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R. Maines

  • 72
  • reviews
  • 32
  • helpful votes
  • 81
  • ratings
  • Embers of War

  • By: Gareth L. Powell
  • Narrated by: Nicol Zanzarella, Amy Landon, Greg Tremblay, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 43

From BSFA award-winning author Gareth L. Powell comes the first in a new epic sci-fi trilogy exploring the legacies of war. The sentient warship Trouble Dog was built for violence, yet following a brutal war, she is disgusted by her role in a genocide. Stripped of her weaponry and seeking to atone, she joins the House of Reclamation, an organization dedicated to rescuing ships in distress. When a civilian ship goes missing in a disputed system, Trouble Dog and her new crew of loners, captained by Sal Konstanz, are sent on a rescue mission.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • multiple narrators are great, in enjoyable story

  • By Sarah on 01-07-18

Fun!

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

Reviewed: 16-01-19

It’s the start of a Space Opera series and it’s a fun start. It’s not really original and uses tropes you’ve probably seen before in the works of Reynolds and Saberhagen. The AI that controls the Troubled Dog is my fav character in the book. Still it left me looking forward to book 2.

The narration uses multiple narrators and is rather good.

  • Foundryside

  • By: Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Narrated by: Tara Sands
  • Length: 19 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12

The city of Tevanne runs on scrivings, industrialised magical inscriptions that make inanimate objects sentient; they power everything, from walls to wheels to weapons. Scrivings have brought enormous progress and enormous wealth - but only to the four merchant Houses who control them. Everyone else is a servant or slave, or they eke a precarious living in the hellhole called the Commons. There's not much in the way of work for an escaped slave like Sancia Grado, but she has an unnatural talent that makes her one of the best thieves in the city. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fast moving fantasy cyberpunk heist adventure

  • By Breakfast on 17-01-19

Disappointing but left me wanting more.

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

Reviewed: 08-01-19

After the excellent Divine cities trilogy this book is a bit of a come down. The beginning heist feels like Thief (the game) fan fiction. It gets worse when the target of the heist turns out to be an object that jumped ship from a Disney cartoon. If you can accept that the rest of the story plays out nicely apart from the final confrontation. This depends on Sansia being extremely stupid for a while, this was so annoying I was grinding my teeth as I listened.

Still it left me looking forward to book 2.

Narration was good.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Lost Plot

  • The Invisible Library, Book 4
  • By: Genevieve Cogman
  • Narrated by: Susan Duerden
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79

After being commissioned to find a rare book, Librarian Irene and her assistant, Kai, head to Prohibition-era New York and are thrust into the middle of a political fight with dragons, mobsters, and Fae.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good story, if you can get through the narration

  • By Claire D. on 15-01-18

Grrrr!

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

Reviewed: 21-12-18

My enjoyment of this book was rather spoiled by how things end up with Irene and Kai, didn’t want that to happen.

Otherwise another rollicking adventure for Irene, if you’ve liked the previous novels in the series this will not disappoint.

Susan Duerden does another great job with the narration.

  • Pale Blue Dot

  • A Vision of the Human Future in Space
  • By: Carl Sagan
  • Narrated by: Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 190
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 190

In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • First Time Read and Disappointed

  • By Sarah on 20-02-18

Dated

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

There is no getting away from the fact that the book is dated, but an optimistic view of humanity’s future is still needed and welcome in this day and age. You probably won’t learn anything new here and the author rehashes stuff he covered in earlier books. Still it’s a moving book and it saddens me that Carl Sagan never got to see results of later space missions.

A few audio glitches in the surviving audio done by the author himself, but Ann Druyan does a good job narrating the rest of the book.

  • The Real-Town Murders

  • By: Adam Roberts
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17

Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the Internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying. Alma's partner is ill and has to be treated without fail every four hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the five-minute window, her lover will die.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Info dumping

  • By R. Maines on 29-11-18

Info dumping

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

Reviewed: 29-11-18

Too much info dumping at times and as I approached the end of the book I was concerned that the author wouldn’t reveal how the body had actually got into the car.

Still, Alma is a compelling character and in quiet way very bad ass (taking out the fake nurse with a gun being pointed at her chest). I hope the author returns to Alma’s world in the future.

Narration was well done.

  • 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 7,166
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,780
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,762

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

It’s not Shakespeare..

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

Reviewed: 20-10-18

...but then what is? What you have here is a fun old school like sci-fi. It’s a sausage fest, has no compelling women characters, but the different AI variations on the original BOB are good for a laugh.

Narration was nicely done.

  • Worth Dying For

  • The Power and Politics of Flags
  • By: Tim Marshall
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 179
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 162
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 163

When you see your nation's flag fluttering in the breeze, what do you feel? For thousands of years flags have represented our hopes and dreams. We wave them. Burn them. March under their colours. And still, in the 21st century, we die for them. Flags fly at the UN, on the Arab street, from front porches in Texas. They represent the politics of high power as well as the politics of the mob.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • meh!

  • By mr r d eggels on 18-05-18

You’ll learn something new..probably

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

Reviewed: 16-10-18

Not an in depth analysis of flag usage but a potted history of how different countries flags came to be. But it’s an interesting journey and well worth a purchase.

  • Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams

  • By: Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated by: Tanya Eby, Luke Daniels, Peter Berkrot, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 181

Though perhaps most famous as a novelist, Philip K. Dick wrote more than one hundred short stories over the course of his career, each as mind-bending and genre-defining as his longer works. Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams collects ten of the best.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classic PKD but avoid the introductions for spoile

  • By Max on 11-01-18

Hmmm!

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

Reviewed: 12-10-18

The only story in this collection I had encountered before was Autofac, so I was coming to most of these stories fresh (still haven’t watched the TV series).

The stories are dated, women don’t really get a look in and there is so much smoking going on. However PKD excelled at being concise in his world building, cramming a lot in a small amount of txt and his ideas shine through the baggage of time.

Well worth a read.

  • Mecha Samurai Empire

  • A United States of Japan Novel, Book 2
  • By: Peter Tieryas
  • Narrated by: Joel de la Fuente
  • Length: 13 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

After Germany and Japan won WWII, the US fell under their control. Growing up in this world, Mac plays portical games, haphazardly studies for the Imperial Exam, and dreams of becoming a mecha pilot. Only problem: Mac's grades are terrible. His only hope is to pass the military exam and get into the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkeley Military Academy. When his friend Hideki's plan to game the test goes horribly wrong, Mac washes out of the military exam, too. Perhaps he can achieve his dream by becoming a civilian pilot.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Giant robots smash!

  • By R. Maines on 10-10-18

Giant robots smash!

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

Reviewed: 10-10-18

Although I loved the world building in United States of Japan I was not a fan of the ending, but this book set in the same alternate universe is fantastic.

A coming of age story with giant robots battling Nazi biobots, what’s not to like.

Great narration by Joel de la Fuerite is the icing on the cake.

  • European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

  • By: Theodora Goss
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister, Diana Hyde, have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Rozenda on 15-01-19

A lot of travelling

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

Reviewed: 05-10-18

An enjoyable sequel to the Alchemist’s Daughter. It’s not as tightly plotted as the first book, but it’s an enjoyable romp as the Athena club travel across Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing.

Looking forward to book 3.