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Barely Audible

  • 16
  • reviews
  • 13
  • helpful votes
  • 22
  • ratings
  • Vicious

  • By: V. E. Schwab
  • Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,453
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,347
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,341

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates - brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A superhuman novel that isn't strictly YA.

  • By H.R. Tucker on 09-05-15

A solid twist

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

Reviewed: 03-18-19

I don't like to spoil things in my reviews, but this story felt like a very modern, very realistic take on the classic Richards/Doom origin story with a logical twist. Very well done.

  • Altered Carbon

  • By: Richard K. Morgan
  • Narrated by: Todd McLaren
  • Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11,465
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,133
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,127

In the 25th century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person's consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or "sleeve") making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Altered Carbon

  • By Jake Williams on 09-22-07

A sci fi masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 03-03-19

What else is there to say? This is one of the all time great sci fi stories and deserves mention alongside the likes of Phillip K Dick, Heinlein, and Vonnegut.

Having watched the Netflix adaptation I can also say the book is overall a better story, though the show wasn't bad. While there are a lot of similarities, they have more than enough differences to make experiencing both worthwhile.

A fantastic audiobook, worth getting.

  • The Call of the Rift: Flight

  • By: Jae Waller
  • Narrated by: Sera-Lys McArthur
  • Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Seventeen-year-old Kateiko doesn’t want to be Rin anymore - not if it means sacrificing lives to protect the dead. Her only way out is to join another tribe, a one-way trek through the coastal rainforest. Killing a colonial soldier in the woods isn’t part of the plan. Neither is spending the winter with Tiernan, an immigrant who keeps a sword with his carpentry tools. His log cabin leaks and his stories about other worlds raise more questions than they answer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brutal and real

  • By Barely Audible on 12-29-18

Brutal and real

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

Reviewed: 12-29-18

It's difficult to describe what lore this could best be described as. Druidic? Native American? The different tribes from Avatar?

Kako, our protagonist, is able to commune with spirits and find water and bend it to her will, though this isn't the most interesting thing about her. This could be considered a coming of age tale, but only in the most technical terms. Most of the time, coming of age tales don't depict brutal violence and the consequences it brings.

But what this tale does depict, are a range of topics that tend to focus me into a story, and I am probably not alone. Things like the grim inevitability of arranged marriages. Leaving home with no certainty you will reach anywhere that is safe. The horrors of violence. What it means to live in a world that is changing around you. This is a story that could have very easily taken another direction and not looked so hard at its world and its characters. Kako sets off away from her people. Some things will happen. In the strictest YA sense, the book didn't need to spend the time where it did. Instead, Waller allows us to see what it means to be injured. What it means to accept local customs. What it means to have consequences for your actions. For that alone, it will keep you hooked. You won't just want to see what the characters will do next, but how an indifferent universe will balance their actions.

  • City of Broken Magic

  • Chronicles of Amicae, Book 1
  • By: Mirah Bolender
  • Narrated by: Natalie Naudus
  • Length: 14 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12

Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic - and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling. Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training. Laura, a new team member, has stayed alive longer than most. Now, she’s the last - and only - sweeper standing between the city and a massive infestation.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good listen

  • By r. on 12-15-18

Needs a lot of work

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

Reviewed: 12-12-18

I hate to be critical of things like this, but I feel that in this case it would be disingenuous of me to not be honest.

I was immediately pulled in by the blurb. I heard the concept and couldn't wait to dive in. It was disappointing pretty quickly.

So, I'll start off with what I liked. The idea of a magical clean up crew is great. At its core, there is potential with the story. And at least initially, the descriptions of the infestations are sufficiently scary. And as far as the narration is concerned, Natalie Naudus does a fine job, no one can be upset with performance, but to be fair it feels like she wasn't given a lot of direction or notes. There are multiple instances where certain words aren't emphasized or something along those lines, and hearing it in context with everything else, it feels like a handful of notes might have really improved the flow. This isn't something to pin on the narrator, however, this feels like a directorial issue.

Unfortunately, that is about it for the praise I can give. The issues I have:

World building: At first this seemed like it was going to be the highlight of the book, but as it went on it became a mess. I get that it's trying to be its own thing, which is commendable, but the lack of consistency makes it difficult to be immersed in the world.

Plotting: I say this and I swear I'm not trying to be mean, but what plotting? I never got a clear sense of the overall story. It was one event that was an excuse for the next event. For an audiobook that is over 14 hours long, I would expect a lot of story. There's a thing about writing. When you write a novel, you get as many words as you want and you can use any words you like and you can put them in any order. But for better or worse, they're your words. This book decided to use a whole lot of them, and it felt like none of them were used towards a coherent plot.

Characters: Your three main characters here are the wide eyed girl who has her dream job but also hates it, the cool guy who is too cool to ever be cool to anyone, and the slave that the cool guy literally took as payment. The author tried to paint it as a gray area, but at the same time I winced and heard myself sucking my teeth. There were better ways of introducing this character but they went with this one, so, okay. But beyond that, none of them were particularly interesting or likable. Even when they would try, for example, by showing off the young womans family, they would almost immediately burn that goodwill on something pointless.

Action: It was just so repetitive. The prologue to the book shows something super creepy and there's a part of you that will get excited. And then you will quickly learn it wasn't that important and that scene gets repeated. Writing action is a weak spot for this writer, and I think they could use some study before moving forward.

Exposition: Dear god, I honestly felt like they might have been messing with me. at the literal halfway point, the author decided that the story might have been a little confusing, so we get a MASSIVE information dump. Show wasn't working, so they went with Tell. A little exposition is fine, but this felt like a parody of itself. This was maybe the biggest sin of the book.

I have more issues, but I don't want to beat up on the book too badly. That said, I was confused when I saw that this was listed as a Kirkus recommended reading for the month of November. Then I went to look up the review itself there, since Kirkus is usually a trusted source, and I think that the listing suggestion might have been paid advertising since the review itself wasn't too flattering. I noticed there was a LOT of marketing behind this book, but I think that money could have been better spent on editing and development.

I think the bottom line for me on this is that it very much feels like someone's first novel if they haven't worked their way up to it, and I think that's exactly what it is. It's a good idea with poor execution and with a lot of content editing might have even made for a good story. That said, if Mirah Bolender releases a second book, I'd be inclined to give it a second chance. Because poor writing aside, mistakes and odd choices and all, there is a good idea in here, and good ideas should always be fostered. A good idea is the one thing in writing that you can't teach. But in order for a good idea to translate to a good book, the mechanics need to be sound.

I know this review will come off as harsh, but my genuine hope for the next book is that the author takes a good, long look at what didn't work here and manages to correct their course. Maybe studying other fantasy books and understanding why story structure is important, how to give the characters more depth, and just overall how to turn their idea into a story.

But more than that, I hope the author releases another book and doesn't give up. The first step towards being good is admitting that you need to get better. Mirah Bolender already has the intangible: Good ideas. So there's nowhere to go but up.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Motherland's Daughter, a Fatherland's Son

  • A WWII Novel
  • By: Ellie Midwood
  • Narrated by: Kylie Stewart, Eric Rolon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

On the border of this newly divided territory, a young Wehrmacht Unteroffizier, Werner, and a Soviet military interpreter, Kira, meet and fall in love against all odds. Both forced into the military against their will, they wish for one thing only - a peaceful life together. Everything is set for Kira to defect and marry Werner...but the German army invades the Soviet Union, and now the two lovers are forced to fight against each other on the opposite sides of the frontline. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Such a Soul-Gripping Book!

  • By Kindle Customer49 on 01-29-19

You'll feel drawn in

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

Reviewed: 12-03-18

My knowledge of history is fairly good, but not so great that I can know offhand how accurate this is. That said, the entire story rang true and it pulled you in.

Some of the heavy lifting was done by the dueling narrators, both of whom were outstanding. I had a clear favorite by the end, but both were great. Their dialogue flowed well and they were able to seamlessly transition from character to character, and gave the proper pronounciation to words of the region.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Points of Possibility

  • By: Norman Turrell
  • Narrated by: Sam Isaacson
  • Length: 3 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

A collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and strange stories. A collection of nine short stories from the imagination of best-selling British author Norman Turrell, ranging from science fiction, fantasy, horror, and purely strange tales.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Solid writing marred by the narration

  • By Barely Audible on 12-03-18

Solid writing marred by the narration

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

Reviewed: 12-03-18

This is a collection of short stories in the sci-fi genre, which anyone longing for the anthologies that used to be so popular but are now mostly extinct, will appreciate.

The writing is solid, excellent even at times, but is hurt by the quality of the narrator and the recording.

The sound quality reminded me of the Douglas Adams recording of Dirk Gently, which was created in a time where recording quality wasn't a high priority for projects like this. Similarly, the narrator isn't particularly versed at making the voice of each character distinct, which is a shame. The whole thing sounds like it was recorded in a moving vehicle.

Still, don't let that dissuade you from getting this title. The relative short length of the stories make it very easy to start and stop and after a short adjustment to the narration, the text of the stories become far and away the highlight. You'll walk away from this title remembering the text far more than the performance, and if I had to choose one or the other, I'd prefer solid writing any day.

  • Dracula's Daughters: Classic Tales of Vampire Women & Their Thirsts

  • By: Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Marion Brandon, Jean Marie Stine
  • Narrated by: Whitton A. Frank
  • Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6

Though they may all be siblings beneath the skin (and graveyard as well!), these vampiric sisters are as different as any eight women could be. One, "The Good Lady Ducayne", prefers to acquire her nourishment through more scientific means. Another doesn't even drink blood at all; her approach to draining the life from her victims is somewhat more direct (but we think you'll agree that "Luella Miller" deserves the appellation "vampire" every bit as much as any of the rest). 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wish I could give 6 stars for the narrator

  • By Barely Audible on 10-25-18

Wish I could give 6 stars for the narrator

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

Reviewed: 10-25-18

I recently read and and discussed Carmilla in my book club, which is a vampire story that predates Dracula by decades. I think it was just the right primer to jump into this anthology.

There are individual stories to be praised in here, but the real star in my opinion is Whitton Frank. Not content to merely narrate, Whitton performs where needed, seamlessly transitioning from comfortable, clear, and warm as a narrator to an expert performer giving life and unique voices all throughout. Doing this with a novel is difficult enough, but to be consistent with this sort of quality across multiple stories bu various authors is a treat and more than makes this audiobook worth the price of admission.

5 stars all around!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

  • By: Douglas Adams
  • Narrated by: Douglas Adams
  • Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,377
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,251
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,246

There is a long tradition of Great Detectives, and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. But his search for a missing cat uncovers a ghost, a time traveler, AND the devastating secret of humankind! Detective Gently's bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sadly, it's abridged

  • By George T. Crawford on 10-29-11

Come on. It's Douglas Adams.

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

I don't know what else I can say, the man was a master and his writing itself is beautiful and perfect. Anyone who enjoys good writing at all will love this.

  • Brief Cases

  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters, Jim Butcher, full cast
  • Length: 15 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7,055
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,604
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6,581

An all-new Dresden Files story headlines this urban fantasy short story collection starring the Windy City's favorite wizard. From the Wild West to the bleachers at Wrigley Field, humans, zombies, incubi, and even fey royalty appear, ready to blur the line between friend and foe. In the never-before-published "Zoo Day", Harry treads new ground as a dad, while fan-favorite characters Molly Carpenter, his onetime apprentice, White Council Warden Anastasia Luccio, and even Bigfoot stalk through the pages of more classic tales.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The original story is great

  • By Ronald G. Overton on 06-06-18

Come on, it's Dresden

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

It's a big collection of short stories, and most of them aren't new, but it's a great listen. Even if you've read them before.

  • Warning Call

  • The Black Pages Series, Book 2
  • By: Danny Bell
  • Narrated by: Whitton A. Frank
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10

 An unbeatable mythological horror has its sights set on Elana, and that's not the worst of her problems. Gods want to use her, shadowy agents want to eliminate her, and a powerful sorcerer wants to kill her; all as she rushes to stop an event that portends the death of her best friend, Olivia. It's all catching up with her, and just in time for Christmas. Elana is going to have to figure out how all of it is connected but she's in over her head, outnumbered, and running out of time. And she always thought magic would make her life easier.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Killer Sequel that Stands on Its Own!

  • By CLOregon on 08-07-18

A more focused story

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

Warning Call serves as the follow up to Empty Threat, making it the second in what looks to be a long series.

Right away, Warning Call is a much bigger story. While Empty Threat often bounced around, taking care to set up a lot of dangling threads for the rest of the series to tug at, in this story we are immediately treated to a more linear experience with a bigger cast. Most of the cast returns for last time in the form of Bres, a psychotic antagonist, Claire and Olivia, two of Elana's friends. The mysterious Aos Si. But the actions Elana took in the first book make a larger cast necessary. She's gained attention and notoriety. This time around she gains more friends as well as enemies, the problem is that she's not always sure which is which.

The plot is more focused. Elana isn't quite the fish out of water she was the first time out. She knows what she can do and what she's capable of to an extent, but now she needs to put it into practice. Someone is trying to kill her, a monster threatens everything, and she needs to survive long enough to save her friends life. It sounds simple, but in practice it is anything but. It's all connected and she needs to figure out how and why.

Whitton Frank narrates the book fabulously, adding real emotional depth to key scenes. Her performance makes the book a very easy listen and keeps it all moving along at a comfortable pace. The story moves fast and frantic and in the hands of a lesser narrator the story might have suffered. Thankfully what we got instead was energetic and emotional and fun.

Empty Threat left the readers with a lot of questions for the future and Warning Call does a great job of answering them, showing that every inch of the story is deliberate. However, for every question it answered it feels like another one popped up in its place.

Elana is slowly but surely becoming a hero, I'm excited for the next installment.