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Reviews by L

Odessa, TX United States
  • 39
  • reviews
  • 70
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  • 101
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  • The City & The City

  • By: China Mieville
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,718
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,232
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,237

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlof the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined. Borl must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Genre defying conspiracy fiction

  • By Carl on 09-11-12

Absolutely masterful

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

Reviewed: 09-29-16

What did you love best about The City & The City?

I love how normal Mieville makes the Beszel/Ul Qoma situation seem. It's a stark commentary on exclaves and communities of interest without modern cities, while at the same time being a humorous send-up of the concept by taking it to an insane logical extreme.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Dhatt. Fucking fuck.

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

Probably better with accents than me.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end. I won't spoil it, but the end is poignant, a little sad, and thought-provoking.

Any additional comments?

Mieville is a treasure, and this book will one day be remembered as one of the great novels of the early 21st century.

  • Ibenus

  • Valducan, Book 3
  • By: Seth Skorkowsky
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 391
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 370
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 369

After surviving a demon attack, disgraced police detective Victoria Martin tracks down the Valducans in search of answers. Recognizing her potential, and despite the warnings of the other knights, Allan Havlock, protector of Ibenus, takes her in as his apprentice. As the Valducans travel to Paris to destroy a demon nest infesting the catacombs, the knights find themselves hunted by an Internet group intent on exposing them. Victoria, who belongs to this group, must desperately play both sides to protect not only herself but Allan, whom she has begun to love.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent addition to a very creative series

  • By Aaron Brown on 09-26-16

More solid work from Mr. Skorkowsky

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

Reviewed: 09-29-16

Where does Ibenus rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Above average

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ibenus?

There's a somewhat shocking death about 3/4 of the way in. Loved it.

What about R. C. Bray’s performance did you like?

I think Bray does well with accents and character voices. He's not one of the greats, but his work never veers into the groan-worthy territory.

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

Yes. There are some parts that get slower, but overall, it has nice pacing.

Any additional comments?

It's really something to see Skorkowsky come into his own and find a more confident voice. His choice to focus on weapons other than Damoren and push Matt Hollis to a background character do a lot to alleviate the Gary-Stuishness that Hollis threatened in the first novel. But that was a first novel; we may make allowances for green thumbs.

As Skorkowsky has matured, his books have matured with him. While I found the plot of Hounacier to be much more interesting than the plot of Ibenus, the character development throughout Ibenus was very much superior, and Skorkowsky was able to focus on and develop several characters at once, rather than simply Malcolm (who was I was happy to see return in Ibenus!).

If I had complaints, it would be that Paris is nowhere near as well drawn as New Orleans or even the various settings of Damoren, and the insight into our villain comes too late to really be of effect. Virginia's moral struggle also never really felt like a struggle, not like Matt's struggle to fit in or Malcolm's struggle with possession. As I said, Skorkowsky handles his characters better in this novel, and his prose is much more confident (and improved!), but plotting got shorter shrift here. However, given the constant advancement of talent and quality I've seen throughout this series, I am eagerly awaiting the next volume, which is more than I can usually say for urban fantasy. Well done, Mr. Skorkowsky. Well done indeed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Ordeal

  • By: R. Scott Bakker
  • Narrated by: Kevin Orton
  • Length: 21 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129

As Fanim war drums beat just outside the city, Empress Anasurimbor Esmenet searches frantically throughout the palace for her missing son, Kelmomas. Meanwhile, and many miles away, Esmenet's husband's Great Ordeal continues its epic march farther north. But in light of dwindling supplies, the Aspect-Emperor's decision to allow his men to consume the flesh of fallen Sranc could have consequences even he couldn't have foreseen.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • This Narrator Has Got to Go

  • By Stephanie C. on 08-06-17

Great book, lackluster narration

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

Reviewed: 08-03-16

Would you listen to The Great Ordeal again? Why?

I think Bakker fairly demands it. This is not a book you will be able to absorb in one sitting.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Great Ordeal?

Sorweel's descent through Ishteribenth, the final confrontations, just everything with Dagliash... good stuff.

Did Kevin Orton do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I suppose so. He obviously has an expressive voice and can bring real drama to the characters, but his inconsistent pronunciation of names was distracting. He definitely phoned this one in, which is odd, because he's narrated other books in the series. I certainly think the book would benefit from a better narrator, someone along the quality lines of Simon Vance or Michael Page.

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

I would not. I mean, there's not a theater one that would touch it.

Any additional comments?

It's better if you read it, just because Kevin Orton cannot decide how he wants to pronounce names, sometimes within the same sentence.

  • The Hydrogen Sonata

  • By: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 17 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 954
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 870
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 869

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture 10,000 years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another excellent chapter in the Culture series

  • By James on 01-27-13

Farewell, Mr. Banks.

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

Reviewed: 12-17-15

Would you consider the audio edition of The Hydrogen Sonata to be better than the print version?

I have never read the print version.

What other book might you compare The Hydrogen Sonata to and why?

It's one part Star Wars to one part Star Trek.

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

I've only listened to his Culture books, and this one is as good as any of the other performances.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end, strangely. If that's a metaphor for death, it's a comforting and nice one.

Any additional comments?

I miss the Culture already. This is a fitting send off. It feels like the concluding volume in a "series" linked only by the fact that all stories happen within a single, galaxy-spanning civilization that, for better or worse, is what it is.

  • Skin Game

  • A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 19,930
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 18,579
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 18,504

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it… Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back.

  • By Don Gilbert on 05-29-14

Butcher's back, baby...

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

Reviewed: 12-17-15

Would you consider the audio edition of Skin Game to be better than the print version?

Yes. James Marsters is Harry Dresden. Even when I read these on my own, I read them in Marsters's voice.

What other book might you compare Skin Game to and why?

I'm not sure there's a first-person heist book I've read other than this one, sorry.

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

James is a great actor. His voices, his inflection, his emotion, his cadences... he knows how to bring stories and feelings to life. He's better at that than I will ever be, even in the confines of my own imagination.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I like Harry's conversation with Hades. Neat.

Any additional comments?

The Dresden Files continues to surprise me. You'd think by the 15th book in a series, sharks would have been jumped and we would be reaching the point where more character growth seems impossible. But nope. Butcher's got this.

The Dragon's Path audiobook cover art
  • The Dragon's Path

  • Dagger and Coin, Book 1
  • By: Daniel Abraham
  • Narrated by: Pete Bradbury
  • Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,343
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,141
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,152

Popular author Daniel Abraham’s works have been nominated for the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. In The Dragon’s Path, former soldier Marcus is now a mercenary—but he wants nothing to do with the coming war. So instead of fighting, he elects to guard a caravan carrying the wealth of a nation out of the war zone—with the assistance of an unusual orphan girl named Cithrin.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly enjoyable

  • By JoR on 02-23-12

Bland epic fantasy

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

Reviewed: 12-17-15

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

No; the fantasy elements are too common, the tropes well-worn, and the story just generally uninteresting.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting bits of the story happen in the prologue and epilogue. The least interesting bits fill in the middle.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Pete Bradbury?

I think perhaps a Michael Page or Steven Vance could pep this up.

Was The Dragon's Path worth the listening time?

No, and this is from someone who generally likes Daniel Abraham's writing.

Any additional comments?

Dan Abraham is a more exciting writer than this. This honestly feels like one of his earlier works he retooled after publishing the Long Price Quarter (which is arguably superior in every way).

  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

  • By: Haruki Murakami
  • Narrated by: Adam Sims, Ian Porter
  • Length: 14 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,584
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,362
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,368

Information is everything in "Hard-Boiled Wonderland". A specialist encrypter is attacked by thugs with orders from an unknown source, is chased by invisible predators, and dates an insatiably hungry librarian who never puts on weight. In "The End of the World" a new arrival is learning his role as dream-reader. But there is something eerily disquieting about the changeless nature of the town and its fable-like inhabitants. Told in alternate chapters, the two stories converge and combine.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Grown-up Hiyao Miyazaki

  • By Ryan on 03-07-12

Overhyped

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

Reviewed: 12-17-15

What did you like best about Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World? What did you like least?

I liked Hard-Boiled Wonderland more than the End of the World. What I liked least about it was the typical "oh I'm so literary let me write about a bunch of superfluous sex because that's how you know I'm literary" bullshit Murakami pulls.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not more Murakami.

What about Adam Sims and Ian Porter ’s performance did you like?

They were competent performances.

Was Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World worth the listening time?

Sure. I mean, Murakami isn't a terrible writer, he's just not as good as some people. This is a good story, but not a great one.

Any additional comments?

Yet more fantasy fiction that has pretensions to literacy. Which is fine. As far as stories go, this one was not terrible, but not exactly great either. The narrative structure was fairly cool, and there were some great scenes, but overall Murakami was being his usual slightly-better-than-mediocre self.

  • Words of Radiance

  • The Stormlight Archive, Book 2
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
  • Length: 48 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 47,691
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 44,616
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 44,589

In that first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Book !!; no let down- "Words of Radiance" shines

  • By Don Gilbert on 03-08-14

Yawn yawn yawn yay!

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

Reviewed: 12-17-15

What did you like best about Words of Radiance? What did you like least?

The ending was pretty good. Very exciting. The building action was something I think we might want to alert the Geneva Convention to.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Actually excited because it seemed like Sanderson might do something with the plot.

What about Michael Kramer and Kate Reading ’s performance did you like?

They're both great actors and narrators. I think they redeem a lot of Sanderson's writing.

Could you see Words of Radiance being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Oh yes, I totally could. I'm very bad with pop culture so don't ask me about actors or actresses.

Any additional comments?

Sanderson's biggest problem is that he needs a better editor who is strong-willed enough to tell him to CUT DOWN ON THE WORDS. He says what could be appropriately said in ten words in fifty. This makes the book long, causes the plot to drag a bit, which is a shame, because when he's not throwing words at us rapid-fire, he's not a bad writer! His characters are somewhat two-dimensional, but still with more depth than most epic fantasy characters. His plots and worldbuilding are very interesting. As a D&D manual writer, he would really shine. But his prose just bogs itself down. Tighten it up!

  • The Magician's Land

  • A Novel
  • By: Lev Grossman
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 16 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,920
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,035
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,032

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can't hide from his past, and it's not long before it comes looking for him. Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of grey magic and desperate characters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A beautiful ending to a great masterpiece

  • By Mor on 09-30-14

A grown-up conclusion for a grown-up book

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

Reviewed: 12-17-15

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. Anyone who has been an infatuated, fantasy-obsessed child needs to read and dislike Quentin Coldwater. It's essential to healing.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the basic humanity of the characters. Everyone is fucked up. No one is perfect. And that makes things OK.

What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

The excellent differentiation between the characters and the emotion he infused.

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

Just watch the series currently on TV?

Any additional comments?

Lev Grossman wrote a grown-up's response to Harry Potter and Narnia, about what the world would actually be like if magic were real and whimsy contained to quaint British drawing rooms smelling of old pipe smoke and twee. His characters are just like us, warts and all, but he reveals something about it -- magic wouldn't change /us/, it would just give us another tool to mess things to up, to drive away our partner, alienate our friends, and get moody and sulky. This book is like therapy for kids who wanted Narnia to be real. A reminder that the grass isn't any greener through the looking glass, and we had better take responsibility for our own world now.

  • Blindsight

  • By: Peter Watts
  • Narrated by: T. Ryder Smith
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,161
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 991
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 981

Set in 2082, Peter Watts' Blindsight is fast-moving, hard SF that pulls readers into a futuristic world where a mind-bending alien encounter is about to unfold. After the Firefall, all eyes are locked heavenward as a team of specialists aboard the self-piloted spaceship Theseus hurtles outbound to intercept an unknown intelligence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gothic Horror Hard Science Fiction

  • By Doug D. Eigsti on 06-24-15

Jaegwon Kim and Dan Dennett enter a bar...

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

Reviewed: 12-17-15

If you could sum up Blindsight in three words, what would they be?

Philosophical musings, space.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Blindsight?

None of them stand out, actually.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Differentiate the characters better, inflect more emotion.

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

No.

Any additional comments?

I can handle weighty matters of philosophy. I can handle long stretches of dense dialogue. It just all grates a little thin when the plot between them is only exciting in may two or three scenes. Good writing, flawed execution.