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  • The Affinities

  • By: Robert Charles Wilson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 158
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 143

In our rapidly-changing world of "social media", everyday people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies - genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling Concepts

  • By Madeleine on 05-20-15

This could be amazing...

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

Reviewed: 08-05-15

... if he'd given us the whole story, not just the first half. Once again, Robert Charles Wilson commits a home run in concept, if not in execution. It turns out that a 60% majority of humanity can be divided into one of 26 groups known as Affinities. An Affinity is a group where the members share a common psychological as well as genetic similarity. Some Affinities are larger than others, and our main character is a member of Tau, the largest Affinity. Over the course of the book, we see the Affinities go from a privately owned, Facebook like service, to something that is predicted to supplant governments and alter the trajectory of the human race.

Now the reason for the low review. The book only takes us to the point where we don't know specifically what is going to happen between governments and the Affinities but we know it is immanent, as the book stops rather abruptly. I know multiple book stories sell better than single books, but I would rather have a 12 hundred page complete story than wait a year for what is effectively the next page of the manuscript. Bad cess to the publisher, the editor, and Mr. Wilson. One of them should have put their foot down and published this as a single story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Working for Bigfoot

  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 3 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,410
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,067
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,052

Chicago wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden is used to mysterious clients with long hair and legs up to here. But when it turns out the long hair covers every square inch of his latest client's body, and the legs contribute to a nine-foot height, even the redoubtable detective realizes he's treading new ground. Strength of a River in His Shoulders is one of the legendary forest people, a bigfoot, and he has a problem that only Harry can solve. His son, Irwin, is a scion, the child of a supernatural creature and a human.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • So That's Who River Shoulders Is!

  • By Phillip on 08-05-15

So That's Who River Shoulders Is!

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

Reviewed: 08-05-15

This collection is best read before Skin Game as it answers many of the questions that book caused to the reader; unfortunately this book raises as many more. These three stories introduce the Bigfoot race and specifically River Shoulders to the Dresden Files universe.

In the first story, Harry is hired to travel to Wisconsin and paid a gold nugget the size of a golf ball by River Shoulders to protect his half human son. Without getting too deep into the story, this story is my second favorite of the three because it also deals with the Svartalfar.

The second story, although the most comedic of the three of them, Irving, River Shoulder's son, is now attending an exclusive honors high school and horror of horrors, he caught mono. As his father's heritage should have made this impossible, Harry is hired to investigate.

The third story, Bigfoot on Campus, Harry is directed to a college in Oklahoma where Irving has a walk on scholarship on the football team because River Shoulders had a vision of his son's immanent demise. This is definitely the best of the three stories as it takes place between Turn Coat and Changes, so Harry has his gear, including the now defunct Blue Beetle. It is also interesting that, although it is a left field solution, there is now a third possibility for the scions of the White Court who have yet to awaken their hunger.

Now, to the author, we need one more story in this collection. What happened to Irving and his girlfriend after A Bigfoot on Campus? Additionally, as Harry claims to have worked with, not just for, River Shoulders, I'd like to see one or more stories dealing with this, perhaps involving Listens to Wind.

Overall, well done.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Twilight Falling

  • Forgotten Realms: Erevis Cale Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Paul S. Kemp
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 265
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 267

Erevis Cale - simple butler or much, much more? The shadows grow long on the mean streets of Selgaunt...and the sun sets on one man's service to Sembia's merchant lords. The day's end finds Erevis Cale serving a new master, one who is beyond the petty accumulation of wealth. After all, what is gold to one who trades in souls?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really Good First Book

  • By Guy Generic on 11-23-13

Not for you if you aren't familiar with the Realms

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

Reviewed: 01-29-15

This book is truly difficult to review because depending on personal knowledge of the reader, the experience will be vastly different. If you are familiar with the Forgotten Realms setting, as well as such arcane concepts as Ioun Stones, Githyanki, and the various colors of Slaadi, you will love this book. If not, you do not have the requisite subknowledge to fully comprehend and enjoy this book or the other Erevis Cale books. As I have been playing D&D since 1981, far before the publication of the Forgotten Realms, this was not a problem for me. Unlike many of the earlier Forgotten Realms novels, you do not see the dice rolling in the text. I also found it refreshing to see well written stories based on incredibly high level characters that did not involve Elminster or the Harpers.

The storyline is a basic variation of the Hero's Journey. Erevis Cale is a major domo for one of the ruling families in one of the southern trade cities. His house is attacked and he vows to avenge this outrage. The remainder of the story is difficult to explain with ruining the whole series, but among other issues, Erevis is the first priest of Mask, the God of Shadows. This trilogy and the next are basically Mask meddling in Erevis' life.

I would be interested to talk to someone without the intimate knowledge of the gaming system, but I am afraid it would be a very negative experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sassinak

  • The Planet Pirates, Book 1
  • By: Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon
  • Narrated by: Ax Norman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 276
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 246
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 253

Sassinak was 12 when the raiders came. That made her just the right age: old enough to be used, young enough to be broken. Or so the slavers thought. But Sassy turned out to be a little different from your typical slave girl. Maybe it was her unusual physical strength. Maybe it was her friendship with the captured Fleet crewman. Maybe it was her spirit. Whatever it was, it wouldn't let her resign herself to the life of a slave. She bided her time, watched for her moment. Finally it came, and she escaped.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Really bad narration

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-23-14

Avoid this version at all costs!

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

Reviewed: 10-03-14

I approached this audiobook with anticipation as it was a frequent re-read when I could still see. In reference to the above stars, the Performance only received one star because I could not give it a zero. I hold both the producer and the reader to blame. The poor Sassinak (Sas-IN-ik) could not pronounce Sassinak (SAS-in-AK). This completely disrupts my ability to enjoy the story. To be fair, I jumped the early part of the book to where Sass went to school as a freed slave, seeking my favorite part of the book. I could not stomach it for any length of time.

I find the treatment of this entire series in audio format to be distressing. Dinosaur Planet and Dinosaur Planet Survivors do not seem to be available. Sassinak is poorly produced and Generation Warriors, which concludes the series, is a disasterous abridged version which leaves out almost 3/4 of the story. I truely lament this situation, as Dinosaur Planet was the first Anne McCaffery book I read back in my teen years.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Witch with No Name

  • The Hollows, Book 13
  • By: Kim Harrison
  • Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,879
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,631
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,647

In The Witch with No Name, Kim Harrison brings back her wildly popular heroine for one final, epic battle. Rachel Morgan's come a long way from the klutzy runner fleeing a bad job. She's faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She's crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She's lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thank you Kim Harrison for the memories!

  • By Fun Lovin Lady on 09-10-14

By Tink's tiny pink panties, I'm gonna miss this!

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

Reviewed: 09-29-14

It is always hard to let go of a favorite series, but unlike the ambiguous ending of "The Women of Otherworld," this book neatly wraps up the adventures of Rachel, Ivy and Jenks, even giving us a glimpse into the future similar to "Mockingjay," proving that Rachel truly made a difference and got her happy ending. The main focus of this story was Cormell's forcing Rachel to save Ivy's soul by ordering a series of hits on Ivy. Either Rachel somehow keeps Ivy's soul with her when she dies or another undead Tamwood vampire joins the existing power structure, still unstable after the events in "The Undead Pool." As a consequence of Cormell's interference, Rachel is further stripped of nearly everything she considers important in her life.

Ms Gavin's performance is once again a pleasure. In my mind, she has become the voice of Rachel. The specific voice characterizations for Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, Trent, Al and Newt are different enough that by this time, you know which character is talking.

It would be unfortunate to start with this book. As any series, I recommend starting with the first one, as "Dead Witch Walking" is actually better in audio format in my opinion than when I attempted to read it as a physical book.

Farewell, Rachel. As I await Ms Harrison's next project, I plan on indulging in her other series since I discovered that Dawn Cook is another nom-de-plume. I have read "First Truth," but not the other three, giving me something else to fill the void left by the ending of this amazing series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The House of the Four Winds

  • One Dozen Daughters, Book 1
  • By: Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
  • Narrated by: Emily Sutton-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 316
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 282
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 282

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes. Disguising herself as Clarence, Princess Clarice intends to sail to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain. Dominick leads the now - outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of the Four Winds.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Solid story, but this one is popcorn

  • By Phillip on 09-19-14

Solid story, but this one is popcorn

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

Reviewed: 09-19-14

This series has an amazing potential for diversity, which is both its greatest strength and its biggest flaw, but more on this later.

Basically, it appears that each book in the series will deal with one individual of the twelve royal daughters of a small pocket country. The overall setting is at its core our world in the early 1700s, but magic, called thaumaturgy, is recognized as a natural science. This first book focuses on Clarice, the eldest of the Dozen Daughters, who accepts her parents' offer of training in any occupation by choosing to become a swordmaster. The fundamental difficulty of this path is that she must first seek adventure, making a name for herself, to attract students to the school she will eventually open. Thus she goes to the new world, runs afoul of many pirates and an evil sorceress, and ends up falling in love in an entirely predictable fashion.

There is serious foreshadowing of future books in her description of her sisters. This represents the strength of the series, since no two books will be describing similar personalities. Unfortunately, this is also the greatest weakness. I actually want another Clarice book or two more than I want the story of any of the other sisters. On the other hand, there is no reason in the current publishing environment for one or more of the sisters to be granted a full trilogy. In my mind, this may be the best course for the series.

If you enjoy "The Fire Rose" or the Five Hundred Kingdoms books, you will find this book highly addictive. It is nothing special but to quote The Fire Rose, sometimes you're in the mood for an extremely sweet confection.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Blood Games

  • Chicagoland Vampires, Book10
  • By: Chloe Neill
  • Narrated by: Sophie Eastlake
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,043
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 954
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 959

While Merit didn't choose to become a vampire or Sentinel of Cadogan House, she vowed to fight for her House and its Master, and she's managed to forge strong alliances with powerful supernaturals across Chicago. But even though Merit has had wild adventures, this may be her deadliest yet. A killer is stalking Chicago, preying on humans and leaving his victims with magical souvenirs. The CPD hasn't been able to track the assailant, and as the body count rises, the city is running out of options.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just Keeps Getting Better!!

  • By The Elf in the Kitchen on 08-18-14

O my God the imagery

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

Reviewed: 08-24-14

This current installment of Chicagoland Vampires has moved Chloe Neill from the "purchase on sight but read it when I get to it" list to the "read before I sleep" list. In a single volume, Ms Neill advances her storyline farther than I had guessed she would in the next three books while avoiding a problem common to many long term series -- all good things come to the main characters. With many of my favorite urban fantasy series winding down or already complete, the Chicagoland Vampires has risen consistently in my estimation and I now find myself wanting the next book almost immediately.

As in previous volumes, it is well written and well performed, but is probably not the best place to start reading. If you are not going to start with book 1, Some Girls Bite, the previous (book 9) would be a better start point, but still not totally satisfactory.

Without too many spoilers, this book resolves the issue of Ethan trying to wrest control from the GP. Several new Masters and their Houses are introduced in this book, extending the reach of the series and the resolution was as unexpected as it was welcome. The hook to future volumes is a little obvious but is no less welcome.

Now the reason for the review title: Early in this book, Merrit goes to a huge Chicago game convention's dealer room and many of the participants think that she is cosplaying herself. She runs into multiple tables of Cadigan oriented merch, including multiple artworks of herself. I found myself laughing uncontrollably as I recalled a similar spectacle that happened at Origins almost a decade ago. Once upon a time, the husbands and wives of Big Daddy Thwak's Millennial Army had a bet and the guys lost. The penalty was memorable. The men, many with full beards, had to go through the dealer room in Sailor Moon fuku (Japanese schoolgirl sailor suits). Please understand I am good friends with most of the Army. Thank you, Ms Neill for planting an image I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I also find it interesting that Ethan and I both have a soft spot for 18 year old Glen Moranjie.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Shiver of Light

  • Merry Gentry, Book 9
  • By: Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Charlotte Hill
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,280
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,154
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,168

Merry Gentry pretends to be human. She moved to Los Angeles and began working as a private investigator at Grey's Detective Agency. But all of this is just a disguise; in fact she is a princess of faerie, her real name is Meredith Nic Essus, and she had to flee the Dark Court of Faerie because of attempts on her life. In order to inherit her rightful crown, Merry needed to conceive an heir, a notoriously difficult task for the slow-reproducing Fey. In the 2009 novel Divine Misdemeanors, Merry had finally achieved that goal - and fans have been kept waiting all this time to find out what happens!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narration not for me

  • By Dee on 06-05-14

Worth the Wait, but DAMN!

