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DARBY KERN

Green Bay, WI United States
  • 22
  • reviews
  • 126
  • helpful votes
  • 228
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  • Waterloo

  • The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles
  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Bernard Cornwell, Dugald Bruce Lockhart
  • Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,950
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,942

From the New York Times best-selling author comes the definitive history of one of the greatest battles ever fought - a riveting nonfiction chronicle published to commemorate the two-hundredth anniversary of Napoleon's last stand.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not a close run thing!

  • By carl801 on 05-13-15

A great listen, loaded with details and humanity.

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

Reviewed: 02-25-18

I'm going to try and keep this short, but clear. I knew a bit about Waterloo before I listened to this book. Now I believe I know a lot. I'm midway through my second listen, and it is just glorious.

I'd read Bernard Cornwell's other book titled Waterloo- which was the story of Richard Sharpe's experience at the famed battle. Sharpe's unit was the 95th Rifles, so it was a specific part of the battle that he covered. Now he tells the whole story, including the things that lead top to it. But it's not a story of, "These guys went there, and this happened." It has many personal stories, taken from two centuries of research and condensed into an articulate, concise narrative. What's wild about it is, all those little, weird stories you'd been told... they're all true! All those movies are more accurate than I thought!

If you want one book to teach you a lot about these four days of horrible battle, this is the one. I have only one negative to mention about the audio version: The book (which I purchased after the first listen) has many maps and beautiful painting reproduced. Many are described in the text, but you really should see them.

About the readers: Bernard Cornwell has a wonderful, conversational air about what he's telling you, and it seems like you're sitting across a table from him. His sections of the book are a joy to listen to.

Dugald Bruce Lockhart is also fantastic. He reminds me of James Burke, whose book Connections is one of my favorite audio books. He's teaching you a lot of great stuff, but never wears you down with a tedious narration. He nails it in all the right places and makes the entire story compelling.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great retelling of these historic days- or if you just want a great listen.

  • From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars)

  • By: Renée Ahdieh, Meg Cabot, Pierce Brown, and others
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Ashley Eckstein, Janina Gavankar, and others
  • Length: 15 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,034
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,858
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,848

Experience Star Wars: A New Hope from a whole new point of view. On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the 40h anniversary, more than 40 contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the 40 short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • No One has Raved About this yet?

  • By Michael J. Stewart on 10-05-17

A mixed bag of Star Wars nuts

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

Reviewed: 11-01-17

Obviously, these thoughts are completely subjective. I found this to be a mixed bag, and I hurt my teeth on a few of the stories. For the 5 or 6 that were stand-out great, it's well worth your credit. I doubt I'll listen to all of the stories again, but I'll dig out a few of the ones I loved.

The story about the Storm Trooper that was on the team in Mos Eisley was a hoot, and laugh out loud funny. I can't recall the name and the limitation of the format doesn't enable me to find out what it is, or what number it was. But I liked it a lot!

If anything, some writers tried to be too clever with it. I will say that the story of the Death Star droid was tedious to me. The ones that tried to be ironic or serious were duds. Too many took place in the Cantina. Getting Qui Gon's or Yoda's side of things was interesting.

Some people have complained that the stories are contradictory or not cohesive. That's just nit picking (which I may be doing as well). If you love Star Wars there is every chance you will find several stories in this collection that you really like.

The performances are all pretty good too! I didn't "recognize" any actor in a way that pulled me out of their stories- which is a good thing!

  • A Legacy of Spies

  • A Novel
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Tom Hollander
  • Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,608
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,480
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,470

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley, and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • All for England

  • By Darwin8u on 09-12-17

I'll never see the characters the same way again.

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

Reviewed: 09-09-17

What did you like best about A Legacy of Spies? What did you like least?

I was happy to hear so many of the characters I've known and loved for decades, and find out where they've been lurking. Peter. George. Jim. The problem is, despite knowing that George Smiley was fairly ruthless in the past, I still found him likable. He and Peter were extremely unlikable in this book. I think that le Carre' may have admired them in the past, but no longer does.

Would you be willing to try another book from John le Carré? Why or why not?

Oh, sure. He's a wonderful writer and probably the only "literary" author in the medium. Critics be damned.

Did Tom Hollander do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

My experience was strange. I have heard le Carre' read so many of his own books, and apparently Hollander has as well. He made me think that I was listening to le Carre' many times throughout the book. His cadence and voice quality are very much like the author. Which means they are wonderful.

Could you see A Legacy of Spies being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Alec Guiness. Michael Jayston. Richard Burton.

Any additional comments?

It was not the book that I'd hoped it would be, but JLC is unlikely to write that book. It was very much what you would expect from him, and of course it was well written, but the story was not much more than Peter Guillam being questioned by the young turks and going down memory lane to no apparent arrival. There was not an epiphany that I noticed, but revisiting these characters was a welcome treat.

Now I'd love to hear about Karla's debriefing...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The X-Files: Cold Cases

  • By: Joe Harris, Chris Carter, Dirk Maggs - adaptation
  • Narrated by: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 4 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14,875
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 13,799
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13,728

Based upon the graphic novels by Joe Harris - with creative direction from series creator Chris Carter - and adapted specifically for the audio format by aural auteur Dirk Maggs ( The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Alien: Out of the Shadows), Cold Cases marks yet another thrilling addition to the pantheon of X-Files stories. Featuring a mind-blowing and otherworldly soundscape of liquefying aliens, hissing creatures, and humming spacecraft, listeners get to experience the duo's investigations like never before.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • New Fan

  • By tatiana on 12-24-17

The Truth Is In Here! Holy Cow! It Really Is!

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

Reviewed: 07-31-17

If you could sum up The X-Files: Cold Cases in three words, what would they be?

Hot Cold Cases!

What other book might you compare The X-Files: Cold Cases to and why?

It's hard to compare The X-Files to anything. It's its own universe. It's own world. It's own reality. Fortunately we've had access to this reality for 25 years!

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

I love that so many of the original cast returned for this production. Characters that were dead make appearances, and many of them were by the original actors. Unfortunately not all of them. I think that the actors who cover Deep Throat and Alex Krychek's parts have never seen the show or are not aware of the unique vocal stylings of the characters.

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

The discussion about William Scully. That will be expanded in the next series, I'm led to believe, but it was lump-in-throat producing for longtime fans.

Any additional comments?

This is a great X-Files fix for those of us waiting for the next television event, scheduled to shoot in August. Two names mean excellence- Chris Carter, who oversaw the original comic books these are based on and no doubt had something to say about this production is one. The other is Dirk Maggs, who is doing the best audio drama in the world right now. I say that even though writing audio drama is my job; Dirk Maggs does better productions than anybody. It's the difference between listening to Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones. They're both fine but Pink Floyd provides something amazing, not just really good.

However the show is not without flaws. The actors aren't the best voice actors around. They do a good job, and occasionally are brilliant, but there are moments when the performance ebbs and flows, and ends up sounding flat. Sometimes it's the lines. Sometimes it's the phrasing. Sometimes it's the way they address each other.

Still, it's a fun listen and adds to the mythology of the X-Files in great ways.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Death of King Arthur

  • A New Verse Translation
  • By: Simon Armitage (translator)
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallis
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12

First appearing around 1400, The Alliterative Morte Arthur, or The Death of King Arthur, is one of the most widely beloved and spectacularly alliterative poems ever penned in Middle English. Now, from the internationally acclaimed translator of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, comes this magisterial new presentation of the Arthurian tale, rendered in unflinching and gory detail. Following Arthur's bloody conquests across the cities and fields of Europe, all the way to his spectacular and even bloodier fall, this masterpiece features some of the most spellbinding and poignant passages in English poetry.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hardcore Arthur Fans and Medievalists Will Love It

  • By Christopher on 04-14-16

It may be what you want, it's not for me.

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

Reviewed: 06-11-17

What did you like best about The Death of King Arthur? What did you like least?

I purchased this audiobook thinking that it was a retelling of Le Morte D'Arthur (The Death of Arthur) and not considering that it was an alliterative verse version of it. Some people will love that aspect of it, but I became too aware of it while I listened and had a hard time focusing on the story being told.Had I been reading it I may have done much better.

I am a fan of the tales of King Arthur, and have been for 40 years. This is an artistic, and wonderful retelling, but for the reasons I mentioned above I could not finish it. The fault is entirely mine, and I want to stress that those who appreciate this type of verse will probably LOVE it.

Would you be willing to try another book from Simon Armitage (translator)? Why or why not?

Possibly his translation of Gawain and the Green Knight. We shall see.

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

I wasn't familiar with Wallis before and I have nothing bad to say about his reading. He reads with an assurance and understanding of the verse that is great to behold.

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

Yes. Without doubt.

Any additional comments?

Please don't let my comments detract you from purchasing this book if you really want to. It was just a personal deficiency that kept me from enjoying it.

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • By: Alexander Freed
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,277
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,032
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,025

As the shadows of the Empire loom ever larger across the galaxy, so do deeply troubling rumors. The Rebellion has learned of a sinister Imperial plot to bring entire worlds to their knees. Deep in Empire-dominated space, a machine of unimaginable destructive power is nearing completion. A weapon too terrifying to contemplate...and a threat that may be too great to overcome.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better than the movie!

  • By Acts238preacher on 12-19-16

Okay! This is more like it.

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

Reviewed: 12-20-16

What did you love best about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?

I have written reviews of other Star Wars novels that I was less impressed with, mainly because they were light on story and long on the talky-talky. I complained about the lack of action- stuff happening. I realize this book is based on a screenplay for a movie- which, by the way, I HAVE NOT seen yet, this review is solely based on the book- so the translation from the visual medium is going to contain the "something happening every ten minutes" paradigm that movies follow.

Things happen in this book, things happen a lot, and the things are action packed. My contention is that books can do the same thing and be wildly exciting. Instead the books that I reviewed moved at a glacial pace and included very little tension.

Stuff happens. Boom!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jyn is the character that we follow the most and get to know best. Probably her. She's a less principled and ballsier Princess Leia, but she is also a young child who hasn't been allowed to grow up. I'm excited to see the portrayal in the film.

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

How much can you say without giving away the story? Spoilers... I guess.

Many of the characters meet their final fate in the story, and a couple of them die well. There were characters that I liked a lot, whose names I can't spell from listening, that I would like to know more about. The Guardian of the Whills is a character I knew existed in Star Wars lore (and it's pretty much a lock that somebody will write about soon) but we have never been exposed to before. He's described as "the last of the Guardians," and that's too bad. His passing was a moment that gave me pause.

Any additional comments?

I have read every Star Wars movie adaptation since TESB before I saw the movie. Ep VII and Rogue One I LISTENED to before seeing the flicks. It doesn't take away from the movie when I see it. In fact I believe it enhances the experience. I suspect, when I see it, I'll find Rogue One to be the best SW movie since 1980. The audio book was wonderfully written and produced, masterfully read by Jonathan Davis. I'm such an Alan Dean Foster fan that it's hard to decide which book I preferred. Rogue One is the better story, in my opinion.

I haven't listened to Episode VII a second time, but I'm certain I will listen to Rogue One many more times.

But first I want to see the movie!!!

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Catalyst (Star Wars)

  • A Rogue One Novel
  • By: James Luceno
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,812
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,197
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,174

The must-have prequel novel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - the upcoming film, set before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, that reveals the untold story of the rebel effort to steal the plans to the Death Star!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Setup for Upcoming Movie

  • By dunagrad on 12-15-16

The movie might make up for it.

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

Reviewed: 11-30-16

I have to say that I have enjoyed many of James Luceno's books in the past; he' a fine writer, but the last two I listened to were... boring. The other being Darth Plageus.

I think I've read too many Star Wars books in the last 40 years, starting with Alan Dean Foster's adaptation and Splinter of the Mind's Eye. I realize he had limitations thrust upon him but I hoped that there would be action to match the name Star Wars. As I think back I really only recall one major battle. If there was more they haven't registered.

Other books have had action and been enjoyable. The performance was very well done but the story didn't grab me. I really want to see the movie, and I'm sure I have insight I'm not aware of yet. December 16 can't come soon enough.

If you enjoyed it, that's great. I was thinking I'd get a different kind of story. I think I'm gonna call it quits for expanded stories for a while...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Star Wars: Darth Plagueis

  • By: James Luceno
  • Narrated by: Daniel Davis
  • Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,888
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12,738
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,711

Darth Plagueis: one of the most brilliant Sith Lords who ever lived. Possessing power is all he desires. Losing it is the only thing he fears. As an apprentice, he embraces the ruthless ways of the Sith. Darth Sidious: Plagueis’s chosen apprentice. Under the guidance of his Master, he secretly studies the ways of the Sith, while publicly rising to power in the galactic government, first as Senator, then as Chancellor, and eventually as Emperor. as Chancellor, and eventually as Emperor.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • See Episodes I-III in a whole new light!!!

  • By kalei on 11-09-12

A story worth telling, just not like this...

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

Reviewed: 09-29-16

Would you try another book from James Luceno and/or Daniel Davis?

I will absolutely listen and read more books by James Luceno who is, without a doubt, my favorite Star Wars author. He has written so many books that I really enjoyed, filling in holes within the story- and there are many!

Unfortunately I found this book to be tedious, mainly because it's mostly about the politics and less about the characters. If there was anything that made the prequel movies difficult to watch (even more than Jar Jar in my opinion) it was the political discussions and talk about trade route taxation and government power plays. The reason the original trilogy works so well is because you have one political issue: The Empire is bad and the Alliance is trying to do something about it. The one political move the Emperor makes in the original trilogy is dissolving the Senate, which is handled in 3 lines of dialogue. (Heck, the force only gets 28 words of explanation in Episode IV, and Midiclorians don't come up at all)

All the maneuvering padded the book out to probably twice the length and didn't help it move. This is a painful thing to write because I ordinarily love James Luceno's work. Unlike another reviewer I COULD stop listening. In fact, I set it aside for almost 3 years, just finishing it now to be done with it.

Daniel Davis does a very nice job juggling so many characters.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Either Steven James Checkmate or a Raymond Benson James Bond.

Which character – as performed by Daniel Davis – was your favorite?

He was good in all the roles, even Jabba. I think it was best when Palpatine is center stage.

Could you see Star Wars: Darth Plagueis being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

The cast is already done. Virtually every character from Episodes I and II is here. It would need more action to be an exciting Star Wars movie or TV show.

Any additional comments?

I've known for years that authors working in someone else's kingdom, still Lucasfilm when this novel was written, have to abide by certain rules and narrative boundaries. When Margaret Wander Bonano is asked to autograph the Star Trek book Probe she signs on page 25, because that is the only page she wrote.

James Luceno is a great writer, and I WILL read and/or listen to more of his books. This one is a nugget as far as I'm concerned (and not in the good way). I don't mind that it sprawls and covers many years, and I love the idea that it's telling the story of Palpatine and Count Dukoo the way that it does. It's just that it's uncharacteristically boring in the way it does it. Conversations and political machinations are good if you're reading Issac Asimov's Foundation. If you want Star Wars you expect something to happen, for the walls to close in or a space battle to blow you out of your seat.

That doesn't happen here. This one is long on character and short on story. Star Wars should flop these around.

And I'm certainly not saying that anybody is wrong for liking this book. I read John LeCarre', and all of his stuff is character driven. But he doesn't write Star Wars.

And I WILL be reading Mr. Luceno's Rogue One intro novel.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Marvel Comics

  • The Untold Story
  • By: Sean Howe
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 888
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 812
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 809

Throughout this decades-long journey to becoming a multibillion-dollar enterprise, Marvel's identity has continually shifted, careening between scrappy underdog and corporate behemoth. As the company has weathered Wall Street machinations, Hollywood failures, and the collapse of the comic book market, its characters have been passed along among generations of editors, artists, and writers - also known as the celebrated Marvel "Bullpen".

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's as if this book was written for me!

  • By Greg on 03-15-13

I'm curious what the creators think...

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

Reviewed: 08-24-16

I took this book with on a business conference/golf outing and found myself looking for time alone to listen to it.
It was fun to hear more about people I've only known as names in comic book credits. There is plenty in these 18 hours that I didn't know at all, some good , some bad. The first half, after a brief recap of Marvel before 1960, talks about the Marvel age and the people behind it. Lots of interesting personalities there. You have your shirt sleeves and tie crowd and your dope smoking, acid dropping witch crowd working on the books almost side by side. It must have been interesting days to say the least.
The first half of the be book covers the stories and characters, giving attention to the people who wrote and drew them. Once Marvel becomes a corporate entity the focus shifts to more boardroom decisions and it becomes more dry. Less attention is given to the creators until we arrive at the Liefeld/McFarlane period (and you learn what a couple of morons they truly are).
My only beef with this reading is how the reader is allowed to mispronounce some of the names. The producers could have easily name checked these. It didn't ruin anything, just seemed amateurish.
I'm curious to hear what the creators would have to say about the accuracy of this book.
UPDATE:
Before he passed away I asked Len Wein what he thought of this book. He said it was about 50% accurate. I don't know if he had any ax to grind tithe author or publisher, but that's what he said. I just listened to it again and thought it was terrific.

  • Les Miserables

  • A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation
  • By: Victor Hugo
  • Narrated by: Joss Ackland, Roger Allam, full cast
  • Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 126

Joss Ackland, Roger Allam, and Leslie Phillips star in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel. When poverty drives Jean Valjean to steal a loaf of bread from a baker’s window, it is an action that will haunt him for the rest of his life. A citizen of postrevolutionary France, he is sentenced to nineteen years’ hard labour.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Possibly the best audio version of Les Miserables?

  • By DARBY KERN on 08-02-16

Possibly the best audio version of Les Miserables?

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

Reviewed: 08-02-16

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

This BBC production is probably the best audio dramatization of Victor Hugo's novel. I have Orson Welles Mercury Theater version, which I love, the Focus On The Family version starring Brian Blessed, which is also quite good, but this adaptation takes more time, includes much more of Hugo's text and captures the characters best.

What did you like best about this story?

Redemption. Redemption is a beautiful thing, and though it is carelessly presented in the story (a man, even a priest, cannot redeem a soul- only God can do that), the change in Valjean's heart is staggering to behold. The story is fiction, but it has played out many times in reality. Jesus Christ changes lives. Valjean is an excellent model for that theme.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Grantaire, one of the students and Marius' friend. I believe he was the one that that slept through the "uprising," then stands with his friends as the police arrive.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The story is a roller coaster of emotions, that's why it adapted to musical theater so well. It's easy to feel Valjean's anger at the beginning, Fantine's despair, Thernardier's treachery, Marius and Cosette's intense (but virtuous) love, Javert's misguided passion. It's all right there.

Any additional comments?

I typically listen to my Audible books/dramas on my iPod while I am walking, driving, exercising. This experience did not feel like it was nearly six hours long. It was told at a comfortable pace and never seemed to drag. It may be because I'm familiar with the source material, but I think it was probably because it was so well done. As a writer of audio dramas I always thought I might have a chance to crack this nut. Now I don't need to! The BBC did a terrific job, which I will listen to again and again.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful