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  • 43
  • reviews
  • 136
  • helpful votes
  • 105
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  • The Unconsoled

  • By: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 19 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

From the author of The Remains of the Day, here is a novel that is at once a gripping psychological mystery, a wicked satire of the cult of art, and a poignant character study of a man whose public life has accelerated beyond his control. The setting is a nameless Central European city where Ryder, a renowned pianist, has come to give the most important performance of his life. Instead, he finds himself diverted on a series of cryptic and infuriating errands that nevertheless provide him with vital clues to his own past.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A masterpiece of modern-day Alice in Wonderland

  • By Rebecca Cisar on 04-13-18

Torturous trip to nowhere

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

Reviewed: 06-30-18

This book has been compared to an Escher print, and I couldn't agree more. People and places and events morph without logic, twisting in on themselves in nonsensical ways. The story seems cold and pointless, with every scene a long monologue by one character or another, all of whom seem to be in their own separate, mostly disconnected tracks, wearing down those tracks into deep ruts of stories where phrases repeat over and over. Maybe the characters are supposed to be archetypes or metaphors; they're mostly wooden and one-dimensional. And Ryder, the narrator, is insufferable.

I stayed with this loooong book (and boy did it feel long) until the bitter end, hoping for something interesting or revealing to happen, and though plot points resolved, there was nothing satisfying in those resolutions. It was a stressful, exhausting, and unenjoyable read from beginning to end. Getting my credit back on this one.

  • Pachinko

  • By: Min Jin Lee
  • Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,882
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,524
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,518

Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • And this was nominated for awards because...?

  • By NMwritergal on 04-05-18

Superficial story and terrible narration

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

Reviewed: 06-09-18

I was intrigued by the concept of this book and had heard good reviews, but I'm very disappointed and am giving up on it. Great setting and set-up for the characters but the author skips through so many time periods so quickly that there's little depth to the characters. And there's almost no distinction between characters in the narration -- all offered in a stilted, childish voice. I'm getting my money back on this one.

  • The Alice Network

  • A Novel
  • By: Kate Quinn
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 15 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,042
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,542
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,450

In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We are standing on the shoulders of giants...

  • By Marie on 02-25-18

Too predictable and repetitive

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

Reviewed: 03-22-18

The novel had an interesting premise but there were too many cliches, repetition of plot points and melodramatic excess in tone. Ultimately rather trite.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

  • By: Susanna Clarke
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 32 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,556
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,246
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,247

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hang in there!

  • By D. McMillen on 05-31-05

Slow moving story with uninteresting characters

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

Reviewed: 03-06-18

I'm giving up on this book without finishing it (very rare for me) because I just don't find the plot or characters very interesting. Not sure what all the fuss is about over this book. Narrator is excellent.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Natural History of Dragons

  • A Memoir by Lady Trent
  • By: Marie Brennan
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,948
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,823
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,816

You, dear listener, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart - no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments - even at the risk of one's life - is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten….All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Fantastical, Scientific, and Captivating Joy Ride

  • By Abbygail on 03-06-16

Dull, slow moving, stilted

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

Reviewed: 03-06-18

I'm definitely asking for my credit back. What a boring, lifeless story read in the most stilted style. The author has created her own world with unique names for places, languages, objects, etc. that constantly interrupts the flow of the story and adds nothing. A great disappointment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Letter of Mary: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

  • The Mary Russell Series, Book 3
  • By: Laurie R. King
  • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,067
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 989
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 992

The third book in the Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes series. It is 1923. Mary Russell Holmes and her husband, the retired Sherlock Holmes, are enjoying the summer together on their Sussex estate when they are visited by an old friend, Miss Dorothy Ruskin, an archeologist just returned from Palestine.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sherlock, Mary Russell, & Mary Magdalene....what?

  • By Steph on 06-22-14

Surprisingly dull

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

Reviewed: 09-27-17

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series but found this book to be poorly organized and dull. The story wanders almost randomly and the ultimate mystery is how-hum. Very disappointing.

  • River of Stars

  • By: Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 20 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 371
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 368

In his critically acclaimed novel Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty. Now, the international best-selling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later with an epic of prideful emperors, battling courtiers, bandits and soldiers, nomadic invasions, and a woman battling in her own way, to find a new place for women in the world - a world inspired this time by the glittering, decadent Song Dynasty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Masterpiece

  • By David H. Diamond on 07-25-13

A novel that promises but doesn't deliver

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

Reviewed: 07-22-17

What a disappointment! I was attracted to this title and author based on other reviews and by narrator Simon Vance, my favorite narrator of all time. (An aside: No one narrates Dickens like Simon Vance. Listen to his David Copperfield and you'll be smitten!)

The book started out with some very interesting characters, settings, and story line. I was intrigued by the world that the author was constructing. But the author started repeating story elements that had already happened (numerous times) in what seemed an effort to build up the importance of events but ended up being boring. And the plot started to feel contrived with staged scenes rather than developing organically. Vance's narration was appropriately pompous, reflecting the style of the novel but annoying all the same. And the ending! That's IT??? I will ask for my credit to be refunded.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Moby-Dick

  • By: Herman Melville
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller
  • Length: 21 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,905
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,376
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,390

Labeled variously a realistic story of whaling, a romance of unusual adventure and eccentric characters, a symbolic allegory, and a drama of heroic conflict, Moby Dick is first and foremost a great story. It has both the humor and poignancy of a simple sea ballad, as well as the depth and universality of a grand odyssey.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Had No Idea Melville Was So Funny

  • By Dave on 05-09-12

Classic tale well-served by superb narrator

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

Reviewed: 12-31-16

I've hesitated to download Moby-Dick because I remembered being bored by the many chapters where Melville digressed from the story to examine whale anatomy, the whaling experience, history, biology, etc. etc. This narrator enlivens even the driest passages and brings the characters to life with warmth and compassion. The scenes near the end between Ahab and Pip and Ahab and Starbuck are incredibly moving. Fabulous!

  • Dry Bones

  • By: Peter May
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,887
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,719
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,715

What happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher at the École Nationale d’Administration, who trained some of France’s best and brightest as future prime ministers and presidents, vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. This ten-year-old mystery inspires a bet—one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse, France, instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland, can ill afford to lose.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging hero, stellar narration

  • By Janice on 11-01-13

Very dull mystery

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

Reviewed: 11-05-16

How to describe a murder mystery where the motive is never explored but only revealed in the final 5 minutes, the clues are impossible for anyone but the writer to decipher so the cleverness of them becomes an abstract device, and there's very little character development and what there is, is predictable? The answer: boring.

I picked this partly because of Simon Vance, my favorite narrator of Dickens and Trollope, but i didn't even enjoy his narration. I was aware of the accents throughout -- they never seemed natural, especially the Scottish accent -- so the characters never came to life. Perhaps it was too much to ask of a narrator, though, even one as gifted as Vance.

A great disappointment.

  • Beastly Things

  • A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, Book 21
  • By: Donna Leon
  • Narrated by: David Colacci
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 223
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 188

When the body of man is found in a canal, damaged by the tides, carrying no wallet, and wearing only one shoe, Brunetti has little to work with. No local has filed a missing-person report, and no hotel guests have disappeared. Where was the crime scene? And how can Brunetti identify the man when he can’t show pictures of his face? The autopsy shows a way forward: It turns out the man was suffering from a rare, disfiguring disease.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth the credit

  • By Julia on 04-21-12

Slow and simple

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

Reviewed: 05-16-16

I've enjoyed 3 books in this series but found this one incredibly slow paced. The crime was obvious early on but not to Brunetti, so it was necessary to suffer through his laborious detecting. Very disappointing.