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John

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  • 46
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  • 9
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  • The Poison Throne

  • The Moorehawke Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Celine Kiernan
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 13 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

When young Wynter Moorehawke returns to court with her dying father, she finds her old home shadowed with fear. The king has become a violent despot, terrorizing those he once loved. His son and heir Alberon has fled into exile and now there are whispers everywhere of rebellion. Meanwhile, Alberon’s half-brother Razi has been elevated to his throne. He struggles to meet his King’s demands while remaining loyal to his beloved brother and to his friend Wynter.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Swashbuckling adventure tale

  • By John on 12-29-16

Swashbuckling adventure tale

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

Reviewed: 12-29-16

The Poison Throne is a gripping adventure tale with elements of fantasy, mystery and romance. I loved the writing, from the vivid descriptions of court life to the inner conflict of the characters. There are no simple characters here, we see a dark side to nearly everyone, as well as their struggle to overcome it. The young heroine Wynter is intelligent and brave, but also shows emotion and vulnerability, like most teenagers.

The relationships between characters are explored in depth, and although the plot centers on epic power struggles, the story also touches on themes of family, identity, race, and gender roles. No punches are pulled, and the emotion gets quite intense at times. (There is also some violence and torture that may deter the squeamish.)

This is a book that challenges the listener, but I found it very rewarding. It also has plenty of humor, as well as scenes of unbridled joy. The narration is superb, and hits every emotional note with authenticity. I’m looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

Fantastic Tales of Ray Bradbury
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Ray Bradbury
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Ray Bradbury
    
    


    
    Length: 4 hrs and 29 mins
    147 ratings
    Overall 4.0
  • Fantastic Tales of Ray Bradbury

  • By: Ray Bradbury
  • Narrated by: Ray Bradbury
  • Length: 4 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51

Bradbury's rich, evocative prose stands in perfect contrast to his dark atmospheres and fantastic settings. These 14 spellbinding stories, including "The Illustrated Man," demonstrate why Ray Bradbury has been called "America's finest living fantasist."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Thomas on 03-18-04

Overall a great listen

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

Reviewed: 09-24-12

These are masterful stories of all types, from frightening and futuristic cautionary tales to nostalgic portraits of days gone by. It's amazing that a science fiction story like The Veldt, first published in 1950, still has relevance in today's computerized world, perhaps even more so.

From a dramatic standpoint, I don't think the author is the best narrator for his own work. His modest, everyman voice doesn't rise to the luminous poetry of the writing, and he rushes through passages so beautiful you wish you could savor them. But the great benefit to having the author's own narration is not only his inside knowledge of character and motivation, but his commentary at the beginning of each tale, providing insight into how it came to be. These strengths help compensate for the reading and make this a collection worth listening to.

  • Dolphin Mysteries

  • Unlocking the Secrets of Communication
  • By: Kathleen M. Dudzinski Ph.D., Toni Frohoff Ph.D.
  • Narrated by: Kym Dakin-Neal
  • Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5

Dolphins have fascinated humans for millennia, giving rise to an abundance of stories and myths about them, yet the actual details of their lives in the sea have remained elusive. In this enthralling book, Kathleen M. Dudzinski and Toni Frohoff take us into the dolphins' aquatic world to witness firsthand how they live their lives, communicate, and interact with one another and with other species, including people.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A great introduction to dolphin behavior

  • By John on 07-26-12

A great introduction to dolphin behavior

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

Reviewed: 07-26-12

This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about these mysterious mammals. It delves into topics of dolphin biology, behavior, communication, interaction with humans, and public perception.

As an audiobook, it's occasionally hard to follow. There is a lot of information to absorb, and the narrator speeds along at a relentless clip. Also, the printed edition of the book has many photos and drawings which are missed here.

But aside from those minor drawbacks, this is a fascinating and thorough introduction to dolphins, which proves that the more we know, the more we realize how much we don't know. And if you're interested in learning still more, I highly recommend you seek out the printed book.

  • The Whale

  • In Search of the Giants of the Sea
  • By: Philip Hoare
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25

The whale is the largest, loudest, oldest animal ever to have existed. It is improbable, amazing, and - as anyone who has seen an underwater documentary or visited the display at the American Museum of Natural Historycan attest - a powerful source of wonder and delight to millions. The Whale is an extraordinary journey into the world of this fascinating and mysterious animal.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Some great insights, but too much digression

  • By John on 12-15-10

Some great insights, but too much digression

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-15-10

The uniqueness of this book – combining historical, biological and personal narrative – also makes it a bit hard to follow, especially as an audiobook. In the printed version, quotes from Melville and others are set off from the rest of the text, making them easier to distinguish (or skip), and there are also dozens of illustrations and historical photographs that illuminate the stories. Reduced to a single audio narrative, it loses focus. I also think the narrator is somewhat miscast.

The writing itself is very good, and covers a huge amount of research and reference. Whales are portrayed in language poetic, wondrous, surprising, and occasionally profane (sensitive ears be warned!) You can see the author's inquisitive mind at work as he tries to uncover the essence of these creatures. Unfortunately the journey takes us in so many directions, readers may feel like those whalers at sea, weary from the long periods between actual whale sightings.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Archer's Tale

  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Tim Piggott-Smith
  • Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 319
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208

At dawn on Easter morning 1343, a marauding band of French raiders arrives by boat to ambush the coastal village of Hookton. To brave young Thomas, the only survivor, the horror of the attack is epitomized by the casual savagery of a particular black-clad knight. Thomas vows to avenge the murder of his townsmen and recapture a holy treasure that the black knight stole from the church.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Adventure

  • By Jt on 05-18-07

Action-packed historical fiction

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-11-09

This is an exciting tale of medieval times. There is a lot of focus on the battle scenes, and while they are riveting, I felt almost as weary as the soldiers by the book's end. The author doesn't shy away from depicting violence and brutality, which makes for some intense listening at times. But the characters are strong, and their noble struggles make you realize the terrible cost of war in any age.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Howl's Moving Castle

  • By: Diana Wynne Jones
  • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,702
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,107
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,128

A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and ALA Notable and Best of the Year in Young Adult Fiction, Howl's Moving Castle is by acclaimed fantasy writer Diane Wynne Jones and was transformed into an Academy Award nominated animated motion picture by Hayao Miyazaki. On a rare venture out from her step-mother's hat shop, Sophie attracts the attention of a witch, who casts a terrible spell transforming the young girl into an old crone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Entertaining

  • By Christopher on 07-02-12

Great book for all ages

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-11-09

I really love this book, it is inventive and rich in so many ways. It has themes that appeal to all ages, and playfully tweaks the fantasy genre while creating one of the most memorable wizards in literature. The story is quite different than the movie version, with surprises right up until the end. The narrator has a unique voice, but I liked her interpretation, and highly recommend this audiobook.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • The Castle

  • By: Franz Kafka
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 155
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 64

On his deathbed, Franz Kafka asked that all his unpublished manuscripts be burned. Fortunately, his request was ignored, allowing such works as The Trial to earn recognition among the literary masterpieces of the 20th century. This brilliant new translation of The Castle captures comedic elements and visual imagery that earlier interpretations missed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Obscure, enigmatic, and not for everyone

  • By John on 02-08-06

Obscure, enigmatic, and not for everyone

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-08-06

I'm a Kafka fan, and I read The Castle before hearing the audiobook. This is definitely not for everyone -- long, rambling, seemingly without direction. Many of the passages feel more like a philosophy treatise than a story. It is an unfinished novel, literally ending in the middle of a scene, which leaves one very unsatisfied.

The narration is excellent, although a Kafka novel isn't something you can breeze through -- there are times when you need to stop and let a particular sentence sink in. In many ways I preferred to read the actual book, and take my time with it. This is a book that makes you work -- there are more questions than answers, and no real solutions. Like trudging through snow, it can be both wearying and exhilarating (not to mention deep.)

Before he died, Kafka told his friends how he intended The Castle to end, and that information would have been very helpful to include here. I also recommend The Trial as a much more accessible Kafka novel, which deals with many of the same themes (the individual struggle against a frustrating and obscure bureaucracy).

10 of 10 people found this review helpful