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Ray Johnson

Ohio
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  • The Quarantine Fence: A Zombie Horror Short Story

  • By: Roma Gray
  • Narrated by: Brett Schumacher
  • Length: 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

The zombie plague has been contained, right? Frank’s job is to patrol the fence that separates the living from the undead. It’s a boring job...at least it was until today. Has the true apocalypse finally arrived?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • wow

  • By Maly C on 11-02-18

A different kind of zombie tale

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

Reviewed: 12-09-18

One of the things I love about Roma Gray is that she always has a new take on an old trope. Zombies, no pun intended, have been done to death. Here, though, she takes everything you know about zombies and doesn't just throw it out the window, she launches it from a bazooka through the ceiling. Yep, you can still dies from the Zed menace, but not in the way that you think. These guys are harmless, they just stand around and graze all day, but if you get sick yourself, die, and become one of them too.

That is where this story comes into play. It is very human, deply visceral, and shows how humanity is its own worst enemy. Our kindness, and attachments, can be a detriment in some cases and here we learn a lot about love, and how it is truly blind. She really drive this point home, and reminds me of a story that she did called Homecoming. Both pieces reveal a lot about humanity and our short comings. This one deals with love, and the other dealt with how we ignore problems unless it affects us in some way. Both are very poignant.

I enjoyed Brett Schumacher's narration, and felt that he added to the gravitas of the situation by the way he handled the characters and infused emotion into the story. His words carried a lot of weight, and he did a great job. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

  • Zombie Park

  • By: Kent Hill
  • Narrated by: J. Scott Bennett
  • Length: 1 hr and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Imagine being liquid enough to fool around with the building blocks of life just to create a park full of zombies to cash in on the general public's infatuation with the undead. Now imagine, as it often does, something going wrong with that concept and zombies ruining the world for everybody. Next, imagine dinosaurs returning to prominence in a Planet of the Apes-type scenario and evolving so they fill all the roles we humans did before the fall of the species. So our story begins. A group of dino-commandos are sent in to uncover the fate of their missing colleagues....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Zombie Park

  • By ZOE R on 11-27-18

Zombies vs Dinos after humans go extinct

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

Reviewed: 11-29-18

Here we are again. Kent Hill's imagination is going to take over the internet someday. I honestly don't know where he comes up with this stuff from. See, when you say Zombie Park to me, I think of a place you can walk your zombie, maybe have your zombie meet up with other zombies so that they can play together, and just spend quality time with your zombie. Not Hill, he see a Jurassic Park style place that does what those theme parks do, and just when it looks like the zompocalypse has run its course we get Jurassic Commandos who show up to take on the Zom zoms.

The book is a rapid paced punch in the face with humor, zombies, and butt flappin' dinos. So. . . .about just what you'd expect from Hill. This is fun, silly romp, and while we didn't get any nazisuaruses we did get one hell of a crack zombie killing squad. So expect alot of murdery goodness and a lot of off the wall wackiness.

Bonus for me, and by extension YOU, this here book has been audiblized by none other than one of my fave narrators, J. Scott Bennett himself. He knows how to bring the on the whack and detail the crazy so this fits his style perfectly. Smooth as butter he is. Butter on th third step down from the top of a wooden stairway so that you slip and fall without knowing why, but enjoy the ride as you go. He is a master at his craft. You will enjoy him, I always do. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Necropolis Tryst

  • By: Kent Hill
  • Narrated by: Mike Carnes
  • Length: 2 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Kent Hill presents a double whammy, a double feature, one part heart and one part laughs. Necropolis Tryst begins your listening experience with a tale close to life, full of laughs, love, and tragedy. His over-the-top style comes back to earth in this coming of age that shows Hill is not only a madman, cracking jokes at whirlwind speed, but he is fully human, a romantic and poet. And once you are nice and wet, dip into the genre-splicing parody fest "Zombie Park". A wild and bizarre ride through a kaleidoscope of movies that include Predator, Aliens, and of course, Jurassic Park. Why get one? Rejoice dear listener, in thy double feature. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fiendish writing by a genius mastermind

  • By Ray Johnson on 11-29-18

Fiendish writing by a genius mastermind

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

Reviewed: 11-29-18

Kent Hill said that he wrote this as a challenge to diverge from his familiar comfortable path of writing. I guess he felt too confined by writing things like Sword Dude, Deathmaster, Alien Smut Peddlars, and Hercules with a shot gun. I can see how writnig stuff like that might limit you in some capacity. What? Stuff like that only proves that he is Paul Atreides, who has a mind that will bend like a reed in the wind! This man has a flexible imagination.

Additionally, he says that he wanted to write something new and original, well he's done that a dozen times over!!!! This is no difference, so did he stray from the norm? Nope. He's maintained a level of excellence that is unheard of, this book just proves that no matter what he writes about it is soing to be amazing. Plus he's inserts some funny stuff at the start and then adds in some standard Kent Hill craziness before the end. He knows how to pluck my heartstrings. The story is top notch and just tells me that I will never get my fill of Kent hill.

Mike Carnes narrates the tale, and all I can say is that he must be as sick and twisted as Hill, because he gets the humor and gross sensibilities! I liked listening to him, and will restate that I thnk he fits Hill's style like a glove over a psuedo-pod (that's shaped like a hand!). Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Bigfoot Tracks

  • A Creep Squad Collection, Volume 1
  • By: Steve Vernon
  • Narrated by: Joe Cliff Thompson
  • Length: 1 hr and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7

Everything that you have read about Bigfoot is a lie. Everything that you have heard about Bigfoot is the truth! Enjoy three stories from the files of The Creep Squad - that pack of cryptids, legends, and nondescript rumors who fight crime and misjustice anywhere that you aren't looking. What if all the stories were true? What if Bigfoot really did exist? What if he depended upon people's belief in him for his very existence? What if he needed a job and the only one he was suited for was keeping the other legends in their place?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Nice Introduction To The World Of Sasquatch

  • By Oswald on 01-02-18

Major Freaking Mapleleaf makes an Appearance!

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

Reviewed: 11-29-18

Steve Vernon is a cat that I follow around like a lost puppy. I have yet to see him put out a book that was not well thought out, and wickedly written to perfection. This book is a collection of shorts that features variaous monster folk, like the good ole Sasquach and even Major Mapleleaf! Never fear, there is a plethora of monsters that run the gamit of the well known to what you might consider to be the unknown (unless you are well versed in Monster Lore).

Vernon puts quite the spin on his "creeps", and I think that what he has done here is bloody brilliant, I have a few other of his collections, and I think this is my favorite so far, but then I love monsters of all shapes and sizes. For me, this was a win, win, win. I think it will be the same for you.

Joe Cliff Thompson nails down the narration like he was an air gun hooked up to a hurricane. He really has a great voice and carries the stories along like he wrote them himself. I think I enjoyed listening to him talk about sasquatch/bigfoot most of all, but there were others that he handled just as adroitly. He made this feel like a cohesive collection of stories.

I will be on the look out for the next installation of this Creep Squad, but then I'm always looking out for more by Vernon. He is a killer writer with quite a vision. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Satan's Salesman

  • By: Matthew Davenport
  • Narrated by: Joe Feldman-Barros
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9

Shane’s a damned good salesman, but when a promotion that he spent years earning gets taken away only hours after getting it, he realizes that sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do. But that’s not good enough for Shane. Confronting the person that he believes is responsible for his situation, Shane learns that there’s another, quieter, sales organization that he’s competing against: Perdition Investments. At Perdition Investments the products are whatever you want the most, but the cost is your Soul. Shane has a chance to use his excellent skills in an entirely new way, but at what cost? Can you lose your soul by trading people for theirs? What’s the price for success?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The art of Wheeling and dealing

  • By Ray Johnson on 11-29-18

The art of Wheeling and dealing

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

Reviewed: 11-29-18

I read a lot of books, and Deals with the devil are one of my favorite subjects. Hell, when I was in high school I wrote a paper titled Selling your soulf for a profit in which I posited how the sacrifice of one person could be used to achieve greater things, such as world peace. Not so here, as this is a slick reinterpretation of the Faustian concept in which each soul carries an inherent value; a value that dictates just how much you can get in exchange for it. So a jerk isn't going to get world peace, but a saint could apply for just about anything they wanted so to speak. This is the brilliance of the book, and I loved it.

I recently read a very similar book called Fostering Faust, in which the MC has to achieve a "deal" quota. Here the protagonist, Shane, has to achieve a score of three souls a month in order to get what he wants, but there are rules. He can't just sign someone up who doesn't believe certain criteria, for example, and he faces manymoral quandries. The book is a fun and interesting take on what you would do to stay out of Hell yourself, just how far you would go, and how that would affect you in the long run. I loved every minute of this book.

One big reason for that love is the way in which Joe Feldman-Barros handled the narration. He has a nice raspy voice that you don't often hear, and he keeps the story paced nicely and adds a lot to the story. He has a nice low key delivery that is perfect for this story. He doesn't try to over play a scene or stomp on your throat to get his point made, he handles this like a smooth member of the rat pack, a drink in one hand, a cigerette in the other, and warbling his way into your brain.

If you are looking for something new, different, and a little chilling then this is perfect for you. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Repercussions Run Rampant: Tales of Revenge, Regret. And Retribution

  • Project 26, Book 18
  • By: Essel Pratt
  • Narrated by: Alyssa Williams
  • Length: 3 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

Repercussions of one’s actions are often not realized for many moons. Usually, such retorts result in minor inconveniences that merely mar the soul and bruise one’s pride. However, when repercussions run afoul, evil in its purest form reveals her damning desire to push one over the edge. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Multiple manic-inducing mind-numbing maniacs

  • By Ray Johnson on 11-27-18

Multiple manic-inducing mind-numbing maniacs

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

Reviewed: 11-27-18

I can really appreciate a dude who likes alliteration, since I adore it, and Pratt proves he's professional enought to pull it off with aplomb. This book blasts out a bevey of bad-arsed babies that will blow your mind. The stories ran a range of tales, and none repeated a theme of revenge or retribution. While I do enjoy Pratt, there were one or two OK stories that weren't bad, but the majority were fun and creative tales of people getting theirs. . . or not. Pratt is a slick writer who knows how to vary up his writing, one second he's kicking butt with a B-movie monster and the next he's battling evil forces in New Orleans, or even having Ann Frank chat with Hitler. He is crazy, but in a really good way.

Alyssa Williams does a really nice job narrating. I hadn't heard her before all of this, but I think she did an excellent job. I always feel a little sexist when I think that a man should do the voice for a story regarding a man, and vice versa, but I think she did well, and can appreciate her work here.

So, if you are looking for a great collection of short stories then look no further, this book will show you what Karma is all about. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Orleans Occult: Bourbon Street Lucifer

  • Project 26, Book 15
  • By: Essel Pratt
  • Narrated by: Ken Petrie
  • Length: 1 hr and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

Mardi Gras is a time of celebration, an occasion to lose one's inhibitions, and a time for the devious minds to hide among the crowds. As the party rages on, a pair of police officers notices something isn't right as the happy-go-lucky visitors begin to violently attack each other. As the night goes on, violence turns to murder, and the officers search out clues to find out what, or who, is behind the violence. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Madri Gras becomes Mardi Graves

  • By Ray Johnson on 11-27-18

Madri Gras becomes Mardi Graves

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

Reviewed: 11-27-18

You ever have someone say a name, and then tell you that you never want to meet that person? No? Then you live in a nice safe part of town where the boogey man is really the boogie man and th worst thing you might have to face is a dancefloor showdown. Not so in New Orleans, where you just might meet the Bourbon Street Lucifer. Honestly, you'd do better running into Jack the Ripper; at least with him you'd have a chance.

This is a great short story that is both intriguing and mesmerizing. You get to do a drive along with a pair of police officers who see some serious stuff going down, and slowly find themselves in deeper and darker corners of the Big Easy that they hadn't expected. The whole thing plays out like a bad acid trip on a blind man. You know something crazy is going to happen, you just don't see it coming.

Ken Petrie reads this off with a great 'Nawlins accent, and really nails the atmosphere well. My only issue is that he sounds like he's in a big empty room, because there is just something weird going on when he finishes speaking. I'll admit that it actually added to the eeriness of the tale, but if I heard this in another book I would prolly drop a star, I just can't describe it. But it is there.

Pratt knows how to craft a cool tale, and if you like this then you will love his Sharkrantula novel, that is be movie madness at its finest. So, check this book out, you won't be dissappointed. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Hellfighter

  • By: Thomas S. Flowers
  • Narrated by: Rick Gregory
  • Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25

In the year 2044, reporters from the Public Relations Ministry gather at the home of Benjamin Harker, the last surviving member of the Harlem Hellfighters. At the age of 144, he is the oldest recorded man alive. Hidden among them, Clyde Bruner is looking for a different kind of story. Across the US, despite the Great Walls and patrol drones built to keep America secure, something has found its way in. Now, towns are vanishing during the night. Entire populations, gone, only to return after the sun sets, changed, unholy, and lethal. Whatever this evil is, its spreading west. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining!

  • By erobbins33 on 10-03-18

A nice take on an old enemy, the Vampire

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

Reviewed: 11-27-18

I really like what Flowers did here, taking a bunch of different eras and events and showing them as sort of flashback in dialogue up until the end. In this manner he was easily able to get a lot of history across what would have otherwise been a sprawling six to seven book series.

A couple of points, I would have liked to have seen more action and more gore. For all the battles there really wasn't any big blowout your backdoor moments, and for vampires I really expect more blood. Regardless of what I wished for the story is intriguing and keeps your attention, and the whole revenge thing plays out nicely. I honestly could have gone for another book that more fully fleshed out this concept, but with a lot more detail than we got here. This was basically a long winded recap of events, to kind of show how things transpired up to the present day. I liked it a lot, but now I'd like to see MORE as opposed to some condensed story telling. It worked here, but I could take another stab at more books in this series.

Rick Gregory, one of my fave narrators runs with this story. He basically say pull up a chair and listen to what I have to tell you, young'un. He embodies Benjamin Harker's spirit as he retells this tale , and you feel like he is talking directly to you. I always enjoy listening to Gregory, he has a wonderful voice and can infuse life into anything he touches, even the undead. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Yesterday’s Spacemage

  • Spacemage Chronicle Series, Book 1
  • By: Timothy Ellis
  • Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187

All Thorn wanted was to be a Battle Mage. He had the talent, and his whole future was before him. On the day of Choosing, he finds things don't always go as planned. Suddenly Thorn's life is thrown into fast forward, and he finds himself in a world not of his own choosing. In a world of spaceships and blasters, instead of horses and swords, Thorn needs to adapt and survive, make new allies, and rediscover that although nothing is familiar, he's still a Mage, and pirates and slavers beware.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The book isn't bad but the ending feels rushed

  • By D & S Mercer on 08-31-18

Solid 3 part story, end bit of a let down

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

Reviewed: 11-19-18

Alright, this was a tough one for me. First of all, I had this suggested as one of my this feels like LIRPG, so is it close enough to be LIT? I’ll get to that at the end, but the truth is this is a book that was broken into sections. I had a lot of trouble with how it ended, and several other things.

First, the odd stuff. The book’s premise is that there is a young man, Thorn, who is raised in a society in which you can detail what job you want during a coming of age ceremony. This is your life job. I’m guessing that once you take it you are stuck. No takebacksies or something along those lines. Anyway, it turns out he wants to be a battlemage, the toughest job to get, and the high lord emperor decides that the young mage will either work under him, where he will be stymied because his power is a threat to the Emp, or he will die. The boy decides that he is going to Nope out of the situation by teleporting away as he is attacked, and he wakes up in the far future with no magic. After a bit of time he manages to regain his abilities, and is then kidnapped by an alien race. After he kills his abductors he goes on a spree of attacking slavers with a few people he rescues.

What’s so odd you ask? Well, you are literally given no information about who his people were, where they were from, where he ends up in the future, who the aliens are that kidnap him, or even who the military is that he fights against. There is really no reason for this, nothing is kept from the reader for any reason, there is just no information given. It is bizaare.

Secondly, each part of the book feels like a story unto itself, with the beginning being the most interesting. Each deals with the MC sort of finding his way and where he belongs. The third section is about him coming to grips with being a spacemage with him making a final decision that is beyond strange. I don’t want to give anything away, but everything that he decides to do at the end was very out of character and did not fit the rest of the story. He’s a guy who wanted to be a battle mage, and when that opportunity is transformed in to becoming a Space mage he turns away. It felt forced an was not organic at all.

Kevin T. Collins narration is a standout. He is probably not someone that you would know since he is not a part of the LIT community, but he handles the story well, and peppers it with emotion and really hands out defined personalities to each character. He does do voices for each character as well, and I liked listening to him. He has a unique cadence to his story telling, sort of like listening to someone speak in iambic pentameter. He stands out and I appreciated all the fine work that he did.

So, now the question becomes is this close to LITRPG? I have to say no. There are certain criteria that must be met to qualify, and in no way does it come close. The main character does not level up, he is pretty much as powerful at the end as he is in the beginning, he just streamlines how he uses his powers. There are no stats, no correlation to stats or attributes, nothing along those lines. I think the closest we come is with him using a portal. When he time jumps he does enter into a new world, technically. Still, it is his old world and he never gets near a game or game type world.

The story is good, and the character interesting. I enjoyed the book, but the ending really let me down. I wanted a lot more. So, I am going to give this 7.5 stars. A decent read, but in no way does it come close to being LITRPG.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Desire: A LitRPG Adventure

  • Book 2
  • By: Cameron Milan
  • Narrated by: John Downey
  • Length: 6 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 92
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87

Ace and Vincent spent day and night in the challenges, growing stronger at a breakneck speed. Through their crazy training and lucky encounters, they have grown so strong that they stand above all others. The world watches their every move, and their actions shake the world. Through Ace's desire to help others grow stronger so that they may protect themselves, Northrock city was born. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I desire better

  • By Ray Johnson on 11-19-18

I desire better

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

Reviewed: 11-19-18

Desire is one of those books that seems, at first glance, to be fairly decent but as you go deeper it begins to have some flaws. Nothing horrible, but kinks exist. First of all, Milan’s dialogue is like something from an old Hanna Barbera Saturday morning cartoon. The villain is overly dramatic and one dimensional. He goes around challenging the heroes of the world to 1) Prove his might 2) Test his mettle and 3) Kill them so that he can take over the world.

The plot is pretty convoluted, too. One of the heroes goes rogue in his own bid for the world. The heroes are very disjointed and have no clue of how to work together, and the pacing of the story is strange. There are time jumps involved and the focus of the action moves from earth to an alien planet. It’s kind of all over the place. The characters are flat and you have a hard time connecting with them.

The story goes like this, an ancient orc super warrior from another planet comes to Earth to kick butt, write down some names, and take over the planet. Unfortunately, the planet has some defenders that he has to go through first. They aren’t so easy, and he only gets to take one name before his pen breaks. The book, which while not overwhelming stays on track up until the point that the uber orc decides to team up with one of the human heroes to take over the world. Then it just becomes a fight, beat the orc, oops the orc is actually stronger than we expected or has some weird power manifest that allows him to escape and or beat the heroes before being chased off, over and over again. It was less than exciting and so overly repetitive that it was more annoying and I just wished the heroes would die and the earth would explode so that the book could be over.

The story does have some cool ideas, for example people get their powers from these magical tattoos. Each power seems to be unique to the individual as it grows, but not everyone develops high tier abilities. For example, the Asian hero, Dragon, gains strength based on the number of his followers and the territory he owns. Another is a hemomage who controls blood. Dragon has something along the lines of a million followers, and can use their power to increase his stats for a temporary time while leaving them defenseless. The orc, on the other hand, seems to have no end to power reserves or abilities. Everytime he is almost beaten a new power pops up and he manages to turn the tide. Like I say, this is very Saturday morning cartoon stuff. It really came across like a fanfic combo of Dragonball Z and Justice League Unlimited. The orc went supersayan more times than I could count, to a point in fact that I didn’t wonder if he was going to win or lose I just had to ask what new power was going to show up that he hadn’t used to that point. It was a flat story, and the only time that I felt connected to the characters or the tale was at the very end with the big planet fight by two of the heroes. What tried to be epic became a straight to the $5 bin at Walmart. The story did not grab me in the same way as the original did, and I think it is because of the villain. Villains make or break a story, and the minute the orc show up he took devilled eggs and made them into scrambled somehow.

The narration is a tough call. If you listen to the narrator he has a lot of crazy stuff to say, like the charred person became a charred corpse. Well, he was already charred and dead so nothing change from one second to the next other than someone stepped on the body and crunched it. It is the reading that comes off as flat. I can remember listening to this story, but I had no memory of how he sounded. I had to go back and relisten to the book just to pinpoint how he was. Downey was clear and pronounced his words just fine, but there was very little emotion. But there was no animus or emotion to the reading. This really felt like he just said, “I’m going to have to slog through this, so I might as well make the best of it. Sadly I have no other series to compare him to, because some readers rise to the level of their stories. I would like to say that it was a memorable performance, but I truly do not recall what he sounded like other than semi bored.




Final Score 6.9 The book jumps all over the place, and the one saving grace that I was happy to see is that it wasn’t afraid to kill off characters. If it had been more coherent I might have put it in the 7 range, or even if the dialogue flowed more realistically, or the characters had more depth. This combo tanked the whole story and made it a middle ground kind of tale.


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