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MasterTorian

  • 51
  • reviews
  • 19
  • helpful votes
  • 122
  • ratings
  • The King Is Dead

  • By: Al Burke
  • Narrated by: Brian Clarke
  • Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

Etruvia has known peace for 20 years. But this time of peace has brought corruption and greed. The nobility has taken control, and the memories of great victories of old have faded. Crime is rife, and the once proud people are little more than peasants. As a great evil rises in the desolate North, can a forgotten king and an embittered former war hero wake a nation from its stupor and build an army strong enough to give it a fighting chance?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Slow start, decent story, great narration

  • By MasterTorian on 01-17-19

Slow start, decent story, great narration

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

Reviewed: 01-17-19

The narrator is very good, his accent is perfect for this story and he has a good range of voices.

The book starts with a chapter that is essentially a very telly prologue to provide a chunk of non-essential information.

After that we jump right into a nice story with some pretty neat creatures.

The plot is pretty straightforward with no real twists, apart from the one at the very end.

I have three main critiques.

1, The telling in the prologue continues throughout the story. I would have liked to see a lot more showing and more detail.

2, there's not a lot of character development, and some parts of what there is (particularly the relationship between Eric and Sarah) feels clumsy.

3, the characters move through the story with very little real opposition. I would have liked to have seen a lot more complications, a lot more setbacks, and at least one outright disaster. The whole thing is just too easy.

All that being said, it was an enjoyable story in an interesting world with some really intriguing things going on.

  • As Iron Falls

  • By: Bryce O'Connor
  • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
  • Length: 21 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 97

The High Citadel cannot be seen to harbor a killer. This is a simple truth, and one that Raz i’Syul Arro has little choice but to respect. As the winter storms fall away in favor of the North’s pleasant summer months, Raz finds himself having once more to face the cruelties of the world with spear and sword in hand. For the first time, though, the Monster no longer walks his path alone. Syrah Brahnt, Priestess of Laor and adopted daughter of the former High Priest of Cyurgi ‘Di himself, has joined him on his journey.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • thanx Bryce

  • By Mitchell on 06-14-18

The story continues

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

Reviewed: 01-17-19

As with the previous book, the narrator was very good. Each character's voice is distinct and consistent, and his tempos and inflections are well done.

The story picks up right where the last one ended and goes pretty much in the direction I expected.

The characters continue to develop and continue to intrigue.

I have just a few points of critique.
1, I find Sira's reactions a bit inexplicable. With what she's been through it definitely makes sense that she wouldn't want to be touched by a man. Unfortunately, we clearly see (through her thoughts) that she thinks of Raz as a man, rather than a creature or a monster. So it makes no sense that she is willing (eager, even) to be touched by him.
2. I really wish the author would choose a POV style (either omniscient or limited) and stick to it.
3. The passive construction: was coupled with "ing" verbs is really wearing on me. I don't mind seeing/hearing it occasionally when it's talking about an ongoing action, but when it's used this much is really annoys me.

Now, I really enjoyed the progression of the story in this one. There is a strong sense of what each character is after and the tensions between characters is organic and skilfully weaved together.

I very much enjoyed the compete flip that happens near the end and reach character's reactions to it are natural and believable.

And now, I just have to wait for the fifth book to be written and recorded.

  • Child of the Daystar

  • By: Bryce O'Connor
  • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
  • Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 442
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 415
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 412

Among the scattered fringe cities bordering the Cienbal desert, the true name of the Monster of Karth is spoken only in whispers...RAZ I'SYUL ARRO. A sellsword of the utmost caliber, Raz is a killer of paramount skill and highest regard. Towering tall even amongst the atherian, he is the only of his kind to live free in the "civilized" confines of mankind's varied cultures. He has no need of loyalties, his sole affections pledged to the gold crowns that buy his time and skills.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Solid Start To A Potentially Great Series

  • By Drake Vato on 08-26-16

Imaginative and original

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

Reviewed: 01-10-19

While the narrator has a smooth, pleasant voice with good pacing, his range of voices is disappointing.

The story starts strong, though there is a bit of a learning curve.

The story gets a little slow in the middle but still manages to stay interesting and keep things moving.

Raz is an awesome character, deep and complex with a lot of things thing on.

Unfortunately, most of the other characters are pretty shallow.

This is 100% my personal preference and showing that bothers me with A LOT of fantasy books. But the point of view/narrator couldn't decide if it was third person limited or omniscient.

It's written as though it's third limited (narration in the character's voice, only one characters rights at a time, etc), but gives information that character couldn't possibly know ("if she'd stayed another minute, she would have seen... " or "he didn't notice the..."). This may seem a small thing, but it really throws me out of the story every time an author does this.

And my final point of critique is the way the story bounces around. I don't mind skipping forward in time, but this book does it more than I'm strictly comfortable with. There are a lot of jumps and it leaves a feeling of not having had nearly enough time to get used to the new reality for the character(s).

I wish the author had taken more time to get us used to the things that changed between the time gaps instead of just jumping the time frame.

In the end, I'm really interested to see where this is going to go. I'll definitely be continuing this one.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Father of Lies

  • A Darkly Disturbing Occult Horror Trilogy Series, Book 1
  • By: S. E. England
  • Narrated by: Henrietta Meire
  • Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 181
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 164
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 164

Ruby is the most violently disturbed patient ever admitted to Drummersgate Asylum, high on the bleak moors of northern England. With no improvement after two years, Dr. Jack McGowan finally decides to take a risk and hypnotizes her - with terrifying consequences. A horrific dark force is now unleashed on the entire medical team, as each in turn attempts to unlock Ruby's shocking and sinister past. Who is this girl? And how did she manage to survive such unimaginable evil?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • EXORCIST MEETS CYBIL

  • By cdtgra11 on 12-25-16

Nope

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

Reviewed: 01-09-19

An author ending a book in the middle of a story, mid-beat, is a really good way to ensure I never read anything else they write.

  • Fathomless

  • By: Greig Beck
  • Narrated by: Sean Mangan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 562
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 524
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 520

In Fathomless, the greatest predator the world has ever known is coming home in 2016. Carcharodon megalodon. The largest and most fearsome predator to have ever existed on our planet. Rumours of its existence in our modern oceans have persisted for centuries. Now, in a new adventure, the rumours explode into brutal and terrifying reality in Fathomless, by Greig Beck.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mega What?

  • By Olive on 01-24-17

Great concept

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

Reviewed: 01-09-19

The narrator left something to be desired. There was not a lot of variance in his voices (apart from accents) and there was very little change in his pace.

As seems to be trending with books of this sort, it starts with an interesting prologue that turns into 10 hours of getting to the point.

Unfortunately, in this one I can't help wondering what the point of the first half of the book was.

This is one of those books that things seem really interesting and I'm wondering just where in the hell the story is going to go... and then something happens that changes everything. Except, it has nothing to do with the story so far and would have happened even if the first half of the book hadn't happened.

So why bother with the first half?

Yes, I finished the book. And no, it didn't really improve.

Do yourself a favor and read Steve Alten's Meg instead.

  • Into the Drowning Deep

  • By: Mira Grant
  • Narrated by: Christine Lakin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 698
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 658
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 653

Seven years ago the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a mockumentary bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a tragedy. Now a new crew has been assembled. But this time they're not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life's work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart, this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Excellent book by Mira Grant

  • By SharonNM on 04-13-18

Very slow start to a pretty decent story

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

Reviewed: 01-06-19

I struggled to rate this one, for a number of reasons.

I give the narrator a solid 3.5. It would have been a lot higher, but apart from accents her male choices all sound the same (and are only marginally different from her default female voice). In terms of pacing, inflections, accents, and female voices, however, she was fantastic.

The story, I'm sorry to say, only rates about 2.8 stars.

This was an interesting story with a pretty unusual take on what mermaids/merpeople are/could be, and takes us on a pretty terrifying journey into that possibility.

We are introduced to a pretty diverse cast of characters that all bring something different to the table. Unfortunately, most of them are (at best) two-dimensional cutouts.

And I do have pretty serious issues with the fact that with maybe one or two exceptions, every female character in the book is described as a bombshell with amazing... endowments. And with maybe five exceptions, almost all of the male characters are scum sucking douche-bags.

Which leads me to the various reasons for my low rating:

Ultimately, in terms of grammar and prose, it leaves quite a bit to be desired (clunky constructions, passive voice, and lots and lots of extra words that serve no purpose).

Almost every character is introduced with a ton of (mostly) pointless backstory. Which I suppose was a clumsy way of getting to make the characters relatable and make me care about them. But it didn't really work. I ended up feeling for Olivia and Tori, but on account of what they experience during the story, not their clumsily presented backstory.

Over and above everything else, though, I have the major issues.

First, even at the end I have no sense of who was supposed to be the protagonist (there is maybe a slight preference for Tori here, but there are still several possibilities).

Second, the author seemed unable to make up her mind whether the story was being told in a limited third person or an omniscient one. So much of the narrative feels like a tight third person (narration in the voice of The character whose head we happen to be in), yet we bounce between different characters' internal thoughts all the time and we're presented with information that no character in the book could possibly know.

And third, it took forever to get to the point.

If I was reading/listening to a 1,000-page/30+ hour epic fantasy, I might expect to take the first ten hours just setting the stage and getting to know the characters. But in a book like this? No. It didn't need to spend such a long time on mundane happenings before finally getting to the point.

In the end, in glad I stuck with it and finished the story, but I wish the author had done a better job with the writing. Sticking primarily with the here and now, fixing the POV issues, having a clear main character, and not taking so long to get to the point would have gone a long way toward making this a much more enjoyable book.

With how recent this book is (hence, one would thing, it should be among her best work), I'm not sure I'll be reading any more of her work.

  • The Devil's Teeth

  • A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks
  • By: Susan Casey
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 217
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 145
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 145

Journalist Susan Casey was in her living room when she first glimpsed this strange place and its resident sharks, their dark fins swirling around a tiny boat in a documentary. These great whites were the alphas among alphas, the narrator said, some of them topping 18 feet in length, and each fall they congregated here off the northern California coast.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Romance novel + diary + shark?

  • By Brian Dowrick on 08-05-05

Mildly interesting

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

Reviewed: 01-05-19

The narrator is pretty good, nothing to brag about though.

Based on the description, I was really excited for this book. It sounded like it would be a really deep dive into Great White Sharks.

Alas, no.

Okay, in fairness, it is a reasonably interesting story, if exceptionally backstory heavy and not all that terribly entertaining.

And yes, there's a little bit about Great Whites in the book, but there's a lot more about birds than sharks and this story of "survival" is almost devoid of suspense.

For all that the history parts feel like filler to enhance the page count, the island's history is actually the most interesting part.

In the end, I feel that I was misled into thinking I would enjoy this book.

  • Bone Music

  • By: Christopher Rice
  • Narrated by: Lauren Ezzo
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 628
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 535
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 535

Charlotte Rowe spent the first seven years of her life in the hands of the only parents she knew - a pair of serial killers who murdered her mother and tried to shape Charlotte in their own twisted image. If only the nightmare had ended when she was rescued. Instead, her real father exploited her tabloid-ready story for fame and profit - until Charlotte finally broke free from her ghoulish past and fled. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Superhuman miracle drug!

  • By shelley on 03-05-18

Fantastic story!

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

I loved the narrator, her voices were impressive and distinct, and her passing was perfect.

First, let me get one thing out of the way. This story is told in present tense, which is almost a deal breaker for me. I hate it. Almost as much as I hate first person. There are parts of this book that are in first person, but those are essentially the main character's journal entries.

Now, that said, this is a wonderful story.

The characters are all deep and well developed with realistic interactions.

The plot is complex and well thought out with no discernible holes that I noticed.

There was a slow point in the middle where I was a little anxious for things to get moving, but it was reasonably short and didn't detract too much from the progress of the story.

Apart from that one slow point, the book is wonderfully paced with an incredible amount of suspense and several great twists (though some are a little obvious).

All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about serial killers, present day science fiction, or thrillerish suspense.

  • The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm

  • Tales from Alagaësia, Volume 1: Eragon
  • By: Christopher Paolini
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 4 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 553
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 510
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 507

It's been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now, he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves. Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective. This volume features three original stories set in Alagaësia, interspersed with scenes from Eragon's own unfolding adventure.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • TOO short

  • By Mejora on 01-01-19

Short. Disjointed. A bit confusing.

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

Reviewed: 01-03-19

Per usual, narrator first.
He's good. Not Michael Kramer good, but still good. A nice range of voices and good pacing.

Now, the stories.
Well, first you need to understand that this is a frame story. We're basically seeing a day in Eragon's life in which three different people are relating stories to him.

Hence, we end up hearing about a magical fork (my favorite story by far, even though it is the shortest of the bunch), a witch (term used very loosely, as it's pertaining to Angela and "special" girl Eragon basically created), and a wyrm.

The writing itself is along the same lines as we've come to expect from Paolini (so, not amazing, but nothing to complain about without getting nitpicky). Independent of the others, each story is cohesive and well constructed, if lacking in emotional power.

But for me, the point where the book falls down is the links between the stories.

I think if it had been a true anthology, with firm breaks between stories, it would have gone a long way toward solving the problem.

As it is, however, it reads like it's going somewhere and things are going to tie together, which is misleading because they don't. The only commonalities are the coming back to Eragon between the stories.

And it's confusing because the breaks between the stories are not solid. When chapter two started, I was under the impression it was just a POV switch within a single story, which it isn't. And in the second story (which starts, I believe, in chapter 4), the chapter headings are crazy (it is explained in the frame part of the story, but that doesn't really help it make sense) and it's easy to lose track of where you are and what's going on.

All in all, I think this was a great idea, but should have been done without the frame and preferably with two to three times the number of stories. A three story anthology is a bit of a joke, in my opinion.

In closing, if you're an Eragon enthusiast then you're going to want to read this. But if not then you may as well skip it.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Pretty Girls Dancing

  • By: Kylie Brant
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels, Emily Sutton-Smith, Lauren Ezzo, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,834
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,546
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,542

Years ago, in the town of Saxon Falls, young Kelsey Willard disappeared and was presumed dead. The tragedy left her family with a fractured life - a mother out to numb the pain, a father losing a battle with his own private demons, and a sister desperate for closure. But now another teenage girl has gone missing. It's ripping open old wounds for the Willards, dragging them back into a painful past, and leaving them unprepared for where it will take them next.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Pretty Girls Dancing, Great listen!

  • By Linda on 02-06-18

Slow start, but worth it in the end.

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

Reviewed: 12-21-18

First, the narrators.
Honestly, the barrage of voices was a little jarring.
To be fair, I do enjoy audiobooks with multiple narrators, but by far my preference is either two narrators (1 male, 1 female) or a full cast with each actor being assigned 1 or more characters (consistency of voice is vital).

Apart from that, however, the narrators were very good.

Story.
The book starts off looking really good with a well-written abduction, then drops down to minimum speed as we're taken through 3 different point of view characters for the ugh-tastic drama of a family who never recovered from a severe trauma.

Around the halfway point things pick up a bit and we finally start getting somewhere.

In the end, it all ends up being worth it as the climax is quite emotionally charged with a nice twist ending and I *almost* didn't see coming.

I think a few scenes from the villain's perspective would have gone a long way toward improving the narrator, but all in all I still enjoyed the book.