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

Reviewed: 06-08-14

Sense this is an Audible review, let me start by explaining why I gave the performance one star while I wish I could have given it zero. First this book is narrated by a new voice, and all though I understand why the previous readers might not be available, this was welcomed for several reasons. First, no one gave her access to the name pronunciation guide from the back of one of the previous volumes. This is probably not just her fault alone, so blame for this should be shared with the incompetent that produced this book. The most egregious and unforgivable mispronunciation was Ivy, a former vegetative deity, who's name is pronounced like the plant, not pronounced like a pokemon with a polymorphic evolution. That's right folks, she pronounced it Eevee. Additionally, the reader seems to have but one Irish accent in her repertoire and I found this very distracting. Please do your best to bring Claudia Black back for the next book.

The story was astounding. Although, I find it ironic that if you read the first three chapters and the last five, you basically got the entire story in a nutshell. I could go on with more details but they would be basically one giant set of spoilers and I choose not to do so. Please listen to this book. The performance is flawed, but the book itself is solid and I look forward to the next Merry Gentry book. May it not be five years for the next one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Skin Game

  • A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 19,657
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 18,324
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 18,248

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.… Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. He doesn’t know the half of it… Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back.

  • By Don Gilbert on 05-29-14

a Worthy Addition to an Already Strong Series

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

Reviewed: 06-08-14

Simply put, Skin Game is fun. The story line is rich, very convoluted, and full of fan candy. The author makes his usual barrage of pop culture references, my favorite being an oblique reference to Cheap Ass Games' zombie restaurant farce, Pass the Brain.

The audio performance is its usual solid job. It's always good to see James Marstars returning to read this series.

From this point on this review contains many spoilers so continue at your own risk. The primary story line is payback for the events in Small Favors. For some reason, Mab owes Nicodaemus a favor and Harry is the repayment of that debt. Basically, Nicodaemus is putting together a crew to break in to Hades secret vault where he keeps some of his valuable collections. Many familiar faces make appearances, but my favorite scene in the book is Waldo Butters, Knight of the Cross.

  • Against All Things Ending

  • The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Book 3
  • By: Stephen R. Donaldson
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 33 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 213
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 190
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 188

Award-winning author Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books have sold more than 10 million copies. In the third volume of this trilogy, Linden Avery confronts the consequences of using magical power sufficient to wake the Worm, which is capable of destroying the Land. And although the only hope may rest with Linden’s son, the boy could also bring disaster upon everyone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful language

  • By Jeph2005 on 06-11-11

Did Linden learn nothing in the previous trilogy?

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

Reviewed: 05-09-13

I have stated previously that Donaldson is one of the yardsticks against which I measure all other writing. In many ways, his propensity for manipulating the English language is getting in the way of the story.

The main focus of three quarters of this book is the continued degeneration of Linden Avery's character. Her monomaniac charge to redeem her son has already doomed the Earth at the end of Fatal Revenant. She continues to ignore consequences and her indifference finally leads to the death of several companions. The story seems to tread water for the majority of the book, and only advances in the last two chapters.

The many seemingly insurmountable problems Linden and Covenant face continue to magnify. Without spoiling the specifics, the problems of Esmer and Joan are the only things that redeem this storyline from irrelevancy.

The specific problems of this novel are many. The biggest issue in my opinion is that this story seems to exist to jam every background note ever written by Donaldson into published form. In many ways, the previous novel as well as this one suffer from the same problems that doomed The Silmarillion. I am not saying that it is not interesting, but it can be done better. I refer to the Brian Herbert/Kevin Anderson expansions of Dune. Additionally, as stated in the headline, Linden Avery seems to have forgotten everything she learned during her previous sojourn with Covenant under the Sunbane. I found this highly distasteful, and I have to go all the way back to the 80s to Night and Fog (the 5th Cenotaph Road book) for such a sad evolution in character development.

My final objection to this work is that Donaldson's contortion of the language stabs him in the foot. His constant description of all magic as "theurgy," magic of divine origin, rather than "thaumaturgy," or general magic, as well as refering to an oversize sword as a glaive, a polearm consisting of a stick with a knife on the end, are the most obvious problems.

Finally, directly related to the audiobook and its performance, please do whatever is necessary to bring back Scott Brick for the last book. This reader speaks with a noticeable and distracting Irish accent. His only apparent ability at characterisation is to enhance this accent.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful