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Shane Haskett

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Atlas Shrugged - 62 hours!

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

Reviewed: 06-01-19

I have previously read Atlas Shrugged at least 7 or 8 times - the first time when I was a teenager. Each time I have gained a finer appreciation of what it is that Ayn Rand is trying to convey in her book. However, listening to it on Audible has really expanded not only my enjoyment of it but also my understanding and empathy with the main characters. The personalities of Dagny, Reardean, Francisco, and of course, John Galt himself, are now much more clearly defined. While sometimes the soliloquy’s tend to go on just a little too long (one hour is a tad excessive) they nonetheless drive the point home that the author is trying to make. If you’ve never read the book, then I highly recommend listening to it on Audible. Scott Brick did an outstanding job of narrating it.

Fun and imaginative but a little too long.

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

Reviewed: 05-20-19

Josh Anvil and the Cypress Door is a fun and imaginative story that ultimately overstays its welcome with too much stuff.

While you won't find a single bad idea in here --flying dragons, magic healing powers, floating islands, sentient roller coasters, and more-- it feels like 10 pounds of plot in a 5-pound bag.

The biggest issue I had with Cypress Door, though (aside from the lack of a real antagonist or even a climax), is that it gives so many of these aforementioned great ideas top billing. The exception is the beautifully muted subplot about dyslexia that showed really impressive restraint from the author. It's skillfully weaved into the story and drives a lot of the main character's actions.

In a series of chapter-length episodes, the titular Josh Anvil (plus a small cast of supporting characters) discover and enjoy the benefits of Josh's powers. The origins of these newfound powers are left mysterious until nearly the very end of the book, and I gotta say, I found their long-awaited reveal to be somewhat anticlimactic, vague, and... convenient.

Still, it's the journey that matters, not the destination, and there's a ton of journeying in Cypress Door. Adult readers might find their suspension of disbelief tested by the some of the bizarre decisions made by the grown-ups, but their sometimes illogical choices move the story along and younger readers will likely enjoy it.

This audio book was narrated by the author. While you won't find any bells and/or whistles in the production, the recording quality was stellar. His tone is pleasant, his pace and character voices are consistent, and I didn't notice any background noise in the recording. He does make several mistakes and several times got halfway through a sentence before pausing and starting over, but these little goofs only added to the charm of the production. My only real gripe was that his pace was slooooooooooooooooow (the audio book is over 16 hours long!) but I realized about halfway through that Audible allows you to speed up the playback. 1.5x speed seemed perfect.

Not a Great Story, But Still a Fun Ride

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

Reviewed: 05-23-16

Would you listen to Ringworld again? Why?

No, probably not. There's a lot of discovery in the book that is interesting the first time, but would probably lose some oomph the second time around.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting part were the species. So many great details and bits of history about the Kzin and the Puppeteers are in there that really gave an interesting flavor to the book. The Ringworld itself was the least interesting--the thing was so darn big that I had trouble suspending my disbelief.

What does Tom Parker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Parker brings life to two of the alien species that just wouldn't be there if the voices were all inside my head. The deadpan delivery of the Kzin was especially good (and oftentimes humorous).

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No--it's a lot to take in with a ton of imagery. But it's definitely got tension sometimes that kept me from shutting it off for the night.