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  • Armada

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,956
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,749
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,739

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.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable, geeky, a little bit silly but good fun!

  • By Stephen on 21-11-16

This is no 'Ready Player One'

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

Reviewed: 06-08-15

If you could sum up Armada in three words, what would they be?

Armada? Sadly underwhelming.

Would you recommend Armada to your friends? Why or why not?

Hmm, probably not. Like...its fine? And I recommended Ready Player One left, right and center...but this? No. Probably not.

What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

Everything. Wil is my favorite reader - he has the perfect reading voice.

Any additional comments?

Armada never quite achieves what it sets out to and instead of paying homage to sci fi classics (such as Ender's Game, as noted elsewhere) it borrows far too much from them. Additionally I never found myself investing in these characters in the same way I did with Ready Player One. It was fine. You might like it. You might not.

33 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Yes Please

  • By: Amy Poehler
  • Narrated by: Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,376
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,106
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,091

In Amy Poehler's highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much).Powered by Amy's charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, and including a star-studded guest list of vocal appearances.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not the giggle fest I thought it would be...

  • By Laura Chambers on 07-06-15

Interesting, but not as good as I had hoped

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

Reviewed: 09-03-15

Would you consider the audio edition of Yes Please to be better than the print version?

As with most audiobooks read by their writers, yes - Poehler is an excellent reader and has also tweaked the book to make it suitable and amusing in audio. Patrick Stewart even makes a cameo!

If you’ve listened to books by Amy Poehler before, how does this one compare?

This Amy's first book....so.....

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Amy spends some time talking about being nominated for awards and how to cope with 'wanting the pudding' (realising you *really* want to win). It was interesting and funny to hear about the sketches and bits that Amy helped create and think up for the shows, but also the idea of 'wanting the pudding' (and how generally you only 'get the pudding' if you are ambivalent to the idea) extends in to many other areas of life.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

'What Would Amy Do?'

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed 'Yes Please' - many of Amy's philosophies for life have made me reflect on my own approach and the book made me laugh outloud - but I can't help wondering if this maybe wasn't the best time for her to write a book. Entrenched in the middle of a divorce, Amy endlessly repeats how hard it is to write a book and the narrative really isn't as tight as it could have been. I'm not sure - maybe this just wasn't the best time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl with All the Gifts

  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,829
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,367
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,346

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her 'our little genius'. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A stunning read

  • By Simon on 19-01-14

Exciting, moving, thought-provoking

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

Reviewed: 09-03-15

If you could sum up The Girl with All the Gifts in three words, what would they be?

I've sort of done that in the title to this review, so other than that I guess the only other way would be to say 'read this book'.

What other book might you compare The Girl with All the Gifts to, and why?

Perhaps Station Eleven? Only in that this is a post-apocalyptic story that takes a different tack, and tells its story from an unusual point of view.

Which character – as performed by Finty Williams – was your favourite?

Probably Melanie herself - her character was consistent throughout and Williams managed to give her a recognisably 'little girl' tone, without becoming whiney or annoying. Seeing the world through Melanie's eyes is both exciting and frightening.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Very much so - I usually limit my listening to when I am driving, but I couldn't resist listening to The Girl With All The Gifts almost constantly.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The First Bad Man

  • By: Miranda July
  • Narrated by: Miranda July
  • Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 201
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 178

The first novel by the filmmaker, artist and bestselling author Miranda July confirms her as a spectacularly original, iconic, and important voice today, and a writer for all time. The First Bad Man is dazzling and unforgettable.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn't put it down!

  • By andriarna on 17-06-15

Anything but kooky

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

Reviewed: 24-02-15

What made the experience of listening to The First Bad Man the most enjoyable?

It is always special when a writer reads their own work, but July's use of tone and verbal inflection is so important in her writing that it was exciting to hear what kind of voice *she* imagined for each character, how this whisper would sound or that shout.

What other book might you compare The First Bad Man to, and why?

This is difficult as July has such a unique style, but perhaps Camus' 'The Stranger' or Calvino's 'If on a winter's night'? Narratively and structurally 'The First Bad Man' is completely different to both books, but they come the closest to the slightly disturbing, hallucinatory, disconnected, dream-like feeling that July conveys so well.

Which character – as performed by Miranda July – was your favourite?

Probably Cheryl herself - July performs her with enormous empathy and kindness.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There we moments when I almost wanted to stop listening - some of the sexual imagery is very graphic and the violence can be unnerving...but - without revealing what happens - the end of the book made me punch the air with delight. I want to listen to the whole thing all over again.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Peter & Max

  • A Fables Novel
  • By: Bill Willingham
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

When an unspeakable tragedy befalls a family of traveling minstrels, they become stranded and left for dead. Here in the heart of The Black Forest, Peter Piper and his older brother Max encounter ominous forces that will change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day when their deadly conflict surfaces in the placid calm of modern-day Fabletown.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully performed by Wheaton.

  • By B. NELSON on 06-03-19

I read this before the comics and *LOVED* it

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

Reviewed: 03-09-14

If you could sum up Peter & Max in three words, what would they be?

Exciting, dark, compelling

Who was your favorite character and why?

Peter. Most of the story is told from Peter's perspective and he is therefore the most developed character. I would also have loved to read the same story from Bo's point of view.

Have you listened to any of Wil Wheaton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have listened to quite a few audiobooks read by Wil and I would definitely say this is up there as one of the best. It helps that Bill Willingham is a stonkingly good writer, but Wil really brings the characters alive and he clearly loves the text. Every now and again you can hear a page turn, but there is not one falter or oddly running sentence.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listen to books mostly whilst I am driving for work and am usually fairly disciplined at ONLY listening whilst driving (mainly so that I don't run through my credits too quickly!) - but I have to admit, I listened to Peter and Max almost non-stop. Best thing I have read in ages!

Any additional comments?

You definitely don't need to have read the comic books to get into this brilliant novel. I have played the video game The Wolf Among Us (a loose adaptation of some of the comics), but you really could come at this completely unaware of the Fables universe and still have a brilliant time. Highly recommended. One word of warning - you will definitely go and buy all of the comic books after reading!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Star Trek, Voyager: Pathways (Adapted)

  • By: Jeri Taylor
  • Narrated by: Robert Picardo
  • Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 29

Here is the previously untold story of Captain Janeway's crew. They began as individuals, following very different pathways, but together, under the leadership of one remarkable woman, they have become one of the finest teams in the known universe - the crew of the Voyager. Read by Robert Picardo!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good fun for fans

  • By Hannah on 02-09-14

Good fun for fans

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

Reviewed: 02-09-14

If you could sum up Star Trek, Voyager: Pathways (Adapted) in three words, what would they be?

Fun, interesting, cheesey

Who was your favorite character and why?

Argh who do I pick?! You get to hear so much more about so many of the characters that it is hard to choose! Perhaps Harry Kim? Perhaps Tom Paris? Maybe B'Elanna?! Which is all well and good, but not a very helpful answer...in an odd way, Tuvok's narrative might be my favourite as I had a lot of questions about what he did between leaving and returning to Starfleet.

Have you listened to any of Robert Picardo’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I've never listened to any other of Robert Picardo's performances, but I would definitely rate it here - there could be no one better to read a Voyager novel. He has a voice that is both expressive and gentle, not at all grating.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I didn't find myself becoming overly emotional while reading Pathways, but it was certainly amusing in parts, moving in others.

Any additional comments?

I think the only other thing I would say is that the structure is a little formulaic, with each crew member encouraging the others to share their life stories - though I wonder if this is perhaps due to the abridgement? I really wish that they would re-record these books in full now that there is such a big market for audiobooks.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Testament of Mary

  • By: Colm Tóibín
  • Narrated by: Meryl Streep
  • Length: 3 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 77

From the author of Brooklyn, in a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful writing, beautifully read

  • By Hannah on 02-09-14

Beautiful writing, beautifully read

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

Reviewed: 02-09-14

If you could sum up The Testament of Mary in three words, what would they be?

Poetic, painful, important

What did you like best about this story?

The Testament of Mary invites the reader to see the events of the New Testament through the eyes of the woman at the centre of everything who is so often overlooked. As an atheist with an interest in theology, I expected to find the content interesting, knew that the writer was of an excellent quality and know that I really enjoy Meryl Streep's work (who doesn't?!) - yet I did not expect to feel so moved. This is a deeply personal story of woman who's narrative is, in so many ways, dictated by the men around her. I loved it.

Which character – as performed by Meryl Streep – was your favourite?

The story is told entirely from the perspective of Mary in the last few days of her life, looking back. Streep performs the part expertly.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, absolutely - though (perhaps particularly as this story is not a long one) I don't want to ruin anything. Mary's realisation that she is no longer autonomous in the remembering of her grief was really quite upsetting.

Any additional comments?

Whether you are religious or (like myself) rather decidedly not, this is a beautiful, moving, thought-provoking story that is well worth your time.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Cloud Atlas

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Garrick Hagon, Jeff Harding, Steve Hodson, and others
  • Length: 21 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 954
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 823
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 828

Cloud Atlas features six characters in interlocking stories, each interrupting the one before it: a reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death row; and Zachry, a young Pacific islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, brought to life better than any movie

  • By T on 25-02-13

Bit of a slog, mostly well worth it.

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

Reviewed: 28-07-14

Would you consider the audio edition of Cloud Atlas to be better than the print version?

This is an interesting question. If you, like me, are extremely lazy when it comes to reading antiquated language (there is a reason I didn't take Medieval Lit classes at University) then yes - absolutely. Some of the antiquated and colloquial language used in Cloud Atlas takes a large amount of effort to work out, let alone read. However, the reader for the first story is mind-bogglingly wooden, which is such a shame as some of the other performances are excellent.

What did you like best about this story?

This story spans an enormous amount of time, from long ago into the far future. I really enjoyed the precipice-like moment when you suddenly realise the narrative is about to shoot off into unknown territory.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Ugh, yes and no? Each portion of the story is narrated by someone different....so sometimes yes and sometimes no. The Sonmi-451 narrator is *excellent* and this was, by far, my favourite narrative arc.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely not. It is MASSIVE and not exactly 'addictive' - the sense of satisfaction when you have finished, however, is enormous.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Fault in Our Stars

  • By: John Green
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,904
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,680
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,684

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Far too good to be left to teenagers

  • By Charles on 22-02-12

Warning: attach tissues under eyes. (SPOILERS)

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

Reviewed: 28-07-14

If you could sum up The Fault in Our Stars in three words, what would they be?

Romantic. Informative. Heartbreaking.

What did you like best about this story?

SPOILERS

I appreciated the descriptions of Hazel's grief. I've had a similar experience myself and it is the only thing that has even come close to describing what the loss of a partner around that age actually feels like.

What about Kate Rudd’s performance did you like?

Rudd was a thoughtful and well-paced performer.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

....I actually did. I started mid-afternoon and finished late evening.

Any additional comments?

This is an absolutely heartbreaking book, and much less twee that the movie.

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,097
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19,875
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,810

It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Book Changed My Life 💙 New Hobbies Found 💜

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-04-18

Are you ready to begin?

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

Reviewed: 28-07-14

What made the experience of listening to Ready Player One the most enjoyable?

First and foremost, Wil Wheaton is a first-class narrator - he has absolutely the most perfect voice for audiobooks (not too bassy, not too nasally) and doesn't do too badly with accents either (unlike some other narrators which have caused me to return books!). Secondly, the world of Ready Player One is - as noted in the novel - everything any reader or gamer has ever dreamed of: essentially a 'holodeck' experience. It is the book's exploration of the pros and cons of this system that draws you in - in Star Trek we see people using the holodecks for recreation, essentially living out episodes in an ongoing drama; but as Ready Player One points out....why would you ever leave?

What other book might you compare Ready Player One to, and why?

I have desperately been searching for something else as engaging and exciting as RPO since I finished reading! My recommendations would probably be to read other books which effectively create alternative worlds - perhaps 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' by Patrick Ness, 'Peter and Max' by Bill Willingham and 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth.

What does Wil Wheaton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

As I mention above, Wil is an excellent reader. He has an obvious love for the subject matter and, having been an actor on Star Trek 'The Next Generation' and a teenager in the late 80s and early 90s, has a strong familiarity with many of the pop culture references. Wheaton sounds like he is having an absolute ball with this reading!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

'What would you sacrifice to win the ultimate prize?'

Any additional comments?

Read (.....listen to). This. Book.

42 of 52 people found this review helpful