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Kev Partner

Alton, Hamshire
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 237
  • helpful votes
  • 23
  • ratings
  • Nicholas Nickleby

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Alex Jennings
  • Length: 34 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 272
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 217
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 213

One of Dickens' early works, Nicholas Nickleby combines comedy and tragedy in a tale of triumph over adversity that is interspersed with Dickens' moving condemnation of society's mistreatment of children and the cruelty of the educational system. Young Nickleby struggles to seek his fortune in Victorian England, yet succeeds despite social injustice, in a story that mirrors Dickens' own rise from poverty to great success.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Old warhorse fighting fit

  • By Brian on 06-09-09

Fantastic performance of a wonderful novel

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

Reviewed: 13-11-17

I've been working my way through the Dickens novels as read by Martin Jarvis and so was a little reluctant to try out a new narrator. However, the performance by Alex Jennings was an absolute masterclass of dramatic narration. Sure, he's given wonderful characters in rich situations to work on, but he brings them to life magnificently.

His Arthur Gride reminds me a lot of Peter Woodthorpe's Smeagol/Gollum, which only heightened my enjoyment and he masterfully handled the thick Yorkshire dialect of John Brody. I now have a new favourite narrator.

As for the story itself, if it's a little more uneven than David Copperfield or Great Expectations, it's still a great listen. Some of the early chapters feel like Dickens treading water a bit (the stories told in the Inn on the way up to Yorkshire seem interminable), and perhaps the ending is melodramatic, but who cares? I loved the company of actors, in particular, which I imagine Jennings had great fun with.

  • The Collapsing Empire

  • The Interdependency, Book 1
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 766
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 721
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 716

Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Juvenile

  • By Sally on 14-04-17

Lost me in the middle

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

Reviewed: 03-08-17

Firstly, I have to commend Wil Wheaton's performance which is excellent. I thought he was mispronouncing "Emperor" as "Empero" until I discovered that Scalzi spells it "Emperox". I stayed with the story up until around the 2/3rds mark when it descended into The Phantom Menace with endless talk of trade. A great premise and I might get back to it at some point, but overall a disappointment despite Wheaton doing his best.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Writing Fantasy

  • The Top 100 Best Strategies for Writing Fantasy Stories
  • By: Blaine Hart
  • Narrated by: Joshua Mackey
  • Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

Writing fantasy stories is a fun and exciting way to really put your creative skills and imagination to the test and bring your readers into an exciting and enchanting world of your own making. Not only is writing fantasy fun, but millions of people love reading it! If your story is good enough, you might even find yourself published. Like writing any genre of fiction, fantasy writing is a craft and requires a great deal of practice and precision to get it right.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Was I listening to a different book?

  • By Kev Partner on 29-05-16

Was I listening to a different book?

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

Reviewed: 29-05-16

I'm astonished by some of the reviews of this audio book. I made the mistake of buying this book on the basis of those reviews. I should have looked at the author's fantasy output before deciding whether he/she had the credibility and track record to be providing advice to others. Looking at Hart's books on Amazon, I find the reviews suspect - the mainly 5-star ratings in stark contrast with reviews of the same books on Goodreads (generally 2 star). Frankly, I think an author who doesn't know the difference between "its" and"it's" or whose hero is expect to "bare" pain rather than "bear" it, should focus on his/her own craft before advising others.
This audio book follows a similar vein. The advice is mainly generic, and could easily have been ripped out of any "write a novel" guide. I got bored an hour in and decided I had better things to do with my time than listen to the rest. "The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction" by Philip Athans is much better.
On the other hand, if your ambitions are limited to writing 50 page "epic" fantasies with amateur covers and copious spelling mistakes/word misuses/grammatical errors/cliches etc then be my guest.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Silkworm

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 2
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,639
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,078
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,057

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 star rating based on quality not name

  • By Linda on 06-08-14

Even better than the first

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

Reviewed: 27-08-15

Others have complained about the focus on the publishing industry but I found it fascinating. There are moments of frustration when the protagonists know more than the reader but I imagine that's typical for the genre. Overall, the plot hangs together well and I didn't guess who it was until the final reveal. Glennister's performance is amazing - he's fast becoming my favourite narrator.

  • The Dragons of Dorcastle

  • The Pillars of Reality, Book 1
  • By: Jack Campbell
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 308
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 309

The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a Storm approaches, one that could sweep away everything humans have built. Only one person has any chance of uniting enough of Dematr behind her to stop the Storm, but the Great Guilds and many others will stop at nothing to defeat her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I need Book 2. Right now. Please.

  • By Always the Mage on 06-01-15

excellent

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

Reviewed: 13-03-15

I thoroughly enjoyed this, even though it got a little "teen angsty" towards the end. The world created in this book is one of the more coherent and convincing of the genre books I've read and, once the story gets rolling, it proceeds at a good pace. There are plenty of clichés but only the odd eye-rolling moment as the author tells an enjoyable story set against the background of two opposing guilds.
Perhaps it ought to remind me of Game of Thrones but, oddly enough, it reminds me more of Isaac Asimov's Foundation books.
Overall, very good with just the odd point where pace dropped.
The narrator was excellent - able to cope with both male and female voices without problems. I'll be moving into the next one immediately.

  • Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques

  • By: James Hynes, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: James Hynes
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 222
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193

From evoking a scene to charting a plot to revising your drafts, Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques offers a master class in storytelling. Taught by award-winning novelist James Hynes, a former visiting professor at the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop, these 24 insightful lectures show you the ins and outs of the fiction writer's craft.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Kev Partner on 17-12-14

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 17-12-14

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this series of lectures which seem to cover just about anything you wanted to know about the craft of fiction beyond the basic rules of construction, grammar and spelling (it's assumed you already have those skills).

Professor Hynes is a warm, modest but clearly very knowledgeable narrator and he draws examples from across the literary spectrum - all the way from the great American and British novelists of the 19th Century to their modern counterparts. From literary masterpieces to genre fiction including "A Song of Ice and Fire" and, later on, "The Lord of the Rings". Examinations of the work of George Elliot, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain rub shoulders with George RR Martin, Dashiell Hammett and Hynes himself. Having such a wide range of knowledge and examples to illustrate his points demonstrates how the art of fiction, despite surface appearances, is much as it always was.

My only criticism is the lack of notes - it would have been really helpful to have had an accompanying website with handouts. Like most people (I imagine), I listened to the lectures on the move and couldn't write anything down or easily add bookmarks. However, I've learned enough just by listening to know where I need to concentrate my efforts and I can always go back to the specific lecture if needed,

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • More Fool Me

  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,922
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,758
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,748

Following on from his hugely successful books, Moab is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles, comes the third chapter in Stephen Fry's life. This unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of More Fool Me is performed by Stephen Fry himself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A defense of More Fool Me

  • By Ben on 10-10-14

Enlightening, not entertaining

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

Reviewed: 12-10-14

I'm a big fan of Stephen Fry - I think the man's a genius - but this book was a disappointment. It was somewhat rescued by being read by the man himself, I'm not sure I'd have stayed the course if I'd been reading the book.

This is an odd book. Too much time is given to a recap of the first two autobiographies. There's then a more interesting section where we do learn something about the man himself but it's so dominated by his relationship with cocaine, and his point of view on it, that, if you're not interested in this aspect of his life, it drags on. During this period, he made Jeeves & Wooster, the first two series of A Bit of Fry and Laurie and various other productions and yet we learn almost nothing about them.

Having said that, it's clear that, for Fry, the process of writing this autobiography is not to give a blow by blow account of his entertainment career (however much the reader might prefer that book to this) it's more a self-analysis of the man he was then. He confesses, right at the end, that it's partly a warning to others, in his industry, not get into drugs. Not because he has an unpleasant time on cocaine (quite the reverse) but because he wasted so much time and money on it - his prime years.

The second half of the book is entirely made up of diary entries from 1993 - the period during which he wrote The Hippopotamus. He starts as he arrives at Grayshott Manor for a detox and to have dedicated time for the book (I was a few miles away, working in Hindhead at the time). His choice of this particular period is interesting because it starts with him completely coming off cocaine and, to a large degree, alcohol. He loses weight and has a massively productive period. But, on returning to London, he falls almost immediately back into his bad habit. He remains productive and brilliant but wastes so many hours snorting lines of coke in his friends' toilets. It's an interesting contrast but I can't help thinking it would have been better summarised rather than read a series of diary entries from the time.

As a reader/listener, it feels as though I've been cheated. Part of the book is a retelling of the first two books, the last half is a series of hardly-touched diary entries. The only new writing was the bit in the middle. It does feel a little as though a certain, inadequate, space of time was carved out of his diary for the job and this was the best he felt he could do.

