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  • The Winter Soldier

  • By: Daniel Mason
  • Narrated by: Laurence Dobiesz
  • Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

From the best-selling author of The Piano Tuner comes Daniel Mason's The Winter Soldier, a story of love and medicine through the devastation of the First World War. Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a 22-year-old medical student when World War One explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Soporific reading of an unusual war story

  • By T on 07-11-18

Soporific reading of an unusual war story

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

Reviewed: 07-11-18

Was recommended this, and wanted to like it more, but the ponderous narration drained the life from it. I am interested in the places where the book is set, where borders have changed many times since the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The book is well written, getting a good balance between the social and emotional stresses of people tending to the wounds of soldiers just behind the lines. But such a dreary reading of the book made it hard to maintain concentration. A great shame.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Freeze Frame

  • Enzo Macleod, Book 4
  • By: Peter May
  • Narrated by: Peter Forbes
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73

Ile de Groix , France. This tiny isle off the coast of Brittany is the scene of a murder left shrouded in mystery and grief. Adam Killian's study has been left intact since his death - the perfect state for Enzo Macleod's forensic investigation. Killian's daughter-in-law is still hoping, the first suspect is still hiding and the treacherous island itself still has a revelation for Enzo.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Peter Forbes' narration transforms this book

  • By T on 07-06-18

Peter Forbes' narration transforms this book

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

Reviewed: 07-06-18

I have enjoyed most of the Peter May books on audible - but only with decent narration. This was NOT the case for the first in the Enzo series (Dry Bones, with truly awful narration by Simon Vance). Thankfully the tie-up between May and Forbes is gradually making more of his titles great listens. This is one of the latest to be re-recorded - hooray!

The book itself is another good piece of detective work for the big Scottish forensic investigator, this time mainly on an island near Lorient in Southern Brittany. I reckon it will keep most listeners entertained - and probably guessing right to the end. I now look forward to Peter Forbes narrations of the remainder of the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Station Eleven

  • By: Emily St John Mandel
  • Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,292
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,186
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,189

Day one: The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the Earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%. Week Two: Civilization has crumbled. Year Twenty: A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and it threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not just another dystopian novel

  • By Rosalynde on 20-07-15

Comatose narration ruins average story

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

Reviewed: 09-06-17

Stinker. If this won the Arthur C Clarke Award, then I dread to think what the other contenders were like. The narrator is just awful - disinterested voice, slow delivery, sounded as if he was on too high a dose of tranquillisers. Certainly won't listen to any other books read by him.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Avenue of Mysteries

  • By: John Irving
  • Narrated by: Armando Duran
  • Length: 20 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 36

As we grow older - most of all, in what we remember and what we dream - we live in the past. Sometimes we live more vividly in the past than in the present. As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but his dreams and memories will travel with him; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. 'An aura of fate had marked him,' John Irving writes.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A really good listen, but not Irving's best

  • By T on 03-10-16

A really good listen, but not Irving's best

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

Reviewed: 03-10-16

John Irving has written some of the best American novels of the last few decades and this is a good one, but not up there with Hotel New Hampshire, Cider House Rules, Owen Meany or Garp, for my taste at least. Shame Audible hasn't rights to some of these, which have excellent audio versions out there.

As is typical of Irving, we explore episodes of the lives of the characters rather than follow the natural flow of time - this is so skilfully done that it does not confuse or distract - and we find that the past informs the present. Irving uses this to great comic effect, but also to add pathos. The present-day journey of the main character, famous author Juan Diego on a bizarre trip to the Philippines kept me entertained, but it was the stories from his early life in abject poverty in Mexico with his extraordinary disabled sister Lupe, that I loved the best. Armando Duran does a remarkable job of voicing this, especially the tortured voice of Lupe - he manages to bring to life both the compassion and grim humour of Irving's writing. Expect to laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A Better World

  • The Brilliance Saga, Book 2
  • By: Marcus Sakey
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87

The brilliants changed everything.

Since 1980, 1% of the world has been born with gifts we'd only dreamed of. The ability to sense a person's most intimate secrets, or predict the stock market, or move virtually unseen. For thirty years the world has struggled with a growing divide between the exceptional...and the rest of us.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Brilliant

  • By Steve Leyden on 06-09-18

Fast pace, but getting a bit silly in places

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

Reviewed: 29-02-16

I enjoyed Brilliance and overall I enjoyed A Better World too, but this second book in the series is less credible and the narrator made mistakes which I found distracting. The rapid pace of action is maintained from the first book but unfortunately some chapters are ludicrous. But it was fun, so I will listen to Written in Fire, which must be a recommendation of sorts.

  • Brilliance

  • By: Marcus Sakey
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 166
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 147

In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible. They’re called "brilliants," and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprising

  • By JChatwin on 06-10-15

The X-Man in the High Castle

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

Reviewed: 26-02-16

Much better than a comic book, here we have a parallel world – set in present day but where history took a different turn back in the 1980’s. The different turn was the result of “Brilliants” starting to be born. These are children with exceptional abilities, such as a massively enhanced ability to read people’s body language. I found this level of talent weirdly credible, unlike the silliness of X-Men or superheroes. The book is written and read with pace, reminiscent of books by Matthew Reilly. All in all, I was very happy to swept along by an excellent audio-equivalent of a great page-turner. Great fun and I look forward to listening to the others in the series.

  • The Mark and the Void

  • By: Paul Murray
  • Narrated by: Charlie Anson
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 36

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray, read by Charlie Anson. What links the Bank of Torabundo, www.myhotswaitress.com (yes, hots with an s, don't ask), an art heist, a novel called For Love of a Clown, a four-year-old boy named after TV detective Remington Steele, a lonely French banker, a tiny Pacific island, and a pest control business run by an ex-KGB man?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Well read - and with patches of brilliance...

  • By Alison on 16-04-16

Trying too hard? Hilarious - but only in patches

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

Reviewed: 19-02-16

The Mark and the Void is set in Dublin with the country facing the consequences of the financial crash. The characters include loadsamoney bankers and economic migrants all aiming to survive. Not perhaps the most obvious or promising environment for hilarity? But I liked Skippy Dies sufficiently to give it a go.

I got into it quickly and some early sections I found really very funny - read with great pace by a narrator who handles many different accents consistently and well. Some of Murray's observations are not just witty but sometimes so sharply observed that I had to pause the book and listen again to appreciate some genuinely deep observation, delivered with dry humour among some more slapstick scenes.

Unfortunately for me the book lost pace and direction about a quarter of the way through and by half-way I wasn't even sure I would stick with it to the end. I did finish it and am glad because there were more chapters that I enjoyed, but overall it was too patchy for my taste.

  • Even Dogs in the Wild

  • By: Ian Rankin
  • Narrated by: James Macpherson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,064
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 967
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 959

Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke is investigating the death of a senior lawyer during a robbery. But the case becomes more complex when a note is discovered, indicating that this may have been no random attack. When local gangster Big Ger Cafferty receives an identical message, Clarke decides that the recently retired John Rebus may be able to help. He's the only man Cafferty will open up to, and together the two old adversaries might just stand a chance of saving Cafferty's skin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everything Perfectly In Place

  • By Simon on 08-11-15

Rebus - "helping the Police with their enquiries."

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

Reviewed: 02-12-15

I have enjoyed all of the Rebus novels in audio format and James Macpherson does a great job bringing the characters and the action to life. I think Ian Rankin must have enjoyed yet another legitimate basis for extending the series. Following his second retirement due to age legislation, this time he is brought back as a Consultant Detective. This is a nod to an even more famous fictional creation by an Edinburgh resident, Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle. Rebus himself likes that this role means he is himself for once "helping the Police with their enquiries!"

The story draws on Rebus's long history of combating major crime in the city, but this time it is some of his adversaries that seem to be on the receiving end of threats and murder. What emerges is a dark secret that haunts Rankin's characters just as much as real-life cases haunt all of us.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Slade House

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Tania Rodrigues, Thomas Judd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 726
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 675
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 675

Prepare to be chilled, electrified and entertained - a gem of a novel from 'one of the most brilliantly inventive writers of this, or any country' ( Independent). Walk down narrow, clammy Slade Alley. Open the black iron door in the right-hand wall. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn't exactly make sense. A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Too late, you find you can't....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classy Supernatural Tale

  • By Simon on 03-11-15

Good, but a bit disappointing for this fan.....

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

Reviewed: 03-11-15

I usually rate Mitchell's books 5 star with no hesitation. My favourites are Jacob de Zoet and Cloud Atlas, I very much liked Bone Clocks, but I have enjoyed all the others on audible so much more than Slade House.

Since finishing my listen I have learned that this has been described as "an expanded short story." Not sure whether this helps explain my disappointment, but certainly I felt it lacked some of the richness of his more substantial novels. It still has one of Mitchell's trademarks - the multiple linked storylines, and there is plenty of wit on display as we steadily learn more about the psychic goings-on down the dark alley that occasionally leads to Slade House.

So, perhaps my problem was the narration, especially the first section. An adult trying to sound like a young person is rarely convincing and in this case, I found it grating on the ear. And I thought both narrators too often gave emphasis to the wrong word or phrase, which left me feeling they either didn't understand what Mitchell has written - or maybe that they were under too much pressure to get the job done without going back for edits.

If you are already a fan, and especially if you have read and enjoyed The Bone Clocks, do have a listen and make your own mind up. But if you are new to Mitchell's wonderful books, I would recommend listening to at least one of the others I have mentioned before this one.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Trying to Save Piggy Sneed

  • By: John Irving
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed contains a dozen short works by John Irving, beginning with three memoirs, including an account of Mr. Irving’s dinner with President Ronald Reagan at the White House. The longest of the memoirs, The Imaginary Girlfriend,” is the core of this collection.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Much to enjoy - but where are his novels?

  • By T on 01-09-15

Much to enjoy - but where are his novels?

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

Reviewed: 01-09-15

My indifferent 3 star rating is because these shorts cannot compete with the brilliance of his wonderful 5 star novels. John Irving is one of the USA's greatest living novelists, has rarely written short stories, and this is the only collection published. So I listened partly through curiosity, partly out of frustration that audible UK doesn't make many of his novels available. Publishing wrangles maybe?

First published in 1996, the collection is quite a mixed bag and has aged well. The same sly wit that illuminates his novels is well in evidence both in the stories and memoirs. Each piece is followed by some interesting "author's notes" which give extra context. Narration is good. Overall, I think existing Irving fans will find much to enjoy, but anyone else should probably start with one of his novels.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful