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K. F.

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Steel World audiobook cover art

Forgettable

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

Reviewed: 09-16-19

Masquerades as military sci-fi, but there's no science and the author seems to have no knowledge of military strategy or tactics. The protagonist is generic, but clearly designed to serve as a surrogate for the reader. There's nothing special about him, yet experienced commanders keep leaving everything up to him and time after time he saves the day without any kind of coherent plan. The central plot is weak and screams "author made it up as he went along". If you like intelligent fiction or realistic military fiction, run the other way.

The Worldship Humility audiobook cover art

Unbearable

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

Reviewed: 09-04-19

The narrator is unbearable. The premise is ridiculous. Three massive worldships all collided with each other for total loss of life? Do you realize how big space is? This is like three cruise ships in the Pacific, departing from different ports, all colliding at the same time. Never has happened, never gonna happen.

Children of Ruin audiobook cover art

Decent

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

Reviewed: 09-04-19

Not as good as Children of Time. Much of that story's strength lies in the author's exploration of how certain species might evolve if given the chance. It all seems breathtakingly plausible and is engrossing like few other books.

Children of Ruin also follows the theoretical evolution of several species, but here the author has made frustrating choices, covering species that are inherently difficult to understand. The entire narrative has a vague feel as it delves repeatedly into highly alien thought processes, with concepts and emotions that don't translate well to human experience. I understand what the author was going for, but it often feels hand-wavey, like an excuse to avoid exploring the emotional depths of these organisms. Between this, and some recurring horror elements, the tone is markedly different from the first book.

Likewise, the tech in this novel delves much further into the fiction side of science fiction, and we see a lot of pseudo-scientific ideas and inventions that don't feel plausible in the same way as the first book.

If you're on the fence, I'd say to skip it. It's not a must-read sequel and you shouldn't feel obligated to listen just because you liked Children of Time.

Children of Time audiobook cover art

Must-listen

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

Reviewed: 08-22-19

An absolute must-listen for any fan of serious sci-fi or genetics. One of the greatest works of our time.

Wally Roux, Quantum Mechanic audiobook cover art

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 08-07-19

William Jackson Harper is expressive but has no range. Every voice is Chidi from The Good Place. This makes conversations hard to follow, because it's not clear what's talking.

The story is weak. There's a lot of random nonsense that the author handwaves with "quantum mechanics". Scenes and characters seem to have no purpose, and the story doesn't really go anywhere. You can tell by the end that the author has gotten bored as he puts in less and less effort and events become increasingly inexplicable and incoherent.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Homefront audiobook cover art

Audio mixing disaster

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

Reviewed: 07-13-19

This is what happens when you let an amateur mix an audio drama. Sound effects are way too loud. Filters and reverb on the dialog are way too intense. Half of the dialog is unintelligible and almost all of it sounds like 90s era cell phone conversation with "large cave" reverb added. What a disaster. They utterly ruined the story.

It also seems like the editors were pulling any trick they could to artificially increase the length of the book. Maybe they got paid based on the total minutes. You know what isn't fun? Listening to a malfunctioning AI that keeps repeating itself and saying "error" for five entire minutes. Even *worse* is that same AI trying to have an argument with another AI that is malfunctioning and talking painfully slowly.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent audiobook cover art

Abysmal

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

Reviewed: 07-12-19

Bad voice acting and a ridiculously silly story that sounds like it was written by a child living on pop culture from 15 years ago. If you're still into Chuck Norris jokes, you might enjoy it.

The Dead Drink First audiobook cover art

Bad audio engineering

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

Reviewed: 07-10-19

It's all right. Some interesting details, but I didn't feel absorbed in the quest to find information about a dead soldier. Audio mixing is absolutely terrible. I can't believe the mix got a green light. Volume is all over the place and many interviews are unintelligible.

Outland audiobook cover art

Good but could have been better

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

Reviewed: 06-18-19

Excellent novel, captivating from the start and difficult to put down. Taylor has thought things through very well and created a gripping narrative with likable characters, exciting science, edge-of-your-seat tension and drama, etc. I'm excited to see where the story takes us. This could have been as good as Bobiverse, if Audible hadn't rushed it.

It's obvious that Audible rushed this in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Taylor paired with Ray Porter. Why? Because Porter, who is more than capable of handling separate voices and accents for each character and does so in many of his performances, makes very little use of his vocal range in Outland. Porter only uses four character voices for much of this novel - happy male, happy female, sullen male, sullen female. This makes conversations difficult to follow, because there's no difference whatsoever in tone, inflection, or accent between characters of the same gender. Audible should have given Porter the time to come up with a unique voice for each character, and possibly paired him with a better director. It's disappointing to see that they didn't go the extra mile this time.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Intensity audiobook cover art

Awful narrator, slow story

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

Reviewed: 03-29-19

Even if this was a good story, it would be ruined by the atrocious narrator. She reads extremely slowly and the entire narrative is delivered in the same flat monotone. I had to put the playback speed at 1.15x just to be able to pay attention and still was bored to tears. It baffles me that people like this get paid to narrate.

This is some of Koontz's worst writing. He belabors every point for paragraphs and paragraphs. Every single thought and event is expounded upon in detail that is literally exhausting. 75% of the narrative is the main character planning ahead and then discarding her plans. There's also a scene where a character is trying to escape from being tied to a chair; this is described in so much detail that the scene lasts over an hour of narration (at 1.15x speed). I don't want to spend an hour of my life listening to the details of someone escaping from a chair. Without all the pointless detail the book would only be three hours long.

The book is full of "typos". I'm not sure if they were typos in the original text, or just the narrator misspeaking, but there dozens of times where it's clear that the wrong word was used. E.g. she's talking about a drill and says "the bitch slipped" instead of "the bit slipped"

0 of 2 people found this review helpful