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  • Trail of Lightning

  • By: Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Narrated by: Tanis Parenteau
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,415
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,318
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,321

The sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse have destroyed most of the planet…yet out of these waters, Dinétah, a former Navajo reservation, has been miraculously reborn. Listen along as Tanis Parenteau's impeccable narration, capturing the rhythms of Navajo speech, fully envelopes you into the Sixth World. Trail of Lightning follows our heroine as she walks the land alongside gods, heroes of legend, and monsters alike. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • AMAZING STORY

  • By Annie Slasher (Booked & Loaded) on 01-14-19

Wonderful world building but a little indulgent

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

Reviewed: 02-02-19

As others have said, the world building is wonderful and has a ton of potential. Some of the plot elements have been done to death (demigods, zombies and monsters, etc), but the Navajo lore and mythology give it all a refreshing overhaul.

The characters are a little indulgent. The main character is a total bad *ss (although with plenty of emotional baggage so as not to make her perfect), and the love interest is straight out of a romance novel. It honestly reminded me of some fanfiction I read when I was younger. Similarly, the writing level starts off a little choppy and amateurish, but it smooths out by the end. I waffled between 3 and 4 stars for the story. The plot never gets very suspenseful despite the mysteries, and the characters have lots of history but not lots of depth. In the end I went for 4 because the book was still enjoyable and exactly the length it needed to be.

Overall this was a very easy listen made easier by the narrator, who fit the main character perfectly. I am looking forward to the sequels and will definitely be picking them up. I think now that the author has some experience and some attention (cough::editors::cough) I think this series will only get better.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Last Dragon Standing

  • Heartstrikers, Book 5
  • By: Rachel Aaron
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 13 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,410
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,272
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,268

There is no way to write a blurb for this final book without spoiling all of the others. Suffice it to say, mysteries resolve, dragons war, pigeons abound, and Julius must risk himself in ways he never dreamed possible as Bob's grand plan finally comes to fruition.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Finish

  • By Smudge on 03-12-18

Satisfying ending to a great series

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

Reviewed: 03-06-18

If you've come this far, you're going to finish no matter what, so this review is directed more towards people considering picking up this series and making sure the final books still get good reviews.

To those people, I say DO IT.

Great world building, great characters, great magic system, amazing narrator, the whole package. If you buy the Kindle version first, you can get a discount on the audiobook, and all told, it's a STEAL. This has been one of my favorite series, and I read a LOT of fantasy.

That said it's not perfect. I've had many of the same complaints throughout this series. Most notably, the characters tend to argue back and forth too much. The first section of this book had waaay too much of this. While it was integral to the story and interesting with regards to the big picture, it was a LOT of wasted dialogue.

"You broke the rules."
"I did what was best."
"But you broke the rules."
"It was the only way."
"You broke the rules."

Another reason I liked having the Kindle version was that I could skim these sections and dive back in when the story picked up again.

All told, this was a really enjoyable series, and I would recommend it to anyone with the caveat that the dialogue was not the best, but the story more than makes up for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hell Divers

  • The Hell Divers Series, Book 1
  • By: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,525
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,510
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15,464

More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to Earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers - men and women who risk their lives by diving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I usually don't read my SciFi however....!!

  • By Michalena on 10-06-17

Storyboard for an action movie

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

Reviewed: 03-06-18

If I didn't know better, I would have said this book was based off a movie. Great dystopian world, interesting dynamics within the Hive, tons and tons and tons of action. I kept envisioning a younger Bruce Willis as X and some Hollywood starlet like Scarlett Johansson as the captain. This will definitely get snapped up by some big studio. Actually, it would probably do best as a 2 season HBO show.

That said, I felt like the characters had the same depth as you would get in a movie. That's not to say they were bad - everything from the young XO to the black market merchants to the lower deckers to the engineers had great flavor. But I never really got attached to any of them. If this was the storyboard for a movie, then the characters were quick pencil sketches. The outline of a woman sneaking quietly through a building. A tough and determined captain at the helm. A grizzled vet with guns blazing. Good, but paper thin. Seeing it acted out by people would give it the emotional connection needed to bring it up to 5 stars.

All told, this is an entertaining audiobook (RC Bray is a perfect fit), but not quite the raving 5 stars plastered all over the reviews. I'll be picking up the next book, although it sounds more political and less action-packed than this one. Maybe I'll just wait for the movie trilogy!

  • The Emperor's Blades

  • Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book 1
  • By: Brian Staveley
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 19 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,459
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,975
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,972

In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 Primary Crimes Committed By The Author

  • By Captain Spanky Of Nazareth on 05-09-16

Great narrator saves a mediocre book

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

Reviewed: 12-25-17

As others have said, this is a... good... story. There aren't many new ideas here, but the usual old tropes are... good. I liked the world and the factions and look forward to finding out more in the next book. I liked having the siblings with their own story lines and perspectives. The plot was clunky and not very nimble - you kind of know what the deal with the bad guy is way before the reveal - but still enjoyable. But I also agree with others who say that the book was way too long and could have been greatly improved with some heavier editing. We are familiar with the super mental monk trope, and we are familiar with the super ninja killing trope. No need to spend half the book describing it.

My biggest complaint was that there were a bunch of contrivances to create the current situation. Dad the emperor didn't do a very good job raising his kids to inherit the empire. In fact, teaching the younger son super-assassin powers is a downright terrible idea if the goal is to avoid sibling rivalry and challenges for the throne.

But if you can get past these flaws, the book really is... good. I like the characters, and I'm interested in what happens next. I thought this one ended well. Simon Vance does a great job as always and makes this an easy listen.

  • Dungeon Born

  • Divine Dungeon Series, Book 1
  • By: Dakota Krout
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,133
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,567
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,536

For eons, conquering dungeons has been the most efficient way to become a strong adventurer. Although not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Several questions have always plagued the minds of those who enter these mythical places of power: why are there so many monsters? Where do the amazing weaponry and heavy gold coins come from? Why does the very air fill with life-giving energies? Cal has all of the answers to these age-old questions, for a very simple reason. He is a Dungeon Heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Gem in the RPG/Fantasy Genre

  • By SirMehr on 04-01-17

Inexplicably entertaining

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

Reviewed: 10-16-17

I honestly don't know why I enjoyed this audiobook so much. I should be calling it vapid. I should be saying there was so much exposition it read like a game manual. I should be complaining about lack of character depth and likeability. But for some bizarre reason, none of this bothered me. I frolicked through this audiobook quickly and happily and with little complaint.

Ok, ok, maybe I do know the reason: Vikas Adam. His lighthearted narration and playful characters set the listener's expectations for the book - romping fun without much substance. He smoothed over any rough patches in the writing with his tone and inflection and really made it a performance. He did wonders with thin material.

I really liked the unique perspective of the dungeon itself, and it made the exposition bearable. I mean really, what else can you do with a dungeon but talk? Dani truly was the little wisp companion that you have in video games that explains the mechanics to the player. I liked the details of the world (another reason I probably didn't mind the monologues of explanation), but I can see now non-RPG people might be turned off by it. The human/adventurer character Dale was not very likeable or interesting (kind of an arse if you ask me), so if you're not into lit-RPG, there's not much else to carry the story.

If you like the genre, definitely give this a try! I will definitely be getting the next installment.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Free the Darkness

  • King's Dark Tidings, Book 1
  • By: Kel Kade
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,425
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 10,867
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,838

Raised and trained in seclusion at a secret fortress on the edge of the northern wilds of the Kingdom of Ashai, a young warrior called Rezkin is unexpectedly thrust into the outworld when a terrible battle destroys all that he knows. With no understanding of his life’s purpose and armed with masterful weapons mysteriously bestowed upon him by a dead king, Rezkin must travel across Ashai to find the one man who may hold the clues to his very existence.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • What the heck people?

  • By Mbot on 03-12-17

Does not live up to the high ratings

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

Reviewed: 10-15-17

1) I should not have been impressed by the high star ratings. It was not even close to other books in the same range (4.7 at the time of this review).

2) I should have read the reviews more thoroughly. I'm not a huge fan of Mary Sues, and this was the godzilla of them all.

3) So why did I buy it? High rating + Nick Podehl. Sadly, Nick was not enough to pull this out of mediocrity.

4) This book is so over the top that it toes the line of satire. With a little effort, it could have been a hilarious book about a perfect Mary Sue who is dumb as bricks when it comes to human relationships, but dear god, I think the author was serious the whole time. That made it all the more painful.

5) Nearly all of my opinions have already been stated in other (non-fawning) reviews, so I'll just end with this - This book is good for people who like indulgent Mary Sues and just want to see some undramatic ass kicking (and apparently there are many out there), but if you are familiar with the genre, if you like good characters, if you loathe dimwitted female characters, if you want twisty plots or subtlety, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Dawn of Wonder

  • The Wakening, Book 1
  • By: Jonathan Renshaw
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 29 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,699
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 32,621
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,539

When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation's royal academy - a whole world of secrets in itself. But this is only the beginning of his discoveries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Instant Favorite

  • By Joe on 03-21-16

3.5 stars at the beginning, 4.5 stars by the end

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

Reviewed: 07-02-17

I'm writing this review to temper the rave reviews on the front page although I largely agree with them. When you finish this book, you will think it has amazing potential with wonderful characters, and you will be eager to read the next installment.

Before that happens, you will be rolling your eyes at a lot of amateur writing. For the first half of the book, the characters bounce between developing deep, original traits and acting like cookie cutter fantasy tropes. When you reach the royal academy, you might as well put the book on 2x and get a cup of coffee. It's like every other coming of age story that involves a school of harsh training that turns snot nosed kids into awesome killing machines. Very very very similar to Anthony Ryan's Blood Song.

There are a couple deus ex machina moments that are blatant contrivances, although future books may provide deeper explanations. You can really see Renshaw mature as an author in just this once book, and it gave me hope that some of the plot shambling may turn out to be meaningful in the end.

Speaking of the end, in the last few hours, the book FINALLY turns its attention to the "ancient power" and stretches its wings. Halfway through, I wasn't sure I would continue the series. Now, I can definitively say that I will.

Also, I highly suspect that Reynolds is the reason this audiobook is so good. I think on its own, the weak writing might have killed the whole story, but Reynolds is able to hide poor writing behind amazing narration.

  • Throne of Jade

  • Temeraire, Book 2
  • By: Naomi Novik
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,213
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,750
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,747

When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon's egg, Captain Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain's Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle. But now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands, and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • fast forward part 2

  • By Nicholas on 10-22-07

85% journey, 15% destination

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

Reviewed: 04-02-17

I totally understand why reviewers are calling this book slow and tedious. Under normal circumstances, I would have stopped reading half way through, and yet these aren't normal circumstances. Novik has crafted a story that (at least for me) abstains from some of fantasy's most over-used tropes. And so even though we spend over half the book just traveling to China and dealing with the slow integration of new characters, I still enjoyed it.

That said, I do hope the pace picks up in the sequels since I don't think the novelty of the dragons and the Corps will be enough to hook me through several more installments.

  • Super Powereds: Year 1

  • Super Powereds, Book 1
  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Kyle McCarley
  • Length: 26 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,769
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,268
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,256

Knowledge is power. That would be the motto of Lander University, had it not been snatched up and used to death by others long before the school was founded. For while Lander offers a full range of courses to nearly all students, it also offers a small number of specialty classes to a very select few. Lander is home to the Hero Certification Program, a curriculum designed to develop students with superhuman capabilities, commonly known as Supers, into official Heroes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Series In Recent Memory

  • By Get Off My Lawn! on 10-08-16

Fun, but in a YA way

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

Reviewed: 03-21-17

I think that this book needs to be marked more clearly as a YA book. The whole college scene is in full glory with emphasis on drinking, dating, parties and clubs, etc. Personally, I am 100% not interested.

Barely visible between the stereotypical college activities is a world of ENORMOUS potential. The social interactions of supers vs. powers, the economic implications, the political players (who do Mr. Numbers and Mr. Transport work for anyway?), the nature of the superpowers in general... But these topics are barely touched upon. Instead, we have beer pong.

The narrator was mediocre, and I wasn't planning on continuing the series after this book... until the last 30 minutes. It finally got interesting. REALLY interesting. All that potential came flooding out and hooked me into giving the next book a try (although I may wait for it to go on sale).

All in all, if you've already read Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners and Rachel Aaron's Heartstrikers (two phenomenal YA series), and you're looking for something light and fun (maybe you want to relive your college years?), then go ahead and give this a shot.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished

  • Heartstrikers, Book 3
  • By: Rachel Aaron
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 18 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,868
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,636
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,625

When Julius overthrew his mother and took control of his clan, he thought he was doing right by everyone. But sharing power isn't part of any proper dragon's vocabulary, and with one seat still open on the new ruling council, all of Heartstriker is ready to do whatever it takes to get their claws on it, including killing the Nice Dragon who got them into this mess in the first place.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hold on tight

  • By Tracey Grubb on 09-15-16

Addicting story with one minor complaint

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

Reviewed: 01-05-17

Just like the previous books, the world building and characters are fantastic. I finished this book in two days and dreamed about the characters in between. It's rare to see sequels as strong as (or even stronger than) the first installment.

But the other reason I flew threw the book is because after a few hours of listening, I whispersynced to the Kindle version and began skipping a lot of dialogue. A LOT. I had a similar complaint about the previous book - lots of watery, repetitive dialogue that did nothing to add to the plot or character development.

"I said no killing."
"But we're dragons."
"We can change."
"No."
"I'll find a way."
"You'll be killed."
"That's what needs to change."

No joke, this conversation occurred at least five times and possibly up to ten.

Luckily, there were some new characters plus insights into some of our favorites. In fact, just about every character other than Julius and Bethesda (and Justin) is extremely rich and complex.

I really hope Aaron can find a strong editor who's willing to break out the red pen because the loose and meandering dialogue is the only thing keeping this series from being perfect.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful