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Jonathan E.

  • 14
  • reviews
  • 6
  • helpful votes
  • 34
  • ratings
  • Absolute Ambition: Memoria

  • By: David L. Van Horne
  • Narrated by: Daniel Greenberg
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 4

To the people of the planet of Pearl, vim is everything. Vim is an energy resource that exists deep beneath the surface. A life force, it approximates the idea of a human soul. When the people of Pearl die, their vim is returned to the soil. And each new baby takes a little back out. The company of Megacorp wants to change this natural process forever. They’ve found a way to mine the vim and use it to power machines. Cirrus Stark is determined to stop them.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • FF7 is all this is

  • By Michael J on 05-23-18

Fan fiction desperately in need of an editor.

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

Reviewed: 05-26-18

I have no problems reading fan fiction. I have no problems reading something that is inspired by another work, even if it's something that resembles the original work too closely for comfort. If it's done well enough, I'll happily shell out the money to experience it, even if it's something I've consumed before in other media. This? This is literally just Final Fantasy 7, written almost verbatim. There's a few differences, which I assume the author intends to fully expound on in future volumes so it isn't quite the same story as the game it is clearly based off of, but readers aren't given any reason to care about them in this book. They're there, purely just for the sake of it, whether it is relevant or not.

The perspective shifts quite a bit often between an assortment of characters, so often that you probably won't understand who the protagonist is, or who the antagonist is. There's no real problems in this story for the characters to overcome, other than they want to take on Megacorp, which is this novel's analogue to the Shinra Corporation from Final Fantasy 7. The protagonist, who I have to assume is Cirrus, gets a few select parts in the book (including a very large info dump about his character all in one go before the perspective shifts again). You're not given any reason to care about this character, what he does, or why he does it, other than the book just outright explaining his dark and brooding past and how he has depression. No characterization to go with it, no events to expound on it, or no scenes with other characters to relay this information in a way that feels organic. The book just expects you to learn everything up front and run with it. Other characters have something similar to this treatment, but no big long infodump to go with them. You're left to come up with reasons yourself as to why you should care; like how most of the female characters have gotten pregnant or were separated from their one true love.

There are events in the story that seem to just be totally glossed over, like it hadn't happened at all, or it is just expected that the reader knows it happened. Not spoiling anything, it's like if you're reading Harry Potter for the first time, and you're told that Harry is a wizard by a big hairy scruffy guy. Great! You got the exposition, and you got why Harry wants to go to wizard school. You have a brief scene at a train station, maybe you get a hilarious scene of Harry running into a pillar with a cart full of wizard stuff and crashing, only for the story to immediately cut to the Sorting Hat scene. That is what one can expect from this book. If you've played the game this book is based off of, you have a clear understanding of the string of events that this book wants you to follow along with, so you can fill in these assumptions. For everyone else? You'll reach a point in the book where you'll probably go "Okay so did they already do X? They're talking about X, and there's smoke as evidenced by the other character's perspectives, so I guess they already did X. I kind of wished I got to read about the how-to and all the crazy details that resulted in this event." You'll get the beginning, maybe how they got started on X, but all the interesting parts themselves, you'll have to fill in for yourself (Or just play the game).

Story aside, I've listened to bad books before. I sometimes even like them because the narrator did a damned good job in at least making it entertaining to listen to. I've listened to good books with horrendous narrators, which has actually prompted me to make use of Audible's return policy. This one? Be prepared to listen to the narrator inhale before almost every sentence. If you haven't listened to very many audiobooks, or if this is your first, you'll probably not even notice it. But for someone that listens to audiobooks on a daily basis during work or before bed (like me), it is immediately noticeable and annoying. There isn't swallowing, throat sounds, or the badly edited out cough like in some truly horrible audiobook adaptations, but you should be aware of it regardless.

All in all, I wished I stopped listening at the halfway mark, went back onto Audible, and just outright returned this. I have a policy of not returning books I fully completed, which I unfortunately did with this one out of curiosity; "How closely DOES this follow the game this is based off of?" The answer, as stated before, almost verbatim. And you know what? That's fine. There's a plethora of litRPG novels that follow the same plotline, or there's countless romance novels that follow the exact same plotline where boring woman meets rich/mysterious man (or the flipside), or you could even make a case for various space opera books as well. What this book lacks is editing. I would be happy to read about Cirrus and his adventures with the eco-terrorist group called WAVE, taking on an energy company called MegaCorp, whom generates electricity by sucking the very soul out of the planet. I would love to read about the political intrigue between MegaCorp and the world's governing body, and how they use their mercenaries to strong arm government officials to get their way. I would love to read about how Cirrus gets over his problems through meeting interesting characters, and overcoming those problems through experience and storytelling rather than the book just outright telling me about it. I would love to read about how the two gods mentioned in this book play a larger role in the story, and how the fabric of time is torn asunder by what Cirrus does or why interacting with a certain character will ruin life as we know it. But the way this story is written, it is a slog to even gleam the information and churn it out in any meaningful way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 199,049
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 185,856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185,458

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

  • By Julie W. Capell on 05-27-14

Better than the movie.

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

Reviewed: 05-20-18

If you read this some odd months ago, and were excitedly waiting for the movie, I would imagine you were very disappointed in Spielberg's attempt at bringing this novel to the silver screen. If you had watched the movie without reading the book, and perhaps loved it, then you will want to consume this literature right away.

It's narrated by Wil Wheaton, which while I am personally not a fan of his voice, he gets the job done.

If you're one of the people that haven't watched the film or read the book, Ready Player One is an extravaganza of references for media released from the 80s to the early 2000s. If you aren't familiar with the material in general, the book can come off as snobbish to the uninitiated combined with Wheaton's voice. It's best enjoyed if you grew up in that era and are familiar with the cultural references the book makes, but there is an interesting story here even if you didn't (just don't be surprised if you feel left out when a particular line either doesn't make sense or doesn't have the impact you think it should).

  • Where the Hell is Tesla?

  • A Novel
  • By: Rob Dircks
  • Narrated by: Rob Dircks
  • Length: 5 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,676
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,501
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,492

I found the journal at work. Well, I don't know if you'd call it work, but that's where I found it. It's the lost journal of Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest inventors and visionaries ever. Before he died in 1943, he kept a notebook filled with spectacular claims and outrageous plans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Had A Blast Listening To This One!

  • By Cheri on 08-11-16

This book is so dumb...

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

... And I absolutely loved every second of it. If you just want to enjoy a comedic story with some over-the-top plot, this is perfect for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Eye of the World

  • Book One of The Wheel of Time
  • By: Robert Jordan
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
  • Length: 29 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,228
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,904
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,928

When their village is attacked by trollocs, monsters thought to be only legends, three young men, Rand, Matt, and Perrin, flee in the company of the Lady Moiraine, a sinister visitor of unsuspected powers. Thus begins an epic adventure set in a world of wonders and horror, where what was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Your first step down a very long and winding road.

  • By Lore on 06-29-12

Hope you have a couple hundred dollars set aside

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

Reviewed: 04-04-18

... Because you'll soon find your bank magically missing enough money for approximately 14 books. And you'll even be thankful for it.

  • Crossroads of Twilight

  • Book Ten of The Wheel of Time
  • By: Robert Jordan
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
  • Length: 26 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,643
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,337
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,344

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time. Crossroads of Twilight is book ten of Robert Jordan's best selling Wheel of Time series.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The Lowest Point of the Entire Series

  • By Robert Eric Koch on 08-16-12

Just skip this one. No, really.

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

Reviewed: 04-04-18

You've probably liked every book before this one. Perhaps even loved them to bits. If this describes you, pretend this one doesn't exist and go straight to eleven.

You aren't missing much at all. There is literally only two things you absolutely need to know, and book eleven will get you up to speed within the first couple of chapters. Beyond that, almost half of the book is just characters reacting to the climax of Winter Heart (and doing next to nothing about it as a result). As someone that listened to the entire series back to back, I absolutely enjoyed every book in this series; this one being the sole exception.

If you've ever wondered how someone could fill 26 hours of audio with absolutely nothing of value, this is a good purchase. Thankfully, if you actually decide to go through with this, Kate and Michael make this experience just a little bit easier on both the ears and the mind if you so decide to go through with this self inflicted torture as I did.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Atlantis Gene

  • The Origin Mystery, Book 1
  • By: A.G. Riddle
  • Narrated by: Stephen Bel Davies
  • Length: 15 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,203
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,490
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,510

Seventy thousand years ago, the human race almost went extinct. We survived, but no one knows how.

Until now. The countdown to the next stage of human evolution is about to begin, and humanity might not survive this time. The Immari are good at keeping secrets. For 2,000 years, they've hidden the truth about human evolution. They've also searched for an ancient enemy - a threat that could wipe out the human race. Now the search is over.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderfully Horrible

  • By Laura Roderick on 07-29-17

You'll wonder "why can't I just watch the movie."

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

Reviewed: 10-18-17

So much of this book is written as if it's a standard Hollywood movie with all the usual movie tropes. You will not only predict plot points in advance of multiple chapters, but you will also be begging for some kind of originality. By the time the book throws some your way, it is only to set up another point that has been overused by other forms of media to death.

If I can just make an offhand prediction like "the guy gets the girl in the end" or "they won't kill them off, they're important to the overall plot" and be proven right 10 chapters later, is that actual engagement? In my opinion, no.

  • The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant

  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,165
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,765
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,765

Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort. One fateful night - different from the night he died, which was more inconvenient than fateful - Fred reconnects with an old friend at his high school reunion. This rekindled relationship sets off a chain of events thrusting him right into the chaos of the parahuman world.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Stories are great, not crazy about the format

  • By Sugarpucker on 08-10-15

What it says on the tin: utterly uninteresting.

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

Reviewed: 10-18-17

I'm aware that the title was meant to be an ironic descriptor, attempting to goad the reader to find out what truly laid within the book's text. But it ended up being just as the book foretold. If you want a sappy love story with supernatural elements and sexual jokes laden about with false conflicts that ultimately teaches no one anything useful except "believe in your friends/loved ones," this is the book for you. Otherwise, steer clear.

  • Dawn

  • Xenogenesis, Book 1
  • By: Octavia E. Butler
  • Narrated by: Aldrich Barrett
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,746
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,492
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,493

In a world devastated by nuclear war with humanity on the edge of extinction, aliens finally make contact. They rescue those humans they can, keeping most survivors in suspended animation while the aliens begin the slow process of rehabilitating the planet. When Lilith Iyapo is "awakened", she finds that she has been chosen to revive her fellow humans in small groups by first preparing them to meet the utterly terrifying aliens, then training them to survive on the wilderness that the planet has become. But the aliens cannot help humanity without altering it forever.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I couldn't tell if I loved it or hated it.

  • By Lindsay on 01-31-16

An excuse to write about alien sex/rape.

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

Reviewed: 08-15-17

This story can more or less be summarized as "Every Human male except the protagonist's boytoy is a barbaric caveman rapist," the book. None of the characters seem real or even remotely relatable, as most of them go off the deep end at some point or another by frivolous things, one of which is "not having a cheeseburger".

  • More Happy Than Not

  • By: Adam Silvera
  • Narrated by: Ramon de Ocampo
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 408
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 379
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 381

When it first gets announced, the Leteo Institute's memory-alteration procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto; miracle cure-alls don't tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. Aaron can't forget how he's grown up poor, how his friends all seem to shrug him off, and how his father committed suicide in their one-bedroom apartment. Then Thomas shows up. The love Aaron discovers may cost him what's left of his life. But since Aaron can't suddenly stop being gay, Leteo may be the only way out.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Moving...

  • By Brandon on 05-18-16

Ready to refund, then bawling eyes out.

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

Reviewed: 06-17-17

Without spoiling anything, you may either cry tears of joy or utter despair at the end. This is NOT a coming out gay trashy romance novel like I thought it was going to be from start to at least two thirds in. It gets real, and the protagonist's sexuality plays not only a convincing role, but one that I feel does it justice in a way.
You will probably have to sit through half of it before it actually gets going, but it is definitely worth it. It was definitely worth more than the sale price I bought it for.

  • Anansi Boys

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Lenny Henry
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,832
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,013
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,009

Returning to the territory he so brilliantly explored in his masterful New York Times best seller American Gods, the incomparable Neil Gaiman offers up a work of dazzling ingenuity, a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that is at once startling, terrifying, exhilarating, and fiercely funny, a true wonder of a novel that confirms Stephen King's glowing assessment of the author as "a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him."

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully narrated

  • By A. Hawley on 11-23-07

Great performance, but obnoxious effects and plot.

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

Reviewed: 05-05-17

You'll be happily surprised with Lenny Henry's performance here, as he at least makes listening through this slog a halfway enjoyable ride. But the sounds effects that the sound engineer just couldn't resist putting in between certain chapters is not only a clear detriment, you'll be reaching for the 'forward 30 seconds' button each and every time just to continue on the plot that you're at least halfway invested in.
The plot itself is uninspired, and if you pay attention, you can see every turn and decision of the protagonist and his cohorts long before they actually happen. These aren't even enjoyable decisions, and you might keep listening to see where the story goes in hopes that it improves (like yours truly). But despite it, it plays out like a cheap children's film made straight to DVD but with some intentional adult humor mixed in. The elements, characters, and the rules of the world that permeate the setting makes for some interesting implications that beg to be looked at or expanded upon, but the author refuses to do even that, seeking to just make an unrealistic feel good plot that unrealistically wraps everything up at the end in the sense that "oh, its time to end the book. Lets put these two characters together, and these other two just for fun."
Overall, if you have children who don't mind listening to a chapter book instead of watching their favorite cartoons, this book is for you.