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Rev. Zombie

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Fun Story

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

Reviewed: 03-08-18

Imagine Veronica Mars, meets Twin Peaks, and also make Veronica a shapeshiter (a weredeer to be precise) and you have a good idea of what I Was a Teenage Weredeer is about. Our heroine Jane Doe is stubborn, sincere, and intelligent. She's investigating a murder case in which her brother is the prime suspect. We have a lot of enemies, allies, and enemies that become allies.

There are a lot of deer puns in this book. I'm not a pun person, myself. Though neither is our hero, which does help. There is a self-awareness to the story because it's an ode to fiction that came before it. It's a little too heavy on the pop-culture references. Many of those references feel a bit too dated for our 18-year-old heroine. My suspension of disbelief can totally accept this town of shape-shifters, however the commanding knowledge that the two teenage leads posses of 80's/90's pop-culture was a bit too much. This being said, despite my dislike of puns and the double-helping of pop-culture, the novel sucked me right into it. This is a fun listen. And as much as I groaned at the deer puns (I had no idea there could be so many puns made about deer) I kept reading because its a damned entertaining story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A Fun Adventure

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

Reviewed: 07-13-17

This is a dystopian near-future novel in a similar vein of 1984, V For Vendetta, or Equilibrium. It reminds me the most of Equilibrium (though there is no Gun-Fu). After religious extremists caused a several horrible tragedies, the new government has outlawed religion, and other emotional things. We are now in a strictly enforced world that is ruled by logic, reason, and fear.

Our hero, Rafael, is drafted into service by the government to help then root out a network of Believers who are smuggling religious artifacts. Rafael is not a classic hero. He's just a history professor and he isn't too keen on being forced into a dangerous situation.

The story moves along quickly after that, becoming an International chase full of riddles, history, and daring escapes. It was fun.

It's compared to Indiana Jones. I see it more of Orwell meets Dan Brown.

Some reviewers have found the idea of the American society turning its back on religion as unbelievable. I don't. It's Speculative Fiction, no more than any of the dystopian stories I already named - no more than The Man In High Castle shows an alternate present based off a common history. The 'how' we got to this isn't important. Pogach gives a little information on how this society came to be, but nothing more than necessary to understand that this is where we are now.

However, I believe that a logical and efficient society would have at least gone with the Metric System.

The Narator, Terry Self, was very good with the pacing and the voices. There were a couple moments he seemed to stumble and it wasn't edited out. Overall, he was extremely good.

Cyberpunk meets Hitman

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

Reviewed: 04-26-17

I've enjoyed several of C.T. Phipps' other stories, and Agent G: Infiltrator has been my favorite so-far. Here we follow G (just G) an elite assassin for hire much in the same vein as Agent 47 from the Hitman video game franchise(which I'm also a huge fan of). In order to become the perfect killer, G's memories have been wiped, giving him no loyalties to anyone outside his employer.

Phipps gives us a lot of action, double-crossing, and shootouts as we follow our hero across the world. G and the other assassin of his kind are enhanced with cybernetic upgrades, making them even more than human. Mix that with their moral blank-slate, compliments of the Agency's mind-wipe, and we have a cast of very lethal and superhuman killers. (As a huge Cyberpunk fan, I found this much to my liking.)

The ending for me was my favorite part. I enjoy a good twist.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Delightfully Dark

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

Reviewed: 04-14-17

Originally appearing in the Blackguards Anthology, The Long Kiss is a story about a man that is fleeing his past, a past which includes betrayal, murder, and a whole lot of gold. It's a short listen at 35 minutes, and is delightfully dark.

Macleod Andrew does a fantastic job performing this little tale.

Rough Opening But Quickly Improves

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

Reviewed: 11-18-16

Excellent addition to the MHI series.

The beginning was pretty rough, as the heroes attend a monster-hunting conference and MHI meets its competitors. One of the biggest annoyances I have with the series is the running sentiment that anyone that's not with MHI (either government or other companies) is either evil or painfully incompetent. That sentiment got cranked up to 11 as MHI butts heads with a rival company right out the gate. The over-macho chest-pounding really turned me off, but quickly that mood changed and the hero confessed it was his own personal bias (not really, since the rival characters have always been evil or incompetent) and Owen begins to warm up to many of the other hunters and most of their rivalries turn more toward friendly.

Convention setting aside, the plot quickly picks up as the heroes are thrust into a dangerous situation that requires the combined skills and experience of all the best hunters in the world. The action is wonderful. The characters continue to grow, and there are more than enough 1-liners for comedic moments. I plowed through the second half of the book at full-speed.

I give the first quarter of it a low 3-stars and the remaining 75% a high 4-stars. Averages out to a solid 4.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

So Close to Greatness

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

Reviewed: 08-22-16

The story is wonderful. I loved the full cast, and the music is great. However the execution of transforming Joe Hill's story into an audio performance was poorly done. There are several times that there are looong cuts of silence. It might have only been a few seconds, but a few seconds of dead air means that listeners are wondering if something wen't wrong with their device. Any audio producer should know this, yet they continued doing it.

The biggest problem is that there are many many times that I, as the listener, had zero idea what was going on. This could have been fixed with adding a narrator telling you ("He grabs the gun") or having the characters state what they are doing (I grabbed the gun!), but an action scene that is just grunts and banging is not as clear as the producers might think. This story was updated and written to be used as an audio performance, but it's like they assumed I'd have the original graphic novel open in my hands like the read-along storybooks I had as a kid. But it wasn't supposed to be that way.

Overall I enjoyed it, but because of it's terrible execution I can't recommend it. I'd love to hear more full cast performances like these, but only if they make them more listener-friendly.

0 of 6 people found this review helpful

Esoterrorism audiobook cover art

Archer meets Hellboy

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

Reviewed: 08-04-16

A mix between James Bond spy fiction and Hellboy, Derek Hawthorne is employed by a secret, international organization known as The House. The House's function is protect the world from all the monsters, renegade wizards, and whatever else goes bump in the night. Derek works in the Red Room, the division in charge of covert ops, assassination, and all the super-fun spy stuff.

The book is fairly light-hearted, Derek is more Sterling Archer than Bond. He's sarcastic and openly jokes about many of the more common tropes in both the Urban Fantasy and Spy-Fi genres. It's got a lot of humor, but also a lot of action which places it in a category that makes it difficult to drop into a specific genre. Mostly, it's a parody.

I recommend it, but don't come in expecting anything super-serious.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

An Assassin You Shouldnt' Cross

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

Reviewed: 05-31-16

Sword & Sorcery assassin adventure meets Zombie Apocalypse. Fun twist on the genres.

While I enjoyed the story, the performance felt off. Stewart's soothing voice wasn't always appropriate for the action scenes.

Better than expected

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

Reviewed: 04-14-16

After the horror-show that was Goldfinger, I was a little leery about starting another Bond novel. The overall ridiculousness, misogyny, and racism was pretty hard to stomach. But I figured I’d give it another go with Bond’s 8th book. This one is a collection of 5 short stories and I was curious to see how they fared compared to the novels. I’m happy to say that it blew them away.

The stories are extremely varied, ranging from vendetta killings to chasing down Italian drug lords.

A View To a Kill – The murder of a government courier sends Bond on an investigation to discover the killer’s identity. This story follows the classic “Bond Opening” prevalent in the films, by starting with the problem, then bringing Bond in to deal with it. The story uses the infamous Bond Gadgets like in the films, though he’s not the one using them. It served as a solid opening story and rekindled my faith in the character.

For Your Eyes Only – Bond goes on an “Off the Books” assignation job for M. Great story. A moment or two of misogyny, but tame compared to most of the previous books.

Quantum of Solace – Bond goes to a party and talks. Yup. That’s it. No Bond Adventure, just a story of Bond hearing a story about a man who fell in love with a flight attendant and was trapped as a cuckold in a loveless marriage. Bond learns a valuable lesson on judging people. While good, it really sticks out because Bond, like the audience, is merely listening to a story about people we’ve never met and without all the things that one picks up a Bond story to read about. I spent more time than I should have waiting for it to get good, rather than just enjoying it. Much better tale in hindsight than during the actual telling of it.

Risico – Bond travels to Italy to track down the source of a heroin ring. Great deal of action, and even some old-fashioned betrayal. Good contrast to the previous story.

The Hildebrand Rarity – This one is strange. Bond is for some random reason on a boat with a god-awful man in search of a rare fish for the Smithsonian. The boat owner is deplorable and Bond wrestles with the knowledge that his host is abusing his wife. Bond also exhibits a huge amount of sympathy for a fish. It’s more of a moral crisis for Bond than in any other story so-far. I’m 50/50 on this on how much I enjoyed it. It’s not a bad story, but it isn’t a good Bond story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book more than most of the Bond series so-far. Fleming was able to get to the adventure and employ his wonderful prose, but didn’t have much time to stop and straight-up insult people like he does in the novels. I really think the shorts are his strength.

Samuel West did a very fine performance, especially with accents in this international adventure.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Not Bad, But Not Amazing.

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

Reviewed: 04-12-16

I've really enjoyed the Reckoners Series. It's fun and extremely imaginative. However the third and (probably) final installment has been my least favorite.

I can't exactly pinpoint it. The setting was extremely cool, David's terrible metaphors were hilarious, the action was cinematic, but still it just didn't leave me with the same feeling the other books had.

The complaints I can name are few, but I do have some. The big twist as to the villain's identity was disappointing, as was the physical setting of it. The ending felt rushed. Also, many of the characters were just kind of "there" and not used as they normally are. While the "cussing" annoyed me in the previous books, I didn't mind it as much, but probably because I was so used to it.

MacLeod Andrews' performance was top-notch. He's done a fantastic job with this and with all of the Reckoners books.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful