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  • Aching God

  • Iconoclasts, Book 1
  • By: Mike Shel
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 112
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111

The days of adventure are passed for Auric Manteo. Retired to the countryside and isolated with his scars and riches, he no longer delves into forbidden ruins seeking dark wisdom and treasure. But just as old nightmares begin plaguing his sleep, he receives an urgent summons back to that old life. To save his only daughter, he must return to the place of his greatest trauma: the haunted Barrowlands.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Does the author play Darkest Dungeon?

  • By Erik on 10-29-18

Not for me. Maybe for you.

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

Reviewed: 11-19-18

Was recommended this read through goodreads friends. Unfortunately, this was a miss for me. Six hours in I called it quits.

Things to like:
- MC is refreshing. He's an older veteran with a bad case of PTSD, not something I see all that often.
- The PTSD is done well. Likely because the author has a background in psychology.
- Thick A$$ world-building (This was a double edged sword for me).
- If you like LitRPGs, I imagine this will cross over well for you. There's dungeons, loot, living dead, cursed objects, etc.
- The main plot reminds me of classic DnD adventures.

Things that didn't work for me:
- Mike's prose is verbose. I found myself wishing I could get in there with a pair hedge clippers and starting cutting every adverb and unnecessary adjective.
- Thick a$$ world-building. While I wouldn't classify them as blatant info-dumps, some were close enough. Mike throws a lot of deities, organizations, magic, and etc at you quickly, none of which I could be bothered to care about right away.
- Characters. Same as above. He throws a lot of them at you in the beginning, all loaded with over-description that had me yawning. None of them stuck with me, and six hours later I still couldn't remember who was who.
- Plot - I'm not that interested in reading a classic DnD adventure and wasn't convinced to do so otherwise.

TL;DR: This was not for me, but it may be for you.

Simon Vance is a great narrator.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Elements of Style: 60 Minutes to Better Writing & Grammar

  • By: Professor William Strunk Jr.
  • Narrated by: uncredited
  • Length: 1 hr and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 252
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 173
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 168

This is the original "Little Book," without add ons by later writers. This is a treasure to writers because it "omit(s)" needless words" and subject matter Professor Strunk did not believe was core to better writing. The brevity encourages relistening to deepen one's knowledge of the subject, the point made by Professor Strunk to his students: "the knowledge comes from rereading" or in our case, relistening. This unabridged version has 25 tracks: 1. Preface. 2. Introduction.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, bad narration

  • By Loki Liesmith on 03-19-12

The narrator literally clears his throat.

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

Reviewed: 06-08-18

This is better read in general, as it is more easily referenced on the go.

The narrator is trash. Literally within the first three minutes, he makes a pleasant throat clearing sound.

I can't believe I paid for this.

  • Sufficiently Advanced Magic

  • Arcane Ascension, Book 1
  • By: Andrew Rowe
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 21 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,467
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15,481
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,441

Five years ago Corin Cadence's brother entered the Serpent Spire - a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire's trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire's goddess. He never returned. Now it's Corin's turn. He's headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very good book

  • By Jason N. on 07-20-17

Good story riddled with continuity issues

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

Reviewed: 05-30-18

Let me say this first and foremost. Nick Podehl carries this book, and is the reason I finished.

While this is overall an easy book to read, and full of interesting world building, characters, and magic, it suffers hardcore from plot holes and continuity issues.

The first one had been mentioned in a previous review. Corin comes from a family with a lineage of magic dueling. His parents are famous for it. His father didn't let him go to school, but he still trained him everyday, and owns library FULL of magic books that Corin has access too. Corin goes to school... he should know at least a bit about magic? Right? NOPE. Nothing. I had to literally shut this out of my brain to continue reading because it's such a glaring break of suspension of disbelief.

Corin also has this annoying coward/bravery complex that makes no sense. He's too cowardly to use a specific mana pool essential to his ability. I assume the author came up with this to provide more stakes for the character, but it is SO dumb, and ties in little with everything else. He is also supposedly, INCREDIBLY motivated to find out what happened to his brother, but "Oh no! I don't want to use my mind mana which is perfectly safe to use. It would also be easy to know if I'm in danger of overusing it but I still am too scared!" Give me a break.

Then there is a scene, OH MY GOD, this scene. Corin watches two contestants in a stadium, in which we can hear with perfect clarity, the contestants speak, even when they whisper. Then Corin YELLS at one of them, and they CAN'T hear him. Are you kidding me? Such a small thing that could of been avoided with some proper editing.

In all these examples, the author is trying to provide something to benefit the story, but goes about it in the WORST way.

SO, even with this all said and done, the story still succeeded in gripping me, and I kept giving it second chances because it had constantly been recommended to me. There is a really good book in here, if you can get past these issues I've listed.

I hope On The Shoulders of Giants gets better attention in the editing department.





1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Norse Mythology

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41,109
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 37,607
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,434

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As good as it gets without the old texts

  • By William Taylor on 05-10-18

What bad things could I possibly say?

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

Reviewed: 05-21-18

This is Neil Gaiman in the area he shines, and you can hear his love for these tales as he tells them.

I love Norse mythology, and I love Neil Gaiman. If your a fan of Neil's works and have not yet bought this audio book, you are doing yourself a grave disservice.

  • The Autumn Republic

  • By: Brian McClellan
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 19 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,762
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,519
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,514

Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic Trilogy!!!

  • By Hassan on 02-12-15

Watch me eat my words about the first two books

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

Promise of Blood - It was good, but I had some qualms with the magic and female characters. The Crimson Campaign - Okay, better... But where is this blood-fest going? The Autumn Republic - WOW, okay.

McClellan kills it with this last addition to the trilogy, tying everything up beautifully. He also managed to do what I thought was impossible; he made me like Nila as a character. Pits, she was awesome in this book, a full 180 from a Promise of Blood.

I felt for every character in this one, and by the end, I was truly sad.

Christian Rodska is superb as always. He gives the character such grit, he makes gravel sound whiny.

5/5. McClellan made me eat my words.

  • The Crimson Campaign

  • The Powder Mage Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: Brian McClellan
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 20 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,830
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,602
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,596

Tamas's invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy's best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god, Kresimir.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Was Extremely Surprised!!

  • By Hassan on 05-15-14

Okay, I need to get these things off my chest

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

Reviewed: 05-09-18

First of all, I enjoyed this book. I thought I would never read it after the first one, but I did, and I glad for it. What I like about McClellan's prose, is it's clean & to the point. It doesn't try to be anything fancy. It's a story delivery device, much akin to his mentor, Brandon Sanderson.

Now I have some complaints, one of which continues not to resolve. If it does in the third book, great, but it's been two whole books of this nonsense.

Nila is still a worthless character. If you're wondering if she got any better this book, she didn't. And then the twist with her towards the end? Where was the bloody build up for that? Sure, lets just drop that one in, cool. I'll not say more because of spoilers, but she is still a one dimensional character with shallow goals, only to be used as a viewpoint so we can see what an antagonist is doing. If there are pay offs for this in the finale, you won't find me caring.

WHAT THE PIT was that mystery imputed for the climax with Tamas, Vlora, and the powder mages? "I wonder why they have so much of that in the city." "What could it possibly be for?" For Kresimir's sake, it was so obvious! Then when it came to fruition in the climax, Tamas acted surprised. These characters are not that stupid. Inputting naivety to make a plot device work is just lazy Mr. McClellan, to be frank.

Now I may sound like I hated this book, but honestly, as a whole it was great. It was fast paced & hard to put down, there are just a few bad apples in the bunch, if you will.

Christian Rodska rules.



0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Master Assassins

  • Fire Sacraments Series, Book 1
  • By: Robert V.S. Redick
  • Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
  • Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 116
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 107

Kandri Hinjuman was never meant to be a soldier. His brother Mektu was never meant for this world. Rivals since childhood, they are drafted into a horrific war led by a madwoman-Prophet, and survive each day only by hiding their disbelief. Kandri is good at blending in, but Mektu is hopeless: impulsive, erratic - and certain that a demon is stalking him. Is this madness or a second sense? Either way, Kandri knows that Mektu's antics will land them both in early graves. But all bets are off when the brothers' simmering feud explodes into violence, and holy blood is spilled.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Labor of Love

  • By ;) on 04-30-18

A Labor of Love

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

If you are looking for a twelve hour bottle rocket of a book with precision placed plot markers, set in stone character arcs, and an over the top climax - look elsewhere.

Here lies master craft writing, beautiful world building, and characters who feel real to the touch.

While I have nothing against fast paced writing - often I prefer it - there is something to be said about the sacrifices made to do so. Redick throws all those restraints in the garbage, leaving none of his tools spared. This book has been well nurtured to create a beautiful garden you can't help but take a stroll through. You may find yourself in a lull at points, but push through, this story is more than worth it.

The characters in this book are the most engrossing I've encountered in a long time, their decision making complicated, raw, real. My suspension of disbelief was held iron-clad. The world is vast, it's environments and cultures rich, loaded with untold secrets barely scratched in this novel.

Eric Michael Summerer is a great narrator with a good wheelhouse of voices.

There is a reason two of my favorite authors (Patrick Rothfuss & Mark Lawrence) gave glowing recommendations for this novel, because it rocks.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Grey Sister

  • By: Mark Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Heather O'Neill
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,924
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,804
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,795

Behind its walls, the Convent of Sweet Mercy has trained young girls to hone their skills for centuries. In Mystic Class, Novice Nona Grey has begun to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the convent, Nona must choose which order to dedicate herself to - and whether her path will lead to a life of prayer and service or one of the blade and the fist. All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the designs of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a knife, and the vengeance of the empire's richest lord.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It Shouldn't Be Great, But It Is

  • By Scott Simons on 04-19-18

A Character Driven Addition to this Trilogy

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

Reviewed: 04-26-18

Lawrence's discovery writing comes off thick in this one. As much as the fast pace, and love for the characters kept me ingrained in the story, there were several moments where I struggled to find footing on the overarching plot, my attention drifting. It wasn't until 75% of through the book did I understand where this was all heading (because it was laid out plainly by a main villain)

I dislike when I can see exactly where a story is going, but I also don't like when I have no idea where things are headed either. This book was a string of sub-plot to sub-plot until it all made sense, and I can't say that it was bad, because it was good writing and character driven development. I don't know... maybe I just don't enjoy feeling left in the dark. One thing I know for sure is, I am excited to see how it all goes down in book three - Holy Sister.

Heather O'Neil was superb once again, quickly becoming one of my favorite female narrators.

  • Red Sister

  • First Book of the Ancestor
  • By: Mark Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Heather O'Neill
  • Length: 19 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,620
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,377
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,372

From the international best-selling author of the Broken Empire Trilogy comes the first in a brilliant new breakout fantasy series. A searing novel set in a brand-new world, this series follows a young girl who enters a convent where girls are selected to train in religion, combat, or magic. Nona is selected to learn combat and finds herself at the center of an epic battle for empire on the outer reaches of a dying universe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story supported by great narration

  • By jdykes33 on 04-15-17

I can't believe I'm just now discovering Lawrence

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

Reviewed: 04-20-18

I was caught off guard by this book, expecting some generic heroes journey type of tale. I was wrong.

This is my first take at Mark Lawrences books, and damned if it's my last.

Mark writes actions scenes so descriptive and fluid. I felt like I knew how it all went down to the last minor detail. He writes slow motion better than most action movies film it. Honestly, I don't think I've ever enjoyed fight scenes more in a fantasy book.

And thank god, a male fantasy author who writes females like normal multi-dimensional people, an ability all too lacking from male authors in the genre today.

The narration is superb. Heather O'neil is a great narrator with a good wealth of voices. I don't really understand what most other reviewers qualms with her are.

My only complaint is that at times the book suffer from pacing issues, but it didn't bother me much.

  • Throne of Glass

  • A Throne of Glass Novel
  • By: Sarah J. Maas
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Evans
  • Length: 12 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,309
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,690
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,715

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • The World's Most Powerful Assassin is a Sap.

  • By Fil on 11-18-13

Confused.

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

Reviewed: 03-02-18

I read the reviews before listening and persevered anyway. My reassurance being that the story gets better going into the next books.

This book on it's own however, is frustrating. There is way too much telling and not enough showing, as if the author was scared she might bore the reader. I could not care less for any of the romantic threads being woven in this book for this reason. I don't want to be told what the character is feeling, I want to be shown. The book just lacks sensory immersion on multiple fronts, whether it is romance, actions or dialogue. I love cheesy books, but even some of the one liners that came out of the main characters had me gagging.

It's saving grace is that it's fast paced and easy to understand what's going on. The sequel better do some heavy lifting is all I can say.

Elizabeth Evans being a good narrator definitely helps.