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Janet

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Preachy and tons of pontificating exposition

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

Reviewed: 11-04-17

This is a cross between a brilliant story and a bad liberal arts lecture. I don't know where to start, so I will just toss things out there. The main character is the ultimate Mary Sue. He is the perfect noble savage, a brilliant scientist, from a dystopian society that castrates criminals and their entire families. And nobody there has any problems with it. He is thrust into our world, where an incredibly ethnically diverse cast trots out all kinds of historical issues, and blames them all on us evil humans. Men are bad rapists. Humans have ravaged the earth and murdered all of the Neanderthals . Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Every crackpot, left-leaning theory about anthropology is trotted out and presented as the gospel truth. The shame of it is, if he had stuck to the story, and not gone off on tangent about bisexuality, or how all religions are primitive superstitions, it would have been fun to listen to. Instead, you have multiple 5-10 minute lectures presented as exposition dialogue between characters, and little is done to move the story along. Towards the end, the ridiculous idea that people were the only ones to be able to make any choices, and that happened spontaneously 60,000 years after Cro Magnons had been is put out there as a real theory. Ad much as I would love to see where the story goes, I can't take any more of this stupidity. I am done with the series.

Not enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 11-06-15

Any additional comments?

I liked the first book in the series. However, this book was really badly written. The author kept using the plot device of having the narrator tell the listener how badly they would later regret doing X, Y, or Z later on, as a way of highlighting something that she was about to do. The only problem is that it happens several times each chapter. It literally got to the point where I had to stop listening to the book because I couldn't take it anymore. Which is a shame, because the author had a real talent for creating worlds and interesting characters. I simply couldn't listen to yet another "little did I know how much I would regret doing _____ later on." Breaking the fourth wall and addressing the reader that often is just a very poor way to write a novel.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Really badly written.

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

Reviewed: 11-06-15

What would have made The Guardian's Grimoire better?

The level of writing and character development in this are horrible. It seems like the level of fan fiction you would find on a teen-based website. Not something that was both published and turned into an audiobook. The smarmy main character had me rooting for something to kill him within the first few chapters. And the continuous Deus ex machina events get really, really annoying. The first two female characters descriptions sound like they are straight out of some sort of bad literotica novel. She describes their flowing hair and shapely curves, but does little else to develop them as anything other than cookie-cutter female objects. The main character's girlfriend gets maybe a half dozen words in through the first few interactions. The rest of the 'dialog" is mostly an internal monologue by the main character while he struts around telling the reader how bored he is with his life, how much smarter he is than his professors, and how sarcastic he normally is. Imagine a story told by a snotty, know-it-all teenager. Yeah, its like that, only more so. The whole thing is rife with tropes, and just doesn't come across as a fully developed story.

What could Rain Oxford have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Had she learned to develop her characters gradually, and not had so much exposition dumped on the reader via the internal monologue, the story would have been better.

What three words best describe Todd Menesses’s voice?

Two words. Casey Kasem. The main character's voice sounds like a bad Casey Kasem impersonation half the time. I kept expecting him to announce a long distance dedication, or quote Shaggy from Scooby Doo. And the vaguely Asian accent for one of the supporting characters reminded me all all too much of the first Star Wars prequel. However, given the material he had to work with, I think he did the best he could. It wasn't his fault that the story was so bad.

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

It was returnable, and I had gotten it on sale.

Any additional comments?

This is really low-level, simplistic storytelling. I think the author has some potential, but she really needs to work on her technique.

3 of 14 people found this review helpful

And the award for best paranoid delusion goes to..

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

Reviewed: 05-30-13

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you are currently wearing tinfoil on any part of your body to protect from the CIA mind control lasers, this book might just be for you. The author seems to think that the root of all evil in the world comes from former Vice President Dick Cheney, and his "neo-con" minions. Personally I am surprised that he forgot to mention Mr. Cheney's horde of flying monkeys and his weather control machine. Seriously, it really is that bad.

What could Jeremy Scahill have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I think if the author had stayed on his medication, the story would have been a lot more interesting. Or at least more readable.

Which scene was your favorite?

None. From the opening paragraph, this story descends rapidly into a Progressive's nightmare view of a vast, Right-wing conspiracy.

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

I think I would have cut more or less all of it. And possibly offered the author something shiny to go play in the corner with. Nothing sharp though, for fear of what he might do to himself with it.

Any additional comments?

Don't bother with this one. I was hoping for a decent, first-hand account of the current wars in the Middle East. Instead, all it ends up being is the ravings of a disgruntled Leftist who is, at best, unbalanced.

8 of 32 people found this review helpful

This is bad, even for a zombie story

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

Reviewed: 09-07-12

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

Having it written by somebody else?

What could Z. A. Recht have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Done even the slightest bit of background research maybe? Or manage to keep his plot points straight?

What about Oliver Wyman’s performance did you like?

The narration was the best part of this one. Even hampered by the bad writting, he manages to stay engaging.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Plague of the Dead?

Pretty much any seen with actions in it would need to be edited. His character's conversations aren't bad. But most of the rest was painful.

Any additional comments?

I made it through the first couple of hours, but then I had to stop listening. It was just that bad. The author takes a well-developed idea of an infectious virus, but then does terrible things with it. And his writing is just awful. No attempt to even try to do background research. In the first few minutes, he states that there are cannibal tribes in Kenya that are upset about the government outlawing their main source of food. Really? Where exactly did he come up with that brilliant idea? A 19th century guide book or something?Then later he decides that the whole world is going to quarantine Africa. The whole continent. It is like he has no concept of how big it is. They set up some tiny blockade that might work if you were using the map from the game Risk or something. The final straw for me was the first major battle scene. Everybody from Cairo has become a zombie. They all run, chasing a truck, across the Sinai desert, towards the Suez canal. The military knows they are coming. They watch them for hours from orbit, and all they can think of to stop them is 2 helicoptors and some infantry with rifles. Really? You can't spare a few jets from their busy task of doing nothing to come drop napalm or something? They don't even start using artillery on the zombie hoards until the poor guys on the ground are almost out of ammunition and about to be over run. I just couldn't take any more. Unless you want truly mindless entertainment, avoid this one. It really is that bad.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great performance, poor story.

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

Reviewed: 07-08-12

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Anybody looking for cartoon violence and fiction.

What was most disappointing about Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson ’s story?

It was written by an English author based on unrecorded interviews of the SEAL involved. Then presented as the actual, first-hand experiences of Mr. Luttrell. The story gets more and more sensational as it goes on, culminating with 4 Seals fighting off hundreds of Taliban while jumping down the side of a mountain. The actual numbers involved in the ambush range from 6-30, with the lower end being more likely. This kind of dime-store novel exageration belittles the sacrifices and suffering that the SEALs endured during that ambush. And some of the scenes in the novel angered the families of those that were lost by presenting them as actually taking a vote on whether or not to execute unarmed civilians. On a whole, it would have been better if Mr. Robinson had not gotten involved in the writing at all. Failing that, presenting it as a first-hand account is questionable at best, and downright exploitative at worst. he should be ashamed of himself.

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

The description of BUDS training was nice, but with the other inaccuracies in the book, you have to wonder how many liberties the author took with it. Kevin Collins does an excellent job narrating it.

Any additional comments?

I bought this thinking it was a first-hand account. It got so cartoonish that I had to go look up the actual facts of the story. When I did, I saw how widely this book was panned by the military in general and SEALs in particular.

1 of 6 people found this review helpful