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Ione

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  • reviews
  • 32
  • helpful votes
  • 40
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  • Traitor's Blade

  • Greatcoats Series, Book 1
  • By: Sebastien de Castell
  • Narrated by: Joe Jameson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,008
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 931
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 930

The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that's exactly what's happening. Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun Adventure Fantasy

  • By Scott Simons on 06-19-18

FINALLY in audio -- great listen!

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

I've been waiting YEARS for this series to become available in audio. FINALLY!

Boy, is it fun! Yes, especially the first book -- and especially nearish the beginning -- can be a bit obvious and tropey and so on, but I don't much care. For one thing, I love swashbucklers where the author really knows how to buckle them swashes (de Castell has been a fight choreographer); for another, there is plenty of both action and pathos; for a third, there is great bromance chemistry between the three MCs; for a fourth, well, it's just fun.

I finished book 1 in a couple of days and instantly ran off to buy the rest of the series. Jumped into book 2, Knight's Shadow, as soon as I had it downloaded. This is great mac-and-cheese listening -- and the series improves as it goes, so don't be discouraged if you can feel de Castell figuring out how to write as you listen to book 1. Joe Jameson is an excellent narrator, and the books are never boring. Enjoy!

  • The Swerve

  • How the World Became Modern
  • By: Stephen Greenblatt
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,295
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,003
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,996

Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis

  • By Ethan M. on 05-01-12

Astounding!

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

Reviewed: 01-06-18

My second full reading. This author is incredibly erudite, inquisitive, organized and communicative. I suspect I shall read this at least twice more and shall still not have extracted half of this book's wisdom.

  • Moby-Dick

  • By: Herman Melville
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller
  • Length: 21 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,956
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,424
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,438

Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Had No Idea Melville Was So Funny

  • By Dave on 05-09-12

Melville over rated!

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

Reviewed: 09-11-17

Now classic crisp story obscured by mountains of adjectives and obtuse allusions used largely by the author to display his own erudition and dexterity. This emperor should finally be exposed as naked.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Life after Joe

  • By: Harper Fox
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • Length: 3 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 162
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 140
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 139

Ever since his longtime lover decided he'd seen the "heterosexual light", Matt's life has been in a nosedive. Six months of too many missed shifts at the hospital, too much booze, too many men. Matt knows he's on the verge of losing everything, but he's finding it hard to care. Then Matt meets Aaron. He's gorgeous, intelligent, and apparently not interested in being picked up. But newfound happiness is threatened when Matt begins to suspect Aaron is hiding something - or someone....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • love the story, not the narration

  • By Ione on 03-30-12

love the story, not the narration

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

Reviewed: 03-30-12

I own both the text and audio versions of this story. Although it's a short story, it's still one of my favorite of all romances. Harper Fox is a very talented writer -- and you can see that here in her depiction of Matthew's despair and desolation, as well as in the vivid descriptions of Newcastle, the helicopter, and the oil rig in addition to the romance itself.

Unfortunately, the narrator doesn't do any justice to this great story. He is working hard to present a "Geordie" (Newcastle) accent, but it's pretty obvious that he isn't a native (I've been listening to a lot of genuine Geordie accents, and this one just doesn't cut it). And in his attempts to replicate that accent, the narrator has completely forgotten about the character of the story. Matthew, the main character and narrator, is in the final stages of complete disintegration -- he's coming apart at the seams. As another character tells him, he's "in bits". Yet the narrator here makes Matthew sound nearly cocky and bouncy. It's all wrong. And it's quite disturbing to hear a fine story being distorted in this way.

My advice is to stick with the text version on this one. If you appreciate good writing, you should check it out. Don't give up on Harper Fox just based on the bad narration here.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Aloha from Hell

  • By: Richard Kadrey
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 14 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,124
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,951
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,942

In Sandman Slim Stark came back from hell for revenge. Once again all is not right in L.A. Lucifer is back in Heaven, God is on vacation, and an insane killer mounts a war against both Heaven and Hell. Stark’s got to head back down to his old stomping grounds in Hell to rescue his long lost love, stop an insane serial killer, prevent both Good and Evil from completely destroying each other, and stop the demonic Kissi from ruining the party for everyone. Even for Sandman Slim, that’s a tall order. And it’s only the beginning.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What a great character --

  • By Ione on 10-21-11

What a great character --

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

Reviewed: 10-21-11

Stark isn't a nice guy. He isn't polite, he isn't considerate, he doesn't play by the rules. He is continually pissed off, he goes through a LOT of destroyed clothing, he hates almost everyone, and he loves to steal cars.

What's not to love?

The Sandman Slim books aren't perfect, but author Richard Kadrey has managed to create a great character in James Stark. Stark repeatedly refers to himself as a monster, and he is an efficient killing machine -- yet he is also intensely loyal to folks like his murdered lover and the few living people he trusts, and somehow he ends up saving the general populace (and the world) from various true monsters whether he really wants to or not. Kadrey can write surprisingly poetic prose -- a rough hewn sort of poetry, but still effective -- and that in combination with Stark's obnoxious attitude and frequently outrageous violence make for an engaging, humorous, and sometimes breath-taking good time.

Now, these books are not perfect. A lot of the fantasy elements are pretty off the wall to start with, and sometimes Kadrey really strains my ability to suspend disbelief. In particular in this book, at the climax he did something with the angel half of Stark that really had me waving the BS penalty flag (I won't spoil it here). Even so, the way he set up the climax and its aftermath promises to provide a lot of interesting conflict for the next book, so some good reading may come of it. And even given that this sort of believability problem does occur occasionally throughout the Sandman Slim books, they are still a lot of fun to read.

As to the narrator -- I was not all that fond of MacLeod Andrews when I listened to the first Sandman Slim book, but he has grown on me as the series progressed (and, probably, as he got more used to the role). In Aloha From Hell I think he does a fine job of voicing both the rough-edged Stark and most of the secondary characters. Occasionally some of the side characters sound too much alike, but that's a minor complaint.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Steel Remains

  • By: Richard K. Morgan
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 15 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 935
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 682
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 690

In just a few short years, Richard K. Morgan has vaulted to the pinnacle of the science fiction world. Now he turns his iconoclastic talents to epic fantasy, crafting a darkly violent, tautly plotted adventure sure to thrill old fans and captivate new readers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This isn't your father's gay hero!

  • By Tizroc on 01-23-09

worth a re-read

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

Reviewed: 10-20-11

I'm currently reading this book for the second time, and I'm even more impressed with it this time around than I was the first time. There's a lot going on in this book that most people don't seem to appreciate. Yes, there's a lot of violence. Yes, there's a lot of swearing. Yes, there's some graphic sex -- although not nearly as much as some folks might have you believe. BUT -- and this is a huge "but" -- this isn't just a bloody sexy action adventure. This book is ABOUT things -- it's about domination, subjugation, loss, frustration, futility. It's about a brutal world and brutal situations, and how characters cope or fail to cope with them. It's about "The Other", both within a society and outside it. It's about a lot more than body counts or sex acts.

If you read this book, don't get lost in the superficial. Look for the meaning behind the action. The Steel Remains deserves a lot of thoughtful reflection, not just the easy knee-jerk response that many seem to give it.

Oh, also -- I own this book in both audio and text formats. I love it either way, but I do enjoy the extra atmosphere brought to it by Simon Vance's excellent narration. Good job, Simon!(less)

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Cold Commands

  • A Land Fit for Heroes, Book 2
  • By: Richard K. Morgan
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 16 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 563
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 520
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 521

Only a select few have earned the right to call Gil friend. One is Egar, the Dragonbane, a fierce Majak fighter who comes to respect a heart as savage and loyal as his own. Another is Archeth, the last remaining daughter of an otherworldly race called the Kiriath, who once used their advanced technology to save the world from the dark magic of the Aldrain - only to depart for reasons as mysterious as their arrival.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Graphic / Edgy / Entertaining

  • By Adnan on 11-01-11

It's official, I'm hooked --

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

Reviewed: 10-15-11

The Steel Remains was the first Richard K. Morgan book I ever read, and it hooked me from the start. I'm happy to say that The Cold Commands has firmly cemented my new addiction.

Morgan has a gift with prose writing. I mean really, who can resist lines like "the blade tore sideways through the pliant lips of the scabbard, made a blurred arc around and down off his shoulder, was there at guard in front of him, like steel laughter in the light.". Couple that prose with fascinating characterization and intense action, and you've really got a book worth reading.

The Cold Commands is obviously a "second" book, the middle of a trilogy. It is clearly setting up action for the grand finale. Nonetheless, it also has plenty of action and plot in its own right. All three of the main characters expand and develop from their beginnings in The Steel Remains, and we especially see more of what Ringil is becoming -- whether he wants to or not. I won't post spoilers here, but I shuddered at some of the suffering Morgan inflicts on Ringil in this one -- and I can't wait to see how Morgan finishes up the series in the next book!

There is still quite a bit of explicit violence, some moderately explicit sex, and plenty of swearing in this book, so those who were offended by The Steel Remains (TSR) should probably steer clear. But anyone who appreciated TSR should love this volume as well. Also, Simon Vance does just as good as job with The Cold Commands as he did on TSR, so his narration was a joy to listen to and definitely adds to the reading experience. I own both the text and audio versions of both of these books, and each enhances the other.

Oh, finally -- for fans of the Takeshi Kovacs books -- read carefully, and you will find multiple references to Takeshi and his universe. You don't need to catch the references to enjoy the book, but they provide some fun insider entertainment if you do!

18 of 19 people found this review helpful