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Alistair

KIRKWALL, United Kingdom
  • 57
  • reviews
  • 75
  • helpful votes
  • 397
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  • The Etymologicon

  • A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language
  • By: Mark Forsyth
  • Narrated by: Simon Shepherd
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 820
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 707
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 694

A quirky, entertaining and thought-provoking tour of the unexpected connections between words, read by Simon Shepherd. What is the actual connection between disgruntled and gruntled? What links church organs to organised crime, California to the Caliphate, or brackets to codpieces? The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant and hilarious book

  • By Will on 06-01-13

The Etymologicon is truly hysterical!

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

Reviewed: 30-10-18

Mark Forsyth has made me laugh harder than I have in a very long time! I may well have found a new favourite author. The writing is very sharp and witty with the perfect tone that reminds me much of Douglas Adams or Bill Bryson's comedic travelogues. I have found out the original origins and frequent funny anecdotes relating to several words and phrases some of which I'd never guessed at before. But despite the comedic tone I do feel that Mr Forsyth found the perfect balance for this book. I recommend it highly and suggest that if you like it you should check out his other books much like I intend to do. Give it a try! I highly doubt you'll be disappointed if you like things in the Adams style.

  • Aethelwyn's Dream

  • By: Maggie Jeffrey
  • Narrated by: Megan Green
  • Length: 1 hr and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

This is the story of Aethelwyn, who was the changeling in "The Wizard's Crown". Now that her centuries of duty for Merlin are over, she sets off to try and achieve her personal dream....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enchanting Listen!

  • By Jan M on 10-10-18

A wonderful fairytale

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

Reviewed: 24-10-18

Disclaimer: I was given a free download code for this book in return for a unbiased review.

I genuinely found this story very sweet and enjoyable as a endearing fairytale. Aethelwyn's Dream is a well told and very sweet story that can do wonders for the imagination of children. It is told with the perfect tone for the intended audience.
On top,of this Megan Green has a wonderful voice for this kind of story and does a very good job distinguishing the various characters. I can highly recommend this to anyone with children or anyone who finds themselves in the mood for a traditional fairytale.

  • The Time Machine: An Invention - Unabridged

  • By: H.G. Wells
  • Narrated by: Kevin Theis
  • Length: 3 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Hailed for over a century as one of the finest science fiction stories of all time, H.G. Wells' The Time Machine is a classic story of adventure, exploration, and scientific curiosity. The Time Machine relates the story of the Time Traveller, a Victorian inventor who creates a machine that allows him to travel to any time period.  He chooses to rocket forward into the unknown world of the future, landing in the year 802,701 where he encounters the humanoids descendants of Earth, the seemigly friendly and benign Eloi, and the subterranean and primitive Morlocks. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Listen to the tale of the time traveller

  • By Alistair on 31-08-18

Listen to the tale of the time traveller

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

Reviewed: 31-08-18

Before I write my review I must inform my reader that I recieved a free copy of the book in return for a balanced and fair review which I intend to give.

The Time Machine by H.G.Wells deserves its status as a classic. I haven't listened to any other versions but this version felt very sutible in tone. I couldn't help but be caught up and lost in the tale. Whenever I had to take a break i could hardly wait to return to the tale and finish it. That is definitely a good sign!

This version uses as its text the original version as published in The New Rebuplic rather than a more recent reprint which I must admit as a fan of classic sci-fi and history I do appreciate. My first negative I must give is I find the effects used for the voices of the Eloy somewhat irritating. I can understand using disturbing or unusual voice effects for the Morlocks but not the Eloy although possibly it was done in an effort to show their different language from our human languages.

Keven Theis does a very good job as narrator. His voice somehow seems very traditional and similar to the 'stiff upper lip' stereotype of the British gentleman of the era. He also does a very good job alongside the special effects to draw you into the Time Traveller's mind. They might have a somewhat 'old fashioned' attitude to certain things - as would be expected of a story of this age - but Mr Theis pulled me into it. The only other negative or nitpick I could possibly make is that I find the voice for one of the other characters at the dinner table somewhat annoying. However I think that was intended as Mr Philby does come across as something of a know it all of the worst kind.

In short I loved this version and I would highly recommend it for any listener. Especially one like myself who had never read the story or listened to it before. Give it a chance! You won't regret it!

  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue (Fort Raphael Publishing Company Edition)

  • By: Edgar Allan Poe
  • Narrated by: Kevin Theis
  • Length: 2 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

The Murders in the Rue Morgue was first published in 1841 in Graham's Magazine and is the first of three stories to center around Dupin, who here explains his theory of "ratiocination", where a precise, logical, and unemotional examination of the facts will lead to the solution of a mystery...no matter how bizarre the conclusion.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wait, What?

  • By Chris Christo on 30-08-18

Edgar Allan Poe's Rue masterpiece, well performed.

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

Reviewed: 26-08-18

I will preface this review by informing the reader that I was given a special code for a copy of this book by the narrator in return for a genuine fair and impartial review which I intend to give.

I am something of a casual fan of Edgar Allan Poe but even I had heard of Murders In The Rue Morgue. The story itself is enjoyable with an interesting preface that helps set up the events and helps solidify the claim of the main character to being a precursor of Sherlock Holmes albeit his equivalent to Watson can be occasionally irritating. For other people like me who've heard of Poe from stories like The Raven and The Fall Of The House Of Usher I would recommend not just Murders but specifically this version.

Kevin Theis is a very good narrator for the story in my opinion. He suitably changes both inflection and delivery to differentiate the various characters and their personalities. On top of this his voice is crisp and clear in the recording unlike some recordings already available on Audible. I'm not sure how to phrase this but he also manages to have an accent that seems to match the classical American gentleman tone - somewhat similar to the upper class Englishman of the 19th century.

I must also commend the sound design. The effects and small musical stings help to draw you deeper into the story. In some rare cases it can seem to get a little too loud or too sharp but on balance I would say they also do a good job.

One final comment is to thank Fort Raphael Publishing Company for including the small essay at the beginning. It was a small bonus but one I appreciated especially given the importance of the author in question.

  • Dracula

  • By: Bram Stoker, Jonathan Barnes
  • Narrated by: Mark Gatiss, Joseph Kloska, Deirdre Mullins, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 6 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

When a young solicitor, Jonathan Harker, visits the heart of Transylvania - ostensibly to meet reclusive nobleman Count Dracula - he cannot begin to imagine what horrors might lie in store for him there...or the chain of events he will set in motion at Castle Dracula. Soon, Dracula's bloodlust spreads to England's shores, and Harker's fiancée, Mina Murray, becomes embroiled in his affairs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great adaptation...

  • By Stuart C on 20-02-18

Big Finish's brilliant Dracula

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

Reviewed: 24-08-18

This adaptation of Dracula is wonderful. I've been a fan of Big Finish's work for a considerable number of years and when I heard they were doing an adaptation of Dracula I felt giddy. Mark Gatiss is a brilliant Count Dracula, both persuasive and compelling and manipulative and destructive. As well as this Big Finish's Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker are perfect. I genuinely felt the chills going down my neck. I shivered as they followed the path of my spine. I won't say too much more other than to give this adaptation a chance. Big Finish are amazing and you won't regret using a credit on this. If you only ever listen to one adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula make it this one!

  • Thrawn (Star Wars)

  • By: Timothy Zahn
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 564
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 526
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 525

In this definitive novel, listeners will follow Thrawn's rise to power - uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • imaginative story and very deep

  • By Marek on 13-09-18

The dawn of the famous Grand Admiral Thrawn

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

This book is an excellent listen. Grand Admiral Thrawn is a famous character from the original - now Legends Era - expanded Star Wars universe. He became famous for his sheer military brilliance, ability to read his opponent's intentions and his fondness for learning more than expected about an opponent through their art and culture. All of these traits are shown expertly through this new novel.

This novel seems to be a combination of a new backstory for Thrawn's character in the new timeline for the expanded universe complete with the introduction of some things he becomes famous for later on and a reintroduction for those people who never read the original Thrawn Trilogies. Thrawn acquits himself admirably with many strong character moments - especially one near the end ot the book - and a somewhat more antihero style personality which suits the new timeline. Despite knowing his reputation I found myself drawn into the book and dare I say it...cheering for Thrawn!

His manipulations when they occur are also always perfectly timed. The story is perfect for this new Thrawn. I must also congratulate the narration. The narrator is clearly enjoying the part of Thrawn as well as the other various characters be they political schemers, Imperial officers or the book's two other surprising viewpoint characters. One is a general aid to Thrawn who comes across well while the other is an activist come politician. But I won't tell you any more about the other two characters except to say they do help immensely with the world building. The only times I found the narration somewhat off putting were the occasional voices given to specific species of aliens. Overall I think the narrator did an amazing job.

In short I recommend this book wholeheartedly and I have in fact jumped head first into the sequel which is something I very rarely do. I would endorse and recommend this book both to Star Wars mega fans and those with only a passing familiarity or interest in the series. They just might get you interested especially if you have any fondness for war stories or a good master plan or two.

  • House of Cards

  • House of Cards Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Michael Dobbs
  • Narrated by: Samuel West
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

Michael Dobbs’ entertaining tale of skulduggery and intrigue within the Palace of Westminster has been a huge hit with the public. Its scheming hero, Chief Whip Francis Urquhart, who uses fair means and foul to become Prime Minister, is one of the best-known characters of the last decade - the politician we all love to hate. Acclaimed for its authenticity and insights into a secret world - the result of many years working behind the scenes for the Conservative Party - it became a highly popular, award-winning BBC TV series, with Francis Urquhart memorably portrayed by Ian Richardson.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • excellent - a wicked insight into British Estab.

  • By Bel on 17-07-18

Time to lay the cards on the table

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

This production of House Of Cards is excellently done. Samuel West does a brilliant job portraying all the various figures and showing the infighting explode from a version of late 80s and early 90s Conservative Party government. The book is definitely well written as being authored by a figure who was previously heavily involved in the aforementioned political party allows the scheming and backstabbing to come across as very realistic given the personalities of the characters.

This first book in the series also allows its main newspaper figure and all of her glory moments and mistakes or...almost all of them to be at least understandable even if the reader believes they wouldn't make the same mistakes themselves. I loved listening to this version of the first book much like I loved the original late 80s BBC TV adaptation and plan to listen to the other books in the series very soon. They are already ordered. Consider this review a hearty endorsement of this book and the series if you enjoy political scheming and sabotage.

  • The Quanderhorn Xperimentations

  • By: Rob Grant, Andrew Marshall
  • Narrated by: Cassie Layton, Ryan Sampson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15

Churchill is Prime Minister for the last time. Rationing is still in force. All music sounds like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. People like living in 1952: it's familiar and reassuring, and Britain knows its place in the world. Few have noticed it's been 1952 for the past 65 years. Meet Professor Quanderhorn; a brilliant, maverick scientific genius who has absolutely no moral compass. With his Dangerous Giant Space Laser, High Rise Farm, Invisible Robot and Fleet of Monkey-driven Lorries, he's not afraid to push the boundaries of science to their very limit.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A keeper!

  • By MarkyLondon on 01-10-18

Congratulations for Quanderhorn!

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

Reviewed: 15-07-18

Rob Grant and Andrew Marshall have created a hysterical universe in this adventure. Much like Rob Grant's other major comedy success, Red Dwarf, the characters are absolutely hilarious when they play off each other. Brian Nylon seems like a perfect point of view character. Weedy, whimpy, nervous, never able to assert himself. Plus you've got Gurk the Martian, holder of a number of Martian awards - at various levels - the 'brave hero and warrior' of Mars who seems oddly unwilling to return home and Dr Janason and her scientific journal who is a perfect example of how to take the hard working scientific woman of the 1950s and use it for comedy. And there are so many others!

This entire tale is a perfect piss take of the 1950s Quatermass serials. I don't want to spoil anything too major. All I will say is you are sure to laugh yourself senseless! And I truly hope there are more adventures for Derius Quanderhorn and his scientific assistants. I absolutely loved the audiobook and I can hardly wait for more. Give this series a chance. I certainly didn't regret it!

  • Forever and a Day

  • By: Anthony Horowitz
  • Narrated by: Matthew Goode
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 513
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 482
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 481

M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. 'We have no choice. We're just going to bring forward this other chap you've been preparing. But you didn't tell me his name.' 'It's Bond, sir,' the Chief of Staff replied. 'James Bond.' One body. Three bullets. 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand. It's time for a new agent to step up. Time for a new weapon in the war against organised crime. It's time for James Bond to earn his licence to kill.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Iconic Legend is Born

  • By Simon on 02-06-18

Another Bond classic by Horowitz!

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

Reviewed: 23-06-18

I won't go into too much detail as I often do with my reviews. James Bond is a classic character and Horowitz is a very talented writer. Very few writers could do what Horowitz achieves in this novel. He manages to keep the story perfectly in tone with the time period without updating anything and completely immersing you in the narrative.
On top,of that in my humble opinion Bond is perfectly in character for the James Bond of the early Fleming books. This book unlike many others suceeds at maintaining or matching the flair and style of the original Fleming novels. Give this book a read or listen you won't regret it at all. Matthew Goode is an excellent narrator and I hope him and Horowitz will grace Audible again soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dawn

  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Vol. 1
  • By: Yoshiki Tanaka, Daniel Huddleston - translator
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 18

"The Golden Brat", Reinhard von Lohengramm, a military prodigy and admiral of the Galactic Empire, has ambitions beyond protecting the borders or even defeating the empire's enemies. He seeks to overthrow the old order and become a truly absolute - yet benevolent - dictator. His rival, the humble Yang Wen-li of the Free Planets Alliance, wishes to preserve democracy even if he must sacrifice his political ideals to defeat the empire.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent space opera series!

  • By Alistair on 23-04-18

An excellent space opera series!

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

Reviewed: 23-04-18

Legend Of The Galactic Heroes is excellently written space opera. The epic battles between the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance and the political manuvers on both sides between the politicans and those who wish to gain power are truly grand. This series comes with writting that personally puts me in mind of Issac Asimov's Foundation series or the world building of Robert A. Heinlein.

It is fascinating watching the characters of Reinhard Von Lohengramm and Siegfried Kircheis of the Galactic Empire and Yang Wen-li of the Free Planets Alliance and those around them grow and develop. Lohengramm's practically childish nature is especially interesting when you compare him to the nobles and - the in some cases too mature - Yang Wen-li. The obvious comparisons make both sides very interesting.

Another point of interest is the writing of the characters. The book does a very good job of making you understand each character's separate viewpoint on the issues being discussed. You might not agree with the views of certain characters...in fact you definitely won't agree with everyone! But you will still understand why they believe what they do.

The narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds is also sutibly well done. The space epic style he takes with the narration suits the series well. He is also expert at the commanding militaristic tone that many of the commanders use when giving their orders be it for defence, offensive or panicked retreat. I honestly can't imagine anyone else doing this series.

The series is truly worth your time. Even use a credit if you have to. I absolutely adore this series and I hope that more people will give the series a chance. It deserves the title it has as an epic story. If you are at all interested in space opera give this a listen. I cannot recommend this series enough.

I know it may not be to some people’s tastes but I hope some of you will give it a try.