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Stefan Filipovits

  • 17
  • reviews
  • 137
  • helpful votes
  • 20
  • ratings
  • Hook's Tale

  • Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself
  • By: John Leonard Pielmeier
  • Narrated by: John Leonard Pielmeier
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28

Long defamed as a vicious pirate, Captain James Cook (a.k.a Hook) was in fact a dazzling wordsmith who left behind a vibrant, wildly entertaining, and entirely truthful memoir. His chronicle offers a counter narrative to the works of J.M. Barrie, a "dour Scotsman" whose spurious accounts got it all wrong. Now, award-winning playwright John Pielmeier is proud to present this crucial historic artifact in its entirety for the first time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent story and very well read.

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-19-18

A new take on a classic villain

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

Reviewed: 04-20-19

I’ve been obsessed with and appreciated great villains since the time I was a child. The first villain to ever capture my imagination and spark my lifelong love of scoundrels and malefactors was Captain James Hook. I’ve seen every adaptation and read almost every book about the scourge of Neverland and I’d wager I’m not alone. Who in the western world hasn’t heard of Captain Hook? Whether it be a play, book, film, or cultural osmosis everyone is familiar with Peter Pan’s nemesis. While that certainly speaks to his power and cultural significance it is also a bit of a curse. It’s incredibly difficult to find a fresh and exciting take on the good Captain. To make us see Hook in a way we haven’t before in the 115 years since his introduction is no easy task. Fortunately, this is exactly the new and original interpretation I was searching for.
The story is equal parts tragedy and adventure. The Captain isn’t the foppish pirate we’re so used to seeing. He’s deep, resourceful, clever, caring, yet still somehow dangerous and fascinating. I also like the way the author wrote Pan himself. While playful, energetic, and capable of wonders he’s also emotionally and intellectually stunted. Pan seems to be utterly incapable of empathy which makes him more dangerous than Hook himself in many ways. While I would genuinely recommend this to pretty much everyone it might be a little too much for young children. Those that enjoy villain-centric stories, adventure novels, or still cherish the original works by Barrie will really appreciate this fresh take on a classic story. I truly can’t recommend it enough.

  • House of Names

  • By: Colm Tóibín
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson, Charlie Anson, Pippa Nixon
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 345
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 327
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 327

"I have been acquainted with the smell of death." So begins Clytemnestra's tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city from which her husband, King Agamemnon, left when he set sail with his army for Troy. Clytemnestra rules Mycenae now, along with her new lover, Aegisthus, and together they plot the bloody murder of Agamemnon on the day of his return after nine years at war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Power. Control. Restraint.

  • By David on 06-27-17

Bit of a missed opportunity

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

Reviewed: 12-25-18

I had been on a Greek mythology bender ever since finishing Madeline Miller’s Circe. Anytime I found a modern take on a Greek myth I would use my credits to buy them. I read about Helen, Circe, Achilles & Patroclus, Medusa, Perseus, Orpheus, and Jason. Some were brilliant while others were often either very dry or very trite. When I saw that House Of Names was about Clytemnestra, the wife & killer of Agamemnon and mother to the sacrificed Iphigenia, I couldn’t wait to read it. Clytemnestra and her story would offer so many chances to do something new. There’s so much potential to tell her story in an original way. She could be a feminist hero who’s avenging the cruel sacrifice of her daughter and taking the throne from her cruel husband. She could be a scheming Frank Underwood type queen consolidating power while her husband is away at war and slowly planning her revenge . She could be a Cersei Lannister type that we watch in rapt dread as her cruelty overrides her reason and she destroys herself and those around her.To be fair, the author seems to be trying to do all three to one degree or another and I’d much rather read something original and decent than something familiar and derivative. If asked, I’d probably put House Of Names in the former but I honestly can’t really recommend it. The new take the author tries just never quite gels in my opinion. The story is also rather dry but it’s biggest flaw is that the writing makes it very hard to get invested in Clytemnestra herself. We understand why she’s doing what she’s doing but never much more than that. She doesn’t have to be sympathetic necessarily but we need a reason to keep listening and she was just never that compelling. One aspect of the book I did appreciate is the authors new take on Agamemnon. In most adaptations he’s a strong, driven, and power-hungry warmonger using Helen as an excuse to take what he’s always wanted no matter the cost. In House Of Names he’s a lying weakling. He’s a coward who will pretend to dote on his young son just so he doesn’t have to face his wife after he’s ordered the sacrifice of their daughter. Hating Agamemnon isn’t hard in most adaptations but I found myself hating him in whole new ways for whole new reasons. It was a genuinely interesting and fresh take on that character and it made for good reading. So while I’d probably say most people should give it a pass I don’t doubt there are many people who will find something to appreciate about it.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Song of Achilles

  • A Novel
  • By: Madeline Miller
  • Narrated by: Frazer Douglas
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,570
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,932
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,912

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wasn't Expecting to Like It- BOY! was I wrong!!

  • By susan on 06-11-14

This author is going places

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

Reviewed: 12-25-18

I bought this book immediately after I finished listening to her sophomore effort Circe. Circe was so rich and compelling that finishing it felt almost like a loss. I had to hear Madeline Miller’s other work and it definitely helped my Circe withdrawals.
While I wasn’t as invested in Patroclus & Achille’s story as I was with Circe’s, I won’t hold that against the book since Circe was, in my opinion, really something special. The author really seemed to hit her stride with that work. However, The Song Of Achilles is compelling, romantic, tragic, brutal, vivid, and beautifully written. Part romance, part war-story, part myth, The Song Of Achilles is very hard to put down. Every emotion or pain the characters feel is articulated so beautifully by the author and delivered so wonderfully by the narrarator that i finished it in two days because I had to know what would happen next. While, I wouldn’t recommend it to those who are unfamiliar with the intricacies or even basics of Greek mythology and The Trojan War I find myself happily commending it to pretty much anyone else. If you’re looking for a romance, a story of Ancient Greece & The Trojan War, a story with well-written LGBTQ themes, or just want a new spin on an old story DEFINITELY check out The Song Of Achilles. I’m so excited to see what this author does next.

  • Circe

  • By: Madeline Miller
  • Narrated by: Perdita Weeks
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,924
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15,831
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,744

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child - not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring, like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power - the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Refined writing with an intimate performance

  • By Michael - Audible Editor on 04-11-18

Perfection

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

Reviewed: 12-14-18

This is the kind of story and narration that makes my audible subscription fee feel worth it. First, the story itself. Circe by Madeline Miller is so rich, so beautiful, so compelling and absorbing I listened to the whole story in one day. Circe herself is such a relatable and real character you come to genuinely care for and worry for her. I felt genuine anxiety at certain points in the story. There were times where I so wanted justice for her. I practically cheered for her when she was in her glory. It felt like one of the most genuinely empowering things I’ve listened to in a long time. That being said, like all great Greek myths Circe’s story contains its fair share of tragedy. There are scenes of sexual assault and horrible cruelty. If stories with those painful and sensitive subjects aren’t for you then you may want to give Circe a pass. However, I will say that I didn’t find that those subjects are used cheaply or exploitatively. I think the author told a rich, powerful, and vivid story that might be the best I’ve found all year.
The narrarator Perdita Weeks gives what might be the best voice performance I’ve found on audible this year. I had seen her in films and on television and remembered her primarily for her role on Penny Dreadful and her Circe definitely reminds me of Eva Green’s character on that show. It’s practically impossible for me to not picture Eva Green as Circe in my minds eye. Perdita Weeks’ narration makes Circe herself very real to the reader. You feel and hear her Circe finding her strength and coming into her power. Her voice slowly takes on a confidence that makes Circe’s arc seem all the more real and poignant. It’s not just her Circe that makes an impression however. Her Hermes is a smooth two-faced trickster. Her Odysseus is a wise and dangerous king with one eye on the door. Her Helios is a cold and dispassionate sun god with an eternally bored, bitter, and spiteful wife. Each character feels so distinct and rounded. Her reading almost reminds me of John Williams Jaws theme in a way (stay with me here). It adds so much to the entire piece it almost feels like half of everything that works about it. It adds depth and character and really focuses the story and it’s themes. I’ve listened to probably two dozen books on Audible this year alone, but Circe is the one that has left the biggest impression on me. It can admittedly be horrific and violent but I found that it was so worth it. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to more from the author and the narrarator both. Do yourself a favor and give Circe a listen, you’ll be glad you did.

  • Jacob T. Marley

  • By: R. William Bennett
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 4 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,807
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,629
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,611

"Marley was dead to begin with...." These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now R. William Bennett rewinds the story and focuses the spotlight on Scrooge’s miserly business partner, Jacob T. Marley, who was allowed to return as a ghost to warn Scrooge away from his ill-fated path. Why was Marley allowed to return? And why hadn’t he been given the same chance as Ebenezer Scrooge? Or had he?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is my favorite book! I listen to it all year

  • By Lyle K Holden on 08-07-17

An Underrated Christmas Gem

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

Reviewed: 11-24-18

“A Christmas Carol” has been one of the most influential and popular pieces of western fiction since it’s publication. It’s been the progenitor of so many wonderful books, films, and plays it’d take a lifetime to list them all. I myself enjoy watching every version I can on TCM every December and have done so since childhood. Any “A Christmas Carol” adaptation, spin-off, prequel, sequel, or mid-quel is going to have to work pretty hard if it wants to stand above the rest. This work, in my opinion, certainly deserves its place in the pantheon of great “A Christmas Carol” works. It might even be the best of the works inspired by Dickens classic. It not only reads like Dickens, it feels like Dickens. The hope, horror, and humanity are all there and are delivered wonderfully by the narrator. It is genuinely moving in parts, the prose heartbreaking at times. I can’t think of a better audiobook for this time of year and I would recommend it to pretty much any reader from 10 years old up. However I think this would work just as well at any time of year. I’ve found some great Christmas themed fiction on audible but this was a real find. If you’re looking for something to get you into the Christmas spirit, want something to inspire your faith in humanity, or just want something that reads like Dickens, then look no further. I truly can’t recommend it enough. A true gem.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Fire & Blood

  • 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History)
  • By: George R. R. Martin
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 26 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,048
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,558
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,544

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen - the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria - took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 150 years of Westeros history

  • By Kingsley on 11-22-18

26 Hours of lore, gore,and glory

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

Reviewed: 11-20-18

Whoever said George RR Martin has been slacking is clearly insane. This audiobook features 26 hours of content. 26 hours of Targaryen history in all its bloody glory. While I’m still getting used to not having Roy Dotrice as our guide to Westeros they have found what I think will be a very capable replacement.
The work itself is fascinating. As someone obsessed with and rooting for a Targaryen restoration in the ASOIAF stories proper, 26 hours of Targaryen lore, gore, and glory is very appealing. Some of the histories will undoubtedly be familiar to practiced ASOIAF readers. Familiar episodes of Targaryen history like Aegon’s conquest, the sons of the dragon, and the Dance Of The Dragons are all featured. However there is also tons of new information to fill in the gaps of our knowledge. It also reads like a true medieval history which might be its greatest trick of all and it certainly equals The World Of Ice & Fire in its ability to sound like a genuine piece of history. While I wouldn’t recommend it to those dipping their toes in the world of ice & fire, for comitted fans or lovers of fantasy it’s perfect.

70 of 80 people found this review helpful

  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets

  • An Audible Original
  • By: John Woolf, Nick Baker
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13,669
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,579
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12,529

On the surface, the Victorian age is one of propriety, industry, prudishness and piety. But scratch the surface and you’ll find scandal, sadism, sex, madness, malice and murder. Presented by Stephen Fry, this series delves deep into a period of time we think we know, to discover an altogether darker reality. The stories we’re told offer a different perspective on an era which underwent massive social change. As education, trade, technology and culture blossomed, why was there an undercurrent of the ‘forbidden’ festering beneath Victorian society? 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A must hear ... but not for kids!

  • By Dylan on 02-19-19

Informative, scary, and funny. In that order.

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

Reviewed: 11-03-18

This series is a real gem and I’m glad I found it. Each and every episode is fascinating and they each give quite an in-depth and compelling look into the secrets Victorians kept each and every day. The narration by Stephen Fry is perfect as ever. He keeps his trademark wit but he also seems genuine and sympathetic when discussing the more horrible parts of Victorian life. They couldn’t have found a more appropriate middle-man to introduce us to the skeletons of the Victorian closet.
History geeks in particular will enjoy it but I would honestly recommend this to anyone. It’s equal parts informative, scandalous, enlightening and at times grotesque, but I enjoyed every minute of it and couldn’t give it enough stars. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.

54 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • Dracula Cha Cha Cha

  • Anno Dracula Book 3
  • By: Kim Newman
  • Narrated by: William Gaminara
  • Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

Rome 1959. Along the Via Veneto, the living and the dead enjoy la dolce vita, as the vampires, intellectuals, conspirators, jet-setters and swindlers of Europe gather in an endless round of indulgence and gaiety, dancing giddily to the music of the Dracula Cha Cha Cha. The Vampire King, in Italian exile, is to be married to a Moldavian princess, and rumours circulate that his wedding will be the first move in a campaign to return him to his position as Lord of the Undead and a power in the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good with hints of greatness

  • By Stefan Filipovits on 10-22-18

Good with hints of greatness

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

While I personally find the two previous entries more interesting and creative, Dracula Cha Cha Cha, the third book in the Anno Dracula series, features some of Newman’s most affective writing ever. Two passages in particular deserve mentioning: (spoilers) one involving the death of a deeply beloved and decent character. The other is a description of a very familiar priest and the goodness and hope that seemingly radiates off of him. It’s genuinely powerful and enough to cause a sniffle or two. Both passages seem to come from a very deep and emotional place in the author and it makes for incredible reading.
Another aspect of this chapter of the series that deserves praise is the voice performance of William Gaminara. He really seems to have grown into the roles and imbues the characters with distinctive personalities. It’s no wonder he’s as beloved in the AD fandom as Roy Dotrice was to the Game of Thrones readership.
In conclusion, it’s not as compelling as the first two but the original and fun setting, voice performance, and some of the finest work Kim Newman’s ever written definitely makes it worth checking out.

  • The Bloody Red Baron

  • Anno Dracula Book 2
  • By: Kim Newman
  • Narrated by: William Gaminara
  • Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 76
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 72

A brand-new edition with an additional novella, this sequel to Anno Dracula will keep you mesmerised. It is 1918 and Dracula is commander-in-chief of the armies of Germany and Austria-Hungary. The war of the great powers in Europe is also a war between the living and the dead. As ever, the Diogenes Club is at the heart of British Intelligence and Charles Beauregard and his protégé Edwin Winthrop go head-to-head with the lethal vampire flying machine that is The Bloody Red Baron...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Worthy Sequel

  • By Troy on 08-31-12

Newman’s Best World-building

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

Reviewed: 09-08-18

I love Kim Newman’s writing. Every time he releases something new I buy it on opening day because he’s a consistently great and interesting writer. He’s a master at integrating iconic,beloved, and familiar characters and doing something new and interesting with them. Sometimes it’s scary, sometimes funny, it’s always compelling and fun to read and listen to. What really shines in The Bloody Red Baron (my personal favorite of the AD series. So far.) is Newman’s world-building. He’s established a fascinating and surprisingly easy to imagine world history following the ending of the first book. He’s created his own history for a world where vampirism is a fact and our favorite heroes and villains in fiction live beside the greatest heroes and villains of WWI and 20th century European history. It’s fascinating reading. What’s really interesting is that the horrors of vampires and monsters is sometimes much less scary than the horror of trench warfare, early dogfights, and life in the trench he describes. What real soldiers and civilians experienced is articulated in truly ghastly detail and you remember this was the experience of so many men, women, and children. It really might be Newman’s best work and it’s what I consider his Empire Strikes Back. Like Empire, the story is darker, more dangerous, and by the end the characters are likely changed forever. It’s a great continuation of the series and I can’t recommend it enough.

  • European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

  • The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, Book 2
  • By: Theodora Goss
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 908
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 843
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 840

Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, they can always rely on Mrs. Poole. But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Little Women meets Anno Dracula

  • By Stefan Filipovits on 07-13-18

Little Women meets Anno Dracula

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

Reviewed: 07-13-18

I’ve been obsessed with the crossover fiction genre ever since I read Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series. Because of that obsession I’ve read a lot of crossover fiction stories and more often than not they’re terrible. Usually they become so bogged down in the crossovers that the story gets lost in a sea of references. This is the first series I’ve read that matches Newman’s magnum opus. The characters are rich, distinct, relatable, and remarkably easy to invest in. The story is interesting too and I’m anxious to see what’s next but it’s the characters that make this series as addictive as it is and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re a fan of crossover fiction, want something empowering, or just want something with great characters to pass the time then definitely pick it up.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful