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Stephen

Downham Market, United Kingdom
  • 8
  • reviews
  • 23
  • helpful votes
  • 49
  • ratings
  • How to Be a Vigilante: A Diary

  • By: Luke Smitherd
  • Narrated by: Luke Smitherd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 850
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 798
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 798

It's 1998. The Internet age is still in its infancy. Google has just been founded. Eighteen-year-old supermarket shelf-stacker Nigel Carmelite has decided that he's going to become a vigilante. There are a few problems: how is he going to even find crime to fight on the streets of Derbyshire? How will he create a superhero costume - and an arsenal of crime-fighting weaponry - on a shoestring budget?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We're Only Making Fans For Nigel

  • By Simon on 15-09-16

Loved the drunk entry!

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

Reviewed: 15-02-17

My second Luke Smitherd novel after The Stone Man and I really enjoyed it. The whole book is in the format of a diary and this works really well, charting the journey of our would be super hero. The protagonist is almost likeable (but not quite) but I suspect this is what the author was going for. The book made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, often at the naivety and general lack of a clue of our hero. I always looked forward to listening to the book to hear the next part of the story which is always a good sign. I also liked how the tone of the book gradually changed over the story, with a quite dramatic turn towards the end. That scene Mr Smitherd, the one I can't talk about because of spoilers - but you know the one I mean, that was done really well and actually made me feel quite ****** *******. The author also narrates and I thought he was ace. I particularly loved the short drunk entry in the diary - very funny. Looking forward to reading another from Luke Smitherd, he's a talented guy on paper as well as vocally. Recommended.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Armada

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,738
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,542
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,532

Zack Lightman is a dreamer. He fills his days with wishful thoughts of life on other planets and spends hours playing videogames, neither of which have helped him make friends or find a girlfriend. His refuge from the daily disappointments of life is Armada - an online space-fighter simulator based on defending Earth from an alien invasion. It’s when he’s playing that he feels closest to his father, a champion gamer who died when Zack was a baby.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • This is no 'Ready Player One'

  • By Hannah on 06-08-15

Enjoyable, geeky, a little bit silly but good fun!

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

Reviewed: 21-11-16

Armada is of course a great fun story. Is it hardcore, without plot holes, as good as Ready Player One? Nope. But is it an easy read (err..listen), have tonnes of great geeky references, an enjoyable story and comes with a rocking playlist then yes it is. I think if you go into this book with these expectations you will have a good time. The characters are fine, but would have liked to see more of Lex in the story as I really wanted to hear more about her. As for the story it's fine, albeit predictable with many leaps of faith required in terms of the technology but this is kind of the point of the story. I think there were just 2 or 3 references I missed so I guess I must be the target audience for the book :) Wesley (sorry Wil, but you'll always be Wesley to me) did a fine job as always with the narration with enough voice acting for it to really help the story but not enough to spoil as can happen. His voicing of one of the characters near the end was amusing though but I think he had a good time with it. Good fun read - recommended if you are after something a little lighter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Revenger

  • By: Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 455
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 420
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 418

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

Solid adventure sci-fi in an interesting universe

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

Reviewed: 29-10-16

Revenger is a pretty straight forward pirate story in space. I enjoyed it, it was well paced and the characters were great although I felt a little under developed by Mr Reynolds normal work. But this story is not quite at the normal scale for Alistair Reynolds - unless this is of course just the beginning of a much bigger story. If this is the case I look forward to it. The story was still gripping and it made me look forward to listening to the next bit throughout the book which is always a good sign.

What I really liked the most in the book is the universe that was explained fairly superficially but suggested so many mysteries about the occupations, the baubles, AIs, the civilisations and technology. I do hope there is more to come form this universe. I also liked the use of language to describe things, this was fun although if you are too analytical about it, it does seem weird to portray another universe entirely that speaks English but uses alternative, slang like English words. But I enjoyed this use of language by the characters. Maybe the universe is in fact our universe at another time and I have just missed the point until now LOL!

Always a big fan of Alistair Reynolds - one my favourite authors and I have enjoyed this book probably more so than his other recent work. Hope he continues the story in his next book - would like to see what happens next and what mysteries are to be revealed.

Narration wise Clare Corbett was excellent with the voice acting. A few odd pauses (no big deal - probably a production issue) but as others have noted - if you are listening to this in the car there are a few sections that are very quiet (to be fair this is when it makes sense for the dialogue to be quiet in voice acting terms) but did make it very hard to hear at some points.

I really liked this book - recommended.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ancillary Mercy

  • By: Ann Leckie
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 419
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 398
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398

The stunning conclusion to the trilogy that began with the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning Ancillary Justice. For just a moment, things seem to be under control for the soldier known as Breq. Then a search of Atheok Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn't exist - someone who might be an ancillary from a ship that's been hiding beyond the empire's reach for three thousand years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Please don't stop there

  • By Mr. S. Wallace-jones on 03-11-15

Great end to a great trilogy - thoroughly enjoyed

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

Reviewed: 15-01-16

Loved this book - great story, innovative ideas with some great characters. It's not action all the way but it has it's fair share and the way the humour of Bret became more potent/contextual as you went through the books was great. The effect is subtle but noticeable. Very sorry the trilogy is over.

I would love to hear more about the Preska, and I especially loved the Preska translator characters - they were both awesome.

The narration by Adjoa Andoh is, as ever, sublime. She really helps make the characters come alive.

Just great :) Listen to all 3 right now! As you might have gathered by now I am finding it hard to say something critical - so you know what, I won't.

  • The Fold

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,146
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,093
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,093

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn't much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he's content with his quiet and peaceful existence. That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing after 14

  • By M on 08-06-15

Very enjoyable - well paced sci-fi thriller

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

Reviewed: 15-10-15

Really enjoyed this book. Mike is a great character and I enjoyed his somewhat "annoying" traits - you'll see what I mean if you read the book. Good story and characters, pace was about right - kept moving. Also enjoyed the clues in the book about what was going on - not massively hard to guess but enjoyable anyway. First time I have read/listened to this author and I am keen to read/hear more. Top sci-fi / thriller. Narration was great as well - Ray Porter does an outstanding job in my view.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Hydrogen Sonata

  • Culture, Book 10
  • By: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 17 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 881
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 693
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 695

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture 10,000 years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations: They are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sublime

  • By M on 27-10-12

You gotta love those Ships Minds.

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

Reviewed: 26-10-13

I have loved the Culture novels and I guess I was a bit reluctant/sad to start this book knowing it was going to be the last. It's fitting that the theme of this book is the idea of subliming that has been present in a number of other Culture novels.

I thouroughly enjoyed this book, it has all the hallmarks and traits of all the best bits of the Culture. I really enjoyed the story, which although was not mega complicated at any point was a great yarn and a gripping story. For me the ships Minds were the stars, their discussions about the dilemma of whether to intefere or not and whether it was their responsibility or not was great.

The subliming species, the Gezilt (may have spelt that wrong as I have only heard the word!) were interesting in terms of they did not seem to be of such a state of social evolution that they in fact were worthy of subliming. But I think that was what made the story so interesting, their acceptance and expectation of what it was to sublime. I also liked the idea that you could stay behind if you didn't want to do the subliming thing. An interesting idea for another novel by someone else maybe if indeed anothe author would be allowed to pick up the Culture's reigns.

There's a lot of humour in the book, in fact the humour from the ship Minds reminded me of Douglas Adam's style quite a lot from the Hitch Hikers series which is great. Plenty of action of course and the Culture tech awesome as usual. The ship to ship stand offs with some great Mind/alien conversations were some of the highlights.

Great last novel Mr Banks - thank you for all of the other Culture books as well by the way.

A quick word on Peter Kenny the narrator, he really made this novel work so well in audio format with great voice acting - and I really really loved his portrayal of the Minds. Great job there Mr Kenny.

So, I suggest you read / listen to this novel. Now.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Pandora's Star

  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 37 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,664
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,259
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,257

Britain's bestselling SF writer returns to outer space.In AD 2329, humanity has colonised over four hundred planets, all of them interlinked by wormholes. With Earth at its centre, the Intersolar Commonwealth now occupies a sphere of space approximately four hundred light years across. When an astronomer on the outermost world of Gralmond, observes a star 2000 light years distant - and then a neighbouring one - vanish, it is time for the Commonwealth to discover what happened to them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very solid and enjoyable space opera

  • By Stephen on 21-09-13

Very solid and enjoyable space opera

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

Reviewed: 21-09-13

I enjoyed this book (which is part 1 of a 2 part story - see Judas Unchained for aprt 2) which takes place in the Commonwealth - a version of human kinds future where the stars are within reach via wormholes and you can, mostly, if you're reasonably careful, live forever!

The story is about the discovery of a couple of stars which dissapear, the investigation as to what happened and the subsequent consequences. Hard to write this review without spoliers so I shall skip the detail of the plot and just say it is quite complex and there is a lot of detail but never so much that you end up confused as to who is doing what and why - a triumph in books this large in both size and scope.

The characters are well described and Hamilton spendsa a lot of the time in the book detailing people and places in a infinite detail. There were time's I really thought the book could have been 2/3 of the length but after reading Judas Unchained afterwards I was impressed how pretty much everything came together with good solid reasons for the details in the first (and also the second) book.

I really liked the Commonwealth and the tech and the concept of people living for >200 years allowing them to have several marriages and so on, with the ability to block out bits of the past. I also enjoyed what was discovered at Pandora's Star and felt that how this was described and built up was really very good.

It's a long book, but the pay off is worth it in my opinion. This was my first Hamilton book and I look forward to reading the others.

I see some criticism of the narrator, and it did take me a few chapters to get used to him, but his speech was clear and personally I did not find it a problem. After listening to tyhe sequel as well it's a good job too - must be 50+ hours!

In summary, a great space opera, long and detailed but with some nice ideas. Moderately hard core sci-fi which is easy to read yet epic is scale and scope.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Matter

  • Culture Series, Book 8
  • By: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 17 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 946
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 592
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 589

In a world renowned, even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime occurs within a war. For one man it means a desperate flight and a search for the one, maybe two, people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Popular Culture

  • By Tim on 13-02-08

Solid Culture Novel

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-13

This is a book of travel, archeology, hi-tech, low-tech and exploration. It is focused around the sons and daughters of an assasinated king of a shell world. The sons, after the kings death, have very different paths to take and the daughter, who is ex-SC, comes back to help them, initially at least. The book is essentially the charting of the 3 main characters journeys, 2 of which are in the shell world itslef (journeying between the levels) and one, the daughters perepective, from within the Culture. The stories are all of course linked and come together albeit in quite an abrupt fashion at the end of the book. Iain Banks describes the shell world, the Culture, the ships and all the smart AI in his usual style and penache. It is a very descriptive book in that a lot of the time you are treated to explanations of the worlds, the levels and environments the characters exists in. The story itself is solid, the human/AI/alien characters are great and you do get a great broad sci-fi novel, with its split between the world of the Culture and the shell-world with it's medievel tech. It is pretty solid, but, and my only gripe, is that it does climax very quickly at the end, you kind of blink and it's over. Matter does bring everything together at the end which is great, but it just does it a bit too quick in my opinion, would have liked a bit more meat in the end game. But niggle aside, I'd recommend this book as another good, solid Culture novel. Very enjoyable. The narration was great as well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful