LISTENER

Mark

Bowie, MD, United States
  • 11
  • reviews
  • 33
  • helpful votes
  • 11
  • ratings
  • Last Shot

  • Star Wars
  • By: Daniel José Older
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson, Daniel José Older, January LaVoy
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,204
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,063
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,060

It's one of the galaxy's most dangerous secrets: a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery that most could only dream of claiming. But those who fly the Millennium Falcon throughout its infamous history aren't your average scoundrels. Not once, but twice, the crew of the Falcon tries to claim the elusive prize - first, Lando Calrissian and the droid L3-37 at the dawn of an ambitious career, and later, a young and hungry Han Solo with the help of his copilot, Chewbacca.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • It's a letdown and boring

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-19-18

Very disappointed

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

Reviewed: 04-23-18

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Better plot, better novel structure, no author narrating. Would have taken a lot.

What aspect of the narrators’s performance would you have changed?

I would not have had the author as a narrator. Wasn't thrilled with him as an author, can't stand him as a narrator. NOTE: My criticisms of the narration only applies to the author portion. Marc Thompson and January Lavoy are awesome as usual, especially considering the low quality story they were given to read.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Pretty much all negative emotions.

Any additional comments?

I am forcing myself to read the new Star Wars tie-in novels since everything is canon now, want to make sure I catch everything. But this was very disappointing and confusing. I'll break it into 3 gimmicks that I think failed:

1. Multiple time frames and narrators. Most Star Wars novels jump around as different characters are completing different missions. But this book took it to a new level by jumping around from Now (2 years after the battle of Jakku), and 10 years ago, 15 years ago and 20 years ago. Now and 20 years ago are read by the wonderful Marc Thompson, 15 years ago is read by January Lavoy, and 10 years ago is read by the author. Thompson and Lavoy are experienced Star Wars narrators who do their usual wonderful job. The author as narrator was a mistake. He has no differentiation between characters, he just reads. Contrasted with Thompson and Lavoy, who are both very good at differentiating characters through vocalization, it just took you completely out of the book. Add the fairly convoluted plot to this time hopping narration, and it's just a mess. It would have been easier to understand if just told in chronological order, perhaps with bookend scenes so you didn't have to wait until the 15 years ago part to see a familiar character.
2. McGuffin. The McGuffin of the story, the Phylanx, is the focus of all the action, but they don't even explain what it is and why it's important until very late in the novel. I think the author thought he was being innovative, but really it's just annoying. Why should I care about all the trials and tribulations if I don't know why it's important. With the multiple time frames and dissociated characters, the author could have informed the reader without informing the protagonists.
3. SJW. One of the characters is referred to as They and Their instead of He/she and his/hers. Don't get me wrong, I don't really care about the gender/sexuality, or whatever of the character. But there was no explanation of why just this one character was referred to in this way. Were they from a species that has no gender, or is gender fluid, or what? Just seemed weird to do this with no explained reason.

Overall - I just didn't like it. I didn't find the story interesting, didn't really care about the characters, and the points listed above just made it worse. It's not the worst of the new tie in novels, that would be "So you wanna be a Jedi." But not something I would want to read again or see brought to the screen, which is pretty much my standard for how much I enjoyed a book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Lock and Key: The Initiation

  • By: Ridley Pearson
  • Narrated by: Nicola Barber
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

Ridley Pearson brings us the origins of the rivalry between literature's most famous enemies - Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty - told from the perspective of James' observant little sister, Moria. Before James grew up to be a ruthless, remorseless villain, he was a curious boy from Boston, with a penchant for trouble and an acid tongue. Thrown into a boarding school against his wishes, James winds up rooming with a most unlikely companion: a lanky British know-it-all named Sherlock Holmes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great series

  • By pzl on 10-27-18

Misleading description

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

Reviewed: 08-28-17

What did you like best about Lock and Key: The Initiation? What did you like least?

I am only one hour in, I may try to edit or post a 2nd. I only wanted to document to people that this puts Holmes and Moriarty into the present day as teenagers. The description and even reviews have not mentioned this. I found the modern day references very offputting as it was not what I was expecting. It will likely color my listening experience. I'm already wishing I had not purchased the 2nd book prior to reading this one.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Star Wars: A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy

  • By: Alexandra Bracken
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson, Rebecca Soler
  • Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 779
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 711
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 706

The galaxy is at war. Although the Rebel Alliance has won a few battles against the Empire, hope is fading. The Empire is about to finish building the greatest weapon the galaxy has ever seen - the Death Star. The rebels' only chance to defeat it now lies in the unlikely hands of a princess, a scoundrel, and a farm boy....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • GREAT retelling of the original story

  • By go1den3ye on 09-28-15

Great, enjoyable book

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

Reviewed: 10-09-15

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene where Ben Kenobi talks to R2-D2 on the Falcon.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Would have if I could, but I listen on my commute and have to stop when I get to work.

Any additional comments?

I was an avid reader of the Expanded Universe, now designated "Legends." I am sorry to see it go, but I'm willing to give the new stuff a try because I'm really looking forward to the new movie. I am working my way through all of the "new canon" books, including these that are part of the official "Journey to The Force Awakens." I'll admit that I thought the sub-title was kind of cheesy, and wasn't expecting to enjoy it, but I really did. The author is a Star Wars Fangirl, and it shows in a good way. I really enjoyed the retelling of the first movie through the various points of view. I also enjoyed the presentation of things that must have happened off-screen but were never shown. I was actually looking forward to the next two books retelling the saga, until I listened to the first part of "So you wanna be a Jedi," but that's for a different review. This book was well written, added some nice tidbits to what we already knew, and helped me get ready for the next chapter of the saga in December. As always I love Marc Thompson reading Star Wars books.

  • Star Wars: Smuggler's Run

  • A Han Solo Adventure
  • By: Greg Rucka
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 3 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 675
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 628
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 627

Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookiee team up for an all-new adventure in this thrilling upper middle grade novel. Set between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the story follows everyone's favorite pair of smugglers as they fly the Millennium Falcon on a top-secret mission for the Rebellion. Hidden in the story are also hints and clues about the upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, making this a must-listen for fans old and new!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "Chewie, we're home."

  • By Daniel on 10-19-15

Best book of the New Canon and Journey so far

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

Reviewed: 10-09-15

Would you listen to Star Wars: Smuggler's Run again? Why?

Probably not. I enjoyed it, but not sure I'd get more out of it on a second listen.

Any additional comments?

I was an avid reader of the Expanded Universe, now designated "Legends." I am sorry to see it go, but I'm willing to give the new stuff a try because I'm really looking forward to the new movie. I am working my way through all of the "new canon" books, including these that are part of the official "Journey to The Force Awakens." This is my favorite book of all the new canon books I have read. It took me back to the original Tim Daley Han Solo books. Well written, interesting story, and the best narrator in Star Wars books today. Not sure what the bookend parts of the story really held for the new movie, other than letting us know that Han and Chewie are still roaming the galaxy together in the Falcon. Although I think the Ematt character may be in the new movie. Anyway - thanks to both the author and the narrator for an excellent adventure and experience.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Star Wars: Lost Stars

  • By: Claudia Gray
  • Narrated by: Pierce Cravens
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,059
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,603
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,594

This thrilling young adult novel gives listeners a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Listeners will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends - Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell - who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them - and the galaxy - apart?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cure for the Aftermath Blues

  • By Matt H. on 09-18-15

A pleasant surprise and much better than Aftermath

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

Reviewed: 10-09-15

Who was your favorite character and why?

Thane Kyrell. Realized he made a mistake joining the Imperial Forces, and went with his sense of justice. Faithful to the end. Just a well written and rounded character.

What didn’t you like about Pierce Cravens’s performance?

He sounds too young and that made the sex scenes creepy.

Any additional comments?

I was an avid reader of the Expanded Universe, now designated "Legends." I am sorry to see it go, but I'm willing to give the new stuff a try because I'm really looking forward to the new movie. I am working my way through all of the "new canon" books, including these that are part of the official "Journey to The Force Awakens." I admit I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was not expecting to like it because of the star-crossed lovers angle, but I really did enjoy it in spite of that. I enjoyed seeing the events of the original trilogy (and events that would have happened off-screen) through the eyes of new characters, several of whom were imperials. And as opposed to other books in the "Journey" line, there is an obvious tie-in to the new movie, and the possibility that characters from this novel will be involved. A couple of points - At first I thought the narrator was calling their home planet of Jelucan as "Jello-can." I kept seeing a large can of Jello in my mind, even after checking the spelling on Wookiepedia.

Spoiler Alert

Age is all wrong. Ciena Ree was born the same year as Luke and Leia. That would make her 24 at the time of the battle of Jakku. Commanding a Star Destroyer at the age of 24, only a few years after graduation from the Academy - doesn't work. Even though they tried to explain it by the loss of senior officers in the destruction of the 2 death stars, I just don't see it happening, especially with a person who has been out of action for nearly a year recovering from severe wounds. Reminds me of how the new Captain Kirk went from cadet to Captain in one fell swoop in the new Star Trek movies. Perhaps JJ Abrams is influencing the Star Wars books as well, not just directing.

There are several sex scenes that I didn't really need in a Star Wars book. Though not explicit, they do directly refer to sex and evoke images of naked bodies, etc. The fact that the narrator sounds like he's about 14 made these scenes feel kinda creepy. (He's 29, I checked, but doesn't sound like it) I understand that they support the whole star crossed lovers theme, but I would have enjoyed the story just as much (maybe more) if they were just platonic friends, perhaps two childhood friends that had grown up together and then apart - Such as if Luke and Biggs had ended up on different sides of the conflict.

End spoilers

So again - overall, I enjoyed it, much more than I expected to. But they should have had Marc Thompson or Jonathan Davis narrate.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Aftermath: Star Wars

  • Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • By: Chuck Wendig
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11,430
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,765
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10,743

The second Death Star has been destroyed, the emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. Devastating blows against the Empire and major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over. As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance - now a fledgling New Republic - presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy's scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy's strength is unfolding.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing and Frustrating

  • By Jason on 09-08-15

To replace the old EU, need to do better

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

Reviewed: 10-09-15

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A better story by a better author.

What could Chuck Wendig have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Sub-contracted to Timothy Zahn.

Which character – as performed by Marc Thompson – was your favorite?

No favorites, but Marc Thompson is my favorite narrator and did what he could with mediocre material.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Aftermath: Star Wars?

All of the "interludes"

Any additional comments?

I was an avid reader of the Expanded Universe, now designated "Legends." I am sorry to see it go, but I'm willing to give the new stuff a try because I'm really looking forward to the new movie. I am working my way through all of the "new canon" books, including these that are part of the official "Journey to The Force Awakens." This is not the worst of the batch, and tells the story of some of the remnants of the Empire six months or so after Endor trying to figure out how not to go extinct. The protagonist is a former Rebel pilot trying to get her life back, and other assorted new characters. As a whole, it was an OK story, but not "I can't wait to go to work" (I listen to audio books on my commute). Several things kind of rubbed me the wrong way. In the original trilogy, the Imperials pretty much scoffed at the force, although Vader did occasionally show them it was real (Right Adm Motti?). In this story, they seem to understand more - that the Emperor and Vader were Sith, and that Sith is bad, and they didn't seem to have a problem with that. It was also annoying to hear some 60's style "spacifying" of words, such as space-bus and even a reference to space-diapers. And lastly, seems like most people in the new canon are gay (not that there's anything wrong with that.) It just seemed that the author was going out of his way to point out that certain characters were gay, when it didn't really have any impact on the progression of the story. As to bread crumbs to The Force Awakens - I'm not sure. Unless some of the main characters become the seed of the First Order or the Resistance, I'm not sure what this does to fill in the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. There were many "interludes" where things happened, sometimes with characters we know, mostly not. They had no bearing on this story, and may or may not have bearing on the new movie or the next 2 books in this series, the next one of which apparently doesn't come out for another 5 months, so we'll have to wait and see. Since they didn't have bearing on the story at hand, they were an annoying distraction. Overall it was better than Heir to the Jedi, but not by much. As always, Marc Thompson is the best narrator of all things Star Wars.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars

  • By: Kevin Hearne
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,765
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,491
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,489

Luke Skywalker's game-changing destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he's a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there's no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot--and in the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there's no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A fun adventure, but not very deep

  • By Daniel on 07-06-15

Weepy, whiny, lovesick excuse for a Jedi

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

Reviewed: 03-31-15

Where does Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Last. Totally due to the story, still love the narrator.

Have you listened to any of Marc Thompson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, this is up to his normal standard, but having to do the whole thing in Luke's voice got old really quick. But not Marc's fault, blame the author.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

2 hours of your life you'll never get back.

Any additional comments?

There's a new canon. I get it. But please give us new stuff better than this. I was very disappointed in this book. I've been reading the expanded universe for 20 years, which is now out the window, leaving a large void. I understand the need to fill that void with new information to both fill in gaps between movies and to lead us into the new movie. I hope future books do this better.

Luke - see subject line. Luke went from a nervous farmboy in A New Hope to a confident Jedi in Return of the Jedi. This book is apparently an attempt to show some of that journey. What we get is a stumbling, fumbling Luke who survives the activities of the book by a combination of dumb luck and a few force tricks that he stumbles onto, because Ben Kenobi is dead so he has to teach himself. Cue the violins. I say activities, because there is no real antagonist, just a series of vignettes with generic bad guys (spies, imperials, bounty hunters) as they attempt to complete a mission that I just couldn't care about, getting several people that were trying to help him killed in the process. And great, he figures out how to use the force to move a noodle. I'd be much more interested in how he got good enough with a lightsaber to survive the duel with Vader in Empire. I don't remember any saber training with Yoda while he was on Dagobah.

In another departure from the EU, they decided to use certain "Earth" words instead of established EU terms. For example, in this book you'll hear Luke talk about going to the "bathroom" instead of using the "refresher" and reading a piece of "paper" instead of "flimsy." These are changes that may seem like small details, but using the established EU vernacular would help bridge the Legends to the new canon.

I assume it's our modern facebook/twitter "I want to show everyone what I ate for breakfast, and my daily selfie" mentality that led to the choice to write this book in 1st person? Made me feel like I was listening to a whiny teenager reading me his diary. Just don't.

That said, I do not blame the narrator. Marc Thompson is awesome and should read every Star Wars novel until his voice gives out. But even a great narrator can only do so much with the material he is given.

SPOILER AHEAD ---
Yet another of Luke's loves meets a tragic end. I know, all the women he loved in the EU that died or left or turned to the dark side or merged with a spaceship or got killed by his nephew, etc... That never happened; That was Legend. OK. Do we have to continue that meme in the new canon? --- END SPOILER

I always finish books that I start, it's just how I am. But for the 2nd half of this book, I wished I could bring myself to just stop so I could go back to something worth listening to. I really don't see what part of this book could help me understand what will happen in the new movie, set more than 30 years later. New canon authors -- Please do better.

14 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Pirate King

  • A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes
  • By: Laurie R. King
  • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 951
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 836
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 838

As Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes embark on their 11th adventure together, they find themselves immersed in the world of silent filmmaking. Here, the pirates are real—and unlike the shooting done with a camera, this sort can be deadly.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not my favorite Mary Russell

  • By chris on 10-01-11

Disappointed

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

Reviewed: 03-20-15

Did Jenny Sterlin do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes, I actually like her narration.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes, but only because I see all Sherlock Holmes movies.

Any additional comments?

I have enjoyed the previous books in this series much more than this one. The story line of possible criminal activity amongst the crew of "a movie about a movie of Pirates of Penzance" was too much of a stretch, and for the first half of the book there was way too much Russell and way too little Sherlock Holmes. Too much exposition and not enough mystery solving. Hope the next one is better.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz audiobook cover art
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  • By: L. Frank Baum
  • Narrated by: Anne Hathaway
  • Length: 3 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,477
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,088
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,115

One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming The Dark Knight Rises, lent her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • In Time for the Holiday.Give the GIFT of a STORY!

  • By Thomas M Clifford on 11-27-13

Never let her read anything again

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

Reviewed: 04-19-14

Would you try another book from L. Frank Baum and/or Anne Hathaway?

Baum - Yes. Hathaway - NO. I will never get another book read by her.

What did you like best about this story?

It was interesting to hear the original story, which is very different from the movie.

What didn’t you like about Anne Hathaway’s performance?

Just horrible characterizations. I am amazed that there are such positive comments about her performance. I had to force myself to listen just so I could finish the story. People who sound like robots, a bird that sounds like a valley girl, a soldier that sounds like Sylvester the cat, and a wizard that sounds like Christen Chenowith on Helium. Very hard to listen to.

Any additional comments?

Audible, please never let her narrate another book.

  • The Malacca Conspiracy

  • By: Don Brown
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36

In The Malacca Conspiracy by Don Brown, author of the Navy Justice series, a dastardly plot is hatched in the Malaysian seaport of Malacca to attack civilian oil tankers, assassinate the Indonesian President, and use fat windfall profits to finance a nuclear attack against American cities. Can Navy JAG officers Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian foil the conspiracy before disaster strikes?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another homerun by Don Brown

  • By Paul on 08-26-12

Disappointing and very preachy.

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

Reviewed: 07-08-13

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No - I like my military thrillers to at least make an attempt at authenticity.

What was most disappointing about Don Brown’s story?

Actions of protagonist and antagonist just not believable.

How could the performance have been better?

More differentation between characters.

Was The Malacca Conspiracy worth the listening time?

No.

Any additional comments?

Very Preachy

I am a retired Navy Commander, and I bought this book because I had read that my first ship, USS REUBEN JAMES, played a big role and the plot looked interesting. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in the execution of the book and the accuracy. I won’t bore you with the list of military/Navy mistakes, but there were so many it made the listening very frustrating. Personnel doing things out of job description of their rate or rank, using equipment that doesn’t exist on certain types of ships. Also, lots of preaching: apparently everyone in the Navy and the government prays a lot. I served nearly 3 years at the Pentagon and never once did I hear it referred to as “The Building.” Must be a JAG thing. Good idea executed poorly. To finish the book I wore out my “I believe” button.
One note on the Narration. I have not listened to the previous 4 books in this series that were criticized for having a British narrator. This narrator is American, but I did have problems distinguishing the characters. All Indonesians bled together, and all Navy personnel seemed to be either from Chicago or from the deep South. Not sure what that’s about.
Overall I was disappointed. I will not be listening to the other 4 books in the series.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful