LISTENER

Benjamin

Kalamazoo, MI, United States
  • 16
  • reviews
  • 58
  • helpful votes
  • 207
  • ratings
  • The Name of the Wind

  • Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1
  • By: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 27 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57,450
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52,095
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52,195

This is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not sure why the reviews are so polar opposite.

  • By Aaron Altman on 06-28-09

Worth the time invested?

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

Reviewed: 04-18-16

Yes, but just barely. The Name of the Wind is well written but it has a few hitches that lowered my ratings of it. First there is the cliche of the main character, the brilliant talented prodigy, Kvothe. I've a distinct loathing for über mench protagonists and Kvothe's main flaw seems to be that the world doesn't see how awesome he is. He would have been much more relatable if he was less talented, more interesting if he had been less inspiring. The whole structure of the book conspires to tell us how important and legendary he is. It gets old fast as does the tale within a tale cliche.

Second, it repeats itself and rambles in places. We waste whole passages over the description of Daena, and never really get much of a picture of her. Then we come back to that boyish infatuated description several additional times. It's like the author wants to repeat things so he's sure we get it. This is just one example as well. We get treated to repeats on the nature of being poor, the danger of being expelled and Kvothe's unsurprising victory over his university rival Ambrose (whose one dimensional portrayal is right out of Harry Potter).

Finally there's plot progression. I'm a traditionalist. I like a good hook, a decent middle and a great ending. This book has a decent hook, and a well written middle and... No freaking ending. Nothing gets resolved. We get introduced to the players and the stage is set and the book ends. I swear, there needs to be a class for writers on the nature and responsibilities to the audience when writing serial fiction. This sort of failing is almost criminal in my opinion.

So, will I read the next one? Most likely, if just to get some resolution, but if that turns out to not resolve anything either, I'll not give a third chance to the author.

1 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 27,964
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,733
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,763

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

An interesting beginning.

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

Reviewed: 01-28-16

My friends have raved about this series for years, but I've always been leery of it. I don't tend to enjoy long serial novels. They seem to lose their way or be overcome by threat inflation over time. Still, I decided to take a chance on this one. Overall I was pleased. It's a narrative in Tolkien's vein, which means detailed description, well developed world concept and long wordy prose. It does suffer in a few spots though, most notably in its ending which was almost farcically abrupt given the build up. Also, despite the length, there's not much depth to the characterization. Characters don't change much. The villain is completely one dimensional and uninteresting, full of cliché pronouncements. The choice of switching voice actors on and off is jarring and unnecessary. I like both actors, but their pronunciation and rhythm differs to such and extent that it takes you out of the story. All these negative points aside, the text held my attention well and carried me along. I was interested in seeing more of this world and in the fates and thoughts of the characters. My biggest gripe maybe that so little of that was revealed, despite the length of the text. I will definitely pick up the second volume though.

  • A New Dawn: Star Wars

  • By: John Jackson Miller
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,800
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,482
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,480

For a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights brought peace and order to the Galactic Republic, aided by their connection to the mystical energy field known as the Force. But they were betrayed - and the entire galaxy has paid the price. It is the Age of the Empire. Now Emperor Palpatine, once Chancellor of the Republic and secretly a Sith follower of the dark side of the Force, has brought his own peace and order to the galaxy. Peace through brutal repression, and order through increasing control of his subjects’ lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By ira on 09-28-14

Wonderful New Direction for Star Wars

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

Reviewed: 07-01-15

I admit, I was concerned in the opening. Anytime authors stick events too near the characters of the film, it raises my hackles. Here though, it's only to set the scene. From there on, Miller's new characters take center stage and do so quite well. It hits all the right notes: an unlikely troupe of heroes, snappy dialogue, packed with action that comes off well and not a lightsaber drawn the entire book, very fresh and fun. Not to mention the incredible audio scape that's composed along side the narration, sound effects, music, enhanced voices; it's a fun on radio play from the old days. Thompson's narration knocks it out of the park. If this book is the new direction for Star Wars, the property couldn't be in better hands. Well done.

  • Imajica

  • By: Clive Barker
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 37 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,001
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 916
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 922

Imajica is an epic beyond compare: vast in conception, obsessively detailed in execution, and apocalyptic in its resolution. At its heart lies the sensualist and master art forger Gentle, whose life unravels when he encounters Judith Odell, whose power to influence the destinies of men is vaster than she knows, and Pie "oh" pah, an alien assassin who comes from a hidden dimension.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Full Imajica

  • By Mimi-chan on 05-23-15

Barker's Masterwork

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

Reviewed: 05-28-15

Barker hit his high water mark with this text. In Imajica, you have a novel who's text and world and characters all create a circular telling of myth in imagery. If you give yourself over to the journey, you will be shown wonders and horrors and wonders again. As in all of Barker's fiction, the author doesn't shy away from the grotesque or the profane, but instead stands them right up next to the sacred and divine. He makes them part of the circle and hands it to the reader in a koan of an experience. Simon Vance does an excellent job of carrying the voices of the text. For the first time, Crossroad gives us an unabridged full telling of the tale. However, I will offer a word of warning. If you're looking for simple horror, look elsewhere. This is not a tale of monsters, though it contains them. It's a love story for imagination.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • The Scarlet Gospels

  • By: Clive Barker
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 585
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 554
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 555

The Scarlet Gospels takes listeners back many years to the early days of two of Barker's most iconic characters in a battle of good and evil as old as time: The long-beleaguered detective Harry D'Amour, investigator of all supernatural, magical, and malevolent crimes, faces off against his formidable and intensely evil rival, Pinhead, the priest of hell. Barker devotees have been waiting for The Scarlet Gospels with baited breath for years, and it's everything they've begged for and more.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Gory Spectacle and Fan Service for Hellraiser Fans

  • By Benjamin on 05-28-15

Gory Spectacle and Fan Service for Hellraiser Fans

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

Reviewed: 05-28-15

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Folks obsessed with the Hellraiser comic series and films would enjoy the Scarlet Gospells. Readers who enjoy depictions of gore for gore's sake might like it. Beyond that, Barker completionists, of which I'm one, may tolerate it but are unlikely to really enjoy it.

Has The Scarlet Gospels turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. I enjoy horror and fantasy, always have always will. It has warned me off Barker though. I've read pretty much everything he's ever written from short stories to the longest novels. He's rarely disappointed me, but this book is one of the exceptions to the rule.

What three words best describe John Lee’s voice?

Mr. Lee works too hard at differentiating characters with heavy handed accents and speech style affectations. They get distracting and don't contribute much to the story.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I'd have to say all three. At his best, Barker achieved transcendent story telling and rose beyond genre. Books like the Great and Secret Show and Imajica added to my own personal mythology and lifted me up beyond the mundane world to an almost spiritual high. This... the Scarlet Gospels... feels like pandering to the lowest common denominator of Barker fandom. I'm talking about the Hellraiser films, the scary monster gore fests that played on shock and striking visuals to terrify late adolescents and young adults on date night. The Scarlet Gospels doesn't have the naivety and fun of the Books of Blood, nor the vision of Imajica, nor the breadth of the tales of the Abarat. Instead, It came off feeling like fan-fic, not like it came from the pen of one of the masters of phantasmagorical fiction of our age. I felt cheated as I listened to it, almost as if I'd been duped and a ghost writer had been employed with Barker signing his name to it as an "executive author." I know that's not likely the case, but it's how it feels.

Any additional comments?

Finally, a word on Harry Damour. This character is wasted in this book. Harry's not much more than an analog for the reader, a witness to the events of the text. However, Harry's story was the one with some potential. I would pay to see a series on the life and trials of Harry Damour. He's always been a character more in Barker's head and intentions than one that's made it fully fleshed to the page and I'm sad to say, that remains the case despite his supporting role in this text.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Coldheart Canyon

  • A Hollywood Ghost Story
  • By: Clive Barker
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller
  • Length: 21 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 175

Hollywood has made a star of Todd Pickett. But time is catching up with him. After plastic surgery goes awry, Todd needs somewhere to hide away for a few months while his scars heal. As Todd settles into a mansion in Coldheart Canyon - a corner of the city so secret it doesn't even appear on a map - Tammy Lauper, the president of his fan club, comes to the City of Angels determined to solve the mystery of Todd's disappearance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • loved it & love Frank Muller (RIP)

  • By waterlilyxx9 on 01-10-15

I love Clive Barker... but...

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

Reviewed: 03-17-15

What would have made Coldheart Canyon better?

Cutting. The text wanders and indulges itself excessively. The books ends, then it ends again, then it ends again. Between endings it meanders excessively through repeated descriptions of phantasmagoria that become less fantastic with each reiteration. Had the author been a first timer, this never would have been permitted. Barker though is free to indulge his every whim in this text and he does, shamelessly. The telling suffers for it.

Would you ever listen to anything by Clive Barker again?

As the headline said, I'm a Barker fan. I have been since my late teens. Some of his stuff is great, Imajica comes to mind. Some just good, most of the Books of Blood fall in that category. The man is so prolific, expecting him to hit it out of the park with everything he does is just not realistic.

What three words best describe Frank Muller’s voice?

Adequate, multi-voiced and nuanced. I really don't get what all the fuss was in the other reviews degrading his performance. Mr. Muller's voice work has always been good. King's used him on many projects and he tells a story well.

What character would you cut from Coldheart Canyon?

Epstat, the studio exec, was pretty unnecessary. He really was there to execute the Barker shoot from the hip antagonist of the mundane attacking and then being repulsed or destroyed my the mysterious true reality. It's a theme Barker runs again and again, through most of his work. In this case, it felt like a formulaic attachment to the main story. He could have been cut, with the lead character's own internal failings prompting him to action without much rework.

Any additional comments?

Audible and Crossroads Press have been doing a good job of making more Barker material available for us. I hope they keep it up. If you really want good Barker, his two seminal works in my estimation are "Imajica" and the "Great and Secret Show." To my way of thinking these two books are the high water mark of Barker's literary endeavors. Much of the rest of his material is good (sometimes great), but nothing really hits the transcendent genius of the man like those two works.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Feed

  • The Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Mira Grant
  • Narrated by: Paula Christensen, Jesse Bernstein
  • Length: 15 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,811
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,553
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,549

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I laughed, I cried...

  • By susan on 04-07-11

A story about people...

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

Reviewed: 03-17-15

Would you listen to Feed again? Why?

Yes. Despite a couple of minor editing issues, it's a well told story with just enough difference in its execution to make it stand out as refreshing.

What other book might you compare Feed to and why?

Feed's similar to Brook's World War Z in that it's a portrait of people with a back drop of the zombie apocalypse. Feed's focus isn't on horror in the traditional sense, but on how people deal with a world that's been turned upside down and inside out.

Which character – as performed by Paula Christensen and Jesse Bernstein – was your favorite?

The primary focus character, Georgia Mason, is the one you get the most "behind the eyes" time with. Despite the occasional jaunts into the heads of the other protagonists in the troupe, the book is really mostly told from her point of view. Georgia's an interesting duck. She's tough, but not heroic in the traditional guns blazing sense. She has a nice mix of pragmatism and idealism that makes her feel very realized as a character.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Don't want to spoil, but yes. There's a particularly devastating reveal, just before the section marked book four in the text that actually teared me up. It was well handled, with only a minor flub in dialog tone at the end.

Any additional comments?

The best zombie stories are people stories. No one cares about the shamblers too much. What we're really interested in the people who have to deal with the horrific reality of the walking dead. That story gets told mostly when the zombies aren't "on screen." It's told in their interactions and choices as they deal with other people in the story. Feed really hits on that and does its job well.

  • Skinwalker

  • Jane Yellowrock, Book 1
  • By: Faith Hunter
  • Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,860
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,205
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,210

Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind-a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she's been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie's Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who's killing other vamps.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • How refreshing

  • By Mobilis on 06-01-10

Hunter in need of editor... seriously

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

Reviewed: 01-16-15

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Too much repeated exposition. Too much attention the immaterial detail. How many shopping trips do I need to go on with the main character? How many times do I need the main character described to me? How many times to do I need the character loadout (including special hidden underwear pockets) described to me? Answer? Ms. Hunter thinks quite a few times. She'd explain details, then explain them again a chapter later, then again and again. It's like she forgot she'd already told the reader these items, or she assumed the reader wasn't paying attention and so needed to be told again... and again.

What was most disappointing about Faith Hunter’s story?

The dreck that got in the way of telling it. I was actually interested in her plot. I wanted to know what would happen, but she sabotaged herself with too much exposition, repetition and unnecessary, boring character physical description. My only other gripe is that the main character herself is pretty schizophrenic. She goes from hard ass biker chic, to gushing nymphet at the drop of a hat. The opener was promising. I like a tough girl protagonist, but then she started waffling all over the place, her libido taking the lead for this hunky guy or that handsome vampire. That stuff has been done... many... many times. It overshadowed the interesting and innovative stuff to the point where I just had to put the book down. I've read other reviews of folks griping about the stream of consciousness style of the "Beast" in Jane's transformed state, but that was some of the most interesting material in the text. It was unexpected and well done, IMO. So I know Ms. Hunter has talent. She needs an editor though to show her how to cut.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator did the best with what she had. That's why I rated her performance as I high as I did. She did a decent job with pulling off disparate voices, portraying emotion, etc.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Annoyance, plain and simple. I could see glimmers of a good story in there, but it piled under so much genre fluff that in the end, I just couldn't stomach it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Pandora's Star

  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 37 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,856
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,936
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,957

The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Epic Scifi

  • By Devin on 10-17-09

37 Hours and No Ending...

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

Reviewed: 10-01-14

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If the author had given some sort of closure. The book simply ends. Especially given a reader's/listener's commitment of following along on something this massive in scale, it would have been nice to have some sort of payoff. Any book that leaves me angry and feeling cheated at the end, I can't give a good rating and that's how this left me feeling.

Would you ever listen to anything by Peter F. Hamilton again?

Very debatable. This was my first Hamilton book and he's made a very poor impression with that ending. He has epic level scope, don't get me wrong. This was a big story with a lot of moving parts, dozens of protagonists. Think Game of Thrones in space level scope. I didn't expect EVERYTHING to get resolved either. I did expect at least some things though to "close." It makes me curious about what will happen in the next book but also leery of giving the man any more of my time. I think it's a writers job to satisfy their audience. It's why we pay them and this book left me feeling very unsatisfied.

What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I actually rated the performance as highly as I did because I found the narrator did an excellent job. His characterizations of the different characters had style and while not over the top were quite varied and pleasing to listen to. A poor narrator would have made this text insufferable.

What character would you cut from Pandora's Star?

Better to ask which plotline you would cut. The whole SI / Melonie Rescaria plot line could go. Her character exists pretty much to put a human face on the super intelligence and give it an actor in the story. That could have been done with one of the more main protagonists like Paula Myo.

Any additional comments?

This book has an incredibly broad and ambitious scope. The main character is really the Human Commonwealth that we see through the eyes of the protagonist characters. It's an interesting portrait and required a lot of talent to pull off. Where it suffers is narrative structure. It's very very slow moving, taking almost 2/3 of the text to start building an crescendo of dramatic tension and it's clumsy in how it releases (or doesn't) release said tension. It's something a good editor might have been able to address, but the scope of the work would have made it difficult just the same.

  • 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 4,729
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,322
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,329

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

A real cliffhanger...

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

Reviewed: 02-12-14

Would you listen to The Daylight War again? Why?

This is the third in the Demon Cycle and it's the best so far. Brett has taken a long winding road developing these characters into people who feel real. He's given them foibles and follies, had them fail, had them discover things about themselves they didn't like. No character in these books is simply good or evil. They all have complexity and realism that grounds the fantasy solidly. That coupled the impressive detail the author's taken in depicting the cultures and background of his world, makes for an engrossing read/listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Daylight War?

Without spoiling too much, the point of view introduction of the upper caste demons shed some light on what until now has been a pretty homogenous enemy. Several characters diverged from my expectations in this book, which was also a pleasant surprise.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending of the book. I won't say much more than that I'm sold on the next, sight unseen. It's so rare the get a really solid ending, but Brett pulled this one off with showmanship.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Several. The unlikely marriage between the young Junglar Roger and his two Crasian wives gave me many smiles. Rena's abuse by her father enraged me so much I cheer when ... well... that would be too much. Needless to say, the reality of this characters makes you care about them and their lives are not easy.

Any additional comments?

I'm generally not a fan of serial fiction. I like a story to be told and be done. However, there are a rare few artists who excel at the form. Brett is one of those. It knows how to turn a tale and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful