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DRToohey

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  • 10
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  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

  • By: Becky Albertalli
  • Narrated by: Michael Crouch
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,338
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,029
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,033

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: If he doesn't play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone's business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he's been emailing with, will be compromised.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Crouch should be getting another award

  • By T. N. Taylor on 03-15-18

A wonderfully written, unique YA

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

Reviewed: 06-16-15

Simon is a 16 year old closeted gay kid, who has been sending emails to another closeted kid in his high school who he knows only as "Blue." Unfortunately for Simon, one classmate gets a hold of the emails and begins to blackmail him with them.

What I appreciated about the novel - despite beginning with blackmails and secret identities - ultimately did not feel too sensational. Instead, it actually felt quite real, with well-developed characters (a lot of people have a sense of interiority even if it isn't fully explored in the book itself). The characters are DEFINITELY the strongest part of this book...as they really are fantastic and fascinating. Overall it's an interesting - and definitely for me - relatable take on the stakes of coming out when they do not involve family disownment and such. A lot of the conflict on that end comes from the inherent change in how others see you, no matter their intentions, and the desire for a stable identity...fake as it may be. It's a refreshing version of a coming out tale, but one I think that a lot of people can relate to. And, even if the stakes are lower than disownment, there are definitely still important stakes (and I think it's a testament to the author that she can pull off real stakes when already ditching the ones most people assume)

Crouch also is a fantastic reader. He gives Simon so much emotion and brings him to life in a way that allowed this book to hit me even more in the feels. I've already given it a second listen and will be listening much more, I'm sure.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Steelheart

  • The Reckoners, Book 1
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,573
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,368
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,408

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He got the idea from a near traffic accident

  • By Don Gilbert on 09-26-13

Very tense, yet very funny twist on dystopian YA

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

Reviewed: 04-07-15

About 10 years ago, a big red ball called Calamity appeared in the sky. In the next year, people started getting super powers, calling themselves Epics. Except, every Epic is bad. So they begin not only terrorizing humans, but eventually carve the world up into city-states that they all rule like tyrants. The book centers around David Charleston, an 18-year-old whose father was killed by the toughest epic and ruler of Newcago Steelheart (essentially, evil superman) and whose looking to join the Reckoners, a group of humans who go around hunting Epics.

This book is a TON of fun and the narrator is one of my favorite on Audible. The main character, David, manages to have angst while still believably balancing it with humor (and avoids the Katniss problem of being a totally unfun narrator). His bad metaphors are a height of the entire Reckoners series. The other Reckoners are well constructed enough that even if they at times fall into tropes, Sanderson gives them enough unique qualities to let them breathe.

There are some nice twists and Chekov's guns (even if I did end up guessing steelheart's weakness about halfway through teh book) and where the book REALLY excels is the tension. I was seriously impressed that Sanderson was essentially able to carry out a chase sequence for over an hour and keep me excited and nervous the entire time. I was listening to this on runs and I think his writing literally made me go the extra mile (or three).

Also naturally there are some nice comic fan easter eggs. Obviously, a lot of the streets are named after comics writers, but my favorite detail might be naming the big weapons distributor Diamond.

  • Firefight

  • The Reckoners, Book 2
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,182
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20,272
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,239

Newcago is free. They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart - invincible, immortal, unconquerable - is dead. And he died by David's hand.Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers.Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Like a cherry on top of a Sundae in the North Pole

  • By Zenpaca on 01-16-15

Strong Sequel with a great villain

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

Reviewed: 04-07-15

A very strong and fun sequel to Steelheart. David and some other Reckoners join up with another Reckoner cell in Babylon Restored (flooded Manhattan) to take on an epic, Regalia, who has been trying to get their attention. Meanwhile, Prof's struggle with controlling his Epic-power-fueled emotions becomes tougher and David tries to connect with Megan...even though she's working for Regalia.

To its benefit, it doesn't just do Steelheart over again (my problem with the Harry Potter books, particularly before the twist at the end of book IV). The main villain, Regalia, is much more mustache-twirly than Steelheart (so, if book I was a fight against Darkseid, this is one against Lex Luthor or Magneto...she's the type of villain who has tea as she politely tells you how she will kill you). And the payoff for why exactly she is like that is actually quite satisfying (though it did mean that I guessed the major twist at the end about 2/3 of the way in). Andrews's performance of Regalia is also a definite highpoint of his reading, really bringing out her cultivated nature and old-lady bitchiness.

Also, it nicely continues exploring the world building started in book one, managing to explore the nature of Calamity and Epic powers/weaknesses without getting overly boring or nazel gazy, as sometimes happens when writers try to explain how physically impossible/nonsensical superhero stuff should make sense. Mainly because most of what gets explored has very tangible effects on teh plot and characters...so yeah, stakes can do a lot for that type of stuff.

The difference in relationship to Regalia also meant that this book suffered a bit of mid-book-itis (hence the 4 stars instead of 5 on story...though it's probably a 4.4). Because the characters were so clearly engaged in a chess game, the tension that propelled Steelheart (with its omnipresent sense of danger) lagged in the middle third of this book. Granted, some of this might have been affected by the fact that this was the third I mainly listened to on my 23 miler practice for the LA marathon, so it was a time when I needed something really thrilling and 4 hours of anything can begin to wear a bit. That being said, the final 4 hours or so again have the "can't put it down" tension.

The other major critique would be that the replacement side characters are not as good as teh Reckoners from the end of book I who stayed in Newcago (I really missed Abraham and Cody). However, the further character work done with David, Prof, Megan, and Tia was great and I really love what it did to their relationships (a good sequel, in my opinion, often should make it hard to view the characters' relations in the first part in teh same way if you revisit it - again, an issue with the earlier Potter books). David and Megan and David and Prof's interactions were a real strong point of the book and Sanderson really allowed these characters to breathe in fantastic ways.