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Scallywag

  • 4
  • reviews
  • 7
  • helpful votes
  • 55
  • ratings
  • The Seabird's Cry

  • The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers
  • By: Adam Nicolson
  • Narrated by: Dugald Bruce-Lockhart
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

We have lived with seabirds for at least 300,000 years. From the beginning our view of them has been double, as creatures that are both deeply distant and yet strangely connected to us, both oceanic in what they represent and a mirror of what we are. They stand in for our relationship with nature as a whole. We use them and love them, nurture them and destroy them, revere them and make toys and hats and dinner out of them. It is a pattern that has evolved over history, and our relationship with seabirds has moved through these phases like steps in a game of hopscotch.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Like a huge wave crashing on me head!

  • By Scallywag on 16-11-17

Like a huge wave crashing on me head!

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

Reviewed: 16-11-17

I was so looking forward to this book. I have a passion for sea birds and remote places and the idea of being transported to somewhere wild, and learning while I was at it, sounded perfect. I did find the parts of the book I managed to endure informative, and mostly interesting. It's just that I could only bear to listen to a couple of chapters before I gave up.

I seem to be in the minority here, but I found this unbearable to listen to and couldn't finish it. There were two problems.

One was the overwrought prose, so crammed with similes and metaphors. It sounded like a mediocre writer had put far too much effort into sounding like his idea of good one. It was grandiose and self conscious and quite horrible. I started to yearn for simple, elegant sentences about half a chapter in.

The second was the reader's voice, which had a dry, squeaky quality that had the same effect on me as nails down a blackboard. I'm sure other people won't hear him as I did, but I couldn't be doing with it.

So all in all, I only listened to a fraction of the thing. It might look better on the page but I somehow doubt it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Borne

  • By: Jeff VanderMeer
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 79

A ruined city of the future lives in fear of a despotic, gigantic flying bear, driven mad by the tortures inflicted on him by the Company, a mysterious biotech firm. A scavenger, Rachel, finds a creature entangled in his fur. She names it Borne. At first Borne looks like nothing at all - a green lump that might be a discard from the Company. But he reminds Rachel of her homeland, an island nation long lost to rising seas.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • There May Be Hope...

  • By Scallywag on 07-08-17

There May Be Hope...

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

Reviewed: 07-08-17

I love Jeff VanderMeer's mind - his imagination is extraordinary. He writes beautifully, and empathically, and although Borne is set in a bleak and frightening a post apocalyptic landscape it ends on a note of profound optimism.

This lyrical, hopeful book asks: What is consciousness? What is a person? What is it to be human and non human? VanderMeer explores profound issues of identity in a novel which is superbly structured, with not a word out of place, with characters that matter to the reader, and with a message of redemption.

All this, and it's read perfectly, gorgeously, by Bahni Turpin.

Personally I couldn't ask for more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Fool Moon

  • The Dresden Files, Book 2
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,633
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,427
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,422

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is Chicago's only openly practicing wizard. He is also dead broke. His vast knowledge and magical skills are unfortunately matched by his talent for making powerful enemies and alienating friends. With little more than his integrity left, he accepts an offer of work from Lt. Karin Murphy of Chicago's Special Investigations Unit. He wants to redeem himself in Murphy's eyes and make enough money to quiet his rumbling stomach.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great story, great narration

  • By Tom on 21-09-09

Like eating MacDonalds

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

Reviewed: 27-07-17

As I write this I'm listening to the third book in this series and I'll likely listen to the whole lot, all the time feeling irritated by myself and the book. Why am I carrying on, I ask myself?!
The casual sexism, the passivity of the main character who is constantly a victim of circumstance, the complete lack of originality - the books are lazy and derivative.

BUT, like MacDonald's, even though you know you're not doing yourself any good even as you're consuming them, they're strangely more-ish. They're undemanding, quite gripping, wonderfully escapist and of course, James Marsters reads them, and images of him as Spike fill your mind the whole time. It's not exactly going to satisfy your appetite, but it's sort of wrongly delicious while you're at it...

  • Babylon's Ashes

  • Book Six of the Expanse
  • By: James S. A. Corey
  • Narrated by: Jefferson Mays
  • Length: 19 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,062
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 993
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 994

A revolution brewing for generations has begun in fire. It will end in blood. The Free Navy - a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships - has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets. The colony ships heading for the 1,000 new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them. James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great performance

  • By Mr. S. Wallace-jones on 23-12-16

Damn. I've finished them!

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

Reviewed: 23-07-17

This is last of the books in The Expanse series, and I've grown to love them more as I've progressed through them. The characters are complex and interesting, the scope is sweeping, and there's wit as well as drama, psychological insight as well as action. All six books are entirely satisfying.

This series is as free from gender bias as anything I've ever read. That two men can write a character like Avasarala - an old, sweary, powerful Indian woman - is impressive. Age, sex, race and sexuality are all incorporated into these books as unremarkable facts of life. They do not determine whether someone is a soldier, a politician, an engineer, a priest or a doctor. These authors write about People.

The book is well read. The voices of all the characters are consistent and evocative, and Maya's rendering of the Belter patois is excellent.

The overall message of this series is humane and tender and timely, but it is conveyed in riveting stories, and through characters it's easy to fall in love with.