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Avid Books and TV

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  • 16
  • reviews
  • 77
  • helpful votes
  • 498
  • ratings
  • Chasing Embers

  • A Ben Garston Novel
  • By: James Bennett
  • Narrated by: Colin Mace
  • Length: 14 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 32

Behind every myth there is a spark of truth.... There's nothing special about Ben Garston. Or so he'd have you believe. He won't tell you, for instance, that he's also known as Red Ben. Or that the world of myth and legend is more real than you think. Because it's his job to keep all that a secret. But now a centuries-old rivalry has resurfaced, and the delicate balance between his world and ours is about to be shattered.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Maybe not a good Audiobook

  • By davidcbarnard on 08-04-18

Interesting Idea, but poorly done

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

I almost gave up on this book a number of times but forced myself to finish it. I like the premise of the main protagonist being a dragon in human form, with a modern setting. However beyond that basic idea, there's little to like about this book. The writing is overly verbose, the characters are unlikable and mostly two-dimensional. I was not a fan of the main protagonist. He seemed pretty slow, dense and a predictable. He constantly blundered around, repeatedly charging into unknown situations without thought only to be surprised and/or out-witted, never learning from his mistakes and always needing someone or something else to save him. It was real slog to get through and I won't be reading any more from this author.

  • King of Assassins

  • The Wounded Kingdom, Book 3
  • By: RJ Barker
  • Narrated by: Joe Jameson
  • Length: 17 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35

Many years of peace have passed in Maniyadoc, years of relative calm for the assassin Girton Club-Foot. Even the Forgetting Plague, which ravaged the rest of the kingdoms, seemed to pass them by. But now Rufra ap Vthyr eyes the vacant High-King's throne and will take his court to the capital, a rat's nest of intrigue and murder, where every enemy he has ever made will gather and the endgame of 20 years of politics and murder will be played out in his bid to become the King of all Kings. Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and the god of death, Xus the Unseen, stands closer than ever....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best of the Series and a Satisfying Conclusion

  • By Avid Books and TV on 09-14-18

The Best of the Series and a Satisfying Conclusion

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

Reviewed: 09-14-18

While the books before this were solid, Barker steps it up to another level with the final book in the series. Much of epic fantasy written today is broad in scope, sweeping across different lands and settings, shifting from character to character. One of the things I particularly like about The Wounded Kingdom Series is the much more intimate, focused story we're given, with one of the most satisfying, emotional and, at times, tragic character arcs I've read in fantasy in recent years. In spirit it's reminiscent of Robin Hobb's original Farseer Trilogy, (though with different beats) and that has long been a favorite of mine. Like that story we get to see the maturation of the main protagonist from boy to young adult and finally a more experienced man. There's humor and heartache, mystery and suspense, heroism and tragedy, and very satisfying conclusion to the book and the trilogy. To say much more I think would spoil the story, but it's a world with characters I'd happily return to, and a series I'm sure I'll want to reread over and over again, which I think, is one of the best marks of a good story.

Joe Jameson as narrator was once again fantastic, with lots of range, and an emotive voice that added depth to the story and characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Wolf of the North, Book 1

  • By: Duncan M. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,765
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,523
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,504

A chance encounter with an ancient and mysterious object awakens a latent gift, and Wulfric's life changes course. Against a backdrop of war, tragedy, and an enemy whose hatred for him knows no bounds, Wulfric will be forged from a young boy into the Wolf of the North. This is his tale.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great opening to a series

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-22-17

Slow, Derivative, Predictable, Fraction of a Story

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

Reviewed: 11-14-17

The opening chapters were well-written and had potential, but after that, the remainder of the book was slow, predictable and dragged out. The book ended without much of significance happening between then and the halfway point. It has the feel of being only a fragment of a full book, that got split up into multiple books with a lot of filler added in and scenes dragged out into chapters that a good writer could finish in a few sentences. If it's building to something that would be forgivable, but little of note actually happens throughout the 2nd half of the book, and the main character gets dumbed down to a plodding, unsympathetic brute in service to the plot. What's worse, is that he's really the only character with any real development at all, with most of the others lacking agency.

The story also had a very derivative feel to it, similar to Name of the Wind and Blood Song, but not done even half as well. Those books had good, complete opening stories, not just a fraction of one stretched out into a full book. The use of the framing story felt unnecessary, and at times clumsy and forced. I'm astonished at the number of good reviews this book has received, as there's really not much there to like about it. Slow, plodding story, unsympathetic characters and an unfinished plot.

The only redeeming quality is Simon Vance as narrator, and even he seems like a wrong choice for this kind of book. He has a wonderful voice, but his narration seemed far too refined for something taking place among a barbaric culture far from civilization.

I will not be getting the second book. The first is so predictable that I can already tell you what the big plot twist will be in the next one, and can expect it to be dragged out before it even gets to that point.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Monster Hunter Siege

  • Monster Hunter, Book 6
  • By: Larry Correia
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,288
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,872
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,845

When Monster Hunter International's top hunter, Owen Zastava Pitt, was given a tip about some hunters who had gone missing in action, he didn't realize their rescue mission would snowball into the single biggest operation in MHI's history. Their men are being held prisoner in a horrific nightmare dimension, and the only way to reach them is through the radioactive ruins of a monster-infested war zone. As if that wasn't bad enough, it's also the home base of the powerful creature behind the devastating attacks on the Last Dragon and Copper Lake.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A bit of a disappointment

  • By Alex Sumner on 08-12-17

Only about half a book stretched out

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

Reviewed: 09-11-17

Not up to the standard I've come to expect from Correia for the MHI books. Over the last couple of books, I've felt that Pitt has become one of the least interesting characters, with Franks and Harbinger often stealing the show. This book is pretty much only Pitt, no Franks, and most of the other regulars only getting cameo appearances at best. It makes for a pretty dull story that doesn't even have as much interesting action as the other books. Half the book is just him flying around meeting people with a few token actions scenes to break up the monotony. I stuck with it because I thought it was building towards a climactic battle in towards the end. Instead we got a token battle, then some pretty predictable stuff happens, the real battle is glossed over in one line and you're left with a all too foreseeable cliffhanger.

It feels like most of the book could have been trimmed down into about a quarter of the length and what I presume will be in the next book combined with this one. Towards the end I was hoping he'd just kill off the main character and his tiresome "chosen-one" spiel, so we could get back to the more interesting guys.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Forging Divinity

  • The War of Broken Mirrors, Book 1
  • By: Andrew Rowe
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,504
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,363
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,358

Some say that in the city of Orlyn, godhood is on sale to the highest bidder. Thousands flock to the city each year, hoping for a chance at immortality. Lydia Hastings is a knowledge sorcerer, capable of extracting information from anything she touches. When she travels to Orlyn to validate the claims of the local faith, she discovers a conspiracy that could lead to a war between the world's three greatest powers. At the focal point is a prisoner who bears a striking resemblance to the long-missing leader of the pantheon she worships.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I did want to like it

  • By Kristie on 06-08-16

Needs a few more drafts to tighten it up

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

Reviewed: 07-21-17

After all the glowing reviews, I was left wondering what everyone else saw in this book. One of the main characters wasn't really all the well-developed or believable. Too many detours into exposition instead of interlacing the info with the story as it progresses. And the plot needs more focus. By the end of the chapter, there's not really a whole lot of plot development or progression from where they were near the beginning of the book. You're left not knowing much more about the central themes, (or even what the central themes were), than when they began. There's also a underlying lack of gravity to many situations the characters find themselves in.

There's some potential here, but to me it seems like it needs a lot more work and revision before it should have been published. There's lots of dangling plot threads it seems like the characters just ignore or forget about after they happen, and no real driving central premise. It's all too vague.

  • To Green Angel Tower

  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Book 3
  • By: Tad Williams
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 63 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,005
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 951
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 951

The evil minions of the undead Sithi Storm King are beginning their final preparations for the kingdom-shattering culmination of their dark sorceries, drawing King Elias ever deeper into their nightmarish, spell-spun world. As the Storm King's power grows and the boundaries of time begin to blur, the loyal allies of Prince Josua struggle to rally their forces at the Stone of Farewell.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A bit exhausting, but better than most

  • By Greg on 01-01-17

The Narrator makes this a real disappointment

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

Reviewed: 11-24-16

I love long audiobooks that I can listen to for hours at a time while doing other things, and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn was one my all time favorites from when I was younger, so I was thrilled when this series was finally released on audiobook.

However I could not stand the voices the narrator uses for many of the characters. He gives some of them atrocious accents and others like the Sithi and trolls, he uses the same awful raspy, whispering voice that did not seem to fit at all. It was hard not to wince or groan every time I heard their voices. The result is that I couldn't listen to this book for more than a little while at a time, even though I still like the actual content. He basically ruined the whole audiobook series for me, and I'm extremely disappointed to see he's also going to be narrating the new books coming out in 2017. For those books I'll definitely be sticking to the print editions unless they find a better narrator.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • London Falling

  • The Shadow Police, Book One
  • By: Paul Cornell
  • Narrated by: Damian Lynch
  • Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 443
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 404
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 405

Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect, Rob Toshack, is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law - until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Team Quill

  • By Tango on 05-03-15

Nothing Special

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

Reviewed: 10-04-15

So I guess there are couple of these series out now, with London Police dealing with the supernatural. Among this group London Falling had little to separate it from the crowd. None of the characters are especially likeable, and I found several just plain annoying and/or condescending. Nothing about the plot was particularly clever and, as far as magic systems and the supernatural goes, this was pretty poorly developed. There's some potential for this to improve in future books in the series, but I'm not sure I want to spend another credit on any more books in this series to find out.

I was also not a fan of Damian Lynch's narration. His voice was fine, and while the range between characters wasn't great, it was adequate. However, he continually has these long pauses between phrases and sentences. It's incredibly annoying to the point where I wanted to shout at him, "Get on with it!" It would go something like this: brief phrase, pause... end of phrase. Long pause... (like he's finding his spot in the text), Next sentence. Another pause, and so on. This book would probably be several hours shorter if that stuff was edited out. There were also several other parts where the narrator repeats himself because he lost his place so editing overall was pretty shoddy.

As for this London supernatural police sub-genre, I much preferred Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • A Crown for Cold Silver

  • By: Alex Marshall
  • Narrated by: Angele Masters
  • Length: 24 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 322
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 295

Twenty years ago feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it!!!

  • By MissRed on 05-02-15

Best Served Cold with Pipe-Smoking and Magic

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

Reviewed: 09-25-15

A shameless facsimile of Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, the plot centers on an bitter mercenary heroine left for dead out to for revenge on those who wronged her. She starts off as a sympathetic character but evolves into more of a villain as events unfold. Sound familiar? There are several other glaring parallels to Best Served Cold, but mentioning them would be spoilers.

Despite the glaring similarities, the setting, tone and writing style keep the plot interesting enough that I want to know what happens next. There are unique facets to the magic system (ie "devils" providing wishes/power) that diverge enough from BSC to allow the series room to build and/or diverge from Abercrombie's work. The book is written as the first in a series, instead of more stand alone novel so there's definitely room to grow.

One thing I did find annoying was the author's obsession with his characters' fixation on repeatedly smoking weed and detailed descriptions of the pipes they use and strains they smoke. I don't mind having a little of that in there to add some color, but it's definitely overdone in this book and gets tiresome after reading yet another description of a different custom pipe and how it affects the flavor of whatever obscure fictional strain of weed they're smoking now.

So some good, some bad, but with room to improve in future books.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • The End of All Things

  • Old Man's War, Book 6
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, John Scalzi
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,216
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,960
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,960

Humans expanded into space...only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement...for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • why a lower rating on performance?

  • By D. Kassiday on 09-06-15

Disappointing, Not Enough Substance to Plot

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

Reviewed: 08-31-15

Like others have mentioned, William Dufris was excellent in the parts he narrated, and they should have just stuck with him for the whole book. Like the last book (Human Division) this one is broken up into (sometimes only loosely) connected stories from different characters points of view. While that worked well in Human Division, the effect in this book is to make the story feel disjointed, with lots of fluff and not enough substance to the plot or characters. You only get to see some of the better known characters from previous books for short periods of time, with long diversions that only semi-advance the plot.

I would have much rather enjoyed a more focused novel, with more focus on the central characters (Wilson and Schmidt) from the last book. The first part of the story with Raif was entertaining, but he's only on the peripherary for the rest of the book. As for plot, there's only a few parts of real substance while other parts feel like they're only put in there to add some much needed length to the story. It definitely felt like it could have used more polishing and substance to it. A disappointing conclusion to some of the ongoing storylines of the last several books.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Flying Blind

  • Nathan Heller, Book 9
  • By: Max Allan Collins
  • Narrated by: Dan John Miller
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51

In 1935, Nate Heller is hired to escort Amelia Earhart on a speaking tour because of numerous cut-and-paste death threats against her life. Heller suspects the threats are a stunt by Earhart's publicity-hungry husband, and the detective’s growing closeness to the bisexual aviatrix leads to a steamy affair. Two years later, when Earhart embarks on her flight around the world - and mysteriously disappears over the South Pacific - Uncle Sam enlists Heller in a clandestine search of Japanese waters for the popular Earhart....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the better ones in the series

  • By Avid Books and TV on 02-08-13

One of the better ones in the series

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

Reviewed: 02-08-13

The book starts off a little slow, but soon the reader is drawn into a captivating story of the life of Amelia Earhart, the circumstances of her last flight and attempted rescue. All of this seen through the eyes of the cynical detective, Nate Heller. There's something to the story, a cohesiveness and forlorn quality that hasn't been seen in the Heller Series since the first few books. Perhaps it's the increased volume of myths and rumors about Amelia's disappearance with which Collins can base his story, but there's an added depth to this story, and even to Heller himself. On the surface there's the same sardonic wit and wry humor the detective is known for, but in the second half of the book there's also a level of maturity the reader hasn't seen from Heller before. Overall this has to be one of my favorites in the series.