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Vivien Z.

  • 7
  • reviews
  • 18
  • helpful votes
  • 41
  • ratings
  • The Pen and the Sword

  • Destiny's Crucible, Book 2
  • By: Olan Thorensen
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 17 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 119
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 119

The Narthani, a militant realm who believe their manifest destiny is to rule the entire planet, Anyar, plan to absorb Caedellium into their empire. Yozef Kolsko (a.k.a. Joe Colsco) works to find ways to increase the chances of resistance to the Narthani's planned conquest. The enemy is coming. The odds seem overwhelming, and it will take all Yozef can do, the courage of his new people, and luck, to survive.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Tedious

  • By Vivien Z. on 16-11-17

Tedious

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

Reviewed: 16-11-17

A lesson in how to spin out very little story to the maximum length possible would sum up this book. Incredibly boring battles, clumsy dialogue and one of the worst bedroom scenes I've come across for some time. I could go on but have no desire to induce the same levels of boredom as the author.
I won't be buying the third book because I really couldn't care less what happens to any of the characters and can't bear to sit through another brain numbing experience.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Cast Under an Alien Sun

  • Destiny's Crucible, Book 1
  • By: Olan Thorensen
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 15 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 203
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193

Joe Colsco boarded a flight from San Francisco to Chicago to attend a national chemistry meeting. He would never set foot on Earth again. On planet Anyar, Joe is found unconscious on a beach of a large island inhabited by humans where the level of technology is similar to Earth circa 1700. He awakes amid strangers speaking an unintelligible language and struggles to accept losing his previous life and finding a place in a society with different customs, needing a way to support himself and not knowing a single soul.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • When can I get the next one?

  • By Peter on 13-06-17

A reasonable listen but a very long warm up.

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

Reviewed: 14-11-17

This was an okay listen with an interesting premise but it really plods it's way through. it hasn't put me off listening to the next book but I hope it lives up and we get more depth to the main characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

  • Bobiverse, Book 1
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,227
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,895
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,879

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An unexpected gem

  • By Andrew on 29-01-17

Damn! It finished!

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

Reviewed: 03-04-17

Would you listen to We Are Legion (We Are Bob) again? Why?

In due course.

What did you like best about this story?

Really interesting science and application of ideas.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definitely.

Any additional comments?

This was an engaging story on several levels - the story itself, the concepts, the character(s). The cultural references are very heavy but all the more enjoyable if that's your thing and they greatly enrich the warm sense of humour. A good listen.

  • Reign of Madness

  • King's Dark Tidings, Book 2
  • By: Kel Kade
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 19 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,151
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,098
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,093

Equipped with skills far beyond those of the outworlders, Rezkin has been suddenly thrust into a foreign world. The young warrior clings to his only known purpose as he continues his search for any information about his identity and the reason for his existence. While the hardened warrior scorns both dueling and tournaments, he believes some of the answers he seeks may be found at the King's Tournament, the greatest dueling championship in all of the kingdoms.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magnificatly awesome

  • By TERENCE on 12-01-17

Ho hum. Again.

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

Reviewed: 09-01-17

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Nah. I gave it a second chance as I hate books that really go nowhere by the end of the first - more fool me for falling to the publisher's lure.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

It's all getting rather predictable. The initial premise and opening were reasonably promising, but it doesn't take a genius to see where the storyline heads and the characters are getting tedious by now.

What three words best describe Nick Podehl’s performance?

No different to the last time - reasonable male performances, terrible females.

Was Reign of Madness worth the listening time?

No. I will return it and I won't bother with any further sequels.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Free the Darkness

  • King's Dark Tidings, Book 1
  • By: Kel Kade
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 16 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 782
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 747
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 745

Raised and trained in seclusion at a secret fortress on the edge of the northern wilds of the Kingdom of Ashai, a young warrior called Rezkin is unexpectedly thrust into the outworld when a terrible battle destroys all that he knows. With no understanding of his life’s purpose and armed with masterful weapons mysteriously bestowed upon him by a dead king, Rezkin must travel across Ashai to find the one man who may hold the clues to his very existence.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good story overall

  • By twinkipink32 on 27-06-17

Ho hum

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

Reviewed: 09-01-17

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not particularly. It's okay as a teenage boy fantasy of wanting to be a demi-god in a world populated by whiny voiced females, but unlike the intended character of the main protagonist, definitely not dark and deeply satisfying.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

A long wait for not very much.

What three words best describe Nick Podehl’s voice?

Average. Reasonable male voice characterisation badly let down by female. Even stronger female characters had an air-head whine to them.

Did Free the Darkness inspire you to do anything?

Well, I thought about Rezkin but went off to get some coffee as it did a better job of raising my pulse rate.

Any additional comments?

It's an okay background listen and probably more suitable in the young-adult genre.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Taken

  • An Alex Verus Novel
  • By: Benedict Jacka
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 305
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 278
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 278

Welcome to Fountain Reach. Ancient seat of the Aubuchon dynasty. Majestic setting of the White Stone tournament. Alex Verus' (not necessarily reliable) reputation attracts all sorts. Most are plain bonkers. Yet there's one invitation he just can't refuse. At Fountain Reach, Alex is perfectly placed among the noted and notorious to figure out why apprentices have been vanishing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Keep getting better!

  • By Christopher on 27-06-15

English or American?

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

Reviewed: 23-08-15

What would have made Taken better?

Not peppering the story with American phraseology throughout. I have no issue with US English at all, except when the author is English and the setting for the book is England and yet constantly uses US terms. To top this, the narrator used an irritating mid-Atlantic twang throughout.

If you’ve listened to books by Benedict Jacka before, how does this one compare?

I listened to the first two in the series. They were okay - lightweight, sub Harry Dresden style but a reasonable background listen. This third book in the series struck me as an attempt to make the plot somewhat darker than the previous two, but somehow doesn't carry it off. The slurpy, bloody bad-guy character who emerged at the end was just too shallow with very little development and just put me in mind of Voldemort at the end of the Harry Potter series.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Enormously annoying! I shan't listen to another in this series for fear that the mid-Atlantic twang becomes even stronger. Although the narrator pronounces words with an English accent, the intonation is incredibly American at times. Just make your mind up, would you? Do you want to be English or American?

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Taken?

I don't think that chopping scenes would improve the book significantly.

Any additional comments?

I've just about had it with this series. Too little originality (you can see where the author has nicked ideas left, right and centre throughout the story lines), not much courage or conviction with how the book is written. As for the narrator, enough said.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Hard Way

  • Jack Reacher 10
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Jeff Harding
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,385
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,182
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,179

Late at night in a New York café army-cop-turned-drifter Jack Reacher orders coffee in a cup made of foam, not china, so that he can move on at a moment’s notice.He owns nothing, carries less, has never encountered a female colleague he can’t bed, or a case he can’t solve.But now Reacher is confronted by a situation so disturbing and deceptive that the truth eludes him.Has he painted targets on the good guys’ backs?So Reacher starts over at square one. He sweats the details and works the clues.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Reacher

  • By Jacqueline on 13-03-11

Grating and repetitive

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-08-12

This was my first Jack Reacher listen, and was on recommendation, but sadly will also be my last. The narration was grating - the characterisation reminded me of an old John Wayne movie, but without the charm. I realise that Jack Reacher isn't meant to be charming, but it also lacked the charisma that is intended in the character. The female characterisations were weak and sounded on the verge of lisping, with little emotional contrast to the main character.
Aside from a predictable story line, the constant repetition of cheesy catch phrases through the novel, "Jack Reacher. In the dark. Armed and dangerous", not to mention the "mirror on a stick" which is even more frequently used, become more than irksome when they completely destroy any tension that might have built in the story by being clunky and ineffective - it was more like a really poor attempt at NLP by constant repetition of key phrases.
Very disappointing!

2 of 6 people found this review helpful