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Trojan Odyssey audiobook cover art

Strange lack of logic, dull reader, rambling story

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

Reviewed: 07-16-18

I know Cussler has fans. This is my first Dirk Pitt book and I was disappointed. The reader drones on and on (when not roaring) but seems to have pretty good comprehension of what he's saying. My trouble was that I found what he was saying dull. The story wanders from one disbelief-inspiring segment to another for no apparent reason. No doubt they'll be tied together somehow but I didn't get that far.

Glitches in logic or research bothered me. The young people find an underwater cave with an air pocket and comment that the air they're breathing is 3000 years old -- as if the (also-mentioned) slimy bacterial (presumably, as there's no light for photosynthesis of algae) and calcareous coatings over everything wouldn't have long ago replaced or at the very least mightily stunk up the air with their metabolic processes and decay as old cells phased out. Picky? Well, it struck me right away. Killer air is a common phenomenon in caves and mines. Thoughtlessness like this finally got to me and I could only stick it out about halfway before I returned the book.

Your mileage may vary. As always, it would be good to listen to the sample a few times and decide how long you'll be able to listen before the reader gets to you.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Malice Domestic 1: An Anthology of Original Mystery Stories (Unabridged) audiobook cover art

7 of the worst from the 14 in print editions

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

Reviewed: 06-30-18

7 of the 14 books in the print editions are presented in this supposedly "unabridged" audio version -- the worst of the 14 so far as I can tell. Most are by little-known authors -- in some cases, apparently for good reason. The Charlotte McLeod entry may be the worst thing she ever wrote, Sarah Kelling in first person, trumpeting that she's never wrong about every third paragraph in a story I found inane. Diane Mott Davidson's "Cottonwood Caper" story, told by Goldy the caterer's son Archie, is ruined by a narrator whose idea of how to present a sub-teenaged boy varies from nasal honk to screechy -- well, screeching. And I thought it was one of her best, so sadly ruined. P. M. Carlson's "The Jersey Lily was not to my taste but one of the more bearable stories, and I was delighted to discover Carolyn G. Hart's Henrie O story -- Henrie O has 7 meticulously crafted (sometimes to the point of tedium) well-narrated full-length books in the Audible compendium. Missing? Joan Hess. Aaron Elkins. Sharon McCrumb. Ellis Peters, among others.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Plague and I audiobook cover art

Love the book, the reader, the production.

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

Reviewed: 05-21-18

The music! I've returned books because of the inane and intrusive electronic music that endlessly infested the readings. But this book's music-- I want a playlist! The short clips that introduce and end the sections are always appropriate, never intrusive, never (so far s I can tell) electronic, and range from jazz and dance music of the time (late 1930's) to well-played classics and even some forebodingly dissonant clips from the avant-garde of the time.

I liked the reader very much. By the middle of the first chapter I had a hard time convincing myself it wasn't really Betty herself reading the book. That kind of reader. Your mileage may vary.

Okay, I liked the book when I first read it. But if you haven't seen it or didn't like it, you may find this reader and this production irresistable. If Betty's time in the sanatorium doesn't appeal to you (I'd seen my share of nurses like that in my childhood and loved vicariously getting even), the opening chapters on her childhood might. The story itself seems both tighter and more skillfully constructed than some of her adult books -- at least in this production. Breaking the reader's heart with comedy is a pretty good trick, too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

The Writer in the Garden audiobook cover art

Short pieces, pick and choose

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

Reviewed: 03-29-18

Where does The Writer in the Garden rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I'm enjoying this book immensely. Some of the excerpts send me to the favorite books or essays where they were born, and the narration ranges from quite acceptable to amazing. That the pieces are short makes it useful for bedtime stories or 'reading' while eating -- one sandwich, one chapter.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This can only be answered by saying that many favorite authors and writings are among the pieces.

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

Some of the essays and stories seem to bring the living voice of the writing to my ears, perhaps even (though the authors might disagree) the voice telling the tale in the courts of heaven that all writers hope for.

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

The only film I can imagine is a series of panoramas of the gardens and scenes described and I can't imagine what THAT tag like could be. (I'd like to see the film, though...)

Feint of Art audiobook cover art

Mushmouthed narrator makes story incomprehensible.

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

Reviewed: 03-29-18

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

Well, let's see. A narrator who was able to separate one word from another, for a start. Phrases that carry information are often slush, while inconsequential bits that only serve to connect scenes are given heavy emphasis. I also found the narrator's habit of varying her pitch from a near squeak or squawk to her lowest chest voice in a sort of series of waves that seldom match the story irritating.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Certainly not anything by this author or this narrator! The story is probably okay for those who aren't familiar with the works it imitates; I found it dull and derivative. Much of it seems a pastiche of the Elkinses' Alix London stories, almost to the point of plagiarism -- the forger papa, the skilled but honest copyist daughter... with echoes of other books I know well.

Would you be willing to try another one of Xe Sands’s performances?

NEVER!

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

Boredom. And ire every time a sentence slipped by as "shhhconnslush I SIPPED MY COFFEE and shhhconnslush ..."

Any additional comments?

I listened to the entire sample (on the same equipment) -- I would NEVER have bought this book if the sample had not been cherrypicked to what may possibly have been the one tolerably listenable 5 minutes in the entire series. I've had to return three books of the last several for the same reason -- the sample was entirely unrepresentative.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful

West Cork audiobook cover art

Please, stop the music!

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

Reviewed: 03-29-18

What would have made West Cork better?

I can't IMAGINE what posessed the producers to infest almost every word with the feeblest kind of electronic tones -- resembling more than anything else a few ringtones strung together. And they couldn't stop at that -- they've added loops of crowd noise in any scene that seems to have a few people other than the actors in it. The same two loops as far as I could tell. The constant irritating noise makes a mockery of the fine voices and narrative skills of the actors. I was screaming "Make it stop! Make it stop!" after 3 minutes -- and I'd listened to the entire sample clip.

What could Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Take an axe to the sound board that produces the robot music and crowd sounds. I am so sorry that they are so insulted by the production. I might have kept the book just to hear them, though the story is dull and plodding and horribly padded by soundbytes of passersby and townspeople each repeating more or less the same dull thoughts in the same dull sentences.

How could the performance have been better?

Just let Sam and Jennifer present the story! Dull as it was (as far as I got -- a interminable ten minutes and a few skips to see if anything got better -it didn't--)

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Possibly there is a mildly interesting story somewhere among the dross, if someone took a very large pair of shears to it...

Any additional comments?

Audible might get fewer returns if the sample clips presented a typical sample of the narration/ production rather than the most palatable they could fish out of the dross.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful