally, Ariane knows her mother is alive - and that Rex Major is trying to find her. If he succeeds, Ariane fears she’ll have no choice but to surrender the two shards she and Wally possess, because she’ll do anything - and give up everything - to have her mother back with her again. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great kids adventure

  • By Margaret on 10-15-18

Rex Major turns nasty as the quest continues

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-11-18

It's not a very thrilling start to another quest, but I had to laugh ... Lady of the Lake in freaking Saskatchewan - where lakes are frozen solid for six months out of the year. The frozen water is just one of the things which frustrate Ariane and Wally (and the reader!) as they try to find the next piece of the sword. Despite the low-key start, the adventure and the tension ratchet up very quickly. The two teens have a much rougher go of it this time around because they have an additional worry besides getting to the next shard of Excalibur - finding Ariane's mother and keeping her out of Rex Major's clutches.

What I really liked about the story this time was the character growth of both Ariane and Wally. Ariane's ability to recognize when the shards were driving her emotions grew, giving her more control over her actions - something that made a huge difference to all of the difficult choices she was forced to make. At the same time, Wally's experiences with the sword's constant pressure to eliminate all obstacles gave him a much greater understanding of what his friend has been going through, and that made for a much more supportive relationship between the two of them. That was in complete contrast with the interactions between Rex Major and Wally's sister, Felicia, as they raced to beat Wally and Ariane to the next shard. Mr. Willett did a very good job of keeping that relationship from seeming creepy while making them very nasty and effective foes for our teen heroes.

It was again a real pleasure to listen to the story. A couple of new characters were added to the mix this time, yet Elizabeth Klett's stellar narration never faltered. I saw in another review that she has narrated other stories, and I intend to search them out. Hopefully the stories are as good as this series is.

I'm very much looking forward to the conclusion of this quest in the next book. I expect it will be just as enjoyable as this part of the adventure was.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lake in the Clouds

  • The Shards of Excalibur, Book 3
  • By: Edward Willett
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Klett
  • Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

Ariane is on her own and on the run. Rex Major has swayed her erstwhile best friend Wally to his side. And when she finally hears the faint call of the third Shard of Excalibur, it’s on the other side of the world, in New Zealand! Wally, meanwhile, is discovering that life as Major’s “guest” isn’t all it promised, especially when he finds out Major’s plans for Ariane’s aunt. With Aunt Phyllis under threat, Ariane has no choice but to walk directly into Rex’s trap - and hope she can find a way to protect both the Shard and those she loves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A pleasant surprise!

  • By Lonnie-The GreatNorthernTroll-Moore on 09-10-18

Wally really shines in this race to the next shard

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-03-18

For me, this story was a very satisfying follow-on to book 2 in the series. Wally plays a much larger part in this one, something which I very much welcomed. His internal struggles as he tries to balance his worry for Ariane against his growing suspicions about Rex Major's real plans for her and himself really helped to flesh out this character for me. It made the race to find the next shard that much more interesting.

After the frustration of all the conflict between him and Ariane in the previous book, I was relieved to see this book make the shift towards understanding ... even if it takes nearly the whole adventure to get them there. I also really enjoyed the way Mr. Willett uses humor - mostly at Wally's expense - in getting the two teens back to working together again.

Ms. Klett's narration is, as usual, superb. I cannot overstate how well she handles the voices of all the characters; at no point is there any confusion as to who is speaking, and both male and female characters are voiced equally well.

Travel to another great far-away destination, outsmarting the villain, unexpected character revelations, and a couple of really good plot twists all contribute to making the 6 plus hours of this story just fly by. I can't wait to hear what happens next!


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Twist of the Blade

  • The Shards of Excalibur, Book 2
  • By: Edward Willett
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Klett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

Having saved the first Shard of the sword Excalibur from Internet mogul Rex Major (aka Merlin), Ariane and Wally are on the lookout for the second. Wally is worried that the power of the first Shard is already changing Ariane, giving her the strength to do good and evil, and when she badly injures his bullying sister, Flish, it seems he’s right. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • More great adventure, but lots more conflict.

  • By Carol on 07-21-18

More great adventure, but lots more conflict.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-21-18

At the end of Song of the Sword, the first book in this series, I was extremely happy to discover that the audio book for the next part of the series was already available; I snapped it up and dove in. As with the previous book, the story of Ariane and Wally went in all sorts of directions I didn't expect, including some I didn't like very much at all. It certainly made for an interesting listen, but at times I was so frustrated with the behavior of both of the teens that I wished I was reading a physical book so I could throw it! I guess it's a sign of the skill with which Mr. Willett writes that I got so invested in his characters that I wanted to be able to knock some sense into them.

All the supporting players from the first book are back, mostly making trouble for the two teens. Rex Major manages to cause even more problems than he did last time. Without giving too much away, he's at the heart of much of the conflict that arises between Ariane and Wally throughout this story. Wally's sister, Flish, and her "coven" are back as well, and they are the trigger for one of the more spectacular outbursts of Ariane's powers. The biggest surprise, though, is how Ariane travels to the very-far-away destination of the second shard.

Elizabeth Klett does another fantastic job with the narration. The best part is that she's so good with her voicings of the various characters that I always knew who was speaking at any given moment. She also managed the accents for the characters in that very-far-away destination very well.

When I reached the end of the story this time, it wasn't exhaustion from all the adventure, but rather frustration that I felt. Aarrrgh! How could you leave everyone and everything in such disarray, Mr. Willett? That next audio book better come out soon!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Song of the Sword

  • Shards of Excalibur, Book 1
  • By: Edward Willett
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Klett
  • Length: 6 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

Ariane's life is complicated. Her mother suddenly disappeared two and a half years ago, she's trying to get used to living with her aunt after bouncing around a series of foster homes, and she's taking a lot of grief from the clique of "in" girls at school. To make matters even worse, now she's having strange dreams involving swords and knights and battles, and things seem to get weird whenever she touches water. Next thing she knows, she's been sent on a quest to find the five scattered shards of Excalibur.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fantastic adventure ... and it's only the start!

  • By Carol on 04-19-18

A fantastic adventure ... and it's only the start!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-19-18

A story that plays in the fantastical realm of Camelot always grabs my attention. The great thing about this story is that it uses just enough of the Camelot mythology to ground the reader, but then it takes off on a completely new adventure of its own. The teenage leads of the story, Ariane and Wally, certainly don't have idyllic lives. I think that's what made them feel very real to me, and why I was drawn into the adventure right along with them, because who doesn't remember a time when it felt like no one understood you and everyone was against you?

The fantastic abilities Ariane acquires partway through the story were a delightful surprise, and led to all sorts of unexpected twists and turns. So much happens to her and Wally that I almost felt exhausted when I reached the end of their adventures. And this is only the beginning of the quest!

Elizabeth Klett does a great job of voicing the various characters as they navigate through the events of the book. Her narration sucked me right into the story - it was as if I was there standing on the street or off in the corner of the room watching the characters lives unfold in front of me. I had actually read the book before listening to it in audio form, and I have to say that I prefer the audio book, which is entirely due to Ms Klett's performance.

You don't have to be a teenager to enjoy this book, you just have to love a great adventure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Oncoming Storm

  • Angel in the Whirlwind, Book 1
  • By: Christopher G. Nuttall
  • Narrated by: Lauren Ezzo
  • Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,107
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,008
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,010

In the year 2420, war looms between the galaxy's two most powerful empires: the tyrannical Theocracy and the protectionist Commonwealth. Caught in the middle sits the occupied outpost system Cadiz, where young officer and aristocrat Katherine "Kat" Falcone finds herself prematurely promoted at the behest of her powerful father. Against her own wishes, Kat is sent to command the Commonwealth navy's newest warship, Lightning.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator's voices are terrible, story very good

  • By DH950 on 03-22-16

A decent story, but the narration is a bust

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-03-18

This is a decently plotted military sci-fi yarn, with fleshed-out, interesting characters and enough action to keep me interested. However, the narrator sounds like an elementary-school-age girl. It makes it very hard to take the lead character seriously. Worse, her voicings for the men (most of the other characters) are just terrible. I will likely go on to read at least one more book in this series (to find out what happens next), but I will definitely NOT be listening to the audio books.

  • Crown of Slaves

  • By: David Weber, Eric Flint
  • Narrated by: Peter Larkin
  • Length: 19 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 724
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 606
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 609

The Star Kingdom's ally Erewhon is growing increasingly restive in the alliance because the new High Ridge regime ignores its needs. Add to that the longstanding problem of a slave labor planet controlled by hostile Mesans in Erewhon's stellar back yard, a problem which High Ridge also ignores.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Eric Flint makes this MUCH better

  • By Kindle Customer on 10-22-13

The narration hinders a great story.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-15

I really like this offshoot of the main Honor Harrington series, having read the books myself before listening to the audiobook. The story rips right along, and the characters, as usual, are richly developed. By the time the story ends, you're glad for the time to catch your breath, but annoyed that it's over. Thank goodness the next book is already written!

All of this makes the two major deficiencies in the narration all that much more disappointing. First, I found the narrator very difficult to listen to because he was always changing his volume levels. He often spoke so softly that I needed to turn up the volume to even hear. Then in the next breath, he would be too loud for that increased volume, so I had to turn it down again. Second, Mr. Larkin was quite good at his vocal characterizations, except for some of the female characters. In particular, his voices for Berry and Ruth make them seem very child-like throughout, even at times in the story where the characters are anything but childish. I found this detracted greatly from the story.

I would say that if you are going to be listening to this audiobook in a quiet place where the voice level shifts will not bother you, the story is still well worth the listen. For myself, I have the next audiobook in the series, but after that, I will not be continuing with it any further unless the narrator changes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • On Basilisk Station

  • Honor Harrington, Book 1
  • By: David Weber
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,570
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,746
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,741

Honor Harrington has been exiled to Basilisk station and given an antique ship to police the system. The vindictive superior who sent her there wants her to fail. But he made one mistake: he's made her mad....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thanks for the memories

  • By ShySusan on 03-23-13

Book 1 of one of the best sci-fi series out there!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-11-13

From the moment I started reading this tremendous series over 15 years ago, I haven't been able to put the books down. The story and the extremely well-crafted characters grab you immediately and when you reach the end of a book, if you're anything at all like me, it's akin to torture to have to wait for Weber to write the next one in the series. I was very excited to revisit the first book in this audio format.

Unfortunately, the narration by Allyson Johnson annoyed me somewhat. Over all, she reads very well, but two things in particular bothered me quite a bit. First, I found that her voice characterization for Honor sounds too much like a little girl. I wish that Ms. Johnson had used something closer to the voice she uses when narrating (vs. speaking dialogue). Also, her characterization of Lord Hamish Alexander just didn't work for me at all. Given how large a role this character plays in novels later in the series, that's a big problem for me. The second thing which annoyed me greatly was her mis-pronunciation of many of the non-english names (French and Spanish in particular), and in particular, her incorrect pronunciation of the word "Manticoran" which occurs quite regularly throughout the story.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to this audio book, and I think you will too, especially if you're not as picky about the narration as I am. I have the next book in the series in audio format as well, but that will be the last one I listen to as the narration problems tarnish the experience for me. I'll be sticking with the paper books, though!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,185
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,551
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,557

Mma "Precious" Ramotswe sets up a detective agency in Botswana on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, making her the only female detective in the country. At first, cases are hard to come by. But eventually, troubled people come to Precious with a variety of concerns. Potentially philandering husbands, seemingly schizophrenic doctors, and a missing boy who may have been killed by witch doctors all compel Precious to roam about in her tiny van, searching for clues.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Transcends its Genre

  • By Gene on 12-07-03

African-born Narrator Lecat Is Utterly Captivating

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-20-12

Would you listen to The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency again? Why?

Yes, I will go back and listen to this audio book again, but not until I listen to all the rest of the stories in the series, because I want to know what happens next - both in Mma Ramotswe's personal life and in her detective adventures.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favourite character is the No.1 Ladies Detective, of course. Precious Ramotswe is so clever and unflappable; you know she's going to figure it all out, and it's great fun trying to guess how she's going to do it.

What does Lisette Lecat bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She makes you feel like you're there, in Botswana, experiencing the story. She has a feel for the characters and for Africa that someone not born there just cannot convey.

If you could rename The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, what would you call it?

It's so perfectly suited; I certainly cannot think of a better name for the book.

Any additional comments?

I had heard many good comments about this book series, and about the HBO TV show based on these books. Still, I was hesitant to read the stories as the characters are so different from the protagonists in my usual mystery reads. However, I am extraordinarily glad that I took the chance to listen to the first one as an audio book. After listening to the story, I know I would have enjoyed reading it, but having the fabulous Lisette Lecat read it to me has more than doubled that enjoyment. I will definitely be "listening" to the rest Mma Ramotswe's adventures.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful