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flying_fin

  • 10
  • reviews
  • 43
  • helpful votes
  • 24
  • ratings
  • The Massacre of Mankind

  • By: Stephen Baxter
  • Narrated by: Nathalie Buscombe
  • Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 314
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 297
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 292

It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The army is prepared. So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells' book.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • No one would have believed . . .

  • By Simon on 20-01-17

Interesting effort, but the sequel feels nothing like the original

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

Reviewed: 16-02-17

A few interesting ideas on how the 1907 invasion would have changed the course of history, and some exciting set pieces. It retains the first person narrative for most of the book but then switches to third person when the action shifts from Britain to other landing sites across the world in the second invasion (from 1920), which is jarring.
There is a large cast of characters, and Nathalie Buscombe does an admirable job of trying to breathe life into them, employing an amazing array of different accents, but the variety is also a weakness. The power of the original, for me, came from the loneliness and desperation of Walter Jenkins as he struggled to survive the Martian holocaust.
The writer builds well on the original universe and retains the theories prevalent at the time (canals on Mars etc.) and imagines a much expanded War of the Worlds, taking in Venus and even Jupiter.
The story is very expansive, covering all parts of the earth with a steadily growing roster of characters and interconnections. It is quite a long listen- 15+ hours. I struggled to stick with it, but I had to know how it ended, which is a tribute of a kind. The author himself uses the phrase "deus ex machina" on no less than three occasions (meta!), so I'll say no more about that!
All in all, not a bad effort and I would recommend it to any fan of the original, though this is a very different book. The casual reader would perhaps not find it quite so interesting.

  • The Girl on the Train

  • By: Paula Hawkins
  • Narrated by: Louise Brealey, India Fisher, Clare Corbett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,570
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,312
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,312

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Hated it

  • By Miss N. Bleakley-wadlow on 05-02-17

Finely-crafted thriller / whodunit.

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

Reviewed: 26-01-17

The story is fast moving and compelling, the events told from the perspective of three women. It'll keep you guessing until the end. The performances are very good. My only quibble is the male voices, as acted by the female narrators, are less convincing, but it doesn't really detract from the enjoyment. All in all a really good book.

  • Ghost Rider

  • Travels on the Healing Road
  • By: Neil Peart
  • Narrated by: Brian Sutherland
  • Length: 15 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24

In less than a year, Neil Peart lost both his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, and his wife, Jackie. Faced with overwhelming sadness and isolated from the world in his home on the lake, Peart was left without direction. That lack of direction lead him on a 55,000 mile journey by motorcycle across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and back again.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Epic Motorcycle Journey to heal a broken heart

  • By flying_fin on 07-02-16

Epic Motorcycle Journey to heal a broken heart

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

Reviewed: 07-02-16

If you'd been through what Neil Pearl had been through you might be tempted to throw in the towel. Instead he gets the urge to go - somewhere, anywhere on his bike a day ends up travelling thousands of miles up and down Canada, USA and South America. The book comprises his attempts to come to terms with his new situation whilst recounting his adventures on "the healing Road."
I loved the book, though some of the description gets a bit long. I'm not normally Into travel writing but this is exceptional Disclosure: I am a massive Rush and Neil Pearl fan.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Star Wars: Legacy of the Force #1: Betrayal

  • By: Aaron Allston
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 170
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 137

Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, has unified the Jedi order into a cohesive group of powerful knights. But as the new era begins, honor and duty will collide with friendship and blood ties. The Skywalker and Solo clans find themselves on opposing sides of an explosive conflict, with potentially devastating repercussions for both families, for the Jedi order, and for the entire galaxy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Starwars book review

  • By paul on 01-12-13

Dreadful story, good production and performance

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

Reviewed: 16-01-16

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story is just risible. Utter trash.

Any additional comments?

As with most of these Star Wars books they are made more enjoyable by the use of familiar sound effects etc. But there was no saving this one.

  • Hitch-22

  • A Memoir
  • By: Christopher Hitchens
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hitchens
  • Length: 17 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 774
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 625
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 619

In this long-awaited and candid memoir, Hitchens re-traces the footsteps of his life to date, from his childhood in Portsmouth, with his adoring, tragic mother and reserved Naval officer father; to his life in Washington DC, the base from which from he would launch fierce attacks on tyranny of all kinds. Along the way, he recalls the girls, boys and booze; the friendships and the feuds; the grand struggles and lost causes; and the mistakes and misgivings that have characterised his life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Honest but difficult listening

  • By Penny on 18-06-16

AKA the death of a radical

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

Reviewed: 16-01-16

If you could sum up Hitch-22 in three words, what would they be?

The life of a great raconteur, journalist and public intellectual as a backdrop for musing on every philosophical and political topic and major event of historical importance imaginable. He name-drops wildly, but not for effect: he really was best friends with Martin Amis, knew Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Gore Vidal. Susan Sontag etc. etc. He charts his beginnings from public school communist to an eventual slide to the right and becoming a non-pacifist and supporter of the war in Iraq, without losing his sense of outrage at the worst aspects of neo-con policies, bigotry, inequality and despotism.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Hitch-22?

His accounts of riotously funny lunches with Kingsley Amis, Clive James and Martin Amis et al. Also his stories of life at an English boarding school were an eyeopener. Too many great stories to recount here.

Any additional comments?

My only criticism of the book is that sometimes Hitchens sounds a bit bored with himself whilst reading his autobiography. His voice sometimes trails away and it was sometimes hard to hear what he was saying.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • A Million Years in a Day

  • A Curious History of Everyday Life
  • By: Greg Jenner
  • Narrated by: Greg Jenner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 498
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 453
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 452

'A wonderful idea, gloriously put into practice. Greg Jenner as is witty as he is knowledgeable.' (Tom Holland) 'Delightful, surprising and hilarious, this is a fascinating history of the everyday objects and inventions we take for granted.' (Lauren Laverne) Every day, from the moment our alarm clock wakes us in the morning until our head hits our pillow at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So many fascinating facts!

  • By Mrs Sarah Morley on 02-12-15

A good idea ruined by irritating narration

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

Reviewed: 16-12-15

What would have made A Million Years in a Day better?

This is a great idea for a book and I was looking forward to hearing it. The content, is reasonably interesting, but I confess I gave up after a few chapters as I couldn't stand anymore of the chirpy, unfunny narration. The book should have been a little more serious in tone. Nothing wrong with jokes, if they are funny, but he tries to hard to be humorous and fails.

What didn’t you like about Greg Jenner’s performance?

Sometimes when an author reads his own book it really works; alas not in this case. I found his style patronising and irritating. He fancies himself something of a comedian, but his humour is puerile and childish.

What character would you cut from A Million Years in a Day?

The narrator.

13 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Now I Know

  • The Revealing Stories Behind the World's Most Interesting Facts
  • By: Dan Lewis
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Arthur
  • Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 43

Did you know that there are actually 27 letters in the alphabet, or that the U.S. had a plan to invade Canada? And what actually happened to the flags left on the moon? Even if you think you have a handle on all things trivia, you're guaranteed a big surprise with Now I Know. From uncovering what happens to lost luggage to New York City's plan to crack down on crime by banning pinball, this book will challenge your knowledge of the fascinating stories behind the world's greatest facts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • VERY INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE.

  • By john rush on 09-04-15

Some interesting pieces but largely Americana

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

Reviewed: 16-12-15

What did you like best about Now I Know? What did you like least?

I enjoyed the style of the book and the narration, and there some very interesting pieces of information, but I found the overwhelming bias towards the USA (politics, sport, economy, history, popular culture) quite boring. A lot of the chapters mean nothing to a non American. Now I know, but I didn't want to know in the first place.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

  • By: Sean Williams
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117

The overthrow of the Republic is complete. The Separatist forces have been smashed, the Jedi Council nearly decimated, and the rest of the Order all but destroyed. Now absolute power rests in the iron fist of Darth Sidious - the cunning Sith Lord better known as the former Senator, now Emperor, Palpatine. But more remains to be done.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • As good as it gets...considering it's abridged!

  • By James Short on 10-03-14

Good production of an average story.

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

Reviewed: 25-09-15

There is much to enjoy here for Star Wars fans. The addition of an array of familiar sound effects and the John Williams score raises what is after all, a novelisation of a video game to new heights. The story itself is quite shallow, jumping as it does from one battle scene to the next with barely a thought given to characterisation.

  • Understanding Power

  • The Indispensable Chomsky
  • By: Noam Chomsky, Peter R. Mitchell (editor), John Schoeffel (editor)
  • Narrated by: Robin Bloodworth
  • Length: 22 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 370
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 334
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 329

A major new collection from "arguably the most important intellectual alive" ( The New York Times). Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era. Over the past thirty years, broadly diverse audiences have gathered to attend his sold-out lectures. Now, in Understanding Power, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky's recent talks on the past, present, and future of the politics of power.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling listening

  • By Damien H on 31-10-17

Listen to this book and awake from the dream

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

Reviewed: 15-09-15

What made the experience of listening to Understanding Power the most enjoyable?

This is probably one of the most influential books I have ever experienced. It covers so much ground, is so detailed and fact-rich that I never for a moment questioned the authenticity and sincerity of Chomsky's opinions and study of a world in the grip of trans-national corporate power. The depth of analysis and reasoning is at times breathtaking and much of the content will stay with me forever. I hope many will have the chance to read it and spread the word in order that we might all, in our small way, change for the better the sociopolitical landscape we find ourselves in today.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany

  • By: John Irving
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 27 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 922
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 718
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 715

Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An amazing and memorable book

  • By Kirstine on 17-05-14

Superb story brilliantly narrated and performed.

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

Reviewed: 24-01-15

What made the experience of listening to A Prayer for Owen Meany the most enjoyable?

I just loved this book from start to finish. The story is charming, intriguing and thought-provoking and the characters will stay with me forever. It is brilliantly narrated and performed. I'm not sure if Joe Barrett is the only reader, but if he is he has an astonishing range of voices, from men to women, children, old ladies and the titular star of the show whose distinctive voice I will be hearing in my head for a long time to come. I cannot recommend this product highly enough.

What other book might you compare A Prayer for Owen Meany to, and why?

If you are familiar with and fond of John Irving's work the style and tone of this book will not be unfamiliar and will not disappoint. I have read Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, but this is better by far.

Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favourite?

See above.

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

I both laughed (a lot) and also, I confess shed a few tears.

Any additional comments?

It is rather longer in the listening than you might expect. I'm not sure how many pages it had as a book, but I suspect a lot as the listening time clocks in at something like 27 hours.
Nevertheless, it's well worth your investment in time.