I appreciate this isn't an autobiography in the David Jason tradition (where I felt as though I was almost on-set during the chandelier scene) but I would have liked a little less self-analysis and a little more detail on how, say, J&W was brought to the screen, and some stories from the set. If not, I would at least have hoped for more original writing. I felt a litte short-changed overall.

  • Entrepreneur Revolution

  • How to Develop Your Enterpreneurial Mindset and Start a Business That Works
  • By: Daniel Priestley
  • Narrated by: Glen McCready
  • Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 917
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 836
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 828

The world is embarking on a new age: the age of the entrepreneur, the agile small business owner, the flexible innovator. The days of the industrial age are over. It’s time to break free from the industrial revolution mind-set, quit working so hard, follow your dream and make a fortune along the way. The slow dinosaurs of the industrial age are being outpaced by fast-moving start-ups, ambitious small businesses, and technological innovators. Entrepreneur Revolution is a master-class in gaining an entrepreneurial mind-set, showing you how to change the way you think, the way you network, and the way you make a living.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not for me

  • By Kev Partner on 25-07-14

Not for me

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

Reviewed: 25-07-14

I enjoyed the opening few chapters which were positive and full of enthusiasm but I'm afraid once the book got practical, it lost me. I realised pretty quickly that I'm not an "entrepreneur" in the sense of this book, even though I've set up and run 4 successful businesses in the past decade. I have no desire to create a global business or to have great wealth. My businesses are there to support my way of life.

The idea of walking around with £1,000 in my pocket just so I can refuse to buy things I could get with that wad of cash is, for me, totally ludicrous. The idea of making 3 calls randomly, inviting a stranger to lunch etc etc. Nope. Even more crazy is the contention that I need to price my core product at £1,000+. I sell craft kits. Lots of them. But none cost a grand.

By the terms of this book, I'm an abject failure. Fortunately for me, I'm a happy one.

The narration is pretty good - nice to have an English accent for a change. He does sound a little like C3PO when played at 1.5x speed.

147 of 157 people found this review helpful

  • Methuselah's Children

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

After the fall of the American Ayatollahs as foretold in Stranger in a Strange Land and chronicled in Revolt in 2100, the United States of America at last fulfills the promise inherent in its first Revolution: for the first time in human history there is a nation with Liberty and Justice for All. No one may seize or harm the person or property of another, or invade his privacy, or force him to do his bidding. Americans are fiercely proud of their re-won liberties and the blood it cost them; nothing could make them forswear those truths they hold self-evident. Nothing except the promise of immortality…

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • My first Heinlein - I'm hooked!

  • By Kev Partner on 25-06-14

My first Heinlein - I'm hooked!

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

Reviewed: 25-06-14

As a big Arthur C Clarke and, in particular, Asimov, fan, encountering my first Heinlein novel is like discovering a whole new motherlode of my favourite type of science-fiction. Although a little dated in places (people smoke, for example), I was astonished, on finishing the book, to see that it was first published in 1941 so, when the moon landings are mentioned they are in the characters' past but the writer's future.

The plot itself is a little pedestrian - a series of events rather than the build up of tension more typical of modern writing. Perhaps this was because it was originally serialised. Having said that, it raised lots of interesting issues and was full of ideas. It's also not afraid to include "real" science and maths that the reader/listener is unlikely to understand. I like that.

The narration was fine - not a great range of voices though. And the Australian accent in the first part of the book is absolutely hilarious.

Overall, a great introduction to Heinlein - I'm just gutted that the next book in the "Lazarus Long" sequence ("Time Enough for Love") isn't on Audible. I guess I'll have to actually read it then,,,

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The New Digital Age

  • Reshaping the Future of People, Nations, and Business
  • By: Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 95

The New Digital Age is the product of an unparalleled collaboration: full of the brilliant insights of one of Silicon Valley's great innovators - what Bill Gates was to Microsoft and Steve Jobs was to Apple, Schmidt (along with Larry Page and Sergey Brin) was to Google - and the Director of Google Ideas, Jared Cohen, formerly an advisor to both Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. Never before has the future been so vividly and transparently imagined. From

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Dissapointment

  • By Nikola on 07-05-13

So very boring

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

Reviewed: 25-10-13

I've given up after an hour and a half. Whilst I'm sure this would interest some people, I like to listen to books that I can personally learn from whereas this, at least over the first 90 minutes, is an academic report on the state of connectivity around the world and is exactly as interesting as that sounds.
I have huge respect for the authors - indeed that was why I bought the title - but the subject matter and delivery simply didn't hold my interest.