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Peter

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Hated it at first but then was gripped

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-05-12

I really didn't enjoy this at the beginning and rolled my eyes with the cliched main character and her excessive 'potty-mouth', which usually doesn't offend me in the least. But when I stuck with it with the early intention of writing a scathing review (bad, I know), I got drawn into what is actually a very good story and ended up unable to put it down - I give it five stars for this reason, because there have been few books I have listened to recently that have achieved this level of interest.

So my advice is stick with it, even if you don't like it at the beginning - it is worth it and you do actually discover that the main character is more complex than her initial impression suggests, and her predicament makes for an interesting, well-told and well-narrated story.

If you don't like profanity, then please don't pick this book up - it is chock-full of offensive language. *Cert 15*.

4 people found this helpful

Entertaining novella.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-04-11

This is the first book I have read by Connie Willis. She writes in an easy style and the story is interesting and keeps one interested. A debunking journalist's beliefs are questioned when one of his deceased debunking colleagues is 'channeled' through one of the charlatans he is trying to expose. All in all it is a short, fun listen which I would recommend.

My only real criticism is that the debunker-couple are so entrenched in their beliefs and there intent to debunk that when all the indications, after extensive evidence and research, point towards a genuine contact with a spirit, they continue to debunk and even conceal the truth. Makes them a bit stupid in my opinion. But this will not stop me looking for other titles by the author as I think she is very good. The narration was excellent too.

1 person found this helpful

Time and Time Again cover art

Harmless, dated sci-fi

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-04-11

Bought this on a whim as it is only 46 minutes long and was cheap. This is old Sci-fi, read in a slow, croaky voice reminiscent of Harry Enfield's 'Cholmondley-Warner' character. The characters at times drift into two dimensions but never extend to the heady heights of three. This was the authors first published work (1947) and seems to reflect the collective shock of the dawn of the Nuclear Age. Whereas the synopsis talks of a man returning to his childhood remembering his adult life, it deals predominantly with the opportunity to change the future and avoid WWIII rather than any other 'what-if?' scenario. Although he goes back and tells his father the truth (who takes it all rather well), the author does not address any resulting emotional issues and gets straight on with the business of the two 'men' planning their world-saving strategy!

All-in-all, a harmless 46-minutes which is another example of doom-laden sci-fi following Hiroshima.

Purely as an aside, the author eventually committed suicide, although there was a suggestion that he did this purely to spite his wife, preventing her from collecting an insurance policy! Couldn't he have just canceled it? (courtesy of Wikipedia)



Second Foundation cover art

Superb conclusion to trilogy

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-04-11

For me this trilogy peaked in the middle with 'Foundation and Empire', but this book is still great and well worth listening to if you have listened/read the others. The conclusion of this original Foundation trilogy is satisfactory, although it is clear that the story can continue and does in the form of the Extended Foundation series which are unfortunately not available on Audible and which do not seem to have been produced by Random House.

Excellently narrated by Scott Brick.

7 people found this helpful

Entertaining steampunk romp

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-03-11

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had tried another of the authors books and was somewhat underwhelmed by it ('Those Who Went Remain There Still' ***), but decided to give her another go. This one was much better, with a more interesting story and much more likable characters. I only found out after starting it that it is the second of her 'Clockwork Century' books, and that the first one ('Boneshaker' - now on my reading list) was nominated for the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Novel, amongst other accolades. The fact I have read Clementine out of order did not detract from my enjoyment as they seem to be distinct, unrelated stories.

Apparently, the author calls the series Alternate History books, but they are popularly received as from the Steampunk genre, which seems to be defined by its content of evolved (sometimes steam-based) Victorian technology. Either way, it contains fascinating concepts to play with and the author takes full advantage of it.

The story is told alternately from two perspectives (Maria Isabella Boyd & Captain Croggon Beauregard Hainey), narrated by two excellent performers who do a top job. At under six hours long, it is well worth the journey.

1 person found this helpful

Foundation and Empire cover art

Better than the first book

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-03-11

A magnificent book that surpasses the first in the series, although both books are superb. The Foundation is in trouble and Hari Seldon's prophecies are at risk from a mutant intelligence he could not have predicted. Hope is turned towards the revelation of a second foundation but discovering its location could prove its downfall as dark forces are also interested in it.

This book is different from the first in that it is not so split up into shorter stories (five in the first book) that cover hundreds of years of history. This book consists of two stories ('The General' and 'The Mule') and as such I enjoyed it more since I could get better involved in the characters and longer plot than the fragmented structure of the first book. Both of these books are sci-fi at its best, though.

This book was a real pleasure to listen to, all the more enjoyable for the great narration by Scott Brick.

15 people found this helpful

Enjoyable

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-03-11

This is the first of the Culture novels and the second one I have read after 'Matter'. This book introduces a fascinating universe and I can see why Banks has kept it alive through the series of books he has set in it. the story is pretty easy to follow once you have adapted to the names, characters, technology and politics and it is fast-paced enough not to become bogged down like other space operas I have read. The story is linear and self-contained with a good ending. Well narrated and recommended to those that like the genre - it is a good example of its type.

20 people found this helpful

Foundation cover art

On Audible at last!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-03-11

A brilliantly thought out book that was a pleasure to listen to. The story is ambitious in scale to say the least but Asimov is more than up to the task and creates a fascinating world in which to immerse the reader. The format is that of short stories encapsulated within the broader Galactic history. These stories drive the prophecy of Hari Sheldon with glacial inevitability - they are clever and the characters engaging and sharp in their depiction. I will definitely be finishing the trilogy. As always, Scott Brick does a great job of narrating this epic series.

10 people found this helpful

Excellent conclusion

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-01-11

I seem to have used up all the superlatives in my reviews of the previous two books in this series, so suffice it to say that this book is much the same in quality as its predecessors. The author balances tying up the loose ends of all the stories threads to the satisfaction of the reader (which to my opinion he does admirably) with keeping characters he has developed an affection for alive-and-kicking should he need them again! This trilogy was great fun from start to finish and I would recommend them for their blood'n'guts violence, inept romantic hero, wealth of psychotic anti-heroes, humour and underlying intelligence.

4 people found this helpful

An excellent sequel.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-01-11

This book continues the brilliant form of the first. There are some new characters introduced but mainly it continues the stories of the diverse and varied cast from the first book. It is bloodier than the first, with more battles and action, but retains the intelligence and humour of the first. A remarkable series of books so far, made all the more enjoyable by the narrator. An excellent effort all round!

4 people found this helpful