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Horrible Narration with 5th Grade Writing

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

Reviewed: 07-15-19

I don’t understand all the four and five star reviews. If you are an adult, the narration is like listening to a Nickelodeon show And the writing is at fifth grade level, and even then I think I’m being generous.

The author tries to be funny, and he isn’t. When the author does get into the meat of the issues, it’s pretty interesting, but the use of additional readers to portray the dialog between the main characters is childish and preachy.

Not worth the time

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

Reviewed: 06-07-18

There’s nothing new here to make this worth the effort. In fact, the writing is bland, the characters flat, and some of the history suspect. There are too many far better historical fiction books available. Skip this one.

A Minus or C Plus could be either

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

Reviewed: 03-13-17

Any additional comments?

As the first book by a new fantasy author, this is a really good start, but before you jump into it, be forewarned some of the writing, and some of the plot are pretty bad. Without giving spoilers, there were several points where I almost gave up due to the silly plot lines or the really bad dialogue, and a lot of predicability, but if you soldier through it becomes a pretty good fantasy book. At least until a critical point, about 3/4 through where the protagonist has his "awakening" moment. It took forever, as the author pulled out every trope, every standard fantasy coming of age meme, and every single teen age angst emotion he could mention. It took my entire drive to work commute and at several points I was near screaming in the car, "Get on with, ok, ok, we get it." But no, it just went on and on and on and on. I almost hit the stop button, it was that dreadful. I'll forgive the author this time, because it is his first book, but if he wants me to read the next book in the series, he needs to write cleaner, neater, and more concisely. Too many words, way too much dreadful filler in this book.

The other minor complaint is the authors blatant stealing of ideas from other classic fantasy series. Nothing really new here. There is a minor twist with some of the civilization threats, but nothing that makes you say, "wow, that's great." The worse is the rip off of Tolkien and the mines of Moria,and as a serial fantasy reader I caught myself many times saying, "that's Sanderson, that's Scott Lynch." It's not a deal killer, but any regular fantasy reader will get tired of the rip offs. A great fantasy writer needs to move the goal posts with some new idea or plot twist.

So, an A Minus as a first book, a C+ as a fantasy genre series. Lots of room to improve, and if Renshaw tightens his writing up he will easily become a major writer in the field.

The narration is excellent and I will buy the second book in the series, hoping Renshaws writing rises to the challenge.

Too painful too bear

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

Reviewed: 11-12-16

If you like your sci-fi written at a fifth grade level then get this book. If you like your sci-fi full of worn out cliches, memes and tropes, then get this book. If you like your sci-fi full of momumentally stupid plot holes and logic jumps, then get this book. The initial chapters weren't too bad, but when the away team reaches the planet and meets the bad guys and the innocent natives, the dialogue and plot degenerate into mind numbing stupidity. I bought this book on a 2 for one sale otherwise I would be returning it on the grounds that a crime has been committed against the Star Trek universe.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

Sanderson Must Have Written This When He Was 15

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

Reviewed: 04-28-16

Any additional comments?

I wanted to like this book; in fact twice I tried to listen to this book, the first time I got about 2 hours in and gave up, but I soldiered on the second time and made it almost all the way through until I gave up. I like many of Sanderson's books, but this one is so stupid in parts that it destroys the balance of what should have been a great series opener, with an excellent series concept. My biggest problem was the lead protagonist is sexually obsessed with another member of the secret organization. So obsessed, that in the midst of tension filled scenes, where a normal person is focused on getting the mission done, we get these random and poorly written scenes where the young male protagonist starts thinking how beautiful the girl's hair is, how how her eyes shine at him through a mask of dirt and grime, and anger. "Oh, I can't seem to figure out why she hates me, I better blow up this shaft." It's just juvenile. I love YA hero fiction where super villains have to be defeated, but please save me from the teenage boy angst. The narration was just ok. Some voices done perfectly, but the Scottish guy with the Brooklyn American accent just didn't cut it. The dialogue is written at 15 year old male level. If you are ok with that, then the book will be enjoyable, but if you want some semblence of logic and reality in your plot lines and dialogue, then look elsewhere, there are far too many great YA titles out there. Don't waste a credit on this one.

23 of 31 people found this review helpful

Grade C crime fiction at best

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

Reviewed: 02-12-16

Any additional comments?

Spoiler alert - I have to give away a few parts so the plot, at least in general terms to tell you why I didn't care for this book. It's an easy listen and the narrator was ok, but I like crime fiction where the author gives you all the information you need to solve the solve the crime, has the characters act in logical manner, then deftly brings it all together in a climax that leaves you saying "Wow, I didn't see that coming" but when you look back everything was there for you. It is very frustrating as a reader when an author keeps critical information from you, then uses duex ex machina to redirect the entire plot onto the final trajectory. That's what Green does here, about 3/4 of the way through. She introduces a surprise witness out of nowhere, then kills off the witness as a red herring lead, and then completely drops that character and everything about them from the book, and this is all done in less than one chapter. She has another character, supposedly ruthless and manipulative, who suddenly takes a high moral road and refuses to divulge the name of the killer, even when it appears a second person was killed and it could have been prevented. Does this become a major plot issue? No, it's never even mentioned. The whole book is filled with these logic errors. Once you recognize one or two, you see many and you keep saying to yourself, this just wouldn't happen this way in real life. I know it's fiction, but you have to be able to buy into the characters to make it good fiction. That doesn't happen here. A character finds them self in a potentially deadly situation, and can remove that deadly threat with a single logical action which we all would do in that situation, but not Green's character. And yes, the character suffers some consequence as a result. I was just shaking my head at this point and saying, "that was stupid." I found myself say that was stupid too many times for this book to considered good crime fiction. If you want a background book, one that you can half listen to while you do something else, then this book will suffice, but if you want a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat and still make you say "wow, didn't see that coming, then look at other books. This is just Grade C fiction.

Neurosurgery tales done with excellent narration

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

Reviewed: 02-03-16

Any additional comments?

I wasn't sure at first if I would like this book, but I had heard the author on a radio interview and gave it a try. It's a fascinating look into the world of neurosurgery, and it's effect on the surgeon and the people he treats. Sometimes the author comes across as a caring, sensitive person, other times as an arrogant surgeon who believes he is the smartest guy in the room, and occasionally as a snarky, grumpy old guy. but through it all, he comes across as a human being with human strengths and flaws. I would let this guy work on my brain, attitude and all. The narration is great, his voice conveying the author's anger, compassion or derision perfectly in that clipped upper middle class english accent.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Rarely Give All Five Stars, but for this.....Yes

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

Reviewed: 01-21-16

Any additional comments?

There is only one real thing wrong with Lewisohn's history of the Beatles. Vol. 2 will not be out until 2020. I want it now, and Vol. 3 while you are at it Mr. Lewisohn. Tune-in starts out a little slow as Lewishon covers all the details of the early lives of all the main legends; John, Paul, George, Pete Best, Stu Sutcliff, Brian Epstein and George Martin. But, as later events show, knowing and understanding the personalities and events that shape them is crucial to understanding the musical and cultural revolution that the Beatles caused. You can always start a vigorous debate by asking what was the greatest rock and rock band of all time, but after reading Tune-in, there is no doubt that rock history was completely altered with the arrival of the Beatles. Everybody and everything that follows happened because four young men from Liverpool, loaded with talent and charisma, willing to do the thousands of hours of club dates to perfect their style, met the perfect storm of being in the right place at the right time with the right sound, finding the right manager, getting a sweetheart publishing deal, and meeting up with George Martin. I grew up in the 60's, I've always been a total music fan, I saw many legendary acts in small clubs before they went supernova, and you think, rock and rolI in the 60's was going to happen no matter what, but after reading this book, Now I don't think so. I realize just how important the Beatles were in bringing that era into being. This is an essential read for any one with an interest in modern music. Famous characters drift in and out of the story, and you can see how the momentary contact with the Beatles rising star altered the musical landscape in undefined ways.From the middle of the book onward, mostly because we know where the story is heading, the tension and excitement starts to build. I found myself often stopping the book and going to youtube to hear the recordings, or see the videos being talked about in the book. I went looking for all the mentioned photographs. This is well researched and well written book, one of my few five stars reviews. The narration is excellent. Oh, and Pete Best deserved to get booted out of the band.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good Story - for 14 year olds

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

Reviewed: 02-25-15

Any additional comments?

I wanted this book to be good. The basic concept was solid; a 30 year old lawyer finds himself one of the few survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The author does a good job of explaining how the event occurred and he does this through the eyes of the narrarator, but that is where all the good things end. There are so many instances where the plot is completely predictable and the author goes out of his way to kill any suspense he may have built. He starts out several chapters with the narrarator telling you he is ok now, or he is a captive, or that he is exhausted but safe, and then the story reverts to the past tense and we learn the events that led up to the current situation. There is no suspense if you know the hero is going to be safe and ok. Worse, the hero does stuff that would have you screaming at the screen if this was a movie. A suicidal mother kills herself with a shotgun. Does the hero take the gun to replace the one he lost. No, it's never mentioned again. The hero puts down his weapons and loses track of them while he loots a store with zombies handing around outside. Never gonna happen to a person with half a brain. The whole story is full of What??? moments like this and it takes away from the story. The first person narrative is full of whiny opinions and excessive hyperbole used to describe even mundane events. You are left saying, this guy is so stupid and he deserves to be a zombie victim. That's how I feel about the whole story. The narration was adequately done, though the narrarator does have a very young sounding voice. I think that is part of what makes the whole book sound like it was written for the 14 year old market.

Yes, it's Stephen King BUT!!

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

Reviewed: 06-29-13

Any additional comments?

I came to this book with high expectations, mostly based on the four and five star reviews. Stephen King is an amazing writer, and his descriptive prose, with all the little nuances of life attached is excellent, but this book just doesn't grab and draw you in. I had a similar problem with 11-22-63. I got half way through and decided I just didn't like any one character enough to warrant the time to finish the book. In 11-22-63, I just didn't like the protagonist. In The Stand, there are a lot of characters, and King spends a lot of time building back stories for most of them, but he does that at the expense of plot tension. If you are into character development and find that as interesting as plot twists and plot tension, then this is a book for you, otherwise be forewarned. In a book about the near destruction of humanity and society as we know it, there is not a lot of tension, in fact, Kings post apocalyptic world is a pretty dull and boring place. The narration however is nearly flawless, but it couldn't save the book for me.

There is an overtly religious theme here that I didn't expect from King. I am not sure what the book wants to be, a novel about the potential destruction of humanity; man's spirit and ability to rebound and overcome; or the final conflict and battle between monotheists and evil. In any case, I think you should be a fan of King's writings, or a fan of long drawn out character development to get the most out of this book. I'm not really either of those two things, and I was bored and so gave up about half way through the book. I really wanted to like this book, but that just didn't happen.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful