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S. O'NEILL

  • 12
  • reviews
  • 40
  • helpful votes
  • 23
  • ratings
  • Storm Front

  • The Dresden Files, Book 1
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,099
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,746
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,745

A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt. Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters to vampires....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great story & brilliantly narrated

  • By Tom on 14-08-09

The first of many..

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

Reviewed: 13-12-13

Would you listen to Storm Front again? Why?

This is another Magic for adults book - very like the London series by Ben Aaronovitch - with a similar cynical humour as well as adult themes and great mystery/thriller story plots. The series is a long one and seems to get better with each novel and though each is a separate story in itself, there seem to be longer acting themes through the series - so read them in order is my advice

What other book might you compare Storm Front to, and why?

Definitely the Ben Aaronovitch London series - similar themes (magical police force/ with more adult themes and very tongue in cheek comedy)

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

He may not be great in book number 1 but gets better as the series develops and is the lovely Spike from Buffy (James Masters)

Any additional comments?

Listen on - the first is good - but the series gets better and better

  • The Long Earth

  • By: Terry Pratchett, Stephen Baxter
  • Narrated by: Michael Fenton Stevens
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,980
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,644
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,648

The Western Front, 1916. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of No Man's Land gone? Madison, Wisconsin, 2015. Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive - some said mad, others dangerous - scientist when she finds a curious gadget: a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a potato. It is the prototype of a life-changing invention....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Engrossing.

  • By Martin on 10-03-13

Pratchett's hidden in here somewhere!

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-08-12

After a positive Pratchett start, his voice is drowned out throughout most of the rest of the book by Baxter - making this a rather worthy sci-fi novel rather than the usual Pratchett comic and skilfully paced and nuanced story.
As others have said, characterisation leaves a lot to be desired (and hard to care about any of them) and it goes on and on with very little happening - ending leaving me, certainly, a little confused (and wondering why I'd bothered to keep listening). This should certainly be advertised as Baxter/Pratchett but I can't help thinking that the Pratchett name may be the better draw in the UK at least. If Pratchett is what you're after, only go for this if you're also a fan of more traditional and straight sci-fi.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • The Fry Chronicles

  • An Autobiography
  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,162
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,989
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,962

This dazzling memoir promises to be a courageously frank, honest and poignant read. It will detail some of Fry's most turbulent and least-well-known years, with writing that will excite you, make you laugh uproariously, move you, inform you, and, above all, surprise you.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hours of delighted listening

  • By Mary on 21-09-10

Wonderful

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-06-11

If you like Stephen Fry, you'll love this autobiography - which is certainly full of people and events you know - but also touches on his private life with real intimacy. Just a pity it ends - roll on volume two

  • Rivers of London

  • Rivers of London, Book 1
  • By: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,877
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,530
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,518

My name is Peter Grant, and until January, I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluble....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • brilliant original story great narrator

  • By valb on 05-08-11

Magic Meets the Met

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-06-11

This is one of the most enjoyable books I've listened to in a long while. Fast paced, full of very believable characters and set in a London that anyone who lives there will recognise in intimate detail - this is a book about magic that has its feet very firmly set in reality. The plot twists and turns and every time you think you've worked it out, it throws you completely in the wrong direction. Funny, sexy, scary - it's certainly a book about magic for adults. I look forward to hearing more from this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Her Fearful Symmetry

  • By: Audrey Niffenegger
  • Narrated by: Sian Thomas
  • Length: 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 41

Julia and Valentina Poole are normal American teenagers - normal, at least, for identical 'mirror' twins who have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cozy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn't know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Abridged version - not good!

  • By Justin on 28-12-09

Wonderful

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-07-10

I loved the quirkyness of the Time Traveller's Wife - and this is similarly bizarre as the story unfolds. It is beautifully read, with really distinctive voices and accents but it is trying to second guess the story that makes it so appealing - and the added layer of darkness and menace really gives the story an edge. Very easy listening - my only criticism was it was relatively short

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Proust and the Squid

  • The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
  • By: Maryanne Wolf
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

Interweaving her vast knowledge of neurology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy with fascinating down-to-earth examples and lively personal anecdotes, developmental psychologist, neuroscientist, and dyslexia expert Wolf probes the question, "How do we learn to read and write?" This ambitious and provocative new book offers an impassioned look at reading, its effect on our lives, and explains why it matters so greatly in a digital era.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Read this?

  • By S. O'NEILL on 24-06-10

Read this?

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-06-10

I found this book fascinating. It's very scientific, and you do have to concentrate hard, but the author really explores how we learn to read, what happens in our brains when we do; how reading developed; and then goes on to explore why these things go wrong and what causes dyslexia etc. I would have given it 5 stars - but it is a book that is, unsurprisingly, written to be read rather than listened to. This occasionally leads to the frustration of being asked to read a passage and see what happens - when, of course, all you can do is sit and listen (and Ms Wolf is clear to point out that listening fires different centres in your brain to those fired up by reading). If you are interested in what goes on in the little grey cells when you pick up a book - and it is quite literally mind blowing - then this is an accessible and fascinating listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Children's Book
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        A. S. Byatt
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Nicolette McKenzie
    
    


    
    Length: 31 hrs and 18 mins
    154 ratings
    Overall 3.5
  • The Children's Book

  • By: A. S. Byatt
  • Narrated by: Nicolette McKenzie
  • Length: 31 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 52

Olive Wellwood is a famous writer, interviewed with her children at her side. For each of them she writes a separate private book. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh they play in a story-book world - but their lives, those of their rich cousins and of their friends are already inscribed with mystery.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magical and tragic - highly recommended

  • By Nancy Bowring on 11-01-10

Is this a novel or a social history?

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-06-10

If you like A S Byatt, you will probably like her overblown style - and the fact that she likes to show off the amount of research she's done. Unfortunately, although this is bearable when reading a book (provided you are prepared to persevere), for me it became unbearable as an audiobook. I found it very difficult to concentrate on - or even to be interested in - the large cast of characters or the details of the exhibits in the Paris Exposition for example. Inside this epic novel there is a good story of three families falling apart over 30 years - but it is lost in a social history of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Fabianism, nationalism etc. Both have their merits - but mixed together, both seem to lose out. I find myself wanting to fast forward every time yet another dinner menu was spelt out or the details of everyone's clothing was listed. The book is well read on the whole - but I think this was one that would have been better in paperback rather than mp3. If you can sit on the beach with your eyes closed and give this your full attention, it might work - but if, like me, you listen on your way to work, picking up and putting down the story, it is difficult to remain interested or involved with the book.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

  • By: Haruki Murakami
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 26 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,017
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 741
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 737

Toru Okada is going through a difficult time. He is without a job, his cat has disappeared, and his wife is behaving strangely. Into this unbalanced world comes a variety of curious characters, a young girl sunbathing in a nearby garden; sisters who are very peculiar indeed; an old war veteran with a violent, disturbing story. Okada retreats to a deep well in a nearby house. And the story unfolds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A very different listen

  • By Martin on 04-05-09

Curate's Egg

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-12-09

I found this a challenging listen. The book is excellently narrated, with convincing voices and a very dramatic quality - but it is long - and though some parts are beautiful, or intriguing, or exciting, or just plain baffling, there are also sections which are rather tedious and don't seem to take the plot anywhere. There are lots of threads which I hoped would somehow be tied together or explained - but in the end, they aren't - so it really is up to the listener to make sense of what is, at times, nonsensical. I must admit by part 3 I decided to play it at a faster speed - which actually worked well as the narration is often very slow - just to get to the end and find out what happened. I can't say that I really did find anything out - and perhaps it is more of a reflection on the reader's own interpretation that is important. Certainly not a book for the faint hearted - and perhaps starting with a shorter novel by the same author would be helpful

  • The Graveyard Book

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 7 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,665
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,116
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,109

When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I loved this

  • By Mr. P Shaw on 25-11-08

Anything but grave

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-10-09

I have to admit to loving all of Neil Gaiman's books. His writing is so unique and this story does not disappoint. An unusual storyline - a young child is rescued from those who would harm him by the inhabitants of a graveyard and grows up living as a virtual ghost. It is funny in parts, scary in parts, and a book that I just didn't want to end. If you haven't tried his books, this is a great place to start

  • The Forgotten Garden

  • By: Kate Morton
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 20 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 631
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 480
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 485

Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone, and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident 10 years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and dear to her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lovely listen

  • By Susanna on 03-01-11

A good tale

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-10-09

I enjoyed listening to this story. The clever way the plot revolves around three stories keeps you wanting to listen, especially when you get left with a cliffhanger and then move backward or forward in time. The only downside was the accents - the English ones rather moved back and forth across the country and got a bit Irish at times - but the story was enough to compensate

8 of 9 people found this review helpful