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Frances

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  • The Liar's Key

  • Red Queen's War, Book 2
  • By: Mark Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Sean Ohlendorf
  • Length: 20 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 353
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 329
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 327

From the critically acclaimed author of Prince of Fools comes the second volume of the brilliant new epic fantasy series The Red Queen's War. "If you like dark, you will love Mark Lawrence. And when the light breaks through, and it all makes sense, the contrast is gorgeous." (Robin Hobb) The Red Queen has set her players on the board…. Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Most fun in a longtime!

  • By Anton van Deventer on 12-05-19

A step up from Book 1!

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

Reviewed: 11-03-18

So, I’m very much in the minority not being utterly in love with Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire Trilogy - too dark for me - but I could tell the writing was excellent so decided to give this second trilogy a try.

The Prince of Fools kept me entertained, but not enthralled, so I downloaded the second instalment with more of a “let’s see how it goes” attitude, rather than a “I can’t wait for this!” attitude...........turns out that this was the clincher to convert me to a fan :) What a book! What a story!

I felt this one had more cohesive rhythm than the first, with plenty of characters to love a lot more than Jalan Kendeth, who I have a strong love/hate feeling towards, and for me these were the crucial elements to keep me listening and keen to find out where this was going.

The writing is absolutely superb, with plenty of clever comedy and poetic turn-of-phrase intermingled with each other and the narration is some of the best I’ve heard, comparable to Steven Pacey, Nathaniel Parker and Sean Barrett, all of whom I think are masters at bringing a story to life.

Off to download number three.....

  • The Ninth Rain

  • The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Jen Williams
  • Narrated by: Jot Davies
  • Length: 20 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97

Jen Williams, acclaimed author of The Copper Cat trilogy, featuring The Copper Promise, The Iron Ghost and The Silver Tide, returns with the first in a blistering new trilogy. The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces - talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wait for it!

  • By MR D KISS on 18-07-17

So original - genre fusion at its best

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

Reviewed: 22-11-17

Brilliant story that doesn’t pause for a second and the mix of genres, I found, kept me guessing at where this could go.

Narration was also superb - one of the very few narrators I have heard actually shout when the story required it.......excellent :)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • You Die When You Die

  • West of West, Book 1
  • By: Angus Watson
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 284
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 270
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 267

You can't change your fate - so throw yourself into battle, because you'll end the day either a hero or drinking mead in the halls of the gods. That's what Finn's tribe believe. But Finn wants to live. When his settlement is massacred by a hostile tribe, Finn plus several friends and rivals must make their escape across a brutal, unfamiliar landscape, and to survive, Finn will fight harder than he's ever fought before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Angus! Angus! Angus!

  • By Simon on 23-06-17

Don't hesitate - just buy it

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

Reviewed: 20-10-17

Buy it, download it, devour it - as I did.

Far too much fantasy recently takes itself far far too seriously but not this one - funny and yet depthful, light and emotive, it is simply a fantastically ripping good yarn, well told, with superbly drawn characters and exceedingly good narration. I stopped listening only for absolutely crucial things like work and sleep :)

To my mind, Angus Watson (particularly twinned with Sean Barrett who really brings the tone and comedy of his writing to life) is one of the very best contemporary fantasy writers, up there with the 'big boys' like Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch and Mark Lawrence.

Can't wait for the next one

  • The Unmaking Engine

  • The World Walker Series, Book 2
  • By: Ian W. Sainsbury
  • Narrated by: Todd Boyce
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 290
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264

Seb Varden is starting to get used to life as a World Walker. With a body full of alien nanotechnology, the ability to travel anywhere instantly and - most surprising of all - a steady relationship with Meera Patel, things are finally looking up. Until Seb has his first blackout, starts meeting aliens and discovers a plan that threatens the entire human race. And, of course, Mason, the most dangerous Manna user, picks this particular moment to come after him and Meera.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The first book was great, this is not.!

  • By Voyager on 20-01-17

Lost me by the mid-point

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

Reviewed: 24-08-17

Didn't love the characters enough, got a little too random with no explanation and the protagonist's powers became far far far too big for the author to control. He is basically invincible. What good is that in a fantasy story?! Liked the first book, not so much this second one

  • Rise of Empire

  • Riyria Revelations, Volume 2
  • By: Michael J. Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 26 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 458
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 427
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 425

Best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan’s mesmerizing Riyria Revelations series has found a welcome home with fans of magic, clashing swords, and daring heroes. This second volume finds Royce and Hadrian on a quest to enlist the southern Nationalists to aid the ever-weakening kingdom of Melengar. Royce suspects an ancient wizard is manipulating them all, but to find the truth he’ll have to decipher Hadrian’s past—a past Hadrian wants to keep secret.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • amazing

  • By penny grier on 10-03-16

So good, I was ready to rate it 5 stars before finishing it!

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

Reviewed: 12-09-16

I must admit, I was a teensy bit on the fence about the narrator's skills in the first performance, but this, the second one, I thought was excellent. The story is superlative fantasy fare, with royalty, conspiracy, battles, intrigue, double-dealing, journeys and new cites and peoples to get to know, all expertly woven into a rapid pace tale that kept me sat in the car, outside my house, rapt, and not able to tear myself away from the listen.

The reluctant and basically indentured Empress Modina is a great twist to the tale, and Royce and Hadrian are the best pair of linked protagonists I think I've come across since Robin Hobb's Fitz and The Fool.

Super reading, definitely recommended

  • 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 589
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 542
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 541

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
  • Great, brilliant. A must for fantasy lovers

  • By Patricia on 07-07-14

A hidden gem

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

Reviewed: 15-08-16

Great book; in some ways, what you expect of fantasy meaning you can settle in a bit and not be constantly striving to work out what the hell is going on and how this new world works, but sufficiently different in some key areas to make it interesting and intriguing.
The characters are varied, well developed with varying motives and personalities, again, all adding to the interest for the reader.
I have to be honest, not the best narration I've ever heard. I don't think the narrator was neither consistent or varied enough with his accents to make this a truly fabulous piece of audiobookery, but good enough that it wasn't irritating and it didn't detract from the enjoyable story - put it this way, it hasn't stopped me from ploughing on and buying the next one in the series as soon as my credit came through :)
I would definitely recommend :)

  • The Incorruptibles

  • By: John Hornor Jacobs
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 65

In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way up stream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it - from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do. In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly good

  • By Robyn on 03-08-16

From about chapter 3, I couldn't stop listening

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

Reviewed: 16-03-16

Well, I can only agree with the previous reviewers; an absolute gem of a book.

I honestly found it, and bought it, by virtue of the fact that Stephen Pacey was the narrator (can't go wrong there) but once it got going, I was as hooked by the story and the characters as much as by the narrator's performance.

One of my favourite elements of the book is that it is set over a relatively short period of time, maybe 4 to 6 weeks which means the author really focuses in, and doesn't try to cram far too much in there. The story doesn't meander too wide, it's just a riot of twists and turns right in the present.

Fantastic characters, a variety of likeable, admirable, despicable, mysterious, weak, suspicious, doubtable and strong in there, with a few strong females which I always like to see, and crucially, I think John Hornor Jacobs makes you really care about the main two or three.

I think other reviewers captured the gist of the story well, a sort of alternate time in history similar to when North America was being colonised, with some magic and devils thrown in.

Absolutely fantastic, looking forward to the sequel!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Enchantress

  • Evermen Saga, Book 1
  • By: James Maxwell
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 17 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 573
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 527
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 527

Ella and her brother, Miro, are orphans, their parents killed long ago in the ongoing struggle against the mad Emperor. From the day Ella witnesses an enchanter using his talents to save Miro from drowning, she knows what she wants to be. But the elite Academy of Enchanters expects tuition fees and knowledge. Determined, Ella sells flowers and studies every book she can. Meanwhile, Miro dreams of becoming one of the world's finest swordsmen, wielding his nation's powerful enchanted weapons in defense of his homeland.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Better than mediocre, less than brilliant

  • By Frances on 21-06-15

Better than mediocre, less than brilliant

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

Reviewed: 21-06-15

Hmmm, I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to rate this story as I think there are some things that could be better (more 'oomph' in the narration; it was quite flat at times, and better handling of the passage of time in the early part of the book; there were parts where the story had moved on by years, but as the reader, it didn't really feel like it had and it was a bit jarring), and some bits which were excellent (the magical system and it's 'Achilles heel', the Primate and his role in the story, the world itself and description of the cities).
I'm a fantasy fan, this being virtually the only genre I listen to, and it just felt like there was something a bit lacking, even though it was good enough to keep me listening through to the end.
I have to be honest and say that the narrator, whilst not annoying or irritating, didn't really being the story the life. There wasn't really a great deal of different accents so I couldn't identify a character as soon as they 'spoke' and they weren't imbued with their own personality, and at the points where the character was meant to shout or scream, or perhaps sound very desperate, it wasn't conveyed in the voice, it was just spoken. This let it down I feel.
A decent story, but something left to be desired

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • The Heroes

  • By: Joe Abercrombie
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Length: 23 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,984
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,690
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,689

They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • New recording with the original narrator

  • By Gavin on 21-01-12

Brilliantly funny and wonderfully performed

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

Reviewed: 24-04-15

I absolutely LOVED Joe Abercrombie's 'First Law' series and since this is set in the same world, I thought it was a no brainer. I was right :) wonderfully funny dialogue throughout, and that, coupled with Stephen Pacey's incomparable skill for accents, gives you a very wide array of different characters, with all their different motives, desires and personalities.
The only reason why I gave this 4 stars and not 5 might just be a personal thing; I loved the idea of focusing on different characters in the same world as a previous series, but I found myself wondering about the others we'd previously met! I kept feeling like it was building back up to a section with the Dogman or the King, or maybe the Bloody Nine was going to make an appearance, and couldn't help feel disappointed when it didn't happen!
Overall though, a story with Joe Anercrombie's usual comedy, gore and pace. A solid bet :)

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone

  • By: Laini Taylor
  • Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 622
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 484
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 484

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a 17-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ASTONISHING

  • By @Scattered_Laura on 11-10-11

Starts as a bit of a teenage rom com....

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

Reviewed: 17-04-15

....then develops into something quite adult, dark, and complex.

It reminds me of the Twilight Series in many ways, but also The Bartimaeus Trilogy, though not quite so detailed a world, and the narrator doesn't pull off very many different voices and accents.

Having said all that, this is one of those fairly linear, gripping stories, that's easy to get your head round and has some interesting fantasy concepts that keep you pretty hooked! It also isn't one of those you'll have to invest hours into at the start just to understand the history and religion and ruling powers of the land in question; it pretty much throws you right into the action. I'll be downloading the next instalment for certain; recommended for any who love teenage-style fantasy, even though they maybe shouldn't ;)