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mark

Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 16
  • reviews
  • 14
  • helpful votes
  • 21
  • ratings
  • Something Rotten

  • Thursday Next, Book 4
  • By: Jasper Fforde
  • Narrated by: Emily Gray
  • Length: 12 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 143
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144

Thursday Next, Head of JurisFiction and ex-SpecOps agent, returns to her native Swindon accompanied by a child of two, a pair of dodos and Hamlet, who is on a fact-finding mission in the real world. Thursday has been despatched to capture escaped Fictioneer Yorrick Kaine but even so, now seems as good a time as any to retrieve her husband Landen from his state of eradication at the hands of the Chronoguard. It’s not going to be easy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thursday Next, complete at last!

  • By Charles on 10-03-15

The best Thursday Next story yet!

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

Reviewed: 09-10-16

Despite the fact that I have read the Thursday next stories in completely the wrong order, I do really like the world and characters Jasper Forde has created, and I think this is the best Thursday Next story so far.
Maybe it's slightly less funny that others in the series, it has a bit more drama and pathos in it, particularly the scenes involving the chimera's and Thursday at her own deathbed are really very sad.
Yes i know everyone is present at their own death bed, but this is Thursday Next so there are two of her. Confused? Read the story, it all makes sense in the end.
I have just one problem with this audio book and it's more of a problem with me than of the book. By sheer chance all of the Thursday Next audio books I've read have been narrated by Gabrielle Kruger and so she, to me, is Thursday Next. Emily Gray does a good job and she sounds a lot like Gabrielle Kruger, but she isn't Gabrielle Kruger and so for the first few chapters I was thinking, who is this impostor that has replaced Thursday Next? But I got over this and learned to live with it, but I still think Gabrielle Kruger is the authoritative Thursday Next.

  • Just One Damned Thing After Another

  • The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1
  • By: Jodi Taylor
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,979
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,770
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,767

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic and fasinating romp through time

  • By al on 02-12-14

Not at all what I expected

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

Reviewed: 09-10-16

I have no really idea why I expected this to be something like Jasper Fordes Thursday Next stories (maybe because I had just finished one?), but that was what I was expecting this to be like.
It is nothing like that...at all.
What we have here is a dark, gritty tale of time travelling historians. For the first few chapters I was a bit thrown by the lack of humour, but I quickly got in the to story and was carried along by the pace of the action which picks up around the middle of the story and as the action picks up, so the story takes dark turns. And boy does it take some dark turns!
I will be, for sure reading more of the St. Marry's stories.
Zara Ramm does an excellent job with the story, she gives all of the main characters different and distinct voices.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,704
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17,630
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,582

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

An 80's Geekfest!

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

Reviewed: 09-10-16

I did really like this story, but then I was (and still am) a Geek who did most of my growing up in the 80's.
If you are are in to Geeky culture or don't like the 80's this is probably not the book for you. It tells of a fairly standard 80's style urban future dystopia (this would have been called Cyberpunk in the 80's, but I'm not so sure that sub-gene exists any more), but most of the stories action takes place in a virtual reality, the OASIS, you really don't get to see much of the urban dystopia.
The story is a pretty standard 'heres journey' for the our...well hero, no surprises here, but it is told well and the virtual reality angle does add a new twist to this age old tale of a hero starting with nothing, fighting though huge odds to win some huge prize.
If you are literate in the world of computers and IT you will have to ignore some technical inaccuracies, the internet now and in the future just won't work like this, but this is a work of fiction and fact shouldn't be allowed to get in the way of telling a good story.
Will Wheaton is pretty much the ideal choice for the narrator here, with his Geeky and 80's credentials (he is even referenced in the story it's self) and he does a good job bringing the story to life.

  • Matter

  • By: Iain M. Banks
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7

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.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • An abridged version

  • By mark on 03-07-16

An abridged version

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

Reviewed: 03-07-16

No where does it say this in the details and I didn't know this till the end 'titles' which mentioned this.
In fact the word murdered or obliterated fits what has happened here better!
I have loved the 2 Culture books I read before this and Matter felt very different, hurried and like I was missing parts of the story. I was, I was missing 12 hours of the story.
Avoid this version, get the full version!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Bees

  • By: Laline Paull
  • Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 274
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 260
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 259

Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. But Flora is not like other bees. Despite her ugliness she has talents that are not typical of her kin. While mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is removed from sanitation duty and is allowed to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. She also finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great read, deserving of prizes.

  • By bookylady on 04-07-15

Initially disappointing

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

Reviewed: 09-01-16

I was initially disappointed this story. From reading the description I had been hoping for something a little less conventional that the story I was hearing.
Okay yes the characters are Bees and Wasps, but the story was at first, little different from any number of fantasy stories. That's not to say that it was bad, but it was just that I had been expecting maybe something a little less conventional (something like the Empire of the Ants By Bernard Weber maybe?)
However I did persist and with my initial disappointment out of the way, I did start to enjoy the story and listening to the final few pages did definitely bring a lump to the throat for me (but then I cry at pretty much anything!)
The performance by Orlagh Cassidy, was perfectly acceptable but, and this is entirely my own personal feeling here, I didn't really get on with the sound of her voice.
Still a good story, well worth listening to.

  • The Gracekeepers

  • By: Kirsty Logan
  • Narrated by: Kirsty Logan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 68

The sea has flooded the earth. North lives on a circus boat, floating between the scattered islands that remain. She dances with her beloved bear, while the rest of the crew trade dazzling and death-defying feats for food from the islanders. However, North has a secret that could capsize her life with the circus. Callanish lives alone in her house in the middle of the ocean, with only the birds and the fish for company.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • I really wanted to like this but...

  • By P78 on 28-06-15

A very different type story

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

Reviewed: 09-01-16

This really isn't the sort of thing I normally read, but this time going outside of my normal subject matter has really worked.
The story of a two different young girls in a world which is very different from our own is a slow burner, but none the worse for that. In parts it almost feels like a soap opera with the intrigues going on within the Circus Excalibur. These do connect with the main plot which...well I'm not actually sure what the plot is. A coming of age story? Maybe. The journey home story? Yes in a way.
But that doesn't really matter, I did enjoy listening to it and I'm sure a lot of that is because it was read by the author. Surely having the story read by the author has to be the best way to hear it. They know the emotions they had in mind when writing it and so, if they can convey them, they are the best people to read the story. It also helps that I am a sucker for the Scottish accent and Kirsty Logan does have a lovely voice.

  • Lost in a Good Book

  • By: Jasper Fforde
  • Narrated by: Gabrielle Kruger
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 297
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 247
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 248

Thursday Next, literary detective and newlywed, is back to embark on an adventure that begins, quite literally on her own doorstep. It seems that Landen, her husband of four weeks, actually drowned in an accident when he was two years old. Someone, somewhere, sometime, is responsible. The sinister Goliath Corporation wants its operative Jack Schitt out of the poem in which Thursday trapped him, and it will do almost anything to achieve this - but bribing the ChronoGuard? Is that possible?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better heard than read?

  • By Titch1978 on 23-12-12

Finally getting to grips with Thursday Next

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

Reviewed: 09-01-16

I have always liked the Thursday Next stories, but this is the first one I have really loved. This is probably because it is the first one that I have actually read in the correct sequence, I think anyway, it follows the last book I read, The Eyre Affair. Before this I had read them in a totally random order (The Well of Lost Plots followed by One of our Thursdays is missing), this resulted in me being a bit confused a lot of the time. This is not to say I didn't like these stories, but this time I could really enjoy the story since I, more or less knew where I was.
As normal, the main plot of the book is not clear until you are some way in, but this isn't a problem, you still have the rich strangeness of the world Jasper Fforde creates to bask in and absorb.
I'm sure there is a lot of literary humour in these books which I miss, just because I don't tend to read much literature, but there is still plenty of other humour to enjoy here.
The performance by Gabrielle Kruger is good and at this point, she is Thursday Next to me. However I'm not so sure about the production values. There are a few stumbles in the reading, which I'm sure all readers make, but they really should have been spotted and recorded. Also there is a noticeable change audio quality about half way through book, maybe caused by a change in recording venue?
None of this really detracts from the story and I have already lined up the next Thursday Next story in my queue.

  • Eon

  • By: Greg Bear
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 17 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 173
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 145
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 145

Perhaps it wasn't from our time, perhaps it wasn't even from our universe, but the arrival of the 300-kilometer long stone was the answer to humanity's desperate plea to end the threat of nuclear war. Inside the deep recesses of the stone lies Thistledown: the remnants of a human society, versed in English, Russian and Chinese. The artifacts of this familiar people foretell a great Death caused by the ravages of war, but the government and scientists are unable to decide how to use this knowledge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent story

  • By David on 22-04-15

My all time favourite novel heard in a new light

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

Reviewed: 13-12-14

I loved this, but then I knew I would, Eon is the best novel I've ever read. I have probably read this once a year since I discovered in back in the late 90's.
And despite thinking I knew the story inside out, this performance of it did bring a new depth to the story. Yes in my head I've had pictures of what Patricia, Mirsky, Olmy and Gary look like, but until now they never had there own voices, it was always my voice I heard while reading them. Now after Stefan Rudnicki's excellent performance they all have proper, distinct voices to me.
As normal the scenes describing the death and it's aftermath got to me, gave me the shivers and made my cry (slightly embarrassing when sitting on the bus listening to the story, but I do like to 'feel' the stories I read). And listening to the words did give me a chance to build clearer pictures of the strange worlds and beings described.
Overall I can't recommend this highly enough, it is the best story I've ever read, preformed in a way which made it come live in new ways inside my head.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Fall of Hyperion

  • By: Dan Simmons
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 21 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 861
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 725
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 726

In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. Onthe 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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great!

  • By Thomas on 11-08-11

A truly epic end to the Hyperion Cantos

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

Reviewed: 31-03-14

Wow, what can I say about this epic novel?
It is the second part of the Hyperion Cantos series and picks up where the first book, unexpectedly ends.
I have to say that before I started listening, I was a little disappointed that this second volume wasn't a full caster production, it was just a single narrator reading. However, because this second part is structured very differently from the first I now don't think this is really a problem. The first volume was easily dividable in to 6 parts, each one being the first person telling of one of the pilgrims tales. This second volume jumps around between the stories of the 6 pilgrims through the 'dreams' of a human/AI hybrid (known as Cybrid in world of the book) and adds a new character in the form of the leader human worlds.
The story covers mostly a few days during which the human hegemony fight a disastrous war against serval enemies. However because this story involves time travel we do have a few excursions points in the distant future and recent past.
The story has epic battles in both space and between super powered begins, deep philosophical discussions vast, almost god like AI's and the war between a human created and AI created god.
Yes this story is that large, I would say it covers a scale and scope almost as large as Stephen Baxter's Xeelee stories or Olaf Stapledon, yet for all of the vast scale of what is going on, I still felt for the characters.
And of course like the first book the language is used to tell the story is wonderfully rich and textured.
Yes I really did enjoy this story and I would say that it more than makes up for the the slightly weak and odd ending to first book.

  • Legacy

  • A Prequel to Eon
  • By: Greg Bear
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27

In this prequel to Eon, Greg Bear continues to explore the possibilities presented by the asteroid Thistledown, a remnant of a lost human civilization. The Way is a tunnel through space and time that leads to other worlds, some more like planet Earth than Earth itself. It is perhaps the most formidable discovery in Thistledown and with it come disputes as to the nature of the Way and how it should be used. The Way can be reached only through Axis City, the only space station of Thistledown.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not quite classic Greg Bear

  • By mark on 11-03-14

Not quite classic Greg Bear

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

Reviewed: 11-03-14

I have to say that I'd ready this story way back, so I knew exactly what to expect from this story. I consider this to be right at the end of Greg Bears golden period and as such, it is a good story, but doesn't reach the heights of his pervious classics (Eon, Forge of God, Eternity).
However the narration is very good and in fact I did pick up on bits of the story that I had missed (or didn't remember) from the my first reading of the story.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful