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John

Keizer, OR USA
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 30
  • helpful votes
  • 58
  • ratings
  • The Name of the Wind

  • (Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1)
  • By: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 27 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67,252
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61,297
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61,386

This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By Joanna on 05-10-11

Too derivative to earn more than 3 stars

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

Reviewed: 01-26-19

The only explanation for all of the 5 star reviews has to be that they have not read read Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Because ultimately that's what this story turns into. A weird amalgamation of those stories. Which, in and of itself may not be a bad thing if executed with vision and wit. The Name of the Wind is not. It starts off somewhat compelling, but as we learn more and more about the history of our main character, the more it feels we've seen this movie before.
The one difference of NoW vs the other books is that it's told in hindsight. The main character is telling us his story has it unfolded approximately 15 years ago. The effect this has is that we never truly feel that main Kvoth is ever in any real danger. He will never be severely maimed or killed, as he is currently standing before us in perfect health sharing the story.
By the halfway mark I had had enough, and will find another book to spend my next 14 hours with.
There was one other niggling issue. Kvoth is supposedly relaying his story to another character in the book... not to us. However, there are times when he makes a statement or comment about the situation at hand that is clearly directed at the reader, and would make no sense to the individual in the story whom he is talking to.
Alas, it's not a bad book. And if you haven't read those other series, it will probably feel fresh and exciting. Thus the 3 star rating. Enjoyed the narration.

  • Kafka on the Shore

  • By: Haruki Murakami
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur
  • Length: 19 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,384
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,161

With Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami gives us a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed both here and around the world for its uncommon ambition and achievement, and whose still-growing popularity suggests that it will be read and admired for decades to come.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love it!

  • By bleadof on 10-04-16

Done with Murakami for awhile

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

Reviewed: 06-07-18

Kafka is my 3rd Murakami title and probably the one I liked best. So why am I done with Murakami for now? It has to do with how he handles the final act. In Wild Sheep Chase, Wind-up Bird, and now Kafka... he does a great job (albeit slow at times as others have mentioned) of putting together an interesting tapestry of characters and situations. Building up a storyline that compels you to listen for just a bit longer. Sometimes extremely mysterious characters are introduced, that have you wondering throughout the book how their story or influence will play a role in what's to come. But Murakami doesn't care. Perhaps they will come back and play a role. Perhaps they won't. It's not until that final page when we make the realization that the interesting character or storyline that we wanted to fully understand will forever remain a mystery. Sure, there's a basic storyline resolution usually with the lead character reaching a new level of self understanding, but just as many loose ends and questions will remain a mystery.
For me, that's not enough payoff for the investment of time. Time to find another author.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Hominids

  • The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1
  • By: Robert J. Sawyer
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,756
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,066
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,072

Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. But it can't help his fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great idea, execution a bit flat

  • By CLR on 04-23-13

Reader beware, this is not sci-fi

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

Reviewed: 03-17-18

Any additional comments?

I'm biased, as I've found that nearly every story is better when told from the first person perspective. Discovered Mr. Sawyer with 'Calculating God'. Terrific story, told through the eyes of Thomas Jericho who is an extremely relatable main character. Loved it.
Looking through the mostly positive reviews, decided to give Hominids a try. Not told in the first person, but that can still keep me listening if done well. Made it 8 hrs and 30 minutes, and finally decided I'd had enough.
As others have mentioned, the premise is strong. However there are 3 fatal flaws, with the 3rd finally causing me to hit the stop button:
1) This really isn't sci-fi. It's a thought experiment asking us to reflect on our own societal history and behaviors. Additionally, the author made a serious error by deciding in the preface to reference a couple of the best Asimov and Heinlein books which sets the expectation extremely high.
2) We don't really care about the characters. As others have mentioned, they don't feel 'real'. They feel like over animated caricatures of what real people would do given these situations and sequence of events.
3) It carries an extremely left-leaning heavy hand... which is fine if done well. Sadly this isn't. Too many situations and the outcomes of those situations just aren't believable, so we're left with apparently what the author believes the outcome should be, even if it doesn't fit logically.
I truly do enjoy exploring and challenging my long-held beliefs... political, spiritual and social. But it must be done with a deft hand (e.g. Heinlein and Asimov). With at least one strong, intelligent character we as readers can identify with. Without that, we as readers end up not really giving a %#&!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 14

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,225
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,272
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37,275

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Overrated

  • By David on 04-03-13

Not smart sci-fi

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

Reviewed: 06-29-17

Any additional comments?

As many of the reviews show, this book appeals to many readers. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. If you take the time to go through the many written reviews, you'll see that this book is very polarizing. Most readers either love it, or were disappointed. If you are a reader who accepts what's presented without question, regardless of its plausibility... then you'll probably really enjoy this story.
Ray Porter is a world-class narrator and Peter is a creative story teller, which gets things off to a very good start.Things start falling apart when the author needs to dig deep and intelligently pull all of the strange observations by Nate and his Scooby-do bunch; into a cohesive and compelling narrative.
Initially, we are treated to a complex historical plot-line that Nate and the bunch uncover piece-by-piece. But once the team finally unveil what's happening... the author chooses to venture into the simple and supernatural. Converting the storyline into a bad horror movie of monsters chasing likable characters who make bad decision after bad decision.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • The Well of Ascension

  • Mistborn, Book 2
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 28 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,765
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 31,581
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,605

The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler - the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years - has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Slower but worthwhile

  • By Jeff on 01-28-10

Smart writing and Strong characters

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

Reviewed: 06-04-16

What made the experience of listening to The Well of Ascension the most enjoyable?

Narration by Michael Kramer was spot-on. Reading the book may have earned it a 4-star, but the strong vocal characterizations easily elevate it to 5-stars.

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

Michael is a pro who has only gotten better with time.

Any additional comments?

Brandon Sanderson has become one of my go-to authors. There are may similarities among his various series' lead characters... but his deep grasp of the subject matter makes each story feel new and unique.
What I most appreciate is how Sanderson never takes to the simple and easy path to a plot solution. He cares enough about the reader's intelligence to craft a complex and intriguing tapestry that once unraveled leaves us feeling ultimately satisfied.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hounded

  • The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: Kevin Hearne
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 8 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,877
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,825
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,762

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally, a modern day fantasy that really hits the

  • By Chris on 01-02-12

Good story, Terrific narration!

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

Reviewed: 11-18-15

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

The outstanding narration raises the overall rating. Luke Daniels is nothing short of amazing... not only giving each character a unique voice, but also a unique personality.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Another aspect of the book that makes it so enjoyable is that both Atticus and his dog Oberon are extremely likable. There is a true love and respect between the two of them and it comes across multiple times. Coincidentally, Oberon has some of the best lines.

Which character – as performed by Luke Daniels – was your favorite?

Oberon. Luke absolutely nails it!

Any additional comments?

If you're looking for a complex plot with many unexpected twists, this book could disappoint which explains the handful of lower ratings. What we have here is a character-driven storyline, centered around 2 interesting and very likable protagonists in Atticus and Oberon. Atticus is the unlikely hero who wants to simply live in peace and avoid conflict. But with 21 centuries of life experiences, the past is bound to catch up with him. And guess what... it does. So yes, it's a bit formulaic and predictable, but it's done well. Throw in Luke Daniels and I can think of a million worse ways to spend 8 hours.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful