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  • Columbus Day

  • Expeditionary Force, Book 1
  • By: Craig Alanson
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,705
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 27,304
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,241

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits. When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sci Fi I didn't know I wanted

  • By Gary Glenn on 06-27-17

Fun Military Sci-fi Adventure

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

Reviewed: 02-17-17

I really enjoyed listening to Columbus Day and think it would appeal to a broad audience. Although it's clearly a "Military Sci-fi" novel, there is a lively sense of humor infused throughout the story. My best short description would call it a combination of Starship Troopers and Flight of the Navigator. There's a bit of John Scalzi mixed in as well.

While the author clearly shows a respect for military service he never strays into the common trope of "Everyone in the military is good, everyone else is a clueless naive hippy". Not being a veteran myself, sometimes that can be an impediment to enjoying the more jingoistic military sci-fi books. Don't get me wrong I have tremendous respect for folks who sacrifice their time, and lives, in service of our country; but reading books where every civilian character is a fool or actively undermining our defense gets old. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that Craig Alanson has written an excellent military sci-fi tale that does justice to the world's hard working service members without insulting everyone else.

It's hard for me to get into details of the plot without giving away any spoilers but trust me that there is plenty of action as well as political intrigue. He mostly centers on the main character so there are no jarring POV changes or vast numbers of names to memorize. It's an easy book to follow and doesn't require a lot of attention to detail. Don't get me wrong I enjoy vast epic sci-fi stories from authors like Stephenson, Hamilton, Vinge, and etc. However, it's nice sometimes to relax and enjoy an action/adventure story without feeling like I should be taking notes.

My last point is to honor the narrator R. C. Bray. He does an excellent job reading this tale. My mother's family is from Maine and he does a good job representing the accent. All too often folks mess up a Maine accent by either sounding too much like the Boston area or one of the old farmers in a Stephen King movie. I feel like most people in the country equate New Englanders with urban/suburban Boston residents and forget there is a strong rural culture outside of the city that is much different than the common stereotypes of the area. It was nice to see a main character from a Maine farming community that was portrayed as a country bumpkin. I should point out that in keeping with Alanson's style, he also doesn't show disdain for urban or non-New England characters either.

If you're looking for a fun action/adventure story about earth defending itself from alien invaders, pick up Columbus Day. I have a hard time thinking of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this audio book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Daylight War

  • The Demon Cycle, Book 3
  • By: Peter V. Brett
  • Narrated by: Pete Bradbury
  • Length: 26 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,181
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,733
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,736

In this heart-stopping installment of the Demon Cycle, humanity continues to struggle against the demon plague - even as survivors hold out hope that the Deliverer will save them all. On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men, both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What in The Core happened?

  • By Uber Femme on 02-13-13

I Don't Love You Renna Bales...

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

Reviewed: 01-16-17

The Demon Cycle to date has been a great journey for me and time well spent. Keep in mind, Peter V. Brett doesn't always focus on the characters and plot lines I like best, but he's the writer and I'll take what I can get in that regard. I have to admit after the amazing debut novel, his follow ups have gotten a little more tedious to slog through in parts. Granted, I still count these among my favorite books, but they can be as frustrating as brilliant. At this point I've read all the current books up to The Skull Throne and I wanted to review The Daylight War because the series' flaws are most concentrated here. After my glowing review of The Warded Man I felt the need publish a counterpoint for the series.

Ugh, Krasians, Krasians, and more Krasians. Am I the only one who wasn't looking forward to yet another Krasian POV coming of age exercise. It was tedious, yet thought provoking to follow Ahmann Jardir's formative years in The Desert Spear. I felt it humanized Jadir, and to a lesser extent, the whole Krasian culture. I understand why Brett did it, and the series is stronger for it. However repeating the process with Inevera increased the tedium with less of a payoff. I get it, their horrifying actions are due to a vastly different culture and strict religious morals. Still, regardless of their upbringing, the Krasians do terrible things and dream of forcing their brutal views on their mostly peaceful neighbors. Rojer's feisty relationship with Amanvah and Sikvah was one of the few Krasian plot lines I enjoyed reading. I'm not against some focus on the Krasians but I'm sick of Brett beating it into me with an alagai tail.

And while were on the subject of tedium lets focus my ire on Renna Bales(Tanner). I understand she has a lot to be angry for and has as an excellent excuse for her behavior, but man is she getting on my nerves. I'm happy that Arlen and Renna have found love and affection with each other, I truly am, but how many sappy "I love you Arlen Bales, I love you Renna Bales" do we need here. Both characters become insufferable when together, which is almost all of the time. My problem goes beyond her relationship with Arlen, when she's not in the middle of a jealous rage she's acting like a petulant child. I know I shouldn't judge her too harshly considering what she does to keep up with Arlen but she really grates on me. Would it kill her to take a deep breath and count to ten rather than bullying every person she meets. This dynamic does improve slightly in the next installment but it's still a source of frustration.

With all my griping, I don't want to give the impression that I'm not recommending The Daylight War or the series. I'm a big fan of each book in the series and I'm assuming if you've made it to book 3 you're probably as hooked as I am. I still enjoyed this book more than most but I'd be lying if I said it was flawless. I've rarely encountered a book that's caused as much enjoyment as frustration. My parting thought is to point out that there is no Daylight war, or any war despite the title.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Quicksilver

  • Book One of The Baroque Cycle
  • By: Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by: Neal Stephenson (introduction), Kevin Pariseau, Simon Prebble
  • Length: 14 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,080
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,222
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,252

In which Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and courageous Puritan, pursues knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe -- in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Be aware of what you're getting into

  • By David on 12-16-11

Dry Historical Fiction, Now 3 for the price of 7!

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

Reviewed: 02-23-16

Warning, Audible is selling 3 books split into 7 audiobooks. If you're on budget I'd recommend buying the 3 print editions. It's an odd choice on Audible's part as historical fiction penned by a famous sci-fi author occupies a fairly small niche in the literary world. In light of my frustrations, I did mostly enjoy Quicksilver.

Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite writers so I purchased this even though I'm not a avid reader of historical fiction. While I enjoyed how this story brought me back in time, I feel it lacked much of a plot. Obviously he had to stay true to the non-fiction timeline but this installment at least failed to carry any spark of excitement. I hear the later books have more adventure and interest but Quicksilver hasn't inspired me to spend 6 more credits on the journey.

I loved the chance to experience some early foundational experiments of the natural philosophers and I think any science buffs would enjoy reading this history. Still it's rather dry for a Stephenson novel and probably my least favorite of his works(I've read 6 in total). I doubt I'll finish the series.

  • The Stand

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 47 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34,886
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,708
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,707

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides - or are chosen.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My First Completed Stephen King Novel

  • By Meaghan Bynum on 02-20-12

King Made This Long Audiobook Fly By

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

Reviewed: 03-28-15

I'm almost ashamed to admit this is the first Stephen King book that I've read. I'm not really sure why I've avoided his work all these years. As a child of the 80's, I'm certainly familiar with his stories due to the ubiquity of his films/miniseries/books during that time. As I got older I outgrew my interest in horror stories and unfairly wrote him off as an author. While I'm not too torn up by this I must admit I didn't give him a fair chance. I wish I had read The Stand earlier.

The Stand is a classic tale of good verses evil set in a post apocalyptic America. It felt like the story was split into two main parts. The first half centered on the spread of the super flu and the resulting breakdown of civilization while the second half introduced the main good vs evil plot. A large amount of time is devoted to character development which is so expertly done that it's just as riveting as any action packed plot would be. They are so well fleshed out that you feel as if you've know them personally for years. The "good" folks feel like old friends while the "evil" characters have a certain level of humanity within that allows you to understand why they make their choices regardless of how appalling some may be.

Most of the final half is devoted to a sort of proxy battle waged between God's group of survivors and the Devil's. While religious dogma is very light, you can tell the God referenced in the story is in the Judeo Christian tradition. Also, not all of the folks on God's side are believers in the traditional sense and there is little to no personal evangelism on Kings part. I'm not usually a big fan of stories that use God/religion as a driving factor(ie it's usually neither good religion nor good fiction) but it's handled very well here.

I really enjoyed The Stand both as a story and an audiobook. It was well read and King knows how to write a gripping tale. I would recommend this for anyone who loves getting lost in a long audiobook. I can't say if King fans would recommend this as a first foray into his writing but I certainly enjoyed it as a new reader. It's also an incredible bargain considering how many hours of entertainment you'll get out of it. Strong recommendation on this one folks.

  • The Steel Remains

  • By: Richard K. Morgan
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 15 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 986
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 726
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 734

In just a few short years, Richard K. Morgan has vaulted to the pinnacle of the science fiction world. Now he turns his iconoclastic talents to epic fantasy, crafting a darkly violent, tautly plotted adventure sure to thrill old fans and captivate new readers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This isn't your father's gay hero!

  • By Tizroc on 01-23-09

Cyberpunk Protagonist Meets Fantasy Tale

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

Reviewed: 02-26-15

So, if you've checked out any reviews, you know we have a homosexual main character here. Also If you're familiar with RKM you know he likes to include gratuitous graphic sex scenes. Using the term pornographic wouldn't be an exaggeration. I'm sure you can put 2 & 2 together and get a feel for what this book contains. I've never been offended by his graphic scenes before and this book is no exception. However, I do feel like his overly descriptive sexual encounters are always unnecessary and sophomoric. Which brings us to my disclaimer: If what I've explained so far makes you uncomfortable, you should probably not read The Steel Remains.

For those of you still reading, and I hope you are, lets down to business here. RKM is known for his gritty ultra-violence and lone wolf protagonists. While a different genre than usual, The Steel Remains is a book that will satisfy any fan of RKM's previous works. The fantasy genre is a surprising rich setting for one of his elite warrior hero's to challenge taboos and generally kill half of the folks he encounters. Well maybe not half, but definitely a quarter. So if you're concerned about RKM's change of genre, you can rest assured that all the things you liked about his previous books are present in some way or another.

RKM has done a fine job constructing a new fantasy universe. While the genre as a whole tends to fall back on old worn tropes, The Steel Remains doesn't feel derivative of any existing series. Of course you have magic, sword fighting and mythical creatures but he doesn't follow the same tired guidelines of lesser fantasy writers. He has created several different well formed cultures and explores the friction that occurs between nation states.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any RKM fan. I felt there were a few places where the violence was a little over the top being unnecessary or brutal, but its in keeping with the main character's nature and background. I also felt he could have developed the history of the different races and culture a little better. There were times where I wasn't sure if I had missed something or he chose not to explain a concept. Regardless of my minor criticisms, I would recommend this audiobook for any fan of gritty modern fantasy. Also rest assured Simon Vance did a wonderful job on the narration.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Eye of the World

  • Book One of The Wheel of Time
  • By: Robert Jordan
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
  • Length: 29 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32,331
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,823
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,838

When their village is attacked by trollocs, monsters thought to be only legends, three young men, Rand, Matt, and Perrin, flee in the company of the Lady Moiraine, a sinister visitor of unsuspected powers. Thus begins an epic adventure set in a world of wonders and horror, where what was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Your first step down a very long and winding road.

  • By Lore on 06-29-12

Glad I Stopped Listening to the Dissenters

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

Reviewed: 07-23-14

I'll keep this short since there are plenty of great in-depth reviews of this series already. I just want to share my experience procrastinating on this purchase in case someone else is in the same boat. For a few years I avoided buying into this series due to it's size as well as some poor reviews which seemed consistent in their criticisms. Well I broke down and decided to give it a shot. I now feel foolish for avoiding it so long.

I've read up to book 4 and have been very impressed and entertained so far. I didn't find the authors ideas to be derivative as some reviews stated. There are some themes common to all fantasy, but the plot was original and well thought out. The setting and universe are familiar to fantasy fans, but in no way a rip off of any existing series. I've really enjoyed this series up to this point and would recommend it to any fantasy fans. Granted I have read from many people that the series has some low points, but improves in the end. I can forgive this considering how much I've enjoyed books 1-4.

So if you're on the fence about diving into the Wheel of Time series, take my advice and just do it.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hollow World

  • By: Michael J. Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 791
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 736
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 738

Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing. But when he is faced with a terminal illness, Ellis is willing to take an insane gamble. He's built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he'll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. Ellis could find more than a cure for his disease; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time has begun.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • We Aren't in Riyria Any More

  • By Carol on 04-17-14

Entertaining Read, Not Quite Exceptional.

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

Reviewed: 06-28-14

I'm a big fan of Michael J. Sullivan. Which of course means I love the Riyria based books. When I saw Hollow World come up for sale I had to buy it in spite of the very different subject matter. I wish I could say I enjoyed Hollow World as much as any of the Riyria books, but don't think this is quite up to that level of quality.

I like how different in nature this protagonist is from any of his previous main characters. He is a good man, but has some moral flaws and past regrets that color his current personality. That being said, he lacks the charm and charisma of Royce or Hadrian. If you don't know who I'm talking about you need to stop reading this and check out the authors other series immediately. I guess I found him a little boring overall.

Although MJS's other works are fantasy, I also enjoy Sci-Fi and was excited to see how he handled the genre. Since he's so adept at writing epic tales I thought this book would have a much grander story arch. In reality, it's more of a standard thriller with an added Sci-Fi dimension. This by itself is a fine premise for a book, I was just expecting it to be more exceptional considering MJS's talents.

What did I like about the book? Well the future "Hollow World" setting is quite thought provoking. He doesn't shy away from envisioning a wildly divergent evolutionary path
that we could take while showing how some basic traits/failings of humanity will always follow us. I found his world thought provoking but also slightly repulsive in it's order/homogeneity. Months later I still catch myself preforming thought experiments on the society he created. It's very interesting to think about how life would be like in that environment

I'm trying not to give the story away, but I found the main plot device to be rather outlandish. While story was told with proper pacing and excitement, I had a hard time buying some people's motivations and actions.

All in all, I'm happy I used a credit on this audiobook. I don't feel it's wasted at all. Of course I can think of several better books in this genre which I would recommend before Hollow World. If you're a MJS fan, you might want to read this regardless. Just keep in mind it's no Riyria Revelations.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • The Gate Thief

  • Mithermages, Book 2
  • By: Orson Scott Card
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Rankin
  • Length: 12 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,922
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,485
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,503

Here on Earth, Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of 13 centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can’t control him - and they can’t control him; he is far too powerful. On Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless - he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he must still somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North, for when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took responsibility for the Great Gates.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Flashes of Great, Ok, and Bad. Overall: Meh.

  • By Benjamin on 04-04-13

Series Has Lost Its Way...

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

Reviewed: 01-24-14

I don't know what happened to this story. I really enjoyed The Lost Gate and anxiously awaited book 2. Unfortunately The Gate Thief was a major let down.

This book really makes me wonder if OSC skipped over his teen years because it seems like he has no idea what teenagers are like. It's not as if his characters act like adults as some bad YA authors' protagonists do, they don't really act like any human being I've ever met. It's as if an android tried to write about human emotions based off of observations alone.

Danny North is obsessed with kissing girls, but also has some weird sexual repression/female purity issues going on. It doesn't help that all the teen girls in his life are walking wombs in waiting. They don't just want to have sex, they desperately want to get pregnant. Granted I'm no expert on the sex drives of teen girls, but I've never seen a single girl act like the girls in this novel do. It's just really weird, not exactly creepy just mind bogglingly odd and not normal. I don't know if he has strong religious beliefs about sex for procreation only that forces him to phrase teen sexual desire in this manner, but it's just strange and divorced from reality. To make it worse, the story spends an inordinately large amount of time exploring these feelings. It's true teens spend an inordinately large amount of time thinking about and discussing sex/relationships, but not like this.

Aside from poor representation of teen life, the rest of the story is lack luster compared to The Lost Gate. I lost interest in caring about Danny, Wad/Loki, and their version of the universe. The story does progress well enough, and OSC still knows how to tell a story with proper pacing. I just found myself struggling even to want the good characters to succeed. There were none of the endearing shenanigans of The Lost Gate(ie the Walmart scene). They talk about Danny being a trickster, but he doesn't do anything deserving of that title.

This story wasn't a wasted credit. The setting and magic system are interesting and fresh enough to keep me entertained. However I will have to carefully read reviews of book 3 before I decide to buy it.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • FREE: The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale)

  • By: Michael J. Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10,134
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,026
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,036

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • THANKS AGAIN FOR ANOTHER FREE SHORTY

  • By Randall on 12-30-18

Worth Every Penny

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

Reviewed: 01-22-14

Nice little free story from Michael J Sullivan. There isn't a lot that can be done in such a short time, but I enjoyed hearing it. It made me realize how much I miss having a new Royce and Hadrian tale to read. I wouldn't pay for this story alone(due to length not quality). Of course, since it's free what have you got to lose?

13 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Theft of Swords

  • Riyria Revelations, Volume 1
  • By: Michael J. Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 22 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,546
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,051
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,031

Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery - before it’s too late.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A GOOD START TO A SERIES

  • By Randall on 12-24-18

Action/Adventure Tale that Grows into Epic Fantasy

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

Reviewed: 10-03-13

The Riyria Revelations series begins as enjoyable if not light adventure fantasy, but grows into much more. The story initially centers on a pair of elite thieves for hire who are renowned for doing the impossible. Following one ill advised job their lives become much more complicated as they're swept into the middle of an ancient struggle for the fate of humanity. As the story progresses you are introduced to more characters and a complex intriguing world emerges.

Michael J. Sullivan has a real talent for feeding you a lot of detail mixed in with action so you don't feel burdened by the number of names or individual histories. While the characters and world are well developed at no point did I have to study the story to make sure I didn't miss anything(ie GRRM). There are no long winded descriptions or data dumps but at the end you realize how much you've learned about the history of the world.

The author strikes a nice balance between moral ambiguity and an overall sense of right and wrong. While no one would claim that a pair of professional thieves are model citizens it's clear that they are good people when it really counts. In fact it's somewhat refreshing to read a fantasy series that doesn't center on backstabbing politics. There are evil characters and betrayals of course, but this isn't one of those stories where you feel conflicted rooting for the main characters. You really feel as though you get to know the cast of characters and grow to love many of them.

If I have to admit some criticisms it would be based on a few of the romantic elements. While he does a great job with some of the character's relationships(ie Royce/Gwen), some of the series' early love interests seemed a little forced. I found this improved as the the story goes on so don't worry.

These books are so much fun they feel much shorter than they really are. Be careful, the hours fly by as you listen. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. I think any fan of fantasy will really fall into these books.


11 of 18 people found this review helpful