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Joe Chad

Ohio
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  • The Night Dahlia

  • Nightwise, Book 2
  • By: R. S. Belcher
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 463
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 435
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 432

Laytham Ballard once protected humanity as part of the Nightwise, a secret order of modern-day mages dedicating to holding hellish supernatural forces at bay, but that was before a string of sadistic ritual murders shook everything he believed in - and sent him down a much darker path. One that has already cost him most of his soul as well as everything he once held dear.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Gratuitously Explicit Imagery, but Good Story

  • By Joe Chad on 04-12-18

Gratuitously Explicit Imagery, but Good Story

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

Reviewed: 04-12-18

As this is the sixth or seventh book Mr. Belcher has written (second in the Nightwise storyline, and third on audible) I believe most readers will know what to expect in his novels, but for those who don't here is a quick heads up. These books are some of the most messed up, gruesome, and violent books I have ever read. I am pretty confident that there isn't a way to make violence, torture, sexual content (yes there is rape), or anything else as dark as the stuff in this book more vivid in imagery, without making it into a movie. Belcher is a master of imagery and description for better or worse.

Now that I have made a point that I felt needed to be explained, lets talk about the story and characters, because they exist and for the most part the book is enjoyable. The plot takes the form of a traditional mystery book to an extent, but there is less sleuthing, and more of a crime syndicate ask for favors style of detective work going on. Like the first book Ballerd is trying to find someone, but this time it is to hopefully save that person instead of try and kill them. Overall, the plot works, but to an extent I think Belcher does a slightly poorer job of explaining exactly what happens throughout the story than in Nightwise.

I believe that characters have always been Belcher's strong point, and he does a good job with them in this book as well. I will say for such a short book he does introduce a lot of characters, and some of them serve the purpose of only advancing the plot and just kind of fade out of the story. However, for those main characters that surround Laytham Belcher does a fine job of fleshing them out and making them jump off the page.

One other issue I had with the book was the constant harping on Ballerd and his relationship with his supposed friends, which the author keeps pressing throughout the story. The basic theme carried forward from the first book, is that Ballerd has this lone gunslinger theory, and tries to keep his friends out of trouble, and this usually almost gets him killed, until one of his friends helps him out. Then the friends yell at him for trying to do it alone again. This scenario plays out in the first book a couple times, but in this novel it is an almost constant occurrence, and it quickly gets old and drags the story down. I don't want to spoil anything, but it does seem that Ballerd is getting over this problem at the very end of the novel, and like the first novel in this series this book feels like it is really building on a long sequence of books like the Dresdin Stories. Overall, I didn't think this book was great, (not quite as good as Nightwise and definitely not as good as Brotherhood of the Wheel), but there was still appeal to the story, and plenty of awesome action to enjoy. I am curious to see where the story goes next, because there is definitely a lot of upside with the development of Laytham's character and the universe surrounding him.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Grey Sister

  • By: Mark Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Heather O'Neill
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,599
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,502
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,494

Behind its walls, the Convent of Sweet Mercy has trained young girls to hone their skills for centuries. In Mystic Class, Novice Nona Grey has begun to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the convent, Nona must choose which order to dedicate herself to - and whether her path will lead to a life of prayer and service or one of the blade and the fist. All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the designs of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a knife, and the vengeance of the empire's richest lord.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It Shouldn't Be Great, But It Is

  • By Scott Simons on 04-19-18

A Visceral Whirlwind of a Story

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

Reviewed: 04-09-18

Mark Lawrence is one of my favorite authors currently writing in the fantasy genre and this novel is easily on a par with Emperor of Thorns and the Wheel of Osheim. It is a definite improvement over Red Sister, which was a very good book, but suffered somewhat with pacing issues. Those issues are ironed out completely in this second installment, and the book is extremely fast paced, and maintains that pace from start to finish.

The plot is very tightly written, and the addition of the Abbess as a secondary viewpoint to Nona really gives the novel a different and much improved storytelling ability. I love Nona as a character, but her single minded determination to get her revenge and help her friends when they need it, was occasionally limiting in the first book. The addition of the abbess's calm, rational calculation as a counterpoint to Nona's pure, unadulterated drive to succeed, succeeded excellently in making the story tick.

As always Lawrence's characters were strong, human, and believable, and after two books written mostly from the perspective of female characters, I can confidently say he can write both sexes with great ability. Also, I was impressed how much more he was able to develop the full cast of characters in this second book in the series, without substantially slowing down the plot.

The last thing that continues to jump out at me about this series is the world Lawrence has created. His first two trilogies were set in the broken empire, which while being an interesting world, wasn't that nuanced, and mostly simply resembled a medieval world which had suffered an apocalyptic event in the past. However, this world shown in the Book of the Ancestor shows without a doubt that Lawrence is not a one trick pony, which was a small concern I had when i learned he had a new setting for this trilogy. The one thing I do have a small complaint about is the magic system of this world, which while fascinating to an extent is kind of confusing and not especially well explained in detail throughout the books. I do understand it, but to a certain extent I do feel that Lawrence is leaving the system purposely open ended, so not to cripple himself for future writing ventures in this world.

Finally, I must briefly discuss the narration, which in my opinion was somewhere between alright and poor. I really thought that some of the voices tended to blend together, especially those of the male characters in the book.

As novels go I think this is the book I was looking forward most to this year, and I have to say that I am incredibly pleased with the results. I cannot wait for next year, so I can finish the series with Holy Sister. Please take the time to read this novel if you are looking for a fast paced, intelligent, and violent fantasy book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Scourged

  • By: Kevin Hearne
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,129
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,777
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,756

New York Times best-selling author Kevin Hearne returns with the finale to his wildly popular action-adventure series, The Iron Druid Chronicles. Two-thousand-year-old Druid Atticus O'Sullivan travels to Asgard and faces off against the Norse gods to try to prevent Ragnarok in the final battle for the fate of mankind.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not a fitting conculsion

  • By will on 04-04-18

A Rather Unexpected Ending

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

Reviewed: 04-05-18

Lets get straight into it, and I know I am going to get yelled at by some series fans for this opening comment, but I don't think the ending to this novel was that horrible. It was incongruous to the rest of the books, rather rushed, and a touch on the grim side of things, but I do, to an extent, agree with the treatment Atticus was given. Side note, I am only going to really discuss the ending of this novel for the most part in this review, since the rest of the novel was fine, but not really that interesting for Iron Druid standards.

Okay, so there are two main issues at the end of this book, the first being that it just doesn't match the nature of the entire series as a whole. The Iron Druid Chronicles have for the most part been an enjoyable, lighthearted, swashbuckling fantasy series with little to know danger, despair, or death of the main characters. Yes, there has been a death here or a serious injury there, but at the end of each novel there has usually been a somewhat high point to end the story on. This isn't the case in this book, which ends on a Joe Abercrombie style ending, with virtually nothing to look forward to for our main character Atticus. Yes, there is a ray of hope at the very end, but the ending just doesn't fit the rest of the story Mr. Hearne was trying to tell, and in general it feels like he wanted to move on from this series.

This leads me into my second major point, which is the ending of this story was very rushed, but let me digress for a second. There are generally two types of series style authors, ( okay this is kind of simplifying it a bit, but just go with it), the kind of authors who have sat down before starting a series and planned the entire thing out beforehand and the kind who have an idea of what they are going to do, but no complete plan. I firmly believe that Hearne falls very firmly in the second of these categories, and this is unsurprising because these novels were his first published works. I also believe that Hearne had no plans to end the series until the start of book 7, because that is the first point where it seems he is trying to begin wrapping up plot threads, and believe me there are a lot of them, and he does not get them all. To be honest this series doesn't feel so much like a series to me, but a large number of connected novels, novellas, and short stories. Now back to my point, this series ending is rushed. As Hearne's novels are generally fairly short, there just isn't enough room in this small book to wrap up all of the plot threads and keep the story clean. In fact, until the last quarter of the book this doesn't even feel like the final novel in the sequence, it doesn't have that epic scope, the crazy battles one would expect, or those climactic moments every good series has to finish it out. I would even say that many of the other Iron Druid books have much more climactic and entertaining endings. As a whole, it really does feel like Hearne was just trying to end this series and just didn't know how to do it properly, which is definitely a shame.

One more quick thing I want to touch on is our other two POVS in the story, Gronuale and Owen. Lets get this straight though, I really like Owen as a character and I think Gronuale is obnoxious, but I didn't think she was that bad in this book. No the point I want to make is that in this book, those other two POVS don't serve much purpose at all. First, Owen is running around the world fixing problems Loki has caused, but as far as I can tell he only fixes two issues, you can't tell me that those were the only two problems Loki caused across the planet, because if that'ts Ragnarok, then you must be joking. Second, Gronuale spends most of the novel hanging out in Asia and does little else. She does have a part in the end of the book, but it is barely a cameo in the final battle. In general this book seemed like it was trying to be Atticus's finale instead of the series finale, and it just didn't work with those other POVs involved.

Finally, Luke Daniels did a good job as always, I have never had any issues with his narration and it was consistent in this book. To conclude I thought this book was a decent if unsatisfying and rushed ending, but I have felt that the series has been declining in quality since book 6, so I cannot say I am very surprised. All I can finish with is : the ride was fun while it lasted.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Guns of the Dawn

  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Emma Newman
  • Length: 21 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 284
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 260
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 261

Guns of the Dawn is a pacey, gripping fantasy of war and magic from Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky. The first casualty of war is truth.... First, Denland's revolutionaries assassinated their king, launching a wave of bloodshed after generations of peace. Next they clashed with Lascanne, their royalist neighbour, pitching war machines against warlocks in a fiercely fought conflict.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stand alone book

  • By M. McCormick on 01-27-18

Pride and Prejudice and War

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

Reviewed: 01-29-18

When I first started reading this book, the first thing I noticed and couldn't get out of my head, is that this novel bares some striking resemblances to "Pride and Prejudice". The setting and era of time feels almost identical, something like early Elizabethian England. Also, the idea of several sisters making their way through the world, and the stories that surround them is the central premise of the aforementioned novel. However, after this point the novel loses most of the other similarities, there is virtually no violence in "Pride and Prejudice" and the same cannot be said for this war torn book.

Mr. Tchaikovsky crafts a story of both exquisite beauty and tragedy at the same time. The pacing of this novel is perfect , and the same can be said for the writing, which borders on a poetic grace at times. The entire book is centralized around a pair of countries at war, which none of the soldiers or civilians seem to understand or agree upon the purpose of. The book is unlike that of many fantasy war novels, in that there is no glory in this war, only ruthless, desperate survival. The war is one long slog, which decimates both country's populations, and virtually does nothing else. Mr. Tchaikovsky does his best to show us the true vision of war, and what it does to individuals who participate in it. Despite this grim topic, there is still a special beauty in the lives of the people involved in this conflict, which is shown in the friendship they have for one another and the little things they do to try and make their lives somewhat normal amid all of the tragedy. Tchaikovsky does a masterful job of juggling both sides of this conflict, the nameless, faceless travesty of war, and the sentient, living people who fight to survive every day. This perfect novel is capped by an ending as predictable as it is fitting, and which shows the resilience of man and his or her ability to make tough decisions even if they know they are right. For me personally I had the ending of this book figured out about three quarters of the way through the book, and this knowledge did not detract in the slightest from the swan song of words Mr. Tchaikovsky treated me to.

As a last note the narrator was good if not amazing, and she didn't really hurt or hinder the story at all. This book was a masterpiece of both literature and storytelling in my personal opinion, but I will say the pace is not especially fast and for some readers the speech patterns of the characters may be grating. However, if you are looking for a cultured, gorgeous book, that really makes one appreciate excellent characters, the hardships of war, and mouthwatering prose, this is definitely the book for you.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Iron Gold

  • By: Pierce Brown
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, and others
  • Length: 23 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,557
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,054
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,034

Ten years after the events of Morning Star, Darrow and the Rising are battling the remaining Gold loyalist forces and are closer than ever to abolishing the color-coded caste system of Society for good. But new foes will emerge from the shadows to threaten the imperfect victory Darrow and his friends have earned. Pierce Brown expands the size and scope of his impressive Red Rising universe with new characters, enemies, and conflicts among the stars.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Audio needs to be balanced

  • By Anonymous User on 01-21-18

A Myriad of Thoughts and Emotions

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

Reviewed: 01-21-18

Note: I have written a lot of book reviews, but I haven't had this many thoughts on one book in a long time, so my review is a bit exhaustive, but I would appreciate it if you would give it a read, because I really do feel like I bring up some important points, thank you.

After the fantastic third and final installment in Pierce Brown's first trilogy, Morning Star, I believe that this was the book I was most excited for this year, and after finishing it I can honestly say that I have been left very confused and a bit disappointed.

Where to start, the four points of view were somewhat off putting, the story really seems to jump ahead from the previous book without enough explanation of what happened in between, and the book as a whole is much slower than the first three novels Brown has written.

I really enjoy novels that use multiple points of view, I actually think it tends to make books more dynamic and complex, and helps develop characters much more effectively. In a sense Brown accomplishes both of these intentions for better or worse. The multiple POVs cause us as the reader to experience essentially four different story lines, which don't connect much throughout the story, making the whole book seem a little disjointed and without a consistent pace. Overall, this splitting of points of view creates a very complex plot, that doesn't flow properly and is very hard for the author to balance effectively. I know this book is technically part of a new trilogy, but in a sense it is still the same overall story line, and splitting the POVs up seems unnecessary to me. The best example of this that I have seen before, that immediately comes to mind for me is definitely the changing from one to three POVs in Anthony Ryan's Raven's Shadow series between books one and two, and that was an unmitigated disaster. Ryan completely lost control of the story, and I really hope this isn't the case for the coming books in this series.

On the other hand, Brown's use of multiple POVs really does help him develop his characters even more than he already does. As I have finished my fourth novel by Brown, I am quickly coming to realize my favorite thing about his books are his well developed characters. Most of the large main cast has a clear feel to them, and as a reader I can clearly understand their motivations and emotions. Now, as a caveat to my previous point, Brown does introduce so many characters in this novel that the development is definitely a bit lacking in some of the fringe people, and a good number of them seem to be there simply for plot advancement purposes.

Now my next issue with this novel is the jump of ten years between the previous trilogy's end and this book's start. I don't have any problems whatsoever with time gaps between books, but too many unexplained events happen in the time to make the change fluid. It is briefly mentioned in the book that there have been ten years of war, but then the book happens to start up when all the major action is happening, and this major action only seems to take a few weeks. You would think that the gap could have easily been made smaller, and it wouldn't have made a difference, ten years just seems like a very arbitrary number to me. I would mention more but I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, lets just say that I think the time gap and ensuing explanations that we were given about that time are hazy at best.

Finally, we move to my last point of discussion, which is the pacing of this book. Because of the introduction of three new character POVs, Brown needs time to build their backstories, and help us understand what is happening in their lives in general. This makes this book start much slower, and not much plot movement happens for essentially the first two thirds of the novel, which is somewhat different from the previous three books. Also, there seems to be much less action in this novel than the previous ones, which is a bit surprising to me, and might be disappointing to others. I don't want to necessarily say that I disliked this pacing change, but it was definitely something I didn't expect, and it did make for a much different read, especially because this novel was a good bit longer than his other works to date.

I want to quickly mention the narration, which I felt was tolerable, but I didn't think there was really a need for the four different narrators. I absolutely love Tim Gerrard Reynolds, and have listened to dozens of his performances before, but I honestly don't think I have ever heard of any of the three narrators before. I wouldn't say they were bad, but they were all fairly average. Quick disclaimer here, I am not picky about narrators, and don't put books down if the narrator is poor, so my opinion on this particular subject should be taken with a grain of salt.

To wrap things up, after finishing this novel, despite having several opinions on different aspects of the book, I came out pretty ambivalent on it as a whole. It wasn't a bad book, I have certainly read worse books, but it didn't hit my expectations either. Ultimately, it is hard to judge this book by itself, because more than most novels it feels like a fragment of an entire story, and I believe the next book will make or break this series. If Brown can control all of his story lines and pull them together into something cohesive, this book will definitely improve in my eyes, if not there might not be that much point in reading book three.

43 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Siege and Storm

  • By: Leigh Bardugo
  • Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,083
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,076

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Kinda of Falls For the Sophomore Curse

  • By Joki on 12-07-13

The Dip in the Middle

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

Reviewed: 09-07-17

Compared to my review of Shadow and Bone I am going to try and keep this one short. As a second novel goes I believe that Bardugo really does improve in her world building, characters, and plot (in some ways). First, she makes an effort to better explain how her magic system works, and we get a better picture of how everything falls into place. Second, we learn much more about the political and social landscapes of the kingdom of Ravka, which in their own way advances the plot.

The biggest improvement in this second novel has to be the characters though. Bardugo adds several new characters to the mix, which really make the story click better, and helps us as the reader get a better picture of the overarching plot. These new characters have well defined depth and show personalities rivaling some of the Six of Crows characters.

Now we come to the plot which in one way improves and in another way struggles very much in my opinion. At the beginning of the novel events kick off with a bang and continue the fast pace of the previous book, and the plot seems to be moving at a rapid pace. The same thing occurs in the last quarter of the book, where things really come to a head very nicely. However, the middle 50 percent of this novel is where Bardugo struggles. Her claim to fame is the fast pace constant action plot, which she maintains for the most part in Shadow and Bone and in the first and fourth quarters of this novel. However, it seems to me that the middle 6 hours of this book are nothing but conversations between characters that go nowhere. The plot slows to a crawl, and it feels like she could have easily cut out a good 50 pages. Also, it seems like she attempted a couple of plot twists in this part of the book that were very obvious and didn't help the story whatsoever.

In conclusion, I did like this book more than Shadow and Bone but still not nearly as much as either of the SIX of Crows books. That weak middle of the novel was the cause of my 3 star rating and I really struggled to get passed it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Shadow and Bone

  • By: Leigh Bardugo
  • Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,508
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,233
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,237

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • disappointed

  • By Whovian on 08-31-18

Run of The Mill Debut

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

Reviewed: 09-07-17

Disclaimer: I read the Six of Crows Duology before the Grisha Trilogy. Also, I do not tend to read young adult fantasy very often.

After completing the Six of Crows duology I was very intrigued by both the world and character development that Bardugo showed me in those two novels. I had heard rumors that this duology was better than her Grisha Trilogy and as far as Shadow and Bone is concerned I have to agree.

Lets start off with the good. I enjoyed Bardugo's world building for the most part. She does a good job of creating an interesting landscape and showing us a very convoluted magic system. The word convoluted is important though, because I feel as though the boundaries of the magic system are very loose and many items are not explained in enough detail for my taste. I was often confused as to how powerful the magic that is used actually is, at one point you have a single Grisha (magic user) killing multiple people effortlessly, but then at other times common soldiers are able to overcome a Grisha and simply dodge their magical abilities. Therefore, there is definitely a magic system consistency problem, but this isn't uncommon among high fantasy novels.

The other element that Bardugo succeeds in some degree at is her character development. She really does do a good job at showing real emotions from her characters and making their personalities individualized and believable, although they lack the same flare and interestingness as her Six of Crows characters. However, the main problem with the characters for me was Alina herself, who I generally found a little obnoxious, naive, and very resistant to change. She really did annoy me especially for the first half of the book, although she did improve as the book went on.

The main problem I had with this novel is the plot is a little generic, and really lacks any flare or twist that really jumps out at you. In comparison with her duology the plot seems incredibly simplistic, and the rest of the book suffers for it.

Just a quick note on the narrator, I thought she gave a decent performance, but I did feel she lacked range of voices to some degree, and she worked a little hard on her accents, which came off as a bit ridiculous at times.

In conclusion, I put this novel down to first novel inexperience, and it was just good enough for me to buy Siege and Storm. One final thought: Ms. Bardugo is far better at writing in several points of view as opposed to singular first person.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Morning Star

  • Book III of the Red Rising Trilogy
  • By: Pierce Brown
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 21 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 25,600
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 23,865
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 23,813

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society's mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It doesn't get much better than this!

  • By Audre on 03-24-16

One of the most consistent trilogies I have read

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

Reviewed: 02-17-16

When I first started this series I was skeptical. As I have said before I am not generally a devourer of science fiction novels, but the praise was so high I had to give it a shot. I was not disappointed, the first was one continuous thrill ride, and probably the best book I read last year. The second was good but not quite as good as the first novel, which I somewhat expected. However, it was still an excellent book, and finally the third was still not as good as the first but it was better than the second.

People say that the action drives this novel, and to an extent they are right, but I feel this book is really defined by its characters. I really appreciated Brown's careful creation of each character, and the different nuances each had. I was also really impressed with his character evolutions throughout the series. Each transformation changes the readers perspective, but doesn't make the reader feel like it is to much of a stretch. The one complaint I have about the characters is the lack of color diversity. This is supposed to be a red rebellion, and I just felt the regular reds and other low colors didn't have much representation in the story. I am not going to spoil anything, but it just seemed a bit odd to me.

Now I must talk about the action and plot. Brown's action scenes, different kind of unique weapons, and brutal descriptions of the fighting really gave this story a spark and made it a cut above other books. Also, the plot is back to its convoluted mixture of different strains again. I felt the plot was what was lacking from book 2, it just was too predictable, but I really appreciated how Brown turned it up a notch again for the finale of the series.

Finally, I must talk about the narration, which was absolutely perfect. I have listened to many books by Mr. Reynolds in the past, and his voice never gets old. I usually have trouble listening to other books which are by the same narrator, but different authors. I just get thrown into one story, when I am really in another. This is probably my fourth or fifth series, which Mr. Reynolds has narrated, and he gets better with every one. he always has a different accent, voice, or unique twist of voice in each of his books. I must conclude by saying how disappointed I am to have finished this series. I kind of wish their were more books, but I understand that cannot happen. I am very curious to read what Mr. Brown comes out with next. He is truly a rising star in the science fiction genre.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Staked

  • The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 8
  • By: Kevin Hearne
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,007
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,352
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,324

When a Druid has lived for 2,000 years like Atticus, he's bound to run afoul of a few vampires - make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers - led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus - have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It's time to make a stand.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I have to agree. . .

  • By Jessica on 02-04-16

Another Fun book, but there are problems

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

Reviewed: 01-29-16

I know the Iron Druid fan base is going to shoot me down for this review, but I didn't like this book that much. It was a decent novel, and that's about it. Now don't get me wrong it is better than the last two books Shattered and Hunted, but it just doesn't live up to the first few books.

Ok if you are looking for an entertaining read that is all action and witty banter than this is your book. However, at this point in the series I am looking for a little more. I found out last year that this series was going to finish out at nine books. If you would have asked me how many books were going to be written in this series after I finished this one, I would have easily said at least three if not more. There isn't really a hint that Hearne is trying to wrap up this series for the most part. Sure there are a couple of important plot lines wrapped up at the end of the book, but the main plot doesn't seem to move that much to me.

Also, I can't believe he is introducing more characters to the story, which don't seem all that important to me. As many people have already mentioned they don't like the multi character storylines. I disagree with that opinion somewhat because I don't think the changes are that jarring, although it is a bit strange the order he puts the chapters in. The fact that the numbers of chapters for each character are not equal is also interesting. I like Owen as a character view point, he is funny and I think his character is decently developed. However, I really dislike Granuaile as a character, she comes off whiny and somewhat selfish in my mind. Also, she doesn't really fit the comedic vein this story is trying to accomplish. She feels like a character Mr. Hearne tried to hard to make, and everything is over done.

Despite the flaws in this story and the lack of plot movement there is still a lot of the charm that previous books had. Atticus and Oberon are still hilarious together. Owen provides a different kind of humor that is rather refreshing. The action is still highly entertaining, although there seems to be focus around the druids being injured in this book, which there wasn't before. Finally, I enjoyed Luke Daniels narration, his variety of voices was highly entertaining, but his accents tended to get a bit over the top on occasion. If the next novel is indeed the last in the series, I will probably read it just for closure if anything, but overall this book was a decent read.

24 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • City of Stairs

  • By: Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Narrated by: Alma Cuervo
  • Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 824
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 750
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 755

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions - until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself - first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it - stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy. Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Something Different

  • By Scott Simons on 10-17-14

A Truly Unique Book

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

Reviewed: 01-25-16

Before reading this novel I had never read one of Bennett's books. I found it a delightfully new experience. The closest author I have read to Bennet is Guy Gavriel Kay. The reason why I say this is because both of them have a way with prose. However, I cannot say their prose styles are similar. Bennet's prose is beautiful, but also blunt and less descriptive than Kay's.

The plot was also unique and provided something fresh and interesting to contemplate. It was not impressively complex, but the twists are there and a few of them were quite shocking.

The other element that made this book special was the world. It was well defined and exquisite, without the author drowning the reader in descriptions like in a Tolkien novel. Along with the setting were the characters which seemed to fit the slightly dark, grim, but somehow striking world perfectly. Every person was well done, with a full believable personality. There was even a good deal of character evolution as the story went on. Finally, I liked the narration but it wasn't spectacular. It didn't hinder my interest in the book, but it also didn't jump out at me either. I definitely feel this book is worth reading and I intend to buy the next novel when it comes out soon.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful