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JR Angell

  • 16
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  • 3
  • helpful votes
  • 42
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  • The Last Man

  • By: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • Narrated by: Matt Bates, Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 19 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 5

The Last Man is Mary Shelley's apocalyptic fantasy of the end of human civilisation. Set in the late 21st century, the novel unfolds a sombre and pessimistic vision of mankind confronting inevitable destruction. Interwoven with her futuristic theme, Mary Shelley incorporates idealised portraits of Shelley and Byron, yet rejects Romanticism and its faith in art and nature.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Badly in need of editing

  • By JR Angell on 02-04-19

Badly in need of editing

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

Reviewed: 02-04-19

This is probably the worst book in my library. It is twenty hours of irrelevant dribble about how much all the main characters love each other, pages and pages of pointless dialogue that doesn't drive the story forward in any way at all.

It's set in the far future but Shelley has put no effort at all into what that future might look like, it might as well have been set in the eighteenth century as the tech is identical.

The novel should have been about a quarter of the length it was and then it might have just about been tolerable.

It's impossible to imagine this is the same author that brought us Frankenstein. I suspect the hand of heavy editing went into making that one the masterpiece it is.

Avoid like the plague.

  • False Gods

  • The Horus Heresy, Book 2
  • By: Graham McNeill
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,266
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,181
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,175

The Great Crusade that has taken humanity into the stars continues. The Emperor of Mankind has handed the reins of command to his favoured son, the Warmaster Horus. Yet all is not well in the armies of the Imperium. Horus is still battling against the jealousy and resentment of his brother primarchs, and when he is injured in combat on the planet Davin, he must also battle his inner daemon. With all the temptations that Chaos has to offer, can the weakened Horus resist?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining but fell short of what I hoped for

  • By Ronald RayGun on 08-01-18

Voices all wrong

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

Reviewed: 20-03-19

The story is great, no disputing that. For me it isn't as good as horus rising but it's still a great novel.

Unfortunately the narration on this is bad enough to make me wince at times.

Some characters are fine such as Garviel, Horus and Karkasy but others are done so badly that I have to laugh.

For example Abaddon, the hulking, grumpy giant, baddest astartes around, born and raised in the roughest slums of Cthonia... sounds like a posh, nasally nerd. It's really, really bad and enough to snap me out of the story at times.

The narration itself is fine, some characters are fine, others... Not so much.

  • Horus Rising

  • The Horus Heresy, Book 1
  • By: Dan Abnett
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,004
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,858
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,861

It is the 31st millennium. Under the benevolent leadership of the Immortal Emperor, the Imperium of Man hasstretched out across the galaxy. It is a golden age of discovery and conquest. But now, on the eve of victory, the Emperor leaves the front lines, entrusting the great crusade to his favourite son, Horus. Promoted to Warmaster, can the idealistic Horus carry out the Emperor's grand plan, or will this promotion sow the seeds of heresy amongst his brothers?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Truly Amazing!

  • By David C. on 13-01-18

Amazing Launch Title

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

Reviewed: 11-02-19

This is the perfect title to launch the Horus Heresy series and will hook anyone with even a passing interesting in Warhammer 40k. I've read the book twice and spotted this in two for one offers on Audible so had to get it.

One thing I will say is that it's just a bit too quiet. I normally listen in my car through my phone and can hear fine with most other books, but this one I can't hear a thing and have to use headphones. Even then, I have to have it cranked up. I tried it on my Amazon Echo as well and it also had to have it up around 6 or 7 before it was clear enough. This seems to be a common problem with black library books on audible and it is becoming a bit annoying.

Another (mildly) annoying thing is the accents. The narrator does a great job with the exposition, having a classic 'posh' English accent, but for me the characters just don't sound right. Loken in particular often sounds like a stereotype for a WW2 era Tommy or even Patrick Stewart in the midst of a Shakespeare play. The Luna Wolfs are supposed to be rough and ready salt of the earth types...it just doesn't sound right.

Those niggles aside, this is a fantastic book.

  • An Unwelcome Quest

  • Magic 2.0, Book 3
  • By: Scott Meyer
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,767
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,657
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,656

Ever since Martin Banks and his fellow computer geeks discovered that reality is just a computer program to be happily hacked, they've been jaunting back and forth through time, posing as medieval wizards and having the epic adventures that other nerds can only dream of having. But even in their wildest fantasies, they never expected to end up at the mercy of the former apprentice whom they sent to prison for gross misuse of magic and all-around evil behavior.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great take on the quest games of years gone by

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-07-17

Lost it's magic

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

Reviewed: 26-10-18

My god did this story drag.

I loved the first book. I thought the second was OK. By the end of this one I was screaming at the narrator to just get on with the story during endless stretches of pointless dialogue or repetitive descriptions and endlessly recycled jokes.

The premise is great and there are little gems sprinkled through it that reminded me of what I loved about the first book. They are still a great group of characters (though Gwen is still a tad two dimensional...but that might just be the narrator) and the author does a good job of poking fun at poorly written computer games (which is kind of ironic). The narrator is fine as always, though his pronunciation of a couple of words still jars a bit. He definitely brings life to the characters and makes it easy to tell who is speaking.

All that being said, I did not like this book. At some point over half way through I started to feel that impatience when you can tell that an author is just padding out a story with dialogue and unnecessarily long descriptions of things. At that point I was really just waiting for the story to end rather than actively enjoying it. The last couple of hours were very frustrating as the story is so close to ending but, once again, the author drags it out as long as possible.

No word of a lie, there are monologues that go on for a full half an hour when the point was well made in the first few seconds.

Without spoiling the plot I can say that the story ultimately follows two groups, one trying to catch up with the other and it becomes bewilderingly obvious about two thirds of the way through that the second group should have caught up with the first looooooooong before they actually do. It gets to the point where it literally makes no sense as to why they are so far behind other than the author wanting them to arrive at the exact right moment. This helped to ruin the story for me and only added to that constant feeling that the author was just stretching a very thin story out as far as they possibly could. If I was actually reading this story I never would have finished it.

I think I'm done with this series now.

  • Spell or High Water

  • Magic 2.0
  • By: Scott Meyer
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,641
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,532
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,526

A month has passed since Martin helped to defeat the evil programmer Jimmy, and things couldn't be going better. Except for his love life, that is. Feeling distant and lost, Gwen has journeyed to Atlantis, a tolerant and benevolent kingdom governed by the Sorceresses, and a place known to be a safe haven to all female time-travelers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Back to being a professional wizard

  • By GhostMuppet on 19-03-15

Simple but enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 14-10-18

This is very much in the same vein as the first story so you'll get mostly what you expect. It's an easy to listen to tale about people who have magic powers granted by their knowledge of 'the file' and the shenanigans that ensue.

In my opinion this one isn't as good as the first one, but only because I think it's trying to tell a slightly more serious story than "idiot goes back in time without knowing other people have already done it... gets schooled". This one expands the world a bit, introducing some different 'colonies' of wizards that live in other times and touches on some philosophy around the concept of time travel and it's risks. There's a mini side story involving a character from the previous book and I kind of groaned when it started, thinking that it would just be getting in the way of the main story. Rest assured, it is actually pretty entertaining.

There are some parts of the story that drag on a bit, some gags that go on too long and outlive their humour. That being said, I've already got the next book ready to go. The narrator is mostly just as good as he was with the last one, the characters have very diverse voices and personalities. His pronunciations of some words jars a bit (for example, he seems to have changed the way he pronounces Magnus?).

As I said at the beginning, you get what you expect. It's easy to listen to and isn't a challenge on the brain. If that's what you're after then this is a worthy successor to the first book in the series. My main criticism of this is that it tries to establish a more serious undertone with these time travellers, whereas I kind of liked the idea of them just messing about with no responsibilities. I'm hoping it gets back to that formula with the next one.

  • Off to Be the Wizard

  • By: Scott Meyer
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,738
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,588
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,585

It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Matrix meets mediaeval fabtasy

  • By Matthew on 07-10-15

Easy listening

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

Reviewed: 21-09-18

A good light hearted story. Just enough action and suspension to keep it going. Plenty of humour both subtle and occasionally gloriously immature.

I really liked this story, will be listening to the next book in the series.

  • The Rise of Endymion

  • By: Dan Simmons
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 29 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 536
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 449
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 451

In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing - nothing anywhere in the universe - will ever be the same.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good but..

  • By Paul Lindsay on 20-10-17

A long conclusion to a very long journey

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

Reviewed: 09-09-18

This is a very difficult book to review as it has to be taken in the context of the rest of the 'cantos', but right off the bat I will say that to me at least it is the lesser of the four books (I would actually say they reduce in quality as they go with Hyperion being the best). That's not to say it's a bad story, but I think the primary criticism is that this book would have not lost anything if it was half the length.

It has beautiful imagery, but often the author goes on and on with descriptions that could have easily been much more concise. This also goes for introduction of background characters when you're given endless lists of names that you will only hear once or twice more throughout the entire book. To me this book was badly in need of editing to get the length down. By the halfway point I was getting very frustrated with almost everything, only really sticking with it because I wanted to know how it turned out. I also found that it casually dismissed or completely retconned things already established in the canon which to me felt a bit lazy.

The characters are slightly one dimensional, especially Raul. I think in part this in intentional so that the reader can put some of themselves into his character to fill out the blanks, but it does get a bit tiresome with him feeling more like a loyal puppy than a sentient human character. Aenea is little more than an exposition machine, forwarding the story along with endless scenes of dialogue, most of which Raul is just there to use as the reader's ears. That being said, I found myself getting quite attached to these characters as their relationship blooms throughout the story. It's a bit tacky in places, a bit over the top but it was enough to create some genuine attachment to the characters for me. I wanted a happy ending for these guys.

Which brings me to my main point on this book. Despite it's flaws, I have rarely, if ever, got myself so emotionally involved in a story as I did with this. I'm not exactly a passive reader/listener, but I usually accept that I'm listening to fiction and don't get too emotional. Not with this story, the last third or so of this book had me feeling genuine anxiety over the fate of the main characters and the ending kept me awake the night I finished it. I personally did not like the ending and found it really got to me. Partly because it felt like a tale that has taken 120+ hours to tell deserved a much better ending than the one we got and I felt cheated. Mostly because I felt the two main characters I had grown attached to were also cheated with a bittersweet ending after both suffering genuine horrors. I can't say too much about this without giving it away, but for me the ending is what has soured this book for me and left a lasting impression.

All this being said...if you've already listened to the other three books, you need to listen to this one. It might not give you the closure you seek as it doesn't answer everything (for me it certainly didn't) but it will flesh out the world that Dan Simmons has built.

  • Sojourn

  • Legend of Drizzt: Dark Elf Trilogy, Book 3
  • By: R. A. Salvatore
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 396
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 369
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 368

R. A. Salvatore's New York Times best-selling novel! Drizzt DoUrden has forsaken his subterranean home for the harsh unknown of the surface. The young warrior begins a sojourn through a world utterly unlike his own - and finds that acceptance among the surface-dwellers will only come at a great price....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Epic.

  • By JR Angell on 17-05-18

Epic.

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

Reviewed: 17-05-18

I was apprehensive when I first started listening to this series but I am so very glad that I did. The last few minutes of this book really hit me where it counts.

If you have even a passing interest in fantasy then I highly recommend you get cracking on this series. It's worth mentioning that this story is only set in the dungeons and dragons universe, you really do not need any knowledge or love for the franchise to enjoy these (I had no knowledge).

I recommend you start from the beginning, it gives the whole tale a truly epic feel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Homeland

  • Legend of Drizzt: Dark Elf Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: R. A. Salvatore
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 599
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 558
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 561

This stunning new release of the classic R.A. Salvatore novel recounts the origins of Salvatore's signature dark elf character, Drizzt Do'Urden. This title kicks off The Legend of Drizzt series, which will showcase the classic dark elf novels in these new audiobook editions.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent story, okay narrator

  • By Mark on 10-12-16

Excellent Story

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

Reviewed: 16-03-18

As with many, I loved the story but the narrator did grate on me a little on occasion.

While cool and soothing was fine, I don't feel like he put enough emotion into the characters when it was needed. Everyone always sounded calm even though the story made it clear they were shouting or something.

Otherwise an amazing story, I'm eager to continue the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mythos

  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 15 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,789
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,879
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,832

The Greek myths are amongst the greatest stories ever told, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists as varied as Shakespeare, Michelangelo, James Joyce and Walt Disney. They are embedded deeply in the traditions, tales and cultural DNA of the West. You'll fall in love with Zeus, marvel at the birth of Athena, wince at Cronus and Gaia's revenge on Ouranos, weep with King Midas and hunt with the beautiful and ferocious Artemis.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen Fry does it again

  • By L. Turner on 14-11-17

Feels like something is missing.

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

Reviewed: 05-03-18

This is Stephen Fry talking at length about a subject obviously very close to his heart, and his passion shows in his writing and telling.

There are parts that I ended up having in the background as they didn't interest me very much and I feel it omits several key figures in Greek mythology, at least one of which I was looking forward to hearing about. Stephen does try to explain these omissions in his summary chapters but for me it feels like he's left out some of the best stories to make room for ones I didn't find too interesting. I also found the the first half of the book (dealing with the birth of the gods and the titanomachy) was far more interesting than that latter half which was more focused on the gods interactions with people (but not the heroes).

Overall worth the effort to listen to, but don't expect a full account of Greek mythology. If nothing else it's always pleasant to listen to Stephen Fry talk, especially about a subject with which he clearly has such an interest.