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Lilyn G.

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  • 85
  • helpful votes
  • 96
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  • Outland

  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 609
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 585
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 581

When an experiment to study quantum uncertainty goes spectacularly wrong, physics student Bill Rustad and his friends find that they have accidentally created an inter-dimensional portal. They connect to Outland - an alternate Earth with identical geology, but where humans never evolved. The group races to establish control of the portal before the government, the military, or evildoers can take it away. Then everything changes when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts in an explosion large enough to destroy civilization and kill half the planet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • can't wait for the next one.

  • By jeff on 05-18-19

So good I've already started re-listening to it!

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

Reviewed: 05-16-19

I received a pre-release copy of this book from Audible for review consideration and am voluntarily posting my review. Receipt of this free copy does not influence my review.
------------
I like the combination of Dennis E. Taylor and Ray Porter almost as much as I like Jonathan Maberry and Ray Porter. Y’all that is saying something! I mean, it’s true that Ray Porter possesses a nearly magical ability to bring stories to life instantly inside my head, but even he can’t make a silk purse out of a sow ear. (See Dead Moon for an example.) However, when he is given a story like Outland that is already all sorts of perfect all on it’s own? That is when the listening experience goes from enjoyable to Yes-I-know-it’s-2-am-and-no-i-can’t-turn-it-off-thank-you.

When I was asked if I wanted to review a copy of Outland, I didn’t even read the synopsis. I went straight to “Yes, please.” as soon as I saw the author and narrator names. It is a decision I do not regret. Taylor’s story is one that kicks off nicely and keeps going at a perfect pace.

From pop culture to multiverse theory, there’s a little bit of something for the nerd that exists inside us science fiction readers. I am fascinated by the idea of Yellowstone erupting and how that would play out for the United States in general. Taylor took me beyond that though as he explored how it would effect the world at large as the balance of power shifted and the long-lasting effect it would have on the human race.

One of the things he said outright depressed me for a moment. Now, this quote isn’t going to be exact because I was listening to an audiobook, but it was in the midst of a discussion about how far humanity would be set back and they were talking about resources. It was something like:

“We’ve used all the easily available resources (metals, oil, etc.). We’ve mined all the medium-difficulty resources. We’ve gotten the hard stuff too. Now we’re highly advanced technology to get to the hardest to reach stuff. Humanity will be in an early-Industrial age with none of the resources they need to rebuild.”

I paused the book, leaned back, and went “Well…shit. I never thought of that.” It took me a moment to press the button and ‘read’ on.

I loved the main characters of Outland. It is a mix of mostly nerds with some kick-ass women involved. There was scenes that had me giggling in pure enjoyment, and mentally cheering when some retribution was delivered in no-holds-barred fashion. None of them are perfect. There’s a hint of romance but it is never central to the story at all. They all deliver absolutely groan-worthy lines at one moment or another. They all know they’re not doing good enough and at some point their luck is going to run out.

Perhaps my favorite thing about Taylor’s writing is how he manages to keep it so well-balanced. Even when serious happenings are going down, there’s always a wisecrack or wry observation to lighten the mood. Taylor writes sci-fi for those who have happily owned their geekdom, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This one needs to go on your must read/listen pile, folks!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Slimer

  • By: Harry Adam Knight, John Brosnan, Leroy Kettle
  • Narrated by: Hannibal Hills
  • Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 18

When a yacht being used to smuggle drugs sinks, the six smugglers must seek refuge the only place they can - an abandoned oil rig in the middle of the sea. But there's something strange about this oil rig. For one thing, it looks more like a scientific research facility. And for another, there are no people - only piles of clothes with no bodies in them. It soon becomes clear that something is loose on the rig. Something deadly. It's stalking them, one by one, but it's not just a horrible death they have to fear - it's what comes after.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • the thing

  • By richard wessel on 04-24-19

Quick, fun read

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

Reviewed: 05-02-19

This was my first time listening to Hannibal Hills narrate. While I did have to speed his narration up a bit, I generally liked his work. His accents were good, his range between the men was decent. His female voices weren’t grating to the ears, but not terrifically varied, either. His voicing of the characters had me wanting to slap said character every time he appeared in my ears but considering the dude was a class A jackass it was a good choice.

The characters aren’t much to speak of. You’ve got an asshole drug-runner and his tough girlfriend, a druggie and his girlfriend that would do anything for him, and then the other guy and his girlfriend. That is pretty much all you find out about the characters and, really, all you need to know about them. They’re characters in an 80’s cheesy horror book. The rules say that only a few of them are going to survive and the rest are going to die horrifically. (I like this rule.)

There was a scene in here that made my stomach churn. Unusual for me. I can put up with a lot without even thinking about it, but stuff being forced unnaturally far down people’s throats triggers my gag very, very quickly. The rest of the scenes were weird and/or gross, but not particularly disturbing. (Sometimes they were kind of fascinating to imagine.)

In regards to the story itself: It took a while to hook me and it reminded me a little too strongly of The Thing but I was nevertheless engaged in what I was reading. This is only a 133-page (at least on Kindle) book, so by necessity the story had to be tight and the pace rapid. Stuff starts happening within about fifteen minutes and doesn’t let up until a suitably dramatic ending.

Overall, Slimer is not particularly original or horrifying, but it is as cheesy as you would expect horror from this era to be. I’m happy that Valancourt are re-releasing these gems in an era that can embrace them for their bad-goodnesss. Hannibal Hills did a solid job as narrator and I’d be willing to listen to more from him in the future.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Trail of Lightning

  • By: Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Narrated by: Tanis Parenteau
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,907
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,773
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,774

The sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse have destroyed most of the planet…yet out of these waters, Dinétah, a former Navajo reservation, has been miraculously reborn. Listen along as Tanis Parenteau's impeccable narration, capturing the rhythms of Navajo speech, fully envelopes you into the Sixth World. Trail of Lightning follows our heroine as she walks the land alongside gods, heroes of legend, and monsters alike. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • AMAZING STORY

  • By Annie Slasher (Booked & Loaded) on 01-14-19

Enjoyable, but not outstanding

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

Reviewed: 02-12-19

I wanted to like this a lot more than I ended up doing. I really enjoyed the Indigenous American spin on the fantasy, with all the mythos wrapped into the story. It brought the story to life in a way that fantasy normally doesn't for me.

The narrator's voice was pretty good except for when she was doing the old man. Then it scraped my ears and was just not enjoyable. I don't know how on point her saying the IA words were, but she sounded confident and the rhythm felt correct, so I bought it.

This felt a bit YAish, what with the hammering in of an attempt at a love triangle, but that ended satisfactorily enough that I can't really complain.

Overall, I can't say I'd pick up the next one in the series, but I don't regret snagging this one while it was on sale.

  • The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks

  • By: William F. Aicher
  • Narrated by: Scott R. Smith
  • Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

In the aftermath of the Chemical Wars, nature has reclaimed humanity's infrastructure. This world, lush with life - yet dangerously uninhabitable for mankind - houses the remaining population that ekes out an existence in quarantined cities anchored off the mainland. David S. Sparks awakens into the chaos of this future world, unsure of his place in a reality wildly different from his fragmented memories. As the desire to retake the planet swells, so too does the question of how. Will the same mistakes be repeated? And what is David Sparks' role in it all?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Kept me guessing!

  • By Lilyn G. on 06-15-18

Kept me guessing!

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

Reviewed: 06-15-18

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration.

The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks (heck of a title) kept me guessing. These days, that's about the highest compliment I can give. Right away I was wondering exactly what had happened to this dude. There were a few times when I thought I knew what direction things were going in, only to find out I was so very wrong. Normally, by the fifty percent mark in a book at the latest, I know basically how a book is going to turn out, and what rating I'm going to give it. Not so much in this case.

The author doesn't waste a lot of time on description, but he gives it to the reader when it's necessary. I appreciate that. It makes the scenes where he does go into detail even more impactful. There are a few scenes that stand out in my mind. Like the field growing body parts. Or a certain scene right after an unintentional swim. That one had my gorge rising.

As for the characters themselves: David and Rosa are okay. I liked Ghost more than both of them, probably. However, none of them really make much of an impression except for Calvin. Calvin is not a likable fellow. Calvin needs punched pretty much every time he opens his mouth.

The pacing is good. The exploration of a future where we've screwed things up so badly and not been able to really escape from it is interesting. David's journey and his decisions are enough to make a person think.

The only real pick I have with The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks is that the writing needs tightened up a bit. Though I understood the necessity, I rolled my eyes a bit at the super-convenient way the 'need to know' backstory was related. Having a character with memory-related issues being told the way things are is a classic device, but it's not a great one. I'd rather just read something setting the scene ahead of time than be forced through an awkward recitation later. There's some repetitiveness in the writing that could use some work as well. It's not super-present, but enough so that I remember thinking it a handful of times when reading/listening.

The narrator, Scott R. Smith, did a good job. His character voices were all very distinct. This distinctiveness might be part of the reason I ranted a little bit about Calvin earlier. Every time Calvin spoke, I tensed up. The man's voice was so arrogant, unpleasantly accented, and... and... Yeah. I maintain that Calvin just needs punched. 

Overall, The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks has a few issues, but the author is talented enough that I had to finish the book. I was so curious about what he was doing, and where things were going to end up. If you like futuristic mystery, this one is definitely worth your time. 

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Zee Brothers: Zombie School Lockdown

  • Zombie Exterminators, Book 2
  • By: Grivante
  • Narrated by: Ian McEuen
  • Length: 3 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10

The Zee Brothers suit up for their second adventure. This time answering the call from a local charter school that fears they may have an outbreak amongst their students. The brothers find themselves trapped inside the school, with no weapons, scared children and a host of hungry and toxic undead. They improvise with the help of the school lunch lady and a rather intelligent young student to try and stop the toxic infection from getting out of hand.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Zee Brothers are back!!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 12-13-17

Oh, dear. Awesome!

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

Reviewed: 03-20-18

The Zee Brothers are back, hilarious, and cruder than ever. I mean that, quite literally, as the its not too far into the book before one of the adults at the school is caught in a rather compromising position with someone else (not a student) as they turn into a zombie. There is a sausage nommed, and it isn’t a Vienna. So, again, just in case you thought otherwise, with a silly title like Zombie School Lockdown, this book is not for kiddos.

Jonah, Judas, and JJ are a fantastic team, and I was happy to see that they were all trying to make their unusual partnership work. Zombie School Lockdown is just as much about the development of the relationship between the three as it is the outbreak in the school. Jonah and Judas are well-meaning and slightly dense, and JJ is self-confident and has a good heart. The result is something that should seem like a semi-disgusting mess but is actually rather just unusually cute Watching Judas and Jonah trying to navigate how to try JJ will have you melting and snickering in turns.

The action is nicely-paced, the imagery disgusting and silly, and as usual, it is all exquisitely narrated by Ian McEuen.

If you haven’t read the first book: Zee Brothers: Curse of the Zombie Omelet, I highly recommend you do so before moving on to the second book. You could read just the second book, but you’ll get so much more enjoyment out of reading them in order. Grivante is a talented writer who knows how to write action and comedy flawlessly together. I can’t wait to see what the next installment in this series is going to bring. I have a feeling its only going to get more ridiculous from here on out. But I am a little worried about the pooch! There’s hints in this book that something a bit dangerous is in the works.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this audio book from the author for review consideration.

  • Semiosis

  • A Novel
  • By: Sue Burke
  • Narrated by: Caitlin Davies, Daniel Thomas May
  • Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 835
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 786
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 788

Forced to land on a planet they aren't prepared for, human colonists rely on their limited resources to survive. The planet provides a lush but inexplicable landscape - trees offer edible, addictive fruit one day and poison the next, while the ruins of an alien race are found entwined in the roots of a strange plant. Conflicts between generations arise as they struggle to understand one another and grapple with an unknowable alien intellect.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Weird. But good. But weird.

  • By Lilyn G. on 03-20-18

Weird. But good. But weird.

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

Reviewed: 03-20-18

Semiosis was an odd book that evoked many different emotions. I started out loving the book because of the sheer imagination displayed, but was pretty sure at some points that I was going to end up hating it. However, my affection for the book would gain ground again just a few chapters later. I can’t say I outright loved the book, but I actively wanted to finish it – and that’s been difficult for me to do lately.

There are aspects of Semiosis that don’t make a lot of sense, but you can put them aside for the sake of the story. For example, at one point there’s a super small amount people on Pax. Assuming an equal distribution of males to females, and fertility for all, that’s still not really a firm ground for genetic diversity to avoid inbreeding and stuff. There were some balances put in place initially, but they’re done away with fairly early on. And then additional complications are brought into play. So, yeah, the fact that several generations down the road there’s no visible signs of issues there gives me a little bit of pause.

The time skips were a little bit weird because there was no real order to do them. It was like the author used them to move past the parts of the story that she didn’t know how to handle. A way of just writing the good parts, you know? It ended up working out in the end, but it was one of my least favorite aspects of Semiosis.

Sue Burke did do an amazing job crafting the main character of most of the book. They were completely unexpected, creepy at first, and we (my buddy reader and I) were positive that there was something fishy going on. (And not in the Shape of Water way.) Neither of us liked them for a good potion of the book. However, somewhere in the last 80 pages, having watched the character evolve, a certain fondness took hold.

In some ways, Semiosis felt like it was a bit of a riff on the Harry Harrison’s Deathworld novel. In fact, when I read some of the first praise for it, I thought “Haven’t these people read Deathworld? It’s not that original.” But though there are some basic similarities, Burke definitely developed Semiosis into her own story, and it really was completely unpredictable.

One of the things that I think will stay with me for a long time is something that the characters talk about early on. Human beings realizing that they couldn’t bring their environment with them. That they needed to find a place to fit in with the local environment, not force the local environment to adapt to them.

In a time where science fiction seems obsessed with interstellar wars and focuses on the knowns such as the asteroid belt and the rocky planets, to read a book like this is a sheer pleasure. It shows that there are still science fiction writers out there that are capable of cultivating nearly neglected ideas and growing them into a book you haven’t read a variation on five hundred times before. Yes, there’s been plenty of first contact novels, but there’s only been a few like this.

Overall, Semiosis is a strong showing from Sue Burke. The plot is solid, the pacing wobbles a bit but stays interesting, the world is captivating, and it ends absolutely perfectly. I hope that any forthcoming novels from her are just as creative and interesting. It’s worth checking this one out, y’all, if for no other reason than it’s a great change of pace.

As for the narration: I thought they did a solid job. It was an easy book to sink into at night.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Stinger

  • By: Robert R. McCammon
  • Narrated by: Nick Sullivan
  • Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 179
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 173

Ever since the copper mine closed, the West Texas desert hellholes of Inferno and Bordertown have been slowly dying. Snake River isn't the only thing that divides them. Racism, gang wars, and anti-Mexican sentiment have turned the sun-scorched flatlands into a powder keg. If anything can unite them for now, at least in awe and wonder, it's the UFO that comes soaring out of the clouds like a flaming locomotive.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Alien Invasion F-U-N!

  • By Char's Horror Corner on 03-16-18

Awesome aliens but too slow starting.

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

Reviewed: 03-20-18

Swan Song was an amazing book, and I enjoyed every bit of the tale that Robert McCammon had to tell in it. So, when I was offered the chance to review another one of his books in audio format by the narrator, I eagerly said yes. And about 1 hour into listening to Stinger, I was wishing I hadn’t. Luckily that changed up a bit by the end of the book.

I don’t think that Stinger sucks. At its base, it’s an interesting story. But it did feel like everything was against me liking this book. The one potentially bad thing about listening to an audio book is that you have to ‘read’ slowly. In my case, it slows my reading speed down to less than half of what I normally read at, even when I push the speed of the playback up to 1.5x. So, if there’s any element of the narration or story that doesn’t work for me, it’s going to make it very difficult for me to stay engaged.

Nick Sullivan is, objectively, a good narrator. He differentiates the voices, speaks with passion when need be, but doesn’t over-dramatize things, and gives the story the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, the southern accents required due to the story setting set my teeth on edge. That, combined with the sometimes unpleasant voices (perfectly fitting the story just not my ears), and the obsession with the ‘gang war’ in the beginning of the book meant that Stinger was not an audio book I was eager to keep listening to. Also, although I’m sure I’m not wording this exactly right, I don’t feel as though his voice was necessarily the right one for the book.

There were elements of the book that I did like, though. Robert McCammon has created a great bad guy in Stinger. Every time he (it?) appears in a scene, it’s this weird mix of fascinating and disgusting. I never liked him, but his scenes were some of the most captivating in the book. Dolphin was neat as well. I liked watching ‘her’ understanding of humans evolve rapidly over the short period of time the book takes place in. Every time action was happening, I was interested in what was going on. Once the gangs thing in the beginning was dealt with, and the action I had been waiting for finally got going, I was able to enjoy the novel a little bit. The last fourth of the book, I actually really liked.

However, the characters were cardboard, the clichés were many, and the glacial pace at which things got moving meant that this 24-hour time period felt more like a six month siege to me. I think Stinger would have been a much more enjoyable read/listen if it was about 150 to 200 pages shorter.

One thing I did think repeatedly while listening to Stinger was that I was positive I would love it if it was adapted for film. McCammon has a way of painting visuals that you just know would translate into outright horrific images on screen.

I really went back and forth on what to rate this. It wasn’t a truly enjoyable experience for me, but a lot of the issues that I had weren’t necessarily things that I could ‘dock’ for. A lot of it felt like it was more my issues than anything wrong with the book. (Something I’m especially inclined to believe since I’m in the midst of Boy’s Life now and loving it.) I recommend McCammon on the whole, I just didn't care much for Stinger.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this audio book from the narrator for review consideration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Dinosaur Four

  • By: Geoff Jones
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 332
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 310
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 313

A ticking sound fills the air as Tim MacGregor enters The Daily Edition Café, hoping to meet his new girlfriend for coffee. Moments later, the café is transported 67 million years into the past, along with everyone inside.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Dinos, Baristas, and Coffee Addicts, Oh My!

  • By Lilyn G. on 02-23-18

Dinos, Baristas, and Coffee Addicts, Oh My!

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

Reviewed: 02-23-18

I really enjoyed The Dinosaur Four. It was fast-paced, well-written, and kept me engaged from beginning to end. I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting when I agreed to review The Dinosaur Four. I just knew the cover was awesome, and I liked the idea of a random group of people getting transported to the past. I was a little bit wary about the time travel aspect, but considering they were going back to the dinosaurs, I didn't think much could go wrong. (I have nothing against time travel in stories, I just don't like it when the book turns into a history lesson.)

By the time I'd been listening to the book for an hour or so, I was just hoping for lots and lots of people getting turned into dino-snacks. I knew it had to happen, considering we start with twelve, but the title is The Dinosaur FOUR. I'm happy to report that there were, indeed, several instances of people getting turned into dino-snacks. The first death is the best one, I think, though. Just because of the method (non-snacking) of death, and who it happened to. 

The collection of characters that get sent back to the Cretaceous was pretty fun. I was pleasantly surprised by the assortment. My favorite one was probably the delivery guy. I found myself rooting for him to live straight from the beginning. Kudos to Geoff Jones for writing a positive African American male into the story. The tease about "one member plots to keep them all in the past" had me giving most of the characters the figurative stink-eye in the beginning. As soon as it became clear who it was, I promptly spent the rest of the book hoping that character died in the most horrific way possible. And while I didn't exactly get the most goriest of satisfactions, I have to say the way that one gets what's coming to him was absolutely perfect and utterly evil.  

The Dinosaur Four was an entertaining story in it's own right, but Nick Podehl's narration greatly enhanced it. The audio version was a blast to listen to. Podehl isn't afraid to make a fool of himself with sound effects, and I found myself laughing with delight on a few occasions because of this. Overall, this was a fantastic audiobook to listen to, a great story to experience. Just a general, all-round nicely executed piece of entertainment. If you like dinosaur-themed action that doesn't take itself too seriously, I definitely recommend giving The Dinosaur Four a try. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Zee Brothers: Zombie Exterminators

  • Curse of the Zombie Omelet!
  • By: Grivante
  • Narrated by: Ian McEuen
  • Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36

The Zee Brothers have a strange and dangerous vocation. While some hunt rodents or pests in the dark, Jonah and Judas tackle much larger prey: zombies. Equipped with a well-loved artillery gun named DeeDee and a much used and somewhat abused pickup truck called Sasha, the duo clear the night of undead pests, keeping the ever-present threat of a zombie apocalypse at bay.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Weird!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 08-18-17

Fantastically fun listen

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

Reviewed: 01-10-18

Oh, dear sweet Cthulhu, Zombie Exterminators: Curse of the Zombie Omelet was ridiculous. And I mean that in the best possible way. It was narrated by Ian McEuen and his narration was perfect. His accents and tones were as over the top as the story was. This is a short story that translates to about 2 hours of listening time. While I imagine the story itself is entertaining, McEuen just makes it perfect.

Within minutes, I was reminded strongly of one of my favorite horror comedy movies. Like Tucker and Dale, Jonah and Judas have a certain do-gooder redneck charm and a fascination with the woman that enters the story early on. And J.J., the lady they’re both admiring, seems perfectly suited to become a part of this Zombie Exterminator gang. Grivante makes sure Zombie Exterminators: Curse of the Zombie Omelet hits the ground running and only slows down a few times to let you catch your breath. I loved every second of it.

There are definitely some pop culture references that certain readers are going to enjoy in this book. I cackled at the “Should we chop their arms off” line referring to Michonne. There’s everything from magic 8-Balls to popular movies, but they’re worked into the story in ways that seem appropriate, rather than Ready Player One “Must. Have. Lists.” Style.

Probably the oddest part of the whole story was the dog. (I won’t say more about him for fear of spoiling anything.) I would definitely like to see a little bit more of his story explored in any further books.

I feel the need to inform you though, that even though this is a hilarious read/listen, it is not a kid friendly one. There’s a scene involving a gearshift, a bad transmission on a not-a-three-buck truck, and women riding in the middle that would leave you with some explaining to do if you let your kiddos listen along with you.

Overall, Zombie Exterminators: Curse of the Zombie Omelet, as narrated by Ian McEuen, was absolutely perfect. I highly recommend you get your hands on it as soon as possible if you’re a fan of over the top horror-comedy books and movies.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration.

  • The Rising

  • By: Brian Keene
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 143

The Rising is the story of Jim Thurmond, a determined father battling his way across a post-apocalyptic zombie landscape, to find his young son. Accompanied by Martin, a preacher still holding to his faith, and Frankie, a recovering heroin addict with an indomitable will to survive, Jim travels from state to state and town to town facing an endless onslaught of undead hordes and the evils perpetrated by his fellow man.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Different type of zombie story

  • By Rabid Reader on 08-01-17

A pleasure to 'read' again.

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

Reviewed: 01-09-18

As I received The Rising from the narrator for review consideration, let me first address his performance. Joe Hempel did a solid job with the multiple human characters that Brian Keene writes within The Rising. It was easy to differentiate them by sound alone and the slight accents that he gave to each of them. (I will say that Martin’s voice was a bit wobbly in the beginning, but he soon finds his rhythm with it.) The zombies all sounded the same, but that really wasn’t an issue for me. While Hempel doesn’t quite have the range of some of the other more well-known narrators, he still brings a dependable, easy-to-listen-to performance to the table.

With that handled, let’s address the book itself.

The Rising is a competently written tale of a man’s journey to get to his son after the zombie apocalypse. Jim is swiftly joined by a preacher, and later on by a woman named Frankie. It is well-paced, filled with action, and has occasional moments of levity (mostly dark humor) that made me snicker. Zombie goldfish, anyone? The book starts fairly shortly after the apocalypse has happened, and ends on a ridiculously infuriating cliff-hanger that me yelling at the author. (Having previously read the mass market edition before, I’m not sure how I didn’t remember this cliffhanger. Maybe I deliberately blocked it out of my mind.) Technically, we do get a full mini story-arc in the book, so I can’t gripe too much, but… but… ARGH!

Jim is… Jim. We’re given a bit of background on him, but the key points are that he loves his son and he’s going to get to him come – pardon the pun – Hell or high water. Martin, the preacher, is fairly inconsequential and mainly serves to provide support for Jim. I did appreciate that he never tried to force his faith down Jim’s throat. Frankie is an African American heroin-addict who had an absolutely horrible thing happen to her at exactly the wrong time. She goes through hell on several levels during the book, and I felt sorry for her even as I respected her transformation into someone who stands up for herself and for others. I know this was the author’s preferred edition, and therefore it contains more development to the characters supposedly, but I do still feel like Frankie was gypped. Keene had an opportunity to truly develop an interesting, sympathetic character in Frankie and he just fell short on it.

The Rising is a book with a very unique twist on the zombie apocalypse, and the start of a series that is utterly disturbing, but it is not a shining example of perfection in writing. The Rising does have issues; but, I don’t have as many issues with it as I know other people do. This is partly because, I think, of how sensitive I am to certain issues in comparison to others. Everyone has things that will get under their skin a little bit quicker. For me, the degradation that one of the characters is forced to undergo doesn’t bother me as much as the repeated use of dead children. I actually ended up admiring the strength of the character, even as I sighed at some of the clichés. But the dead kids…

The first time we see a dead baby in The Rising, it was just weird enough that I was able to kind of laugh it off. The second occurrence is intimately connected with one of the characters, and while the repeated references to it (like the dream sequence) did bother me, I could understand why the character kept thinking about it. So, again, I was able to ‘forgive’ it. However, there are circumstances in The Rising where the dead children are an image clearly used for shock factor, and those annoyed the bejesus out of me. But again, that is one of my triggers, and it might not bother other people at all.

Overall, The Rising was an enjoyable listening experience. I can’t say that I enjoyed it quite as much as I did the first time I read it, because growing up sucks and life happens and sometimes you just can’t read with the innocence you once did. However, I look forward to continuing to renew my acquaintance with Brian Keene’s work. He is undoubtedly a very talented author and there are scenes from his various books that I think about years later and just shudder.

Disclaimer: In case it wasn’t obviously from the first line in the first paragraph – I received a copy of this book from the narrator for review consideration.