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Alex

Walnut Creek, CA, United States
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  • Half-Resurrection Blues

  • Bone Street Rumba, Book 1
  • By: Daniel José Older
  • Narrated by: Daniel José Older
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 396
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 370
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 374

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead's most unusual agents - an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind - until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death. One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He's summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Funny, Sharp Urban Fantasy

  • By Alex on 10-18-15

Funny, Sharp Urban Fantasy

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

Reviewed: 10-18-15

Half-Resurrection Blues is about a half-dead hitman working for entirely dead guys to keep the balance of life and death in check. I'm not usually all that into urban fantasy, but after reading Half-Resurrection Blues, I wonder if that's because I've rarely seen any author write about a city half so well as Older writes about Brooklyn. I learned (after reading it) that he'd been a community organizer, and those roots show. He knows people are and what they're up to and what they care about, and all those details make Brooklyn come to life on the page. It's fantastic.

It's also funny. Really, really funny. For example, early on, the narrator and protagonist, Carlos, meets another half-dead guy for the first time in his life, and it is not exactly the joy he would have expected:

/“Whaddup, douche bags and douche baguettes?” [Trevor] hollers at the crowd. I’m mortified and fascinated at the same time. A few passing revelers chuckle but most ignore him. A blond lady rolls her eyes as if she’s being hit on for like the four hundredth time tonight. “Why so serious?” Trevor yells into the sky. I found the one other being like me in the universe and he is a total jackass./

On that point, Older has the comic timing of his narrator down, and it's worth listening to the book for that alone. (I kept walking over to the next room to make my girlfriend listen to choice lines.) He's also just downright pleasant to listen to. My only complaint is the voice acting when one of the female characters is crying. High-pitched, fake-crying voice is a bit of a twitch for me. Thankfully, that's only a small part.

The other interesting thing about this book is how well Older writes male characters. Carlos and his buddies playing off of each other are great, and Older's awareness of how men interact with women (and why) was also fascinating (and appalling). Carlos does not make the best choices about how he conducts his relationships, which was actually cool to read, since the narrative does not support his choices (pointedly) but also does not demonize them.

Anyway, this is a great book. It's got a lot of depth while remaining a fun read. Highly recommend.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

The Broken Kingdoms audiobook cover art
  • The Broken Kingdoms

  • By: N. K. Jemisin
  • Narrated by: Casaundra Freeman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 627
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 550
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 549

The gods have broken free after centuries of slavery, and the world holds its breath, fearing their vengeance. The saga of mortals and immortals continues in The Broken Kingdoms. In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • please give us book number 3, audible overlords!!!

  • By katya on 05-06-16

Original, Culturally Complex Epic Fantasy

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

Reviewed: 08-28-15

Any additional comments?

I skipped the first book in this trilogy, and as an introduction to the world and overall plot, the second book works just fine. The viewpoint character and narrator, Oree Shoth, doesn't know much about the gods and godlings, so the reader gets to follow along with her discoveries. And the discoveries are worth making. The Broken Kingdoms not only has one of the more original fantasy worlds, but one of the most culturally complex and magically interesting.

And Jemisin uses the world. One of the most outstanding qualities of this book is its exploration of how power differences affect relationships, for better or for worse, and for how those are negotiated. In order to demonstrate those effects (rather than preaching them), Jemisin had to create a world with plausible depth, and she pulled it off. The theme of power in relationships is everywhere in this book--in the opening scene, in the interaction between Oree, a street artist, and a worried and entitled tourist, in how the police force treat Oree and her fellow artists, in how the godlings treat mortals, and how mortals view godlings, and so on.

Moreover, Jemisin handles all of these relationships with remarkable deftness, showing even unsympathetic characters' motivations in such a manner that they are understandable and highly individual. If you are bored by puppy-kicking, sociopathic evil, then Jemisin is a great read. She shows how people can do awful, insensitive, cruel things for what they consider excellent reasons, given their contexts. In a similar vein, she does not pull her punches in terms of the consequences of her characters' actions, and I love that kind of follow through. Highly recommend.

  • Swordspoint

  • A Melodrama of Manners
  • By: Ellen Kushner
  • Narrated by: Ellen Kushner, Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,269
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,147
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,150

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Witty, Deadly, Sexy Sword Fights and Manners

  • By Jefferson on 01-01-12

Still Talking in that Hill Drawl...

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

Reviewed: 12-15-11

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have already recommended it to several friends; it's an excellent performance by all the actors, and it is truly a pleasure to hear Ellen Kushner read her work. The characters speak like I hear them in my head, which is impressive in itself, but the exact delivery of their lines and the lovely accents made this even more fun than reading the book.

What other book might you compare Swordspoint to and why?

The Fall of Kings, The Privilege of the Sword, but they are by Ellen Kushner (and Delia Sherman). It's a pretty distinct style, this book. I suppose Georgette Heyer is similar, but not nearly as so gratifyingly sharp.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Clearly, the narrator knows exactly how her characters sound.

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

Yes. It actually was what got me into my car in the morning, however, since I listen to books when I go to and from work.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful