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  • Elantris

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Jack Garrett
  • Length: 27 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,312
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,087
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,138

Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitans of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city's magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What if your body could never heal?

  • By Lore on 09-12-13

Fun and very inventive; some plot holes

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

Reviewed: 07-26-18

Story: I enjoyed this a lot. Fun characters, intriguing and unique world, some great payoffs. Sanderson can be counted on for those!

Unfortunately I found the plotting is sloppier than usual (it's a very early work by Sanderson.) Two small examples: a couple times a Seon is sent as a messenger instead of having it contact another Seon directly. Seon's are also described as rare enough to be notable, yet Sarene talks to hers openly in the king's throne room yet remains inconspicuous.

One more: Reoden doesn't think about his impending marriage at all in the first chapter. I think this is so that Sanderson can reveal it in the first sentence of chapter 2. It's a great hook for that chapter but hardly seems realistic, particularly when Reoden talks later about his high esteem for his betrothed..

But the truly frustrating examples are when characters behave inconsistently in favor of advancing the plot. I can't give examples without spoiling anything so I won't.

Many people won't notice these flaws and maybe I'm being too picky. Sanderson is so inventive and good that I find it annoying when he falls short of "great". (Maybe if he slowed down his writing a little? But I don't see that happening-- he's a fountain of stories and they need to come out!)

Narration: The narrator doesn't so much read the story as proclaim it. It I found his reading style ponderous and annoying. Thank goodness for Audible's 1.25x setting-- at that speed it sounded like a normal reading to me!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • All These Worlds

  • Bobiverse, Book 3
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 42,455
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 39,741
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39,632

Being a sentient spaceship really should be more fun. But after spreading out through space for almost a century, Bob and his clones just can't stay out of trouble. They've created enough colonies so humanity shouldn't go extinct. But political squabbles have a bad habit of dying hard, and the Brazilian probes are still trying to take out the competition. And the Bobs have picked a fight with an older, more powerful species with a large appetite and a short temper.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Satisfying End to a Fun Series

  • By Craig Schorling on 08-20-17

If you got this far, you have a pretty good idea

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

Reviewed: 07-26-18

This is the weakest of the Bobiverse books, but it's still good and if you finished the previous two you will of course want to find out what happens. My main complaint is the jumps between multiple plots with hugely different stakes. One plot might be concerned with the fate of an entire race, another they might be purely personal, and they play out at the same time, without either plot informing the other. It's a bit schizophrenic. But I still recommend the whole series, and Ray Porter's voice will always BE Bob to me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • All the Birds in the Sky

  • By: Charlie Jane Anders
  • Narrated by: Alyssa Bresnahan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,808
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,658
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,660

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families. But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Too twee for me.

  • By Amy on 03-13-17

Strong and ambitious, occasionally frustrating

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

Reviewed: 05-01-17

Overall it's a very interesting and ambitious book. It attempts to mix near future sci fi with contemporary fantasy, and is mostly successful. The characters are interesting, and the book can be both depressing and laugh-out-loud funny. The stakes escalate convincingly. Good stuff!

However in a few places I grew angry with the author and I almost gave up on it once. I'm going to rant a bit here, but there are no spoilers.

The parents are two-dimensionally clueless, believing any accusation made against their own children. The other adults are no better. (Characterizations improve later on.)

At times it's not clear which characters know what, and sometimes they fail to ask obvious questions. For example there's a turning point where the kids are accused of something bad, but we never learn what it was, and it seems the kids don't learn it either. Loose ends like this litter the book.

More sloppiness: the book is always told from someone's point of view, except for exactly one scene where the author suddenly lurches into third-person omniscient. I found this very jarring, as was the unexpectedly explicit sex scene.

And yet, I give it 4 stars. Read my first paragraph again-- most definitely not a waste of time or money. But I think its flawed and I will be annoyed if it wins the Hugo award.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Heir of Sea and Fire

  • Riddle-Master Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: Patricia A. McKillip
  • Narrated by: Fiona Walsh
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 354
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 309
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 309

By the vow of her father and her own desire, Raederle was pledged to Morgon, Riddle-Master of Hed. But a year had passed since Morgon disappeared on his search for the High One at Erlenstar Mountain, and rumors claimed he was dead. Raederle set out to learn the truth for herself, though her small gift of magic seemed too slight for the perils she must face. The quest led through strange lands and dangerous adventures. Only her growing powers enabled her at last to reach Erlenstar Mountain.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Series I've Ever Read! Terrible narrator!

  • By Daniel on 03-22-11

Weaker middle book; occasionally careless reader

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

Reviewed: 10-25-16

Plot:
This book was less satisfying to me than the first one in the series. Some characters I grew attached to in the first book appear but do little here. And at least two important events happen through astronomically-unlikely random chance.

Reader:
Fiona Walsh has a pleasant voice and changes it just enough to distinguish characters without being showy about it. This is exactly how I like books read! She pronounces some key names very differently than Prebble did for the first book, but for all I know Walsh's pronunciations could be the correct ones.

The big problem is that sometimes Walsh just reads a sentence wrong! A simple example: someone was told not to provoke the armed warriors around him. His response: "Tell that to THEM." But Walsh says "Tell THAT to them." There were about a half a dozen of these clunkers! And other times when the prose didn't flow well I strongly suspect Walsh made a subtler mistake somewhere.

Ah well. The world of the riddle-masters is still an interesting one, and I still want to know what happens next.

  • The Prestige

  • By: Christopher Priest
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,994
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,362
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,367

In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the course of a fraudulent séance. From this moment on, their lives become webs of deceit and revelation as they vie to outwit and expose each other. In the course of pursuing each other's ruin, they will deploy all the deception their magician's craft can command. Their rivalry will take them to the peaks of their careers, but with terrible consequences.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of a Kind.

  • By Andrew on 06-22-07

Good, but better if you haven't seen the movie

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

Reviewed: 05-27-16

Performance: Simon Vance is extremely good at distinguishing the different accents and voices without being showy about it. I hadn't heard him for a while and I'd forgotten what a good job he does.

Story: This was an entertaining listen even though I'd seen the movie. But knowing the movie ruins many surprises (and vice versa I suppose.)

Now that I've heard the book, I have to say I think the movie did a great job cleaning up some issues that the book has. In particular, the movie dispenses with the modern-day framing story. We start with some interesting characters and some mysteries. This seems to sett the stage for a 4th act in which the modern-day characters solve the mysteries, or at least come to terms with what was revealed. But when we return to the present day it amounts to little more than an epilogue. So there's much less resolution than I expected.

But the central story is still quite good. Listeners who didn't see the movie will enjoy it that much more.

  • The Twelve

  • A Novel
  • By: Justin Cronin
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 26 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,621
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,699
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,692

In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as "Last Stand in Denver", has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • TWO IN THIS SERIES IS ENOUGH

  • By Randall on 06-15-18

Starts strong, payoff is unsatisying

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

Reviewed: 04-07-16

I do like to back up my opinions, but I'll be very vague. So no spoilers.

The book first jumps back in time to introduce a bunch of new characters, backstory. (eventually) a whole new situation for the characters of the first book to deal with. This felt like a left turn, but Cronin is an enthralling writer and I got pulled in. (Having flashbacks within the flashbacks was frustrating though.)

Eventually we catch back up to the "current" timeframe and the middle part of the book is suspenseful and satisfying. Great build up.

Unfortunately things fall apart towards the end. The payoff of some storylines is weak, others rely on incredible coincidences. There are frustrating plot holes that I can't relate here, and missed opportunities for satisfying exchanges between key characters. The finale is one of those elaborate set pieces involving a dozen actors, coordinated to give each one a defining moment. One has to wonder if the fact that the books have been optioned for movies influenced the writing.

I do give Cronin mad props for resolving as much as he did, instead of pushing everything to the third book.

Overall, The Twelve is entertaining but uneven, and disappointing compared to The Passage. I'm going to have to read some reviews before deciding whether to bother reading the final book.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • 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 22,635
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20,696
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,662

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

Payoff more than compensates for the frustrations

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

Reviewed: 02-20-16

I liked this 2nd Reckoners book less than the first. The protagonist's quirks are wearing thin.
As before there are intriguing mysteries and action along the way, but several plot points hinge on characters not exchanging key information or asking fairly obvious questions.

To make it worse, after David hears or sees something interesting, Sanderson doesn't always tell you whether that information was related to the rest of the team. Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn't. Sometimes that matters, sometimes it doesn't. It's sloppy.

But I am pleased to say that the last few hours of the book came together nicely. Once Sanderson had maneuvered the characters to where he needed them to be, the payoff was big. Lots of action, lots of reveals. He just didn't get everyone into place as seamlessly as he has managed in the past (IMHO.)

Will I listen to the 3rd book? Definitely. I suspect it will resemble the last part of this book more than the first part.

  • The Lions of Al-Rassan

  • By: Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Narrated by: Euan Morton
  • Length: 19 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 768
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 726
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 726

The ruling Asharites of Al-Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded. The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city-states led by warring petty kings. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan - poet, diplomat, soldier - until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship forever.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of drama

  • By Kat Hooper on 10-12-12

Another unique and compelling Kay book

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

Reviewed: 12-03-15

As usual, Kay amazes me with his eye for everything from smallest details of a courtyard to the full sweep of his fictional land's history.

His characters refuse to stack neatly into neat categories like "hero" and "villain", particularly in this book. And even though they achieve great things, they are equally being swept up by events in thrilling and sometimes tragic ways.

(FYI, unlike previous books I've read by Kay, there is little magic in this one. This one is also a bit bloodier at times, but not gratuitously so I think.)

I could have used a map at times. The names of cities, provinces, kingdoms, peoples and kings come fast and furious. There is a pleasure in having a world's history and geography revealed gradually, and I was able to follow along with effort, but a quick look at a map here and there to confirm my understanding would have been nice. (I assume the printed book had a map, but I didn't find one online.)

This is an epic and emotional story, not a light read. I'll need a break before starting my next Gavriel Kay book. Most of his books are stand-alone though so I am anticipating reading more by him without the agony of waiting for the next installment of some ongoing series.

While there are many great and enjoyable fantasy authors, Kay is in a completely different league than most. Highly recommended. (If you want more magic in your fantasy epic though, maybe try Tigana first.)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Shadows of Self

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,857
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15,629
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,598

With The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson surprised listeners with a New York Times best-selling spinoff of his Mistborn audiobooks, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America. The trilogy's heroes are now figures of myth and legend, even objects of religious veneration. They are succeeded by wonderful new characters, chief among them Waxillium Ladrian, known as Wax, hereditary lord of House Ladrian.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thankfully "Mistborn" Continues

  • By Don Gilbert on 10-09-15

Exciting but inferior sequel

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

Reviewed: 12-03-15

It's pretty good. I don't regret the time spent on it, and Sanderson as usual managed to please and surprise me a few times along the way. But there are some problems. (Don't worry, no spoilers).

Among my complaints is a "tic" that Sanderson has developed. To indicate someone was interrupted, which happens often, 9 of 10 times they say "I--" before getting cut off. Once I noticed it it made me angrier each time it happened, like someone was repeatedly poking me with a stick as I tried to listen. An editor should have caught this.

A couple characters who should by all rights have a distinctly NON-human viewpoint are almost indistinguishable from the humans, even having the same sense of humor. This isn't very interesting, and the banter can get grating.

Incidentally, Sanderson finally seems to have run dry on coming up with new tricks using the existing Allomantic powers. Wax tries something new with a rope that I found pretty unlikely, but that's about it. But the Allomantic action is still very exciting.

The recording was fine, though as usual there were a couple spots where adjacent passages recorded at different times didn't blend well. I'm used to Kramer's narration now; sometimes his female voices sound like a someone is mimicking a parent or teacher they don't like, but overall he's a good narrator for this.

Summary: Slightly disappointing but not awful. I expected more from Sanderson I guess. I will certainly give the next book a shot when it comes out.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Three Stations

  • An Arkady Renko Novel
  • By: Martin Cruz Smith
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 278
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 140
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 138

In Three Stations, Arkady Renko’s skills are put to their most severe test. Though he has been technically suspended from the prosecutor’s office for once again turning up unpleasant truths, he strives to solve a last case: the death of an elegant young woman whose body is found in a construction trailer on the perimeter of Moscow’s main rail hub. It looks like a simple drug overdose to everyone—except to Renko, whose examination of the crime scene turns up some inexplicable clues.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not up to the usual

  • By Kenneth on 09-08-10

Good listen but the end felt rushed

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

Reviewed: 07-29-14

While not quite as good as some of the previous Renko books, I was caught up with this one and I enjoyed some of the fresh elements. Zhenya was a pleasant surprise- based on his personality in a previous book I thought he would be an annoying character to follow, but he was sympathetic without changing his fundamental nature. The author also doesn't rely heavily on a love triangle the way he did in many of the books.

Cruz Smith switches expertly between multiple POVs, some of them unexpected, always advancing the plot and never wasting time catching one character up with what the reader already knows. Everything seemed ready to come to a head nicely. Unfortunately the last quarter of the book falters. People return from disgrace with no explanation, key characters are not mentioned for several chapters running. There are also a lot of coincidences and reuse of characters, making Moscow seem a lot smaller than it should.

I still rate it as a good listen, and if you are prepared accept some coincidences and a resolution that felt rushed, there are plenty of good moments and memorable characters. The reader does a good job with it. I'm looking forward to the next one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful