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  • 9
  • reviews
  • 18
  • helpful votes
  • 78
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  • Distress

  • By: Greg Egan
  • Narrated by: Adam Epstein
  • Length: 14 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

Investigative reporter Andrew Worth turns down a documentary on a mysterious new mental illness - "Distress," or acute clinical anxiety syndrome, for another assignment. He's on his way to the artificial island of Stateless, where the world's top physicists are gathering to decide on a new TOE, or Theory of Everything, to replace Einstein's outmoded legacy.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Book and narration both OK, but not great.

  • By Gadget on 31-12-18

Book and narration both OK, but not great.

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

Reviewed: 31-12-18

Narration: the narrator is clear and easy to understand, but severely lacks variation in his intonation. Basically, he says every sentence pretty much the same, regardless of the context or meaning. The best narrators (IMHO) inject at least a little performance into their reading, adding some emotion, and varying the speed or loudness as the situation demands. Adam Epstein does none of this. The result is a production that frequently sounds dull and flat.

There were a number of mispronounced words, with the narrator having a particular weakness for non-English words.

The narrator's accents are not great. Some of them would be more at home in South Park, and his Australian accent in particular I found extremely unconvincing

Story: some interesting ideas and world building. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for the story to get going; there are occasional dialogues that appear to serve no purpose other than to allow the author to air a particular topic; and I found the premise of the ending somewhat preposterous - and anti-climatic. (Incidentally, Neal Stephenson is guilty of the first two of these, but I really like his books, so make of that what you will!)

  • Iron Gold

  • By: Pierce Brown
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, and others
  • Length: 23 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 543
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 508
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 511

Ten years after the events of Morning Star, Darrow and the Rising are battling the remaining Gold loyalist forces and are closer than ever to abolishing the color-coded caste system of Society for good. But new foes will emerge from the shadows to threaten the imperfect victory Darrow and his friends have earned. Pierce Brown expands the size and scope of his impressive Red Rising universe with new characters, enemies, and conflicts among the stars.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worthy sequel to a great sci-fi series!

  • By G. P. Brown on 29-01-18

Favourite in the series so far; 3/4 good narrators

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

Reviewed: 22-09-18

I agree with most of G. P. Brown's comprehensive review. In particular, I thought that the narrators for Darrow, Ephraim and Lyria were all excellent - particularly Ephraim, whose accent and tone effectively conveyed the mostly unpleasant situations the character found himself in.

Unfortunately, the narrator for Lysander really let the side down. Although his well-spoken accent was appropriate for the role, his delivery was determinedly sub-par. He sounded bored, like he was reading an instruction manual or a shopping list. He failed to place emphasis where it was needed, or to pause where that would have been useful. Worst of all, there were a few places where Lysander said something crucial, or of particular significance, but the narrator sped through them as if they weren't important at all.

That aside, this has been my favourite book of the series so far. I think it's really benefited from having more POV characters. Darrow can be so bloodydamn po-faced sometimes, so it was nice to have some different characters, if only to inject a little humour into proceedings.

(Epharim's story also had shades of cyberpunk, which may appeal to some readers.)

Regarding the audio, I found it too quiet for much of this audiobook. I mainly listened to it in the car, and had to turn the volume close to maximum most of the time. At least the narrators tended to enunciate!

Summary: a really good book, best one so far (IMHO), with 3 excellent narrators.

  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

  • By: Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland
  • Narrated by: Laurence Bouvard, Shelley Atkinson, Laural Merlington, and others
  • Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 434
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 403
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 404

You think you know how the world works? Think again. From best-selling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller that questions the very foundations of the modern world. Magic has faded from the minds of mankind, until an encounter between Melisande Stokes, linguistics expert at Harvard, and Tristan Lyons, shadowy agent of government, leads to the uncovering of a distant past.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • started good but got quite boring <br />

  • By gemma dawe on 17-07-17

...and it's funny too.

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

Reviewed: 02-08-17

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is a rare example of an audiobook where the audio format has been taken full advantage of.

The book is told in the form of different characters' diary entries, as well as official reports. These various points of view are narrated by different people, with the result that a single character may be performed by different people, depending on which character is narrating at the time - which makes for an interesting and entertaining performance, as you get to hear how the various characters regard each other.

Reading the other reviews, it appears that there is a wide spectrum of opinion. For me, I like this book because (a) it's funny - and not in a contrived way, but because the characters mostly have a sense of humour, and interact with each other accordingly; (b) the characters are interesting, have depth, and are all quite different from each other; and (c) it approaches time travel in a novel way.

The only down side is that the book appears to set events up for a sequel, rather than offering a conclusion.

Nonetheless, I'd definitely recommend it.

  • Revenger

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 441
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 406
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 404

The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilisations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives. And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them.... Captain Rackamore and his crew do.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Oh dear

  • By Mr S. on 12-10-16

Excellent narrator; a bit quiet in places

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

Reviewed: 14-10-16

The narrator gave a flawless performance, with no obvious errors, and a variety of accents and voices.

The only criticism I have is that sometimes she spoke too quietly, which when listening when driving meant having to turn the volume up, only to be deafened a sentence later.

The story itself appears to have sharply divided people, and I'm afraid that I'm in the camp that thought it was a bit...meh. It does show the author's great ability in conjuring up new and interesting settings for his stories. However, having done that, he then tells what is basically a tale of pirates and swashbuckling derring-do. It might be set in space, but (with a few minor changes) it could just as easily be set on the high seas. If that's your cup of tea, then great; but unlike most of his other works, this one left me a bit cold.

  • Fool's War

  • By: Sarah Zettel
  • Narrated by: Parisa Johnston
  • Length: 19 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

In this New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a strange new life form threatens all of humanity, and only a fool would stand in its way. Katmer Al Shei has done well with the starship Pasadena, cutting corners where necessary to keep her crew paid and her journeys profitable. But there are two things she will never skimp on: her crew - and her fool. For a long space journey, a certified Fool’s Guild clown is essential, to amuse, excite, and otherwise distract the crew from the drudgeries of interstellar flight.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great story

  • By Diane Severson on 05-12-17

Spaces in all the wrong places

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

Reviewed: 21-04-16

Narration: throughout the book, the narrator kept pausing in odd places. Whether this was due to a lack of preparation, or idiosyncratic editing, it was distracting. Most audiobooks that I've listened to don't suffer from this problem, so there seems little excuse for it.

Conversely, there was a distinct lack of gaps between sections within chapters. This was especially evident later in the story, as the viewpoint frequently switched between characters.

Apart from that, the narrator was very clear, and it was generally easy to distinguish between characters.

Story: judging by the Amazon reviews, this is going to be highly subjective. I thought there were some good ideas, but it suffered from a very slow start, meaningless technobabble, and a number of shaky premises.

  • Poseidon's Wake

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 27 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 182
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 165
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 164

This novel is a standalone story which takes two extraordinary characters and follows them as they independently begin to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of our universe. Their missions are dangerous, and they are all venturing into the unknown...and if they can uncover the secret to faster-than-light travel then new worlds will be at our fingertips. But innovation and progress are not always embraced by everyone. There is a saboteur at work.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Gets tedious

  • By BJXRN on 21-06-15

Not bad, but oh so slow...

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

Reviewed: 20-07-15

There is a worthwhile story in here, but unfortunately it's buried beneath a large amount of unnecessary padding. This is one book which would really benefit from some editing.

In particular, it seemed very dialogue-heavy, with a lot of conversations not contributing much. This was not helped by the narrator making some of the characters speak rather slowly - albeit for a good reason.

That aside, the narration was very good, and it was not hard to tell who was who.

Incidentally, I don't agree with the synopsis above, where it states that "This novel is a standalone story." On the contrary; it draws heavily on the previous two books, and if you're going to go for this one, I'd recommend reading/listening to the others first.

So to summarise: an interesting story buried under a lot of padding, with a decent narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Cibola Burn

  • Book 4 of the Expanse
  • By: James S. A. Corey
  • Narrated by: Jefferson Mays
  • Length: 20 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,285
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,210
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,206

The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds, and the rush to colonise has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity's home planets. Illus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire. Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • They replaced the "bad" narrator with the good one

  • By Finlay on 22-06-18

Weakest of the series; narration adequate.

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

Reviewed: 14-06-15

Narration:

The narration was mostly OK, though there were moments where the narrator put the emphasis in the wrong place, or mispronounced words. Having listened to plenty of audiobooks where this doesn't happen, I've come to expect such things not to make it into the final product.

There were also a number of places where the narrator sounded overly precise, like he was trying to enunciate very clearly, and ended up going a little far. It's not a big deal, and it doesn't happen everywhere, but again, other narrators manage to avoid it.

Story:

I feel this is the weakest of the series so far. Much of the book is spent with people doing people things - which is fine for some books - but we've come to expect the Expanse series to be about bigger issues, so if you're expecting that, you may be disappointed for a lot of the story.

Summary:

It's OK. I don't regret listening to it, and it hasn't stopped me buying book 5 in the series.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Proxima

  • By: Stephen Baxter
  • Narrated by: Kyle McCarley
  • Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 526
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 495
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 496

The very far future: The Galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feeding off the energies of the stellar remnants, and there is mind, a tremendous Galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose thoughts lasts a hundred thousand years. And this mind cradles memories of a long-gone age when a more compact universe was full of light...

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling story, odd accent

  • By Gadget on 24-01-15

Compelling story, odd accent

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

Reviewed: 24-01-15

I found the story gripping, and had no problem ploughing through this audiobook to find out what happened next.

However, what added an element of strangeness to this was the narrator, Kyle McCarley. Another reviewer here suggests that he may have a "speech impediment". I'm afraid it's much worse than that: he's an American attempting to do an English accent.

Unfortunately, I've been able to work out which English accent he's trying to do. He is at least consistent: "hot" sounds like "hawt"; "water" sounds like "wotta"; "marrow" sounds like "merrow"; and "calm" and "phantom" just sound strange; but at least it was like this all the way through.

The closest accent I could think of is Received Pronunciation, but this strikes me as an odd choice nowadays, as even the BBC abandoned RP decades ago.

A couple of the characters have northern accents, though I found find these neither consistent nor convincing.

I feel it would have been better for the narrator to have used his native accent, or if an English accent was required, then for an English narrator to have been used.

That said, his narration was very clear. But the odd pronunciations did detract from that somewhat.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Mappa Mundi

  • By: Justina Robson
  • Narrated by: Ruth Urquhart
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

The map of everything you know, everything you are, everything you ever will be...just got rewritten. A novel of hard SF exploring the nature of identity both inherited and engineered, from one of Britain's most acclaimed new talents. In the near future, when medical nanotechnology has made it possible to map a model of the living human brain, radical psychologist Natalie Armstrong sees her work suddenly become crucial to a cutting-edge military project for creating comprehensive mind-control.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting book - but let down by performance

  • By Mel on 27-07-14

Interesting idea, but oh so slow

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

Reviewed: 10-06-14

I don't normally give up on audiobooks (or books in general), but I only got about 3 hours into this one. The premise is interesting, but it took a long time to get going, and even once it did, the pace was breathtakingly slow.