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Ted Smith

Salt Lake City
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  • 10
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  • 12
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Best Orphan X

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

Reviewed: 02-06-18

The first Orphan X was excellent. The second, Nowhere Man, was good but not quite as good as the original. Hellbent takes the series to a new level. The action was excellent, but the development of Evan's character even better, especially as Joey forced him to confront the oddities of his life. And Joey was a superb character. I can only hope we'll see her again. Her combination of toughness and vulnerability hit the mark for me. And is Candy coming over to the side of the good guys?

Brick's narration is, as always, very good. My only criticism is that he can be a bit too over-dramatic at times, especially in the reflective moments. Dial it back just a bit, Scott, and you'll be perfect.

Can't wait for the next installment.

Cardboard Characters and Mediocre Writing

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

Reviewed: 04-08-16

Once again I was misled by other reviewers. The setting is iconic. But the story is flat. Neither of the female leads was convincing. We have little idea of their motivations. Angst is not the same as reflection. Hannah tells but rarely shows. The writing attempts to soar, but rarely gets off the ground.

Where was the editor? At one point, a character mentions that the Renault plant near Paris manufactured "lorries." So we have an American writer and French scene: but we need to use the English term for a truck. Hannah continually refers to Nazi soldiers. By the time of WWII, these were German soldiers--yes, there is a difference. She refers at one point to a captured pilot as a "soldier": she obviously doesn't know anyone in the Air Force.

Why does Isabel fall in love with Gaetan? Not a clue. He's merely a name--certainly not a fleshed-out character. And we're expected to believe that her sister falls into the arms of a German officer a few hours after seeing her friend's daughter murdered by Germans and witnessing the officer driving Jewish women onto a train with a whip. She's a weak character, but is anyone really that weak?

The narrator renders all children as three-year-olds. And when something bad happens, she goes into full Ophelia mode.

A love story with little love (just the pretense). And a suspense novel without suspense.

I have to admit I didn't actually finish the novel. I made it 2/3 through and just gave in to my utter ambivalence.

Hope everything worked out for the characters.

Mediocre Story With Odd Structure

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

Reviewed: 07-05-15

What did you like best about Code Name Verity? What did you like least?

The manner in which this story is told (a written confession to Nazi captors by one character; a diary by the other) is cumbersome and utterly unconvincing. A novelist's first job is the provide a mechanism for the reader to suspend disbelief. Wein did not succeed. Far too cute. Just tell the story.

What could Elizabeth Wein have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Get rid of the odd first person narratives. And then get rid of the chirpy tone. The subject is serious, the tone, especially of the second part, is borderline frivolous.

What does Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Good narrators, especially the Julie character, but they can't overcome the fundamental flaws of the story.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No.

Any additional comments?

I must say I'm baffled by the overwhelmingly positive reviews. There was a good story here, but the structure and tone of the story was unconvincing and at times downright silly. Certainly not the worst book I've listened too, but I found it difficult to soldier on to the end.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Disappointing Story; Bad Narrator

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

Reviewed: 09-19-14

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend nearly anything by Stephenson, but not this one. The first third was quite interesting, but the last two-thirds was mostly opaque, boring, and forced. The action scenes are quite good, but are interrupted by long philosophical or technological disquisitions. Stephenson worked hard on this book, but it just doesn't work at the level of either character or plot.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Most interesting: futuristic look at monastic life in a secular context. Least interesting: faux philosophical conversations that go on and on and on . . . .

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Dufris doesn't do emotion well. Hams it up instead of subtly portraying sadness, sorrow, or excitement. Other than the main voice, his other voices sound like caricatures. He nearly ruined Scalzi's Old Man's War series. There are far better narrators out there.

Do you think Anathem needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. Please spare us.

Any additional comments?

Read and listen to Stephenson, but not this one.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Thoroughly Enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 05-04-14

Would you listen to Language A to Z again? Why?

Absolutely. This isn't serious linguistics, but more a picaresque trip through some great linguistic stories (which teach some linguistics).

Professor McWhorter is a compelling lecturer and natural storyteller. And he knows linguistics.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Superb Trip Through the Western Tradition

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

Reviewed: 02-03-14

What did you love best about The Cave and the Light?

Herman's thesis, that the intellectual history of the West is fundamentally the competition between the worldviews of Plato and Aristotle, is convincing. The writing is beautiful and Herman's erudition is astounding. I liked the entire book, but his analysis of Rousseau is compelling: Rousseau's reliance on Plato to become the father of modern totalitarian thought is laid out with intellectual force. The last third of the book is simply phenomenal.

What other book might you compare The Cave and the Light to and why?

Jacque Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence.

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

Hecht brings a sense of gravitas to his narration. I like it when a narrator is able to correctly pronounce foreign names and phrases. He has a great voice and a compelling style.

Any additional comments?

Every college student should be assigned this book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

Superb Book

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

Reviewed: 01-31-14

Would you listen to Our First Revolution again? Why?

Yes. Barone relates a period of English history that profoundly influenced the American founders. I don't understand those who criticize either the book or the narrator. Yes, it's a complicated story. But the careful reader will be rewarded, and the American reader will understand our founding much better. Highly recommended.

The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family audiobook cover art

Excellent narration of an excellent book

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

Reviewed: 08-04-13

What did you love best about The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family?

Great writing and story. Faulkner has created a modern myth in Yoknapatawpha County.

Any additional comments?

The narration evokes the rough beauty of rural life.

Superb in All Respects

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

Reviewed: 07-27-13

Where does The Conservative Tradition rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top ten percent

What did you like best about this story?

Professor Allitt knows his subject, which is highly compelling. Conservatism has a strong philosophical core, which is well-presented here.

What does Professor Patrick N. Allitt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Beautiful English accent combined with deep understanding of America.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

HIghly recommended.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful