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Ken Schneyer

Barrington, RI USA
  • 4
  • reviews
  • 21
  • helpful votes
  • 5
  • ratings
  • Space Opera

  • By: Catherynne M. Valente
  • Narrated by: Heath Miller
  • Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 613
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 559
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 563

A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented - something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding. Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix - part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not a lot of story (non-specific SPOILER ALERT)

  • By Erik B. on 05-22-18

Douglas Adams is Smiling in the Seventh Dimension

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

Reviewed: 12-21-18

This is a love letter to science fiction in general, and to the work of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett in particular, although you'll go crazy trying to keep track of all the Easter Eggs. It is hysterically funny, lavishly written by someone who can turn on her disciplined poet and her inner toddler at will. It is also deadly serious about Big Issues in science fiction and politics. Heath Miller is a gem too, as you'd expect a gifted voice actor reading his wife's own work to be. Can't recommend this enough.

  • Jade City

  • The Green Bone Saga, Book 1
  • By: Fonda Lee
  • Narrated by: Andrew Kishino
  • Length: 19 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 316
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 301
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 304

Award-winning author Fonda Lee explodes onto the adult fantasy scene with Jade City, an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kung fu, set in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis. Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for - and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion. Now, the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon's bustling capital city.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully realized world, vivid characters; makes you think

  • By Ken Schneyer on 03-24-18

Beautifully realized world, vivid characters; makes you think

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

Reviewed: 03-24-18

An intelligent, exciting, thoughtful novel that teeters on the edge between science fiction and fantasy. One part The Godfather, one part Dune, one part The Left Hand of Darkness, one part John le Carre, this book is also unremitting and unsentimental in its meditation on colonialism, imperialism, and gender politics. The characters are vivid, and their complex traits, sorrows, and weaknesses are entirely believable based on their pasts. Perhaps Lee’s most impressive achievement is making the reader care about and sympathize with leaders who are essentially ritualized gangsters, ruling an entire society through violence and the threat of violence. The narration of this story is splendid as well.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Derelict

  • By: LJ Cohen
  • Narrated by: Bill Burrows
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 58

When Rosalen Maldonado tinkers with the derelict freighter, she's just hoping to prove she deserves a scholarship to University. She certainly doesn't count on waking the ship's damaged AI or having three stowaways, Micah Rotherwood and brothers Jem and Barre Durbin, along for the ride.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What Teens can do !!

  • By Chris's Card on 01-20-16

Thrilling and delightful

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

Reviewed: 02-12-18

Although I am not much of a fan of YA novels in general, I really enjoyed this one. It is paced excitingly, its characters breathe, and it explores some family dynamics nicely.

One reason that I do not read a lot of YA literature is that I find genuine teenage behavior irritating. There is genuine teenage behavior in this novel, and yes, I did find it irritating. But there is also character development among the teenagers; they grow satisfyingly.

I also appreciated that the author did not pander to my ordinary expectations. There were things I expected to happen – that I had really been set up to expect to happen – which did not ultimately happen, and the character logic for this made perfect sense.

The author is realistic and sensitive about the emotional impact of trauma, including difficulties with intimacy.
As a medical professional, she is satisfyingly accurate about medical issues other authors gloss over or get dead wrong. It has a pleasantly diverse cast, including a female protagonist, which I appreciated.

Readers who expect every paragraph of a novel to contain strikingly original language will be disappointed in this one. As is the case with many novels aimed at young people, its use of colloquialisms and other turns of phrase is unsurprising. But I will certainly recommend it to my teenage son and his friends.

  • Borderline

  • The Arcadia Project, Book 1
  • By: Mishell Baker
  • Narrated by: Arden Hammersmith
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 232
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220

A year ago Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she's sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales. For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's the characters

  • By Ken Schneyer on 02-11-17

It's the characters

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

Reviewed: 02-11-17

Every once in a while, I run across a book I really shouldn't like, but I do. I don't go in for urban fantasy, I'm relatively bored with Los Angeles as a setting, Hollywood politics interest me not at all, and I typically close a book as soon as I see the word "fae".

But really good writing supersedes all of that. The characters in Borderline are so vivid and quirky that if one of them walked up to me and said even three words, I'd recognize him/her immediately. And this is true of *all* the characters, not just the main protagonist and antagonist; even the walk-ons breathe.

I'm sure other reviewers will comment on the fact that this is probably the first SFF novel ever to treat Borderline Personality Disorder seriously, and of course it's a gem for that reason alone. And yes, the magical world presented is clever and fun all by itself; but it seems to me that I would enjoy this novel even if it were mainstream literary fiction, and even if BPD didn't come up.

If you like living with characters who fascinate, this book is for you.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful