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Nightveil

Santa Rosa, CA, United States
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  • Dealing with Dragons

  • By: Patricia C. Wrede
  • Narrated by: Words Take Wing Repertory Company of Syracuse, NY
  • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 893
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 706
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 714

Take one bored princess. Make her the seventh daughter in a very proper royal family. Have her run away. Add one powerful, fascinating, dangerous dragon. Princess Cimerone has never met anyone (or anything) like the dragon Kazul. But then, she's never met a witch, a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird or a stone prince either. Princess Cimerone ran away to find some excitement. She's found plenty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great fun for girls or boys

  • By Richard on 11-18-03

Good, funny fantasy story, flawed production.

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

Reviewed: 09-16-17

I own an omnibus edition of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles from The Science Fiction Book Club that I've had for years. The stories have stayed with me all that time. When I saw this was a full-cast unabridged version of the first book I knew I had to have it.

The story is just as charming, funny and entertaining as I remembered. The characters are fully fleshed out beings who tend to avoid the standard fairytale tropes. In fact, Wrede does he best to set those tropes on their collective head by pointing to them but never crossing the line.

The production is flawed, however. Not unlistenable, but not up to the quality that I expected. There is an odd echoing effect that I suspect is caused by the booth the actors were in. It's almost as if the room lacked the usual foam soundproofing that deadens this effect.

The actors themselves take a little getting used to. All of them carry some form of Eastern Seaboard accent, though none of those accents are thick or unintelligible. It was a good ten to fifteen minutes before I'd come to terms with the initial voices and it took similar amounts of time before the new characters started to feel in any way natural.

All that said, "Dealing With Dragons" is an enjoyable story and I look forward to hearing the remaining stories in the series.

METAtropolis  audiobook cover art
  • METAtropolis

  • By: Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, and others
  • Narrated by: Michael Hogan, Scott Brick, Kandyse McClure, and others
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 2,664
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2,322
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 2,376

Armed camps of eco-survivalists battle purveyors of technology in this exclusive, original production featuring five sci-fi masters and five all-star narrators.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Painful

  • By Anthony on 07-29-13

Interesting tales...

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

Reviewed: 08-02-13

Metatropolis has some interesting ideas. It has some good stories and it has some not so good. The basic premise, create a future world in which cities have been forced to take new forms, is solid sf material. The way the stories that evolve from those cities is sometimes too preachy. Jay Lake's "In the Forests of the Night" is in this category. Yes, we get that the world ran out of resources. Yes, we get that Man is evil. Say it once, maybe twice, but don't keep beating us over the head with the rhetoric.

The other stories are somewhat better, with Elizabeth Bear's "The Red in the Sky is Our Blood" is being probably the best overall story. Bear manages to make the listener care about not only her main character but the secondary characters that she deals with as she moves through the plot.

The overall feel of the anthology is definitely cyberpunk. Or maybe eco-punk is the correct term. Not anything new, really, but each author has his or her own take and gives the world a slightly different feel.

Several other reviews have mentioned the slowness of the readers. This is true, especially in the first couple of stories. I had the feeling as I continued through the stories that this was at least somewhat intentional. The world of Metatropolis has slowed down and the the readers use the slower reading pace to reenforce the feeling of a slower, less frenetic feel.

Overall it's a good collection and worth a listen.

  • The Hunger Games

  • By: Suzanne Collins
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50,207
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39,522
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39,954

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great story. Absolutely grating narrator.

  • By tcp100 on 12-27-11

A good story marred by poor sound editing

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

Reviewed: 06-25-12

I went in to The Hunger Games set to be disappointed. I usually am when something gets as much hype as this has. The hype is well deserved. The story is very solid and well-told and the characters are engaging if occasionally a little wooden. There are certain cliches used to flesh out some characters but these work because Suzanne Collins uses cliches the right way. As a short hand way of showing who and what a character is. The actual Games, when they finally happen, are suspenseful and engaging and listeners will find themselves pulling for certain characters, loathing others and wanting to know more about others who show up all too briefly before their deaths.

Make no mistake, characters die in this book. Most of them in gruesome ways, though Collins is careful to keep the graphic nature of some deaths hidden, which allows the listener to imagine something even worse.

Still, the story progresses well and the climax is almost, but not quite, what the listener expects.

If there is any one thing that brings my rating down on this it is an annoying choice by the sound editors. To the author's credit, she avoids the use of "he says" and "I say" as much as possible in her first-person story. In print this is probably a joy to read. However, It feels as though the director had Carolyn McCormick say "I say", "he says" and "she says" one time each and then edited those in where necessary. Perhaps it's McCormick's reading but it honestly sounds like an edit every time I hear it and it's so jarring it pulls me out of the story.

Beyond that, McCormick does a good job with a fairly large cast of characters, both male and female. She does her best to make sure the listener can tell the difference between all of them in a scene. This is helped by Collins' decision to keep speaking roles in a scene down to no more than six at any given time, and usually less.

In all, The Hunger Games is good story for its intended audience and a solid read for anyone interested in a dystopian action-adventure story with strong young characters.

  • American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes, full cast
  • Length: 19 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43,241
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 40,129
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,089

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 10 Years and Still a Fantastic Read

  • By Nightveil on 07-22-11

10 Years and Still a Fantastic Read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-22-11

I read American Gods when it first came out and was amazed by what Neil Gaiman had done. I've been a Gaiman fan since his work on Sandman and understood that the core of his stories is almost always myth and storytelling. American Gods has these in spades.

This new recording, featuring a full cast, is actually very good. Some say that there is no life in the characters, but there is. It's set against the bleak backdrop of a war between gods old and new. It's set against the seeming non-involvement of the main character, Shaodow, who often seems to be along for the ride but ultimately acts as the one character the listener can relate to in a world filled with fantastical creatures called gods.

The first several times the cast interacts with the narrator can be jarring, but once the listener is used to the voices and the rhythm that builds over the first chapter or so, it becomes natural and the listener can get in to the story proper.

American Gods is dense. This edition has some 12,000 more words than previous editions. It is not a book to be taken lightly. It requires thought and it requires patience. Those willing to give it those things will find a solid, entertaining and thought provoking listen.

98 of 103 people found this review helpful

  • The Chronicles of Pern

  • First Fall
  • By: Anne McCaffrey
  • Narrated by: Meredith MacRae
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 722
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 504
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 501

Travel back to the earliest days of Pernese history in this first-ever Dragonriders of Pern short story collection. Building a new life on a distant world, braving the dreaded Thread that falls like silver rain from the sky only to destroy every living thing it touches, flying heroically on the wondrous dragons - The Dragonriders of Pern!

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good stories, poorly read.

  • By Nightveil on 08-11-09

Good stories, poorly read.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-11-09

A collection of short stories raking place in the early years of Pern, including the initial survey of the planet, First Fall is a good listen overall. Unfortunately, the reader, Meredith MacRae, is bland and lifeless. All of the stories feature multiple characters and MacRae's reading and lack of inflection or characterization makes it difficult to follow who's who. Likewise, it's very difficult to differentiate between male and female characters as MacRae fails to alter her vocal pitch at all.

The stories themselves are well written, but the actual reading makes for a difficult and distracting listen.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful