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Swords and Spectres

MELTON MOWBRAY, United Kingdom
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  • 61
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  • Nevernight

  • The Nevernight Chronicle, Book 1
  • By: Jay Kristoff
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham
  • Length: 20 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 253
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 231
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 230

From New York Times best-selling author Jay Kristoff comes a dangerous new fantasy world and a heroine edged in darkness. Mia Corvere is only 10 years old when she is given her first lesson in death. Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world. But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent book.

  • By Ms. Helen F. M. White on 17-01-18

One of the best things I've listened to

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

Reviewed: 04-05-19

Nevernight is one of those books that I deleted off my TBR a good while back as I didn’t want another ‘kid goes to school and ends up being the best at whatever he or she trained at’. Essentially, the Harry Potter of assassins wasn’t something I felt too enthusiastic about. As it was, so many people told me I was making a mistake. Far too many for me to ignore, so I decided I’d grab a copy of the audio book seeing as how I had a few free credits.

So glad that I did.

Nevernight is easily one of the best things I have experienced this year. So much better than I could have imagined. It is, essentially, a bit of a ‘Harry Potter of assassins’ story, but it has so much more that I had to admit I was stupidly wrong in not wanting to try this book. The way it is written, for one, would be reason enough to give it a go. It is humorous and told from the point of view of someone who knew the protagonist in a ‘fireside chat’ kind of way. A really interesting and refreshing way of being told a story.

It has a lot going for it. As you’d expect, in a tutoring scenario it has the squabbles between ‘classmates’ but, due to the nature of the ‘school’ they are at, these are squabbles that often end in the darkest of ways.

Nevernight has a healthy dose of mystery and intrigue threaded throughout and it has some seriously epic moments. One of my favourites being the last couple of hours of the book. Just wow. So much wow.

The magic system is pretty good in this. The one that sticks out the most for me being the method of how the assassins travel. I was pleasantly surprised at the originality of that. There is also another sort of magic that I’ll not mention. Gotta leave some unexpected surprises.

Another thing that really adds to Nevernight as a solid opener to a series is the imagery. The author does an excellent job of painting the picture he wants the reader to see, and what dark imagery there can be found within!

It is guilty of having my pet hate in there as well: flashbacks. I do think that, perhaps, there were one too many flashbacks that could have been explained better in other ways, but I suppose I can’t have everything. Some people enjoy flashbacks, others hate them. I find myself closer to the hate side of the scale.

I’m also not much of a romance fan (my black heart has no room for the love of others) and, whilst it does appear in the book, it isn’t to the extent that I find off-putting.

So yea, it literally has something for everyone.

The narration is top notch. An excellent narrator that provides a brilliant array of voices for some pretty diverse characters. I already have the sequel downloaded and will be keeping an eye out for the narrator’s other works in the future. Even the best of books can be made painful by a bad narrator. So it’s always worth keeping your eye on the gems!

  • Pines

  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael Garcia
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 918
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 856
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 860

Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Simmering suspense

  • By Derek on 26-06-14

Expected something more

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

Reviewed: 06-04-19

I have enjoyed a couple of Blake Crouch’s books so far (Abandon and Dark Matter) so it was with a fair bit of excitement that I used my audible credit on Pines.

The overall concept grabbed me right away. A member of the secret service waking up after a car accident in Wayward Pines with no way of contacting the outside world and seemingly no way of escaping the town limits.

It’s an incredibly exciting concept and, as the book goes on, it drip feeds the reader more and more interesting bits that just add to the overall intriguing nature and constantly keep the reader wondering what’s going to happen next.

However, I couldn’t help but feel unenthused throughout large parts of it. It felt as if the excitement factor would suddenly slow and I’d find it hard to get back into it in the way I would have liked to for a thriller book. I wouldn’t say that I was underwhelmed but I just didn’t feel it in the way the author would have hoped his audience might.

I couldn’t quite pinpoint just what I felt was missing but I knew something was the whole way. One negative, for me, is that the time isn’t adequately stated. So you never know what year something is taking place. There is a reason for this but, even knowing that, I just felt like certain parts were shoehorned together rather than fitting seamlessly.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Pines. I did, I just didn’t enjoy it like I wanted to do. Despite the somewhat average level of enthusiasm, I most likely will carry on with this series, but it will be at a later date when my enthusiasm has picked up again, hopefully.

I feel stopping after the first book is no terrible thing seeing as how the first book ended in a way that, if I were to never pick the series up again I would be satisfied to a degree. Almost felt like a standalone novel of sorts that has been expanded into a trilogy.

  • Taken by the T-Rex (Dinosaur Erotica)

  • By: Christie Sims, Alara Branwen
  • Narrated by: Pepper Laramie
  • Length: 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Drin is her tribe's chief huntress; she lives for the thrill of the hunt. Men and sex hold no allure for her, as Drin has never found a partner to satisfy her. When a T-Rex descends upon her village, destroying it, Drin demands that the tribe's hunters go in search of the beast and slaughter it. Opting for safety instead of revenge, the tribe moves to a new location, hoping that the big beast won't follow them. t does. rin taunts the beast, giving her tribes mates time to flee. As she runs, leading it through a gauntlet of traps, the thrill of the hunt soars through her blood, leaving her wet with desire.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not as dreadful as I was expecting

  • By Swords and Spectres on 22-03-19

Not as dreadful as I was expecting

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

Reviewed: 22-03-19

I’ll start off by saying that I bought this as a gift for a friend who then, as part of the gift said that I had to not only listen to it, but review it on my blog. I honestly can’t believe that I am about to review Dinosaur erotica on my blog. The shame is real. The uncontrollable laughter and sinking to his knees with tears in his eyes because I had ‘broken him’ was totally worth the shame of reviewing this on my blog, though! Frighteningly, he went off to show everyone around our workplace, proudly telling them I’d gotten him the best birthday present ever!

I’m amazed to say that this book wasn’t actually as bad as I expected it to be. Obviously with the absolutely ludicrous plot line that featured humans living alongside dinosaurs, I expected it to be utter garbage. Even worse than garbage when a T-rex decides he’d rather have sex with a human female than eat her.

But it isn’t terrible. It’s by no means great, but not as bad as I, and no doubt every other person expects it to be.
The writing is strange. Strange because the author only seems capable of describing a dinosaur as a ‘Big Lizard’. Yet she can describe a penis or a vagina in five or six different ways. Heck, her main character even knows the concept of ‘fore and aft’ … yea, intelligent beyond her time period (which to be fair, she totally shouldn’t exist in any way) but totally incapable of using ANY other word to describe a dinosaur. That, along with the painfully monotonous narration (I mean SERIOUSLY! If you can’t get excited to narrate dinosaur erotica, then what can you get excited for?). The narrator (Pepper Laramie) seems to exclusively narrate erotica. I can only imagine the legions of bland erotica on audible. It’s a good job the book is only 38 mins long as her narration would have put me to sleep if it was any longer.

I would say that you’re probably better off buying the book version … but, let’s be honest, you probably aren’t any better off.

Back to the book.

The sex scene, as you can no doubt imagine, between the T-rex and the woman is incredibly awkward. So much so that I’m glad it only lasts for four minutes. Thank the Lord that T-rex doesn’t have any stamina.

All in all, it wasn't great, but it was as God-awful as I was expecting.

  • Realmslayer

  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar
  • By: David Guymer
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble, Brian Blessed, David Seddon, and others
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 289
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 276
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 277

Gotrek Gurnisson was the greatest monster slayer of the age, who met his doom at the End Times. The heroic duardin stepped forth into the Realm of Chaos to fight the daemons gnawing at the world's ending and satisfy his death oath, leaving behind his companion Felix Jaeger. Now Gotrek has returned, having outlived the old gods and the Old World. Spat from the ruinous depths with his redemption unfulfilled, he emerges into the Mortal Realms, a strange new world where gods walk the earth and dark forces are ascendant. Nothing is as he remembers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An absolute must!

  • By Christopher on 03-11-18

Not a bad way of experiencing the Age of Sigmar

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

Reviewed: 10-03-19

Realmslayer was one of those things that, when I saw it, ticked so many boxes for me as to why I ought to give it a go. The first being that I love audio dramas. The second being that it had a pretty good cast in it. Brian Blessed for one! The third was that it gave me a chance to try and understand the Age of Sigmar a little better.

Point three was the most welcome of all as I really am struggling to get on with this Age of Sigmar nonsense that the Warhammer universe replaced The Old World (my favourite ever fantasy setting of any universe) with. I doubt I’ll ever care for Age of Sigmar as much as I did the Old World and there will always be a fairly large part of me that hates GW for making the switch. But, if I’m honest, Realmslayer did a fairly good job of easing me in to the universe and I found myself enjoying the story. I’m still not sold on this new setting. And I will still regard it as ‘this Age of Sigmar nonsense’ because, frankly, I honestly think the whole setting is utter nonsense. But, on with my thoughts about the audio drama … my dislike of this change could span many hours of writing!

The Production value was very high. The sound effects, the cast and the story in general were top notch. I felt that having an actor the calibre of Blessed really added to the piece (even if his voice did not mesh with the way Gotrek sounded in my mind). There were some real high points as far as making the listener feel what the characters were feeling. Whether it was remembering what was lost to the past or just their current struggles, I felt like I was very much a part of it.

This is, sadly, just a Gotrek story rather than Gotrek and Felix story. Having been spat out of the Realm of Chaos, where Gotrek had been cheerfully slaying Chaos beasts for millennia, he finds himself in this new world (this Age of Sigmar nonsense) and immediately assumes his entire surroundings are fabrications of the Chaos Gods to trick him. After unwillingly forging alliances, Gotrek heads out in search of his dear old friend Felix, convinced that if he is here in this strange new world, then so to must be his manling friend.

I did feel like I had been undersold the product due to the run time being listed as five hours and twenty-eight minutes but the last hour and a quarter or so was literally just the cast talking about their experiences whilst making the piece. It also highlighted the fact that Blessed knew very little about the character just going by what he was saying about Gotrek. I also felt that the woman who voiced the dark elf was guilty of some serious over-acting. Almost like she was uncertain if she was doing this for a pantomime villain so erred on the side of caution and went full pantomime villain just in case.

As much as I enjoyed listening to it, I much prefer reading Gotrek (and hopefully Felix) tales. So will probably continue on with Gotrek’s adventures in paperback form.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dark Imperium

  • Warhammer 40,000
  • By: Guy Haley
  • Narrated by: John Banks
  • Length: 12 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 904
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 846
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 847

Fell times have come to the galaxy. Cadia has fallen, destroyed by the onslaught of Chaos. A Great Rift in the warp has opened, and from its depths spew daemons and the horrors of Old Night. But all hope is not lost.... A hero, long absent, has returned, and with him comes the wrath of the Ultramarines reborn. Roboute Guilliman has arisen to lead the Imperium out of darkness on a crusade the likes of which has not been seen since the fabled days of the Emperor.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping Advancement in the Grim Dark.

  • By Craigie on 06-02-18

A great book to ease you back into the franchise

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

Reviewed: 27-02-19

Dark Imperium, for me, is an absolutely fantastic book for those who are looking at getting back into the Black Library books but don’t want to be massively confused. It gives you scenes from the Horus Heresy as a sort of prologue and then brings you into the present day Imperium for the rest of the book.

The underlying plot is Roboute Guilliman trying to take the Imperium by the scruff of the neck and turn it into a body that the Emperor, himself and his fallen brothers would have recognised and been proud of. The main plotline sees him trying to thwart the nefarious plans of his chaotic brother Mortarion, Primarch of the Death Guard and favoured champion of the Lord of Decay (Nurgle).

Dark Imperium also sees the introduction of a new form of Space Marine (The Primaris Space Marine). I have read several reviews where the main negative is that Dark Imperium feels like they are ‘advertising the Primaris Space Marines’. My main negative of the book is that people with the narrow-minded view that only people who are clued up on the current ins and outs of the franchise actually read the book. What’s worse, these same people are allowed to comment on the book. I have been away from the Warhammer 40k universe for a long time and have no clue what a Primaris Space Marine is. Thankfully there’s this book called Dark Imperium that tells me what they are and why they were created. Sadly there is a horde of people that assume everyone knows everything about the 40k universe.

I had never read anything by Guy Haley before and am glad to have had the chance now. He is a talented writer who seems to have a firm grasp on his subject and excels at telling a good story. It translated beautifully into audio and I’m almost a little sad that I have an advanced copy of the next book instead of waiting for the next audio to be released.

My main negative to the book is that it seemed to end right where I thought a lot more was going to happen. Obviously, this is to set up for the second book (which it has done well as I am looking forward to getting stuck into it).

As I mentioned earlier, Dark Imperium has a bit of everything as far as past and present are concerned. It also has numerous viewpoints (Space Marines, humans, Chaos, daemons) all of that adds to a wonderful overview of a very dark universe. One might almost be tempted to say a grim and dark far future … It is those varied viewpoints and time periods that really made Dark Imperium a success for me. That and it was a good book to ease me back in to a universe I don’t remember all too well.

  • Dark Matter

  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,966
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,782
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,780

'Are you happy in your life?' Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he wakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before the man he's never met smiles down at him and says, 'Welcome back, my friend.' In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW - This was a weird one

  • By Jules on 26-10-16

Absolute gold. Gripping stuff!

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

Reviewed: 24-02-19

I loved Dark Matter so much that one of the only things that disappointed me was that it wasn’t longer. There was also a slight bit of disappointment as far as the ending goes. A tad vague for my liking. I always do prefer a more complete ending for any book. Which, to be fair, isn’t what a lot of books offer. So many writers like to leave it open to a bit of reader interpretation.

Now; on with the love.

Firstly I enjoyed the narration. Jon Lindstrom is a very talented narrator and his performance only added value to the excitement of the piece. I’ll certainly be keeping a look out for other interesting audios by him.

Dark Matter was fantastic in so many ways. Not only did it keep the adrenaline pulsing with magnificent pacing, as a truly great thriller should, it had excellent character work put into it and a wonderful plot concept. It really makes the reader think about the ‘what ifs’ of other realities. Are there an infinite number of ourselves living alternate lives in realities that run parallel to our own?

Dark Matter it asks the question of ‘how would you react if one of those other versions of yourself decided they wanted to trade lives?’ What’s more, the fact that every reality is, to an extent, a roll of the dice as far as what Jason gets when he emerges into it, only fuels the enjoyment as far as being a reader and the despair as far as the character goes. How can you find your world if you have the chance to appear in any one of an infinite amount?

I can’t claim I’m overly clued up on the science that goes into this and, personally, I think that makes it more enjoyable. I can’t look too deep and try to nit-pick about certain theories or practices etc … I’m literally free to go with the flow and enjoy the wild ride Jason finds himself on.

There really isn’t a vast array of ‘different’ characters. Not named ones, anyway. However, due to the various different realities there are various different characters that appear across many said realities. Each having a vastly different life/character than every other. It all adds to the compact, yet vastly large world Blake Crouch has created across an infinite number of Chicagos.

I don’t often read/listen to thrillers and having done so with Dark Matter, it has me kind of wanting to delve back into the genre. I want that pulsating feeling of excitement that doesn’t come from the genres I usually read. Having said that, I have picked up the audio version of ‘Pines’ by Blake Crouch. He’s already hit two out of the park as far as I’m concerned. I’m hoping he carries on with a third.

  • Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions, 1-16.5

  • By: J. S. Morin
  • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
  • Length: 85 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 722
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 698
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 696

Meet the galaxy's unluckiest outlaws. Carl Ramsey is an ex-Earth Navy fighter pilot turned con man. His ship, the Mobius, is home to a ragtag crew of misfits and refugees looking to score a big payday but more often just scratching to pay for fuel. The crew consists of his ex-wife (and pilot), a drunkard, four-handed mechanic, a xeno-predator with the disposition of a 120kg housecat, and the galaxy's most-wanted wizard.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, loved it

  • By B.Watson on 08-05-18

Absolutely fantastic. Loved every minute!

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

Reviewed: 04-02-19

Black Ocean was, quite easily, one of the greatest audio books I have ever listened to. Out of the 151 titles in my audio library this quite easily ranks in the top three. Not only is it a greatly enjoyable and incredibly fun bit of sci-fi, there’s a lot of it! A real lot of it. Eighty-five hours of space opera goodness for one credit. It’s the first time I felt like I was stealing from audible! Far too much value for so little given in their direction.

The narration was so perfect it’s hard to describe how perfect it was. Every character, even the female voices (something I often find lacking with a male narrator) were pretty much flawless. Heck, at times I forgot it was a man voicing Esper. She sounded more feminine than some of the women I know.

The characters were just oozing character and the voices given just had them leaping off the page/out of the speakers and into real life. Unlike some audio books I have listened to, there was genuine emotion behind Naramore’s performance. Whatever he was paid for lending his talents to this audio book, it was not enough.

As is freely admitted by the author in the author’s note at the end, this is essentially his wanting to write something that fills the void left by Firefly. I’ve never seen the show and, to be honest, did not enjoy the film, but what J.S. Morin has created is something that can be enjoyed by fans and non-fans alike. I’d also say it is perfect for anyone who isn’t sure if the Science Fiction genre is for them as the technology used isn’t too ‘in-depth’. It’s just what the doctor ordered for easy listening at work.

To say it is straight-up science fiction is a bit of s disservice what with the element of magic that flows throughout. It’s mostly science fiction with a touch of fantasy. In this world, wizards are a real thing and when they work their magic, all technology around them fries. Which makes it an interesting thing to have a wizard as part of a star ship’s crew.

The eighty-five hours spans all sixteen of the Mobius missions and six short stories in which Carl Ramsay and his crew of outlaw misfits do their level best to pull off some jobs and get out the other side a little richer. With the crew including such things as a priestess, a crotchety old wizard and a warrior humanoid cat-person, there is plenty of diversity and mass amounts of character to explore. At the end of the audio book every character left me feeling like I was saying goodbye to friends rather than just finishing a bit of entertainment.

I know I said earlier that the author said he did this because he missed Firefly, and that’s probably why I think what I am about to say…but damn! This would make one heck of a TV series.

I am both tempted and put off to listen to the next series that follows on. Tempted because of how much I enjoyed this one and how upset I was when that eighty-fifth hour came to a close. But put off for much the same reason. I love this one so much that I don’t know if a carry-on could live up to how much I loved this. I’d hate to feel let down in anyway by a story told in a universe I’d come to adore.

  • Ravencry

  • The Raven's Mark, Book 2
  • By: Ed McDonald
  • Narrated by: Colin Mace
  • Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120

For Ryhalt Galharrow, working for Crowfoot as a Blackwing captain is about as bad as it gets - especially when his orders are garbled, or incoherent, or impossible to carry out. The Deep Kings are hurling fire from the sky, a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady had begun to manifest in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power while the city burns around them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very grim, very dark & very good

  • By Swords and Spectres on 30-01-19

Very grim, very dark & very good

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

Reviewed: 30-01-19

Ravencry, for me, was a joy from start to finish. I like my fantasy grim, dark and full of misery. This ticked all of those boxes. Ryhalt Galharrow, captain of the Blackwing is one of the toughest men walking and throughout this book you can almost feel even he is at his breaking point. Ravencry shows us far more of the world built in the first novel and gives a bit more insight into some of the creatures that inhabit it.

Colin Mace’s voice and gritty way of reading it really brings the character of Galharrow to life. I know it’s a bit cliche, but he really is perfect for this narration and I can’t imagine anyone else doing it nearly so well.

I never thought I’d think it, but the addition of a talking raven made this book so much more enjoyable than perhaps it would have been. That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable without that. It was. Galharrow’s trademark morose one liners and grim observations of the world around him and the people that inhabit it are back in full force. Only once before have I experienced a man try to be so miserable and dreary and end up being so much fun to read about (that once being Warden from Daniel Polansky’s Low Town series).

The style of writing is made more enjoyable by the first person perspective. This perspective has fast become a favourite of mine and seems to make even the slowest parts easier to absorb. It also makes the more vivid parts far more …vivid. Almost as if seeing through your own eyes rather than being told what happened to someone else by someone else who had seen it.

You feel a range of emotions alongside Galharrow in this as he succeeds in places and loses heavily in others. For anyone who was intrigued by the Misery in book one and wanted to learn more about that hellish environment, this book ticks those boxes. My favourite little critters (Gillings) make an appearance as do so many other strange oddments and oddities from Ed McDonald’s world.

The pacing of the novel was not rapid, but not ponderously slow either. It felt like it moved at a pace that suited the overall telling and kept steady at it throughout. It also boasted some great characters (both returning and new).

Really enjoyed this one and am eager for the third instalment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Terror

  • By: Dan Simmons
  • Narrated by: Tom Sellwood
  • Length: 28 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 390
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 361
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 361

The most advanced scientific enterprise ever mounted, Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition in search of the fabled Northwest Passage had every expectation of triumph. But for almost two years his ships, HMS Terror and Erebus, have been trapped in the Arctic ice. Supplies of fuel and food are running low. Scurvy, starvation and even madness are beginning to take their toll. And yet the real threat isn’t from the constantly shifting, alien landscape, the flesh-numbing temperatures or being crushed by the unyielding, frozen ocean. No, the real threat is far more terrifying. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic read

  • By Caroline Pearson on 02-05-18

Great slow-burn horror

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

Reviewed: 13-01-19

Terror is based on the true events of two ships (The HMS Erebus and The HMS Terror) as they tried to search for a route through the Northwest Passage in 1845. The expedition, led by Sir John Franklin, quickly found themselves blocked in by ice. The story begins with our crews having been locked in the ice for two years. Their supplies, patience and sanity are fast running out. When you add in the fact that some unknown horror stalks the ice, hunting the men of the naval ships, it makes quite an enjoyable prospect to get stuck into.

Obviously, the ordeals these men went through were very real so I feel bad taking pleasure in thinking of how the dire circumstances make for a great bit of horror entertainment. But the story also prompted me to do a fair bit of research on the two ships and, indeed, the men in question, so I feel it’s also serving to keep the memories of all involved alive to this day, over a hundred and fifty years after the expedition was launched. I’d be thrilled to think that people were thinking of me a hundred and fifty years from now.

I am a fan of historical fiction and love the language of times gone by. To my ears it sounds intellectual, elegant and just makes me feel at home (that’s a strange thing to say given that I was born in 1988 and not 1888). That being said, the language in this can be a bit heavy at times if you aren’t used to historical fiction.

I thought the author did a good job of fleshing out his characters and he wrote the escalating conflicts between the various shipmates incredibly well. You really develop a hatred for certain characters, especially when you know they are going to do something but they draw the doing of it out and you just sit there, feeling powerless to stop it. The characters were also brought to life superbly well by the narrator. Very well read and gave a good, clear voice to the different characters. I felt, and this could be because I was listening to this during winter, that I was suffering alongside them. Whenever I was cold at work, I would think of the men and how the icy cold was their constant companion. In that way, the author has done a damn good job of keeping their plight with me.

One downside with ‘The Terror’ that I found was that, at times, it felt a bit slow and ponderous. I feel it could have been less lengthy than it was if certain parts weren’t drawn out. Other than that, I didn’t really have any real complaints about it. It was a good slow-burn horror story that achieved the difficult task of keeping an ever-present feeling of dread coming from not only the creature they were trying to avoid, but the general atmosphere they were living in. That and their own comrades. What more could you want? An unknown creature, a frozen landscape that’s trying to kill you and unrest across the ships. Chaos!

  • Mr Mercedes

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 14 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,283
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,071
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,067

Described as 'the best thriller of the year' Sunday Express, the No. 1 bestseller introduces retired cop Bill Hodges in a race against time to apprehend a killer. A cat-and-mouse suspense thriller featuring Bill Hodges, a retired cop who is tormented by 'the Mercedes massacre', a case he never solved. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of that notorious crime, has sent Hodges a taunting letter.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cliched, Predictable but Brilliant

  • By Philip on 26-07-15

So fast-paced & enjoyable, I hated to put it down

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

Reviewed: 03-11-18

Mr Mercedes

Widely known as the King of Horror; it was quite a surprise when I learned that ‘Mr Mercedes’, a book I assumed to be a crime novel with some of King’s trademark horror elements, was actually just a straight up crime/thriller novel. I learned this little fact a good way into the book’s life … I think the entire trilogy was out before I realised that the ‘King of Horror’ had tried something non-horrory. At this time I had just finished reading ‘The Bat’ by Jo Nesbo and wanted to sample a different voice in the crime genre. I already had a massive love of Stephen King’s works so thought I’d give his first effort into crime/thrillers a go.

My initial concerns that, despite reading that it was a crime book, there would be some strange supernatural element to it were ill-founded. It is literally a straight-up crime/thriller. There are a few liberties taken with tech (that don’t work in real life) but they are addressed in the excerpt at the end. And, it’s fiction. Every author takes a liberty or two here or there.
One thing I like about crime novels is trying to figure out who the criminal is before the protagonist has solved the crime and filled the reader in on the particulars. This is why I loved Sherlock Holmes so much. Sadly, in ‘Mr Mercedes’ the reader doesn’t get this joy. Pretty much right away we are introduced to the man behind the Mercedes Killings and he becomes one of the main POVs in the novel. I thought this would sour my experience of the book. After all, where’s the mystery? Where’s the allure of trying to figure out an answer you already know?

It’s still not there, obviously. Total lack of mystery and backseat detective work. However, what you are treated to is a non-stop thrill-ride as Detective Hodges and Mr Mercedes play a game of cat and mouse. King’s writing style, which is normally quite slow and ponderous before launching into a rich story made all the better by the character building he did in the slow and ponderous part, is completely different. The world and character building are still there. The rich writing and clever turns of phrase are still there. The racism you come to expect from King villains is ever-present. So much so that even a family dog is quite heavily racially abused. So all of the King-isms to make you hate or love characters are still there. They are just done with a bit more zip so the story feels like its flying along rather than crawling.

At times, I often felt (as did a friend I recommended the audio book to) there were parts where I was thinking how ‘I’m almost certainly near the end’ only to find there was still three hours of story left. So I often thought that perhaps he made it drag on a little too long. Then the story would carry on and I’d be glad that it did, as some new twist would occur that gave more flavour and depth to the story.

A lot of people have said how ‘King uses every trope possible for a crime novel’. My reply to that would be: Who cares? I enjoyed this more than any crime novel I can remember reading.

One thing that absolutely astounded me for a King story was the ending. At no point did he write himself into a corner, stare at the screen with sweat beading on his brow, and scream ‘ALIENS DID IT!’ before hitting save and sending it to his publisher. It was refreshing for an ending to feel as though it belonged and made sense. Something I can’t say the same of for stories such as ‘Under the Dome’ or ’11.22.63’. Both were two books I fell in love with but both were two books that had endings that made me angry/frustrated that I had spent so long reading only to be fobbed off with a weak ending.