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  • The Assassins of Altis

  • The Pillars of Reality, Book 3
  • By: Jack Campbell
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,349
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,057
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,051

Trapped within the dead city of Marandur, Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain must escape both merciless barbarians and the pitiless Imperial Legion. Beyond those dangers lie the mightiest and most unforgiving powers in the world of Dematr: the Great Guilds that rule the world with iron fists.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great addition to a great series

  • By Marcela - The Bookaholic Cat on 08-07-15

Well, at least the vampire didn't sparkle..

2 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-15-16


I tried. I *really* tried to enjoy this series but the ratio of teenage angst to story (what little there is) has increased drastically with each installment to the point where I struggled to listen to the last 3 hours of AoA.

I have two major problems with this series. The first comes down to a remarkably intense dislike of the female protagonist, Mari. For three books I've been told that Mari Sue is an exceptional mechanic and the second coming of a long dead heroine who is destined to save the world. What I've seen is quite different. I've seen Mari fix a few rifles, break a bunch of devices, find a contagion that one time (which has never been explained or made relevant again), demand that Alain leave her for dead if she's captured (over and over again at the most random times), be jealous of Asha, obsess over her "bonfire," refuse to have a calm/rational discussion of any kind with Alain, condescend to, or ignore Alain entirely, or just be overtly annoying in the general sense. Also, Mari absolutely refuses to entertain to idea of being the daughter until *boom! daughter transformation!* No epiphany, no character growth, just add water and it's off to destroy the great guilds...

It's as though the author combined every stereotypical depiction of a crazy teenage girl he could find into a single unlikable character. Honestly, Alain was tortured into near sociopathy and yet he remains more emotionally mature than Mari, how is that possible?

The second major issue I have with this series is the lack of world exposition. So much time is spent on the teenage angst of the two main characters that there's no real explanation as to why I should care about what happens to them. I get it, the world is broken, and that's bad but there's no indication about who is responsible for making it that way or how they can be stopped. The author is constantly referring to the "Senior Mechanics" or the "Mage Elders," as the root of all evil, but those are faceless generalities. As villains go, the senior mechanics I've seen so far are more Saturday morning cartoon than diabolical mastermind.

Ultimately, there's a lot of wasted potential in this series. At first I was intrigued by the mage illusion as a description of how magic works in this universe, but even that was lost at the first mention of "children of the stars." The whole concept of a mothership, cryo sleep, genetic drift, "mootations," and other such space-odyssey nonsense was the point where I lost interest and started cheering for the mechanics guild to pass the remaining time in the book.

For what it's worth, my advice is to stop buying these and go watch "Scrapped Princess," and a few hours of "Trigun." The similarities are uncanny, and the characters aren't nearly as annoying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • I Am Alice

  • The Last Apprentice, Book 12
  • By: Joseph Delaney, Patrick Arrasmith
  • Narrated by: Angela Goethals
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 304
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 305

I must be brave. I must do what has to be done. I am Alice. Alice is the most powerful witch the county has ever seen. She may one day be the most evil. But Alice is also the best friend - and true love - of Tom Ward. Together they work to defeat the Fiend - the world's greatest evil - once and for all. They have nearly everything they need, all except a blade hidden in the Dark, the Fiend's domain. So Alice ventures there to find it. She faces the most terrifying creatures in existence. And she once again battles old enemies who bear grudges: Bony Lizzie, Bloodeye, and more.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Story, Terrible Performance

  • By Bill on 09-13-13

Who invited Nessa?!

4 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-01-13

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! I have recommended this series to several friends, and each of them has fallen in love with the characters and the world in which they live. The stories are always well written, and each has a way of pulling you in. Putting it simply, the previous books have all been amazingly fun and despite some serious flaws in the presentation, this book was no different.

Who was your favorite character and why?

To avoid spoilers, I'll say, Alice's "traveling companion" for the majority of the book. It was great to see more development for this character and I thought the pairing was a great fit.

How could the performance have been better?

After Angela Goethals' dismal performance in co-narrating "Slither," I'm not sure why she was asked to do an entire story, especially one so close to the main plot. I will acknowledge that I thoroughly enjoy Christopher Evan Welch's narration, and at 11 books and counting, each character is closely intertwined with his vocal style. Alice's unique grammar and mannerisms are a perfect example. Within 10 minutes of starting the book, Angela's performance had rendered Alice as a completely different character from her previous incarnations.

The rest of the book proceeds in the much the same way, stilted and lifeless. With the brief exception of her voicing of Lizzie. For some unknown reason, Angela was able to find her stride with Lizzie's brief role in the book, then immediately returned to drawling monotone. At the very least she could have taken a look at the previous material to check the pronunciation of the various character names and places (Every single time she said, "Wined" instead of "Wind" I cringed).

At the end of the day, I just hope there was a solid reason for not having Welch involved in this project, and barring serious improvement, that this will be the last we'll hear from Ms. Goethals.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"No, seriously! This one is ACTUALLY inspired by the acclaimed series!"

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

  • By: Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Narrated by: Scott Holst
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8,006
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6,283
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,370

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My friends thought I was crazy.

  • By bluecat1861 on 03-23-10

My friends thought I was crazy.

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-23-10

When I announced that I was listening to a story with the title, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," my friends looked at me like I'd lost my mind. Like them, I was skeptical at first but the sheer laugh factor of the title was enough to spark my curiosity.

Having finished the book I can happily say that this was one of the most interesting stories I've listened to in a long time. The mixture of fact and fiction is flawless, so much so that I found myself taking the story to heart in places. A worthy spin on an already extraordinary life, I highly recommend it.

110 of 112 people found this review helpful