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Matthew

Kansas City, MO, United States
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  • Redemption's Blade

  • After the War, Book 1
  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Nicola Barber
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Ten years ago, the renegade demigod known as the Kinslayer returned. His armies of monsters issued from the pits of the earth, spearheaded by his brutal Yorughan soldiers. Thrones toppled and cities fell as he drove all before him. And then he died. A handful of lucky heroes and some traitors amongst his own, and the great Kinslayer was no more. Celestaine was one such hero and now she has tasked herself to correct the worst excesses of the Kinslayer and bring light back to her torn-up world. With two Yorughan companions she faces fanatics, war criminals, and the monsters and minions the Kinslayer left behind....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The story of what happens after the epilogue.

  • By Matthew on 08-20-18

The story of what happens after the epilogue.

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

Reviewed: 08-20-18

Tchaikovsky’s superb skill and creativity kind of annoys me. The other two books of his that I have finished have been intensely original and compelling, and this trend continues in Redemption’s Blade.

This book ends up being what I expected the first Mistborn, The Final Empire, to be. While I love that book, I was always a little let down that it wasn’t really about the ‘what happens after.’ Thankfully this book now exists.

In its most basic form, Redemption’s Blade is a road trip across a classical fantasy world after the stereotypical dark lord has been defeated. It follows one of the slayers of the great evil along with a handful of companions, two of which that used to be the enemy’s soldiers. The focus is on the after-war sociology, politics, economy, psychology, and religion. You know, the things that should be boring, but in this setting are fascinating. There is action throughout so you shouldn’t feel like you’re reading a history book or anything stale like that. And let’s not forget character growth and the internal conflicts of survivors.

As always, of special note is that this book is self-contained. I believe it is going to be part of a series, but don’t let that scare you off, there is a clear beginning, middle, and end. I was satisfied with how it ended, but I can guarantee I’ll pick up any other books that are released in this series given how much I enjoy the world and style.

I recommend this book to any fans of fantasy, especially the ones that always wonder what happens after the last page of a fantasy epic.

  • Split the Party

  • Spells, Swords, & Stealth Series #2
  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,119
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,878
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,875

Fleeing from a vengeful king has sent the former NPCs across Solium's borders, into the kingdom of Alcatham. As wanted fugitives, they head to the small farming village of Briarwillow, hoping to blend in, lay low, and avoid trouble at all costs. Unfortunately, Briarwillow has problems all its own, and its troubles quickly become theirs. If they hope to survive long enough to escape, they'll have to tackle an all-but-forgotten mystery buried at the town's border as well as seek the wisdom of a mysterious group of mages.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great follow up!

  • By M. D. Baines on 05-13-16

White Bread

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

Reviewed: 08-16-18

Honestly, this is a textbook case of a 3 star book. There isn’t anything bad about it, per se, but there also isn’t anything great about.

How do I put this, basically there is a solid story here, there are good ideas that are executed adequately. The characters and setting are relatable and interesting. It’s just that all of it is like it’s checked off a list rather than explored and experienced. This would all have been fine if it had the humor that NPCs had and Hayes is capable of, but straight up, this book is fantasy and not humorous fantasy.

Also, one of the protagonists from the first book was barely mentioned, got no development or page time at all, what is up with that? I was so confused.

So… yeah, I don’t recommend this book, but I also won’t warn people away from it. It just… is. Buy it if this doesn’t sound too bad to you?

  • The Last Colony

  • Old Man's War, Book 3
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,965
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,261
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,268

Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up. That is, until his and Jane's past reaches out to bring them back into the game.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent But Different

  • By Michael on 12-04-12

Splendid return to the tone of the original.

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

Well. Huh.

I love Scalzi, but he tends to do entertaining, ‘not bad’ books. As such, it never ceases to amaze me when he comes out and just wows me with a book. Since I say this, it goes without saying that this book falls into that ‘wow’ category.

The most important part of this review is that The Last Colony returns the humor we knew and loved in Old Man’s War, as opposed to the more serious, classical tone of The Ghost Brigades.

As for the book itself, it is an impeccably well-executed tale of John, Jane, and Zoe as they live a peaceful if, not sometime irritating life on a new planet with a new colony. That is until they get caught up in the politics and machinations of basically everyone else. To the chagrin of these other parties, they refuse to be placid pawns in the games of greater sentients. And with that wit of Scalzi, our protagonists foil plans, make their own, and just all around aggravate everyone else for the good of the colony and with humorous results.

So yeah, I absolutely recommend this book to fans of Old Man’s War, and the series to scifi fans in general.

  • The Lost Temple of Ssis'sythyss

  • The Dungeoneers Series, Book 3
  • By: Jeffery Russell
  • Narrated by: Faust Kells
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

Cursed gems, snake gods, lost temples, dark jungles, and volcanoes. It could serve as a laundry list of things Ruby wanted nothing to do with. Yet now she's on her way, in search of a missing friend and with only a journal of cryptic clues and a notorious band of dungeoneering dwarves to guide her. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Adventure

  • By suzeQ108 on 08-06-18

Two thumbs and a snake tail up!

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

Reviewed: 08-02-18

Let’s start this off by saying I don’t understand the bad reviews for this book at all. Did they get a different book than me? First of all, it’s the third in a series, (though arguably this, like the previous two are stand-alone) so people should know what they’re getting. Second, it’s just finely crafted fantasy humor. It’s not Pratchett, but it is satire with a solid dose of expectation playing and slapstick. I mean, it’s kind of like the dwarves from the Hobbit melded with Disney’s Snow White Dwarves and were given business smarts and skills other than fighting and mining.

So yeah, I take offense to the bad reviews.

Anyway, this book is a prequel of sorts as it follows the time when Ruby the scribe first joined the Dungeoneers as they hunt for ancient naga ruins. Don’t let the prequel status turn you off the book. I hate prequels, but as I said, these books are stand-alone, so you can just enjoy it and not think about it being in a series. Not to mention Ruby is GREAT. Seriously, she puts Durham to shame.

This book is more of a satire on adventuring and economics than a satire or spoof of DnD. Personally, I enjoyed this change, but your mileage may vary.

Long and short of it is this is a top notch entertaining book that had me grinning like a fool most of the time. I recommend this book if you liked the first two books or like a good fantasy comedy romp, now buy buy buy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Children of Time

  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Mel Hudson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,831
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,808
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,785

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Who will inherit this new Earth? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Premise Within an Excellent Story

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 07-30-17

Should have just been about the spiders.

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

Reviewed: 06-13-18

A good book, no doubt, but it could have so much better if not for all the lost potential. Allow me to explain: The book is made up of two stories, that of the humans on the starship Gilgamesh and that of the spiders on the Green Planet.

The good: the spiders. With a virus that allows hyper-accelerated evolution, we get to watch as the first spider realizes it is better to go at it together than alone then all the way up through the ages. Each time the book switches to the perspective of the Green Planet’s citizens, it’s a new age of discovery, religion, war, or policy. It is all incredibly fascinating to see a very believable series of vignettes or short stories of a foreign creature and civilization as it grows from unthinking beast to high level sentient being.

The bad: the humans. This is where all the wasted potential is. The premise that possibly the last surviving humans are on a generation ship made up of cobbled together technology that they no longer understand due to losing the knowledge in a world-ending war is a great one. They could search the stars for a habitable planet; see the different results of the terraforming projects we are introduced to in the prologue, or just see how dangerous space is on its own that no human villain could compare to. Instead we get infighting, a love story, and power mad cartoon characters. These parts are all about how humanity never learns. It’s not bad, but it’s also been done so many times it just didn’t have the wonderment of the Green Planet parts.

Though the ending left me slightly unsatisfied for no reason I can figure out, I would still recommend this strongly to anyone that likes hard sci-fi or books like the Bobiverse or Seveneves.

  • The Girl with All the Gifts

  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,752
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,329
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,335

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • FLEETWOOD MAC

  • By Jim "The Impatient" on 09-04-15

Zombie books actually CAN buck the trend!

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

Reviewed: 06-13-18

Not one, but TWO “this is how [X] should be!” This is how to not make a child character annoying. This is also how to do a human-aspect zombie novel.

The book only has a handful of characters, and because of that, the author was able to really focus on each of them. These characters are all extremely believable and realistic to a fault. I can’t count how many times I got mad at a character for something they did, only to realize that given the circumstances or the character’s personality, it made total sense. This is an example of impeccable writing if you ask me. Not only that, there are characters that I liked and characters I disliked, but not because they were dumb or badly written, but because they were mean to the characters I did like. Follow all that? It’s great when a dystopian novel is written and not every character is unlikeable on purpose.

The ending fell flat for me, but not for my friend, so who knows there. The book as a whole has a way of sucking you in and making you lose track of time, so it was well worth it in the end for me.

I recommend this to anyone who wants a focused character-driven story in a zombie wasteland. It’s especially good if you liked the game Last of Us.

  • Greatshadow

  • The Dragon Apocalypse, Book 1
  • By: James Maxey
  • Narrated by: Jake Urry
  • Length: 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

After stealing a priceless relic from the Church of the Book, Infidel is the world’s most infamous mercenary. Now she’s got her eyes on a new prize, the fabled treasure trove of the dragon Greatshadow. Joining forces with a band of dangerous rogues, can she survive her own allies long enough to face the dragon?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you enjoy fantasy at its best, this is a must

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 08-08-17

Fantasy to send you back to your favorites.

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

Reviewed: 05-29-18

Well, what can I say? First, seriously, don’t judge this book by its cover and the long and short of it is that I’m absolutely going to be continuing this series.

This is fantasy as it should be: A surreal world with primal and all powerful magic, an adventure to take down a foe against all odds, and unpredictability to the nines. Furthermore, the two main protagonists are a lot of fun and I found myself rooting for them all along the way. Which in this day and age of dark fantasies, is saying a lot.

I strongly recommend this book to fans of sword and sorcery fantasy.

  • Vick's Vultures

  • By: Scott Warren
  • Narrated by: Steven Barnett
  • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106

Victoria Marin, captain of the U.E. Condor, and her crew of Vultures have been running dry for months. In danger of losing her command and her credibility if she can't locate fresh salvage, she locks onto the distress signal of an alien ship in hopes of valuable cargo. What she finds instead is First Prince Tavram, the heir apparent to one of the largest empires in known space. Tavram's ship has been crippled after narrowly escaping an ambush and his would-be assassin is coming to finish the job.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fast-paced adventure in space

  • By Novum on 10-17-16

The campiness is intentional? Right? RIGHT?!

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

Reviewed: 05-29-18

I legitimately can’t tell if this book is terrible or intentionally campy. As such, I’m going to write this review as of it is an intentionally campy trope-ridden comedy.

If this book were a movie, it would belong on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It is perfect to over-analyze every little thing and laugh at how stilted the dialogue is. Really, anything related to people just comes off as so hilariously bad it is enjoyable when you’re not worried about injuring yourself with eye-rolls. That said, the things not related to people are made up of some pretty decent ideas, like war-like humans being sneakier than the ancient alien civilizations. Are these ideas well executed? Not really, but see above.

Ummm, I’m not sure who I’d recommend this to, but if the above sounds good to you, go for it?

  • And Then There Were None

  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Dan Stevens
  • Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,427
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,848
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,831

Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U.N. Owen". At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one...one by one they begin to die. Who among them is the killer? And will any of them survive?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dan Stevens is genius

  • By Markie Ross on 09-17-15

As spectacular as the reputation it has earned.

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

Reviewed: 05-29-18

What can be said about this book that hasn’t been send a thousand plus times before?

And Then There Were None is truly excellent, but it’s written by Agatha Christie, so what else did you expect? Even after the better part of a century, it has aged so well that the world felt normal and not at all dated. The setting could have just as easily been in modern times as in the early 20th century. The mystery and creeping insidiousness of murders will keep you enthralled from start to finish. And it doesn’t stick around too long, but is still long enough to give you meaty satisfaction.

Really, I strongly recommend this book to anyone that likes thrillers, mysteries, and whodunits.

  • Only Human

  • By: Sylvain Neuvel
  • Narrated by: William Hope, Charlie Anson, Laurence Bouvard, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 683
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 646
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 646

Brilliant scientist Rose Franklin has devoted her adult life to solving the mystery she accidentally stumbled upon as a child: a huge metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. The discovery set in motion a cataclysmic chain of events with geopolitical ramifications. Rose and the Earth Defense Corps raced to master the enigmatic technology, as giant robots suddenly descended on Earth's most populous cities, killing one hundred million people in the process.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • casting error detracts severely, but a good story

  • By Deborah on 05-02-18

Don’t ruin the series by getting this book.

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

Reviewed: 05-14-18

Long story short, pretend this book doesn’t exist because at best it is only passable.

The reason I say this is threefold. First, the characters: Rose is a side character, Vincent is irrational and unlikable, and Eva is the worst lazy example of angsty teenager you can get. Second, Neuvel phoned it in: Honestly I suspect that this was only ever supposed to be a single book until the publisher told Neuvel to make it a trilogy, which was definitely a mistake. It’s one of those “explain too much and it loses the magic” cases. And finally: if you take the end of this book and one paragraph before the end of Waking Gods, there is no difference other than time. What I’m saying is that there is no point to this book.

I don’t recommend this book; just pretend Sleeping Giants the only book written by this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful