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John B

MILFORD, NEW JERSEY, United States
  • 16
  • reviews
  • 30
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  • 83
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This needs to be listened to by more people

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

Reviewed: 07-19-14

This was a fantastic book. I have been a fan of both Martin Amis and Steven Pacey in the past. They are both excellent at what they do, and to have them come together for this title made this one excellent work to listen to. This book kept me enthralled for its entirety. I don't know if it is marked as a thriller, but I was still wondering what was going to happen until the last 10 minutes.

Martin Amis' characters are all terrible people. Accept and enjoy that and you will love this book. Other than that, they are funny, and flawed, and excellent characters. Sure, they may ride the lines of being stereotypes, but they're portrayed in an interesting way.

Then there is Steven Pacey. I am not afraid to acknowledge that Pacey is the best narrator I've listened to and I have over 100 audiobooks completed and he is in fine form here. His characters all sound great and easily distinguishable. He really added a lot and almost tips the scale to make listening to this book the superior choice.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Commendable effort

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

Reviewed: 04-24-13

What did you like best about The Scrolls of Xavier? What did you like least?

The thing I liked and disliked the most were the planet that the story took place on. John Ashley obviously had a plan, and if it were expressed more it could have been very interesting, but there is no real picture painted of the world other than a thought about a quarter of the way through that only described it as "Earth-like"

I would have liked to have his vision of the planet conveyed in a better way so that I could attempt to see what he sees when he thinks about the world.

Would you recommend The Scrolls of Xavier to your friends? Why or why not?

No. The people I would recommend the book too are middle schoolers (and that is in no way an insult). There is a lot of leeway in science fiction, but even still there were a lot of plot holes and some lazy writing that could be a hang up for older readers.

What aspect of Matt Weight’s performance would you have changed?

I hated, and I mean HATED that Mr. Weight changed the voice for the same character for narration and speaking. The book is written in the first person and so when the main character is not talking Mr. Weight spoke the text normally, but then when the main character does speak Weight adds unnecessary gruffness. It gave me a real Christian Bale as Batman vibe. The first person narration was Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, and the speaking was Christian Bale as Batman... It was ridiculous.

Another thing was the accents. Mr. Weight seemed confident with his russian and english accents, but not so much with his irish and israeli (though one can argue that an israeli soldier doesn't have to be from israel I'd think that their force would mainly be from that area in the future). I'd prefer no accents to a couple, but there wasn't much dialogue from any but the english character, so this complaint is negligible.

One thing I did very much like was Mr. Weight's french and russian. Those were very good.

Could you see The Scrolls of Xavier being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Maybe, but it'd need a few rewrites.

Any additional comments?

I'll start by saying that this is a very commendable first effort.

The problem, however, with this audiobook is a mix of questionable writing and narrating. I've already pointed out the problems with the narration I had, but as far as the writing goes, a lot of it just seemed lazy.

(I don't consider it a spoiler, but alert just in case)

4 of the 5 sub missions in the book were, essentially, the same. Fly there, find enemy's base, stir up trouble, bring main character inches from death, save main character, planes come before the horde gets to the group.

There are a few other things that I'll write somewhere else, but it all combined to make me a little disappointed. However, I acknowledge that I may not be the intended audience.

Examines the genre and exemplifies it

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

Reviewed: 04-20-13

I'll put it bluntly to start. Both Abercrombie and Pacey are masters at their craft.

Joe Abercrombie has penned a series that not only examines, and at times parodies, the fantasy genre, but also created a brilliant example for it. All of main characters are very well written.

Steven Pacey's performance in all of the books are the best bit of narrating I've ever heard. He has amazing ability and it really makes the audio shine. He can make all of the characters unique and interesting to hear, and he brings all of the subtle emotions to the surface with his brilliant acting ability.

The only reason that this book was not 5s across the board is that this, the first book in the series, is mainly just a set up for the rest of the series. The first alone does not accomplish much in it's own right, but the set up is still entertaining and definitely leads to a great series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Not a single gripe!

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

Reviewed: 02-24-13

This is my first entry into the first law universe, and I was very pleased.

Abercrombie and Pacey make an amazing duo. What is an extremely entertaining and brilliant story is only enhanced with great narration. I can only say good things about the epic story, the interesting characters, and the world I can't wait to hear more about. I am just so very glad that the First Law trilogy is also narrated by Mr. Pacey! If you are interested but still on the fence, listen to this book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

I wanted to like it less!

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

Reviewed: 02-24-13

This is very difficult. You see, dear reader, I wanted to like this book a lot less. That may seem very harsh and unfair, but it is true. It is for the sole reason that the premise is kind of ridiculous. A looter and a deserter are tasked with finding a dozen eggs in Russia during WWII. That's right, eggs. Not to mention that it seemed the author thought that, while the middle of the chapters could seem a little too light hearted at times (the protagonists pick some strange times to talk about girls), the end of the chapters always seemed to have a scene intended to add to the drama whether it was the protagonists actually finding themselves in a precarious position, or just a sad scene the characters stumble upon.

Like I said, these happened at the end of every chapter, but to give credit where credit is due, they never feel too forced. I wanted to like this book less for these reasons, true, but I couldn't and found myself having enjoyed the book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

A review for the not so smart

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

Reviewed: 02-24-13

It's ironic to write a review for a book that has a section that slightly mocks reviews, but I'll do it anyway.

This is not my first trip into a psychology book, but it is the one of the most interesting. I've heard a lot of the studies before, and at the beginning I was worried that I'd have heard every single piece of evidence that was going to be mentioned. Luckily, I was very wrong. I found many new studies and they were all told in a way that I found both entertaining and informing.

Most psychology books are a pretty easy 4 stars with me, but the way this one was presented made me have to give it a boost above the other ones.

Healey's Cave audiobook cover art

Print may be the way to go.

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

Reviewed: 01-31-13

It was my pleasure to be given a copy of this audiobook in exchange for this review.

I'm going to start with the elephant in the room, by which I mean the narration. Now, I had no problems with Mr. Fraser's voice. I thought he was a pretty good fit for the retired Dr. Moore. That said, there were a few choices that I found to be less than ideal and that took me out of the story for a few moments.

For example, and in my best attempt to avoid spoilers, there was a scene that involved Sam and his son in which I would have expected the characters to be flooded with a range of emotions like concern or compassion, but the way it was read made the characters seem like nothing had just happened and that they didn't have a care in the world (If you listen to this, you may have an idea of the scene I am speaking of).

I found this to be odd, because it seemed as if Mr. Fraser wanted to include some feeling of immersion. When the narration stated that a character had chuckled, Fraser chuckled the line. It just seemed wrong that the narrative included more emotion than the actual dialogue did.

There also seemed to be a complete lack of spacing between chapters. Instead of a new chapter starting at the beginning of a new paragraph, it seemed as if the chapters started right in the middle. Again, this can be an example of the narrator's attempts at immersion (or an example at my attempts at nitpicking). An attempt to keep the flow of the story going with little distraction, but instead it caused me to pause and take notice.

This story is award winning, and with good reason. Its an excellent read, and I'd hate for people to disregard it because the narration isn't all it could be. I still would suggest people take the time to read this book, just maybe that they stick with print and read it on their own instead.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Set the Night on Fire audiobook cover art

I'm no child of the 60's, but it was still great.

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

Reviewed: 01-31-13

I got this audiobook for free in exchange for this review, and it was a true pleasure to be given the opportunity to listen to this book, and I'll do my best to fulfill my obligation in a way that does justice to an excellent audiobook.

The story itself was a great thrill. It was fast paced and kept my interest throughout. I found myself going from present, to past, and back to present in a way that flowed very well. The author was able to keep the expert balance in mystery/thriller novels that many simply cannot, and that was her ability to reveal while also never making it obvious, and the whole time avoiding plot holes that can easily plague a title of this genre. The ending was satisfying, and I never felt my excitement lessen throughout the reading.

The reading itself was good, and Diane Gelman did a fair job in portraying characters in a realistic way. She was able to express the emotions that the characters were feeling, but never went overboard with it. By that, I mean that there was no sense that something was being done overdramatically. With that style, some parts could come off as flat, but all the more subtle emotions in the speaking were there and well presented.

Again, it was a great listen, and I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to listen and review this work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Super? Eh, not quite.

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

Reviewed: 12-28-12

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I'd say so. I was hoping for more wide ranging psych ideas, but it was not completely disappointing.

Would you be willing to try another book from William Irwin (editor) and Mark D. White (editor) ? Why or why not?

I've seen the other titles and most follow the same "____ and psychology" setup. Most of which I'm, unfortunately, not interested in.

Any additional comments?

I did enjoy this book. It took many characters and events for the avengers under the microscope, but there was some things that just felt missing. I thought some important characters were left out in favor of lesser characters. We all love our favorite archer Hawkeye, but did he deserve to take spotlight away from the Hulk, one of the listed Avengers founders who was not examined? I walso would have liked to hear the psychology aspects applied in a broader sense, as I have seen in other comic hero psych books. But, these things do not completely take away from a quick and entertaining listen.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

The second step to becoming my favorite trilogy

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

Reviewed: 12-16-12

The title is not an exaggeration. This trilogy is shaping up to become one of my favorite reads in a long time, and this, the middle child in all of it, does not disappoint in the slightest. If you've read the first one you already know of the dark prince, and it should not be surprising that he remains dark even when his title advances to king (even if that title is somewhat self proclaimed), but we the listeners are also treated to hearing how Jorg Ancrath evolves over the years. And its a believable evolution because it keeps the perfect balance of being significant, without being drastic. So, in some ways he is the same prince we learned to love in the first book, but he also is maturing. This book also reveals more about the world of the Hundred War, something that is extremely interesting to learn, and added a lot to my enjoyment of the tale.

But enough about how amazing the book is, the narrator also deserves his praise!

Once again, James Clamp has done an AMAZING job. He nails every part of his performance. All the characters retain their individuality, and the acting is superb. Setting him with the task to read this book was really a match made in heaven and I simply can not wait to hear him reading the last installment.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful