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Rick R

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  • Ruins of Empire

  • Blood on the Stars, Book 3
  • By: Jay Allan
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 634
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 592
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 592

Captain Tyler Barron and the crew of Dauntless are finally enjoying the rest they've earned while their aging battleship gets the repairs and refit it desperately needs. But their respite will be short-lived. In the Badlands, deep in the haunted vastness of pre-Cataclysmic space, a new discovery threatens to upset the balance of power. Orbiting a world in a distant system is an ancient battleship, vastly larger and enormously more advanced than anything possessed by the contending powers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good story great series

  • By Eric on 07-18-17

Solid Series, but Too Hollywood

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

Reviewed: 07-08-17

Generally I like the series and the main characters. He does a good job of growing the characters and making sure we know who the important supporting characters are. However, he repeats the same grave descriptions to the point they become irritating at times and distracts from the movement of the story. Sometimes in the car I yell, "I get it! GO ON!" or "Not AGAIN, please!" I have also started seeing a Hollywood bigger explosions pattern. The main characters on the main ship keep fighting off more and more and more ships. Example, in this book the main captain and crew ends up fighting off a total of 5 ships. Everything is worse and worse and worse, oh this is paralleled in a really big battle light years away, and then SUDDENLY the protagonist pulls out that little ooomph and destroys the enemy in a single blow after being forlorn. But never say die twice too many! I get this from Hollywood, I don't need or want it in decent book, I expect growth and movement. This is not to say he totally fails, he doesn't. The books are solidly crafted and I do like the characters in the end, but editing out some "oh, dear lordy" melodrama wouldn't shorten the books too much and keep me from rolling my eyes in frustration at times in listening.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Complete Exodus Trilogy

  • Books 1-3
  • By: Andreas Christensen
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 394
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 349
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 347

When an object threatens human civilization, it becomes clear that we need to venture to the stars. With just a few years' warning, this will be a race against time, and only a small number of colonists can be saved. In an America turned authoritarian, a small group of people draws up their plans to change not this world but the next. The confrontation seems inevitable, but who will prevail and at what cost?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not About The Wonder Of Discovery

  • By JLB on 02-07-17

Look at a Light Speed Universe

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

Reviewed: 04-03-17

It was an enjoyable piece once I got by the major flaw in the author's set up. Just remember if we ever have to leave this solar system with maximum genetic robustness, all women with lots of frozen sperm. The book highlighted the fight between power/control and individual freedom, over the years. Once nice thing was the author wasn't "telling" what to think but let the characters show us. There were a lot of characters and some of their thought processes were a little explicit, but other than that it was an interesting listen.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Star Nomad

  • Fallen Empire, Book 1
  • By: Lindsay Buroker
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 375
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 354
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351

The Alliance has toppled the tyrannical empire. It should be a time for celebration, but not for fighter pilot Captain Alisa Marchenko. After barely surviving a crash in the final battle for freedom, she's stranded on a dustball of a planet, billions of miles from her young daughter. She has no money or resources, and there are no transports heading to Perun, her former home and the last imperial stronghold. But she has a plan.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Is it cake or biscuits?

  • By Nvr2old on 11-01-16

Solid SF with Great Narration

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

Reviewed: 11-30-16

In this book Buroker puts together a team of misfits, yeah a bit cliche-ish, that have disparate needs and missions. The main character, the captain of the Nomad, is a cheeky former space fighter jock post-war, yeah, I know still cliche-ish, who has to find her way home and meets a former enemy, or two, and some other people who need her help and can help her in a world just getting over the war.

This sounds formulaic, but it's not. Buroker develops the characters quickly and adds to their profile more and more information while keeping the story moving. You can see Buroker's strong heroic fantasy roots, but it is not all that obtrusive and the story and characters are enjoyable. Is it the best SF ever written, no, but it is entertaining and well written with no "why would any moron ever do that" moments.

In my mind the writing is a clean 4.5 so I rounded up.

The Narration by Kate Reading is outstanding. She does a great job of reading the book without "acting". She differentiates the characters with no jarring voices or hoky accents. She is consistent. You always know who is talking. You don't notice her reading after the books starts. Her narration is smooth and is consistent with what is going on in the book.

She gives a 5-star performance.

Overall I found this book enjoyable and easy to listen to. Time passed so quickly the deep voiced "Audible hopes you've enjoyed this program," came almost as a surprise.

Overall is a 5-star for me, too.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • In Perpetuity

  • By: Jake Bible
  • Narrated by: Michael T. Bradley
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7

For 2,000 years, Earth and her many colonies across the galaxy have fought against the Estelian menace. Having faced overwhelming losses, the CSC has instituted the largest military draft ever, conscripting millions into the battle against the aliens.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Didn't make it past the first chapter

  • By Kindle Customer on 11-29-18

Decent First Try

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

Reviewed: 11-23-16

I guessed the plot early, evil rich people faking a war to control everything. Still an author can make it work with a few twists. None here. The characters were mostly flat. Overstated and repeated. Less can be more. yeah, yeah, I know what cliches are. I was tempted at times to stop, but I did listen all the way through. Some more thought in the writing with some better editing could salvage much, but making more real characters I care about is topmost here.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

  • Bobiverse, Book 1
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68,719
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 64,493
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64,365

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ignore the Publisher's Summary! This is Amazing!

  • By PW on 04-12-17

Great fun and smart look at machine immortality

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

Reviewed: 10-05-16

The theme comes across quickly and the writing is snappy. The author explores a universe, the Bobiverse, where a man lives inside a machine. It was witty and fast moving. I ended up liking all the characters as the flit around the galaxy. Normally I am jaded but not with this book.

The narrator did a great job of separating the characters and making the voices believable. He did a good job of varying the rhythm and moving the book along.

A definite fun time without being silly! I can't wait for the next book in the Bobiverse.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A Learning Experience, Book 1

  • By: Christopher G. Nuttall
  • Narrated by: Christian Rummel
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,396
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,308
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,307

When a bunch of interstellar scavengers approach Earth intending to abduct a few dozen humans and sell them into slavery in the darkest, they make the mistake of picking on Steve Stuart and his friends, ex-military veterans all. Unprepared for humans who can actually fight, unaware of the true capabilities of their stolen starships, the scavengers rapidly lose control of the ship - and their lives.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Great concept / Hated the prosletyzing

  • By Alton J Henley on 08-12-16

Almost a good start on a new series

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

Reviewed: 08-10-16

If you don't want to listen to propaganda on how all conservative and libertarian ideas are good and all liberal and progressive ideas are bad made up by little sexless assholes, don't buy this one. I have listened to all of his books on Audible and I like all of them, solid 4.5s, but the presidential election year must have filled his brain. I do have to say my eye's are at full fitness from all the eye-rolls at the bursts of self contradictory crap.

Once you get by the self-important insights into philosophy, he does a good job of developing his characters and the overall setting. It's easy to accept and follow. It is about the Earth at the very door step of interstellar flight and the choices and the precipice before us with aliens all around us and a slippery road ahead. In this case there are some not-so-diabolical crab aliens, but they are well drawn if a bit sketchy, too.

I plan to listen to the next one, too. I am just hoping he has his tv off and does explode with a conservative/libertarian orgasm of words. (Okay, I stole that last bit from this book.) Nuttall lke Heinlein are at their worst when they are preachy. On the other hand, if he doesn't get bogged down he writes well craft, fast paced books.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Linesman

  • By: S. K. Dunstall
  • Narrated by: Brian Hutchison
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 574
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 533
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 538

The lines. No ship can traverse the void without them. Only linesmen can work with them. But only Ean Lambert hears their song. And everyone thinks he's crazy.... Most slum kids never go far, certainly not becoming a level 10 linesman like Ean. Even if he's part of a small and unethical cartel, and the other linesmen disdain his self-taught methods, he's certified and working. Then a mysterious alien ship is discovered at the edges of the galaxy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Excellent Story - Sci-fi Meets Fantasy

  • By Striker on 07-13-15

Linesman is a Great Start to a New Universe

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

Reviewed: 07-16-15

Linesman is a fresh concept in humans meet aliens. It is a thoughtful peace that has a insecure main character with people around him who value him more than he can understand. The main supporting characters are developed smoothly and interestingly. The author has a nice blend of showing and telling that fits the audio format well.

The narrator does very well in that I have no problem with knowing who is talking when. There are no strange or jarring voices. He is just a bit stilted from time to time. That's not quite the right word, but I do become aware of him for short durations, but not at times that are detrimental to the story. I wonder if this is an audio editing issue. I think he can improve and become a great and effective narrator. I wish I could score the narrator at 4.5 stars.

Overall the story grabbed my attention from the beginning and never let it go. There is action, but this is not a space opera at all. This is solid thoughtful development of a universe with new rules. You care about the characters. You care about the lines.

One annoying hole in the middle is a problem. I kept saying, "How did they get so many soldiers on a ship without anyone noticing a very large shuttle or lots of shuttles going where none should be going." The author uses this tactic more than once and you would think any competent crew would notice this detail. That is one the author should tighten up. BUT once you get by that, the story is on track again.

Overall this is one I very much enjoy and highly recommend it.

4 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Element-X

  • By: B. V. Larson
  • Narrated by: Carol Monda
  • Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 190
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 171
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 171

When a huge alien spacecraft crashes on the island of Cuba, the world scrambles to investigate. Secretive organizations have waited for generations for this opportunity, and they do not hesitate to send in recovery teams. Cooperation between nations breaks down as every government wants the newly discovered technology for themselves. Naturally, the Cubans have beaten everyone else, and the island is beginning to change. Aircraft flying reconnaissance are swatted from the skies.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another homerun

  • By Matt on 10-20-13

New Heroine, good stage, good characters

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

Reviewed: 04-27-15

So BV Larson does write characters well and I do like the book overall. There is the standard inconsistency in the characters that makes me talk back to the narrator. In this case, without spoiling, the main character is freaking out about what her partner may have done, which if they did do it was already what the bad she's freaking out about was willing to do to her. No one in their right mind is going to follow the very weird logic here. BV seems to do this every so often in all his books. I think he wants to build up more psychological drama, but it usually annoying. BUT the story overall would rate a 4.4 to me, but I have round it down. Overall the characters and stage is set well and it's a believable, enjoyable Sci-fi romp, without something sciency happening and thar be zombies.

Carol Monda is in my pantheon of great narrators now. Great voice in general. Great narration with appropriate pauses, variation of voice. Never droning in narration. Clear separation of narration and characters. Consistent voices for characters. Voices are not extreme and noticeable. I know who is talking when even when there are multiple characters. Again, I think a good reading is harder than good acting, and she is a great reader.

This one won't make you think about any mind bending issues, well, there is one theme throughout that the main characters mulls about, but it is an entertaining, well-crafted romp.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Weapons of Choice

  • Axis of Time, Book 1
  • By: John Birmingham
  • Narrated by: Jay Snyder
  • Length: 20 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 768
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 564
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 564

History is rewritten in an instant as the future smashes into the past, and high-tech hardware goes head to head with World War Two technology. In the chaos that ensues, thousands are killed, but the maelstrom has only just begun. The veterans of Pearl Harbor have never seen a helicopter, or a cruise missile - let alone nanotechnology, ceramic bullets, and F22 Raptor stealth jetfighters. Allied and Axis forces are then caught in a desperate struggle to gain the upper hand.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The story line is a political stretch

  • By Bruce on 04-18-15

Getting 5 Stars from me is hard, seriously hard.

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

Reviewed: 03-19-15

First, I am actually going to review the first three books of this series. There is an implied fourth book, though I know no details. All three books are equally good and I would rate them all the same. I started out with one and found myself purchasing the other two immediately to finish.

Second, the writing is great for this genre. It is future meets past with guns. I have read at least eight or nine such series and John Birmingham (JB) is among the top three. Now most of these are like zombie books, something sciency happens and "look what happens". JB gives enough detail to be set the scene without being annoyingly magical. He then exacts a cost and shows us a path through the interaction of past with future. Obviously the slight future tech, a little farther out than he posits, could be devastating, but he spreads future tech around. However, the new tech can't overcome the weight of history. He does this is a clever, entertaining way, without getting stuck on blood and gore. He doesn't let us forget the human toll in the past. At the same time he is exploring the human toll in the future.

JB does a great job of switching between telling and showing. I know many think that showing is always better than telling, but sometimes showing is just too long and telling us gets us back to the real plot. JB choices I think are well founded and keeps the story moving smoothly.

JB also introduces the friction that happens with the world of 1940's meets the world of the 2020's. Things have changed and it is going to grate, and it does. This exploration of the interface of the past and future people is a very interesting part of the book and it is consistent throughout all three books.

So all three books cover the sciency thing, the cost of translation, the interaction of past and future, how WW II changes, how it stays the same, and finally how it ends. Setting up for the fourth novel.

JB earned 4.8 stars from me by his consistency in building the story, quality character building, killing indiscriminately (some people I liked died! And no it wasn't the ones I thought might die. DAMN YOU, JB!), great and plausible exploration of tensions on the person-to-person and societal levels, and keeping information on historical characters as accurate as we know them from rigorous history. BUT why did you have to kill ..., damn it.

I have to say, JB must have had some great editors! Seriously, JB, take them out for a lot of dinners or whatever or give them a great service medal and bonus.

Third, Jay Snyder (JS), the narrator, is flawless. That's all I can say. All right, that last statement was a lie. I have listened to a few by JS and I have liked them all, but here he is shows what a true narrator/storyteller is all about. You never lose track of what is happening. He lets you know where every comma, period, and paragraph break is and you don't even realize he is doing it. The narration flows so well, I am fully engrossed in the story. I never lose track of who is talking and he can do eight characters in a scene, men and women, fully differentiated without making you scowl because some of the voices are silly or just grating. He doesn't imitate a perfect woman's voice, but he isn't trying, he's giving you a good approximation that doesn't detract from the story at all. He is consistent enough on all the characters voices that even if JB didn't give you a tag, you still know who is talking from JS' voice. That's just weirdly cool. (JB, you should definitely be taking JS out for some good meals of his choosing, and take his significant other.) I think JS shows the difference between great actors and great narrators, and frankly, great narration is FAR HARDER!

JS earned every star of 5 stars

Fourth and finally, these are well produced books. The editing is solid. No 8 second voids where you think your player malfunctioned. No repeats of the last 5 to 30 seconds of the book. No obvious edit points where the narrator's voice sounds completely different for 25 seconds and then goes back to normal. Nice polish. Pat yourselves on the back editor and producer! Lately I have heard too many of these flaws.

Overall it's a great series if you like military, alternate-history science fiction. I gave it a 5 star in overall performance, because I had to listen to all three books in a row. Expect to listen to all three if you like the first one. I am looking forward to the fourth.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Assemblers of Infinity

  • By: Kevin J. Anderson, Doug Beason
  • Narrated by: Jim Meskimen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 105
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 107

The crew of Moonbase Columbus makes an amazing discovery on the far side of the Moon - a massive alien structure is erecting itself, built up atom by atom by living machines, microscopically small, intelligent, and unstoppable, consuming everything they touch. The mysterious structure begins to expand and take shape, and its creators begin to multiply. Is this the first strike in an alien invasion from the stars? Or has human nanotechnology experimentation gone awry, triggering an unexpected infestation?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Alien nanotech unbound

  • By Michael on 08-08-12

Entertaining and Thoughtful, Classic SciFi!

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

Reviewed: 03-07-15

What made the experience of listening to Assemblers of Infinity the most enjoyable?

I reserve triple-fives for the rare experience. First, the book's theme is well explored and well explained. Though the main scientist is a bit slow sometimes, like why her cleaning of the larger threat on the Moon won't work. I knew the "clean up" was going to have to fail right away, or this book would have gotten a three. I also found some of the Moon base's characters a bit petty at times in their reactions. These are highly trained professionals in a deadly environment for which they volunteered in an informed condition. However, the writers give the main scientist an out as she is very tired. Anyway the overall theme is well explored and well developed. The book is thoughtful without pushing to any extreme. I never said "oh, come on," to myself once.Second, the actual writing is very good. The characters are fully formed. The threat and issues are well explained. There is tension. There is relief. There is grief. There is love. The writing itself does not get in the way. The two authors move us between multiple venues easily and without losing me or jarring me. I was somewhat surprised since in KA's "Saga of the Seven Suns" are, in my opinion, written at a 9th grade level. This book is maturely written and KA's collaboration with DB works well.Third, the narrator is great, and I am not easy on narrators. I reserve great for narrators that can audibly separate characters without getting ridiculous; can separate the sentences and paragraphs; and read the book without getting in the way. JM does a great job in all three categories. I always know who is talking and when the narrative of the book is moving the book along. I am never shaking my head wondering what is going on. I never react to JM personally. I did have to adjust to him as I do all narrators when I first hear them. But his overall reading was a joy. That coming from a person who will return a book if the narrator is displeasing. (BTW, Audible's return policy is why I have sooo many in my library! I can't praise Audible enough for this policy.)

What did you like best about this story?

The thoughtful and exploration of the overall theme of nanotechnology.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene in the lab on Antarctica where things come apart. You'll know it when you hear it. Though this was dropped for a bit too long as the rest of the story moved forward.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't do tag lines.

Any additional comments?

I am looking forward to another book along this line from this pair of authors and hopefully this narrator. I will search for any other books this pair of authors may have written and any other SciFi books that this narrator may have read. I don't think I can give much higher praise than that.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful