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  • reviews
  • 14
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  • 30
  • ratings
  • Mortal Engines

  • Mortal Engines, Book 1
  • By: Philip Reeve
  • Narrated by: Barnaby Edwards
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,354
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,251
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,247

Welcome to the astounding world of Predator Cities! Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed. In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage - and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • amazingly narrated story

  • By connor on 28-12-17

Not bad at all, worth a listen again sometime.

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

Reviewed: 05-01-19

This is obviously a teen book, and lacks much in the way of hard science, or even practical logic in many places, but it's still a jolly good non-stop romp. I get the impression that Reeve never intended to write sequels, because all the really interesting plot details are wrapped up with no possibility of continuation by the end of the book.

Reeve also makes a welcome change from most teen-level books and has no qualms about killing characters off throughout the story. All too many books seem to place some kind of invulnerability on a dozen or more characters - Reeve doesn't subscribe to this school.

The reading is good with plenty of differentiation between all characters and tense moments where necessary. As said above there are some inconsistencies with the plot, and some parts just don't make sense at all - not looting Panzerstadt-Bayreuth and instead burning up their own city for resources is a prime example.

Still, it was good and I've now started on the sequel and will probably listen to this again at some point.

  • The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You

  • Stainless Steel Rat, Book 4
  • By: Harry Harrison
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

After saving the world, diGriz is called on to save the universe. Liberating his two, now teenage, twin' sons from a military boarding school and penitentiary, diGriz sets out to free his wife, who has been arrested by the tax men. But the family is soon fighting an enemy of a different sort, when the humans-only galaxy of the League is invaded by all manner of hideous aliens.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Another great reading of a great book.

  • By In car listener on 22-12-18

Another great reading of a great book.

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

Reviewed: 22-12-18

Once again, I start the review by complimenting Gigante on his interpretation of Jim diGriz - it's just excellent, and he immerses both himself and the listener in the entire machinations of the evil Grey Men, and the Geshtunken.

The plot suffers in a few places, especially with the introduction of the aliens, who are convenient for this novel - but then never heard of again despite having such a massive and overbearing (military) presence in the galaxy at large.

You also get a whiff of Harrison's disdain for religion with the introduction of the Morality Corp later on in the book, but it's all par for the course.

Another good book, and almost worth it for Gigante's characterization alone.

  • The Stainless Steel Rat for President

  • Stainless Steel Rat, Book 5
  • By: Harry Harrison
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

This time the Special Corps has given the Rat a daring assignment: liberate a backward tourist planet from the clutches of an aging dictator. With his lovely but lethal wife, Angelina, and his two stalwart sons, James and Bolivar, diGriz pits ballots against bullets in the fight for freedom. He's vowed to restore truth, justice, and democracy to the world of Paraiso-Aqui, even if he has to lie, cheat, and steal to do it!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • My favourite Rat book, and with good reason

  • By In car listener on 08-12-18

My favourite Rat book, and with good reason

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

This is my favourite Rat book, and Gigante's reading is as usual just right - expressing the Rat just as it should be done. Only written 4 years after 'Wants you', but by then in the eighties, it has a much more 'modern' tone and style, so it holds up better than some of the older books.

The plot romps along with little to hold it back, and Gigante portrays the entire diGriz family as enthusiastic felons who are essentially having a family holiday. You would need to have read the previous books in order for this to make sense, but that's generally true of any book in a series.

  • The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World

  • Stainless Steel Rat, Book 3
  • By: Harry Harrison
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 4 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 44

The villainous He has travelled back in time to mankind's distant past on the legendary planet Earth (or 'Dirt') of 1984, where he is altering events so that people who opposed him in the Rat's present cease to exist, Angelina amongst them. Using the Helix, a time-travel device invented by the Special Corps' Professor Coypu, diGriz travels to 1984 America, and then to Napoleonic France where tanks and aircraft are helping bring about Napoleon's victory.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • One of the stronger books, with a good reading

  • By In car listener on 08-12-18

One of the stronger books, with a good reading

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

'Saves the world' is one of my favourite Rat books, and the reading by Gigante doesn't disappoint. His style is exactly the same as before in the other books and is perfectly suited to the Rat's character.

The time travel elements are a bit primitive, and although some of the paradoxes introduced are intentional, there are a few that don't make sense and aren't explained either. When the Rat travels back 32,000 years to what was then modern age is entertaining, and the final confrontation withe He at the end of Earth is well put.

The only real problem with this particular entry is that by design and plot the ending is very much Deus Ex Machina - the entire thing is wrapped up and solved in the space of a paragraph or two.

  • Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds: The Musical Drama

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: H. G. Wells, Jeff Wayne
  • Narrated by: Michael Sheen, Taron Egerton, Theo James, and others
  • Length: 5 hrs and 4 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,952
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,826
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,816

One of the world’s most recognisable sci-fi stories, H. G. Wells’ The War of The Worlds established numerous conventions for the genre, including the threat of an invasive extraterrestrial species, space travel and intergalactic conflict, inspiring directors, gamers, producers and writers alike with its sobering story of struggle and survival. Marrying the suspense, drama and urgency of Wells’ original novel with Jeff Wayne’s rousing and flamboyant score, Audible’s new and exclusive dramatisation uses action, narration, original music and evocative sound design to immerse listeners in a world that’s as thrilling as it is desolate. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stunning Interpretation of Jeff Wayne's Classic!

  • By Simon on 29-11-18

Brilliant, but no different from the 1978 album

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

Reviewed: 02-12-18

This is a review based on a partial listen, and is to serve more as a caution than a review. It's brilliant, well dramatised, the music is great, and there's nothing inherently wrong with it.

The problem is that it's not really any different from the Jeff Wayne double album released in 1978 - you know the one; with the Tripod melting Thunderchild on the cover. There are differences of course, specifically in narration and characters, but not enough.

If you're into WotW then you've probably already got that album - and in that case this one is pretty much superfluous. I've rated it highly, because it *is* good, but it's no better (or worse!) than an album I bought 35 years ago.

  • The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge

  • Stainless Steel Rat, Book 2
  • By: Harry Harrison
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68

DiGriz and Angelina are happily married and expecting the birth of their sons. The planet Cliaand is waging interstellar war, and against the odds, its Grey Men are invading and taking over planet after planet. The Rat is sent to Cliaand to start a one-man guerrilla campaign to put a stop to the plans of the planet's leader, Kraj. He is aided by the Amazons, a force of liberated freedom fighters, and eventually by his wife who arrives to help him win the war and keep him out of the arms of the Amazons.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • One of the weaker plots, but narration saves it.

  • By In car listener on 18-10-18

One of the weaker plots, but narration saves it.

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

Reviewed: 18-10-18

I always thought "Revenge" was the weakest of the Rat books, and this reading hasn't changed that theory. Don't know why, but it just doesn't seem to be the same kind of helter-skelter romp that the others are.

The Grey Men are excellent baddies, and the Cliaandian sections are fun, but overall it isn't quite as coherent as some of the other Rat books.

Once again though - Gigante's reading pulls it above the average, and his enthusiasm takes you to the same places the Rat has been. It's worth getting these books just to see how a real reading should be done.

  • The Stainless Steel Rat

  • By: Harry Harrison
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 181
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129

DiGriz is caught during one of his crimes and recruited into the Special Corps. Boring, routine desk work during his probationary period results in his discovering that someone is building a battleship, thinly disguised as an industrial vessel. In the peaceful League no one has battleships anymore, so the builder of this one would be unstoppable. DiGriz' hunt for the guilty becomes a personal battle between himself and the beautiful but deadly Angelina, who his planning a coup on one of the feudal worlds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absorbing narrative style for a classic book

  • By Stephen on 20-11-12

Excellent narration, true to the Rat's spirit.

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

Reviewed: 18-10-18

The book is over 50 years old, and although it shows age in a few places it holds up quite well. The pace bounds along with reckless enthusiasm, and the Rat himself could easily be taken from a more modern age.

What really brings the book alive though is Gigante's reading. He captures the Rat's permanently-amused outlook on life perfectly, and you really get the impression he's regaling a bunch of drunks at a seedy bar somewhere downtown, cigar in one hand and bottle of Syrian Panther Sweat in the other.

In this instance, the quality of narration far outweighs the actual story itself, which isn't to say the story is poor.

  • When Worlds Collide

  • By: Edwin Balmer, Philip Wylie
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24

A runaway planet hurtles toward Earth. As it draws near, massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions wrack our planet, devastating continents, drowning cities, and wiping out millions. In central North America, a team of scientists race to build a spacecraft powerful enough to escape the doomed Earth. Their greatest threat, they soon discover, comes not from the skies but from other humans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • World Smashingly Good

  • By Steve on 14-12-12

Didn't like the narrator, which spoilt the book.

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

Reviewed: 18-10-18

I've read this book, and seen the film based on it, but didn't like the reading. Ganim's narration just didn't work for me. It was too laconic, and there wasn't enough differentiation between characters - all the male voices were too similar - conversations between Bronson, Ransdall, Drake and Hendron all sound the same, despite Bronson & Ransdall being South African.

There wasn't enough urgency in the reading, and as a result the League of the Last Days seemed more like a Friday afternoon than the end of the world.

I got this and the sequel at the same time, but I've returned the sequel un-listened, and will return this as soon as I've posted the review.

  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • By: Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 2 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 413
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 368
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 366

This is the disturbing tale of the dual personality of Dr. Jekyll, a physician. A generous and philanthropic man, he is preoccupied with the problems of good and evil and with the possibility of separating them into distinct personalities. He develops a drug that transforms him into the demonic Mr. Hyde, in whose person he exhausts all the latent evil in his nature.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Martin Jarvis triumphs again!

  • By Nicholas on 26-11-10

a classic, but not a gripping one.

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

Reviewed: 29-06-18

Slightly disappointed with this, for some reason it just didn't grab me. I didn't know the story beforehand, so it was all new, but I just wasn't that enthusiastic to get to the next chapter in the book. Reading was good, plenty of difference between the characters, and emotion in each - especially when each revelation comes about - but it lacked something that I couldn't name.

Probably to do with the age of the story - much is inferred rather than described and the language used is archaic but not intrusively so.

Still, worth hearing once, but not one I'll come back to or keep.

  • Rendezvous

  • Ship Series, Book 4
  • By: Jerry Aubin
  • Narrated by: Eric Martin
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

Adan is ready to leave Earth behind. He successfully transformed his massive asteroid into an amazing spaceship, but faces an even larger challenge as he tries to negotiate the repercussions of the many deals and compromises that were required along the way. The choices he makes will not only impact those people who remain behind, but will also determine how the society onboard his vessel survives far into the future.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing. Good, but tiresome at the same time

  • By In car listener on 22-04-18

Disappointing. Good, but tiresome at the same time

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

Reviewed: 22-04-18

Firstly, the major issues with this book is that it is not the last in the series. You would be thinking it is - by the simple fact there are no more after it, but it ends on such a cliffhanger, and with none of the loose ends tied up that you're sat there thinking 'well - now what? What about xxx? And yyy? And zzz?'

12 years have passed since Zax was put into stasis, and his brain still hasn't thawed out - while all the other characters have had 12 years in which to develop and mature, Zax still has the maturity and intelligence of a petulant 10 year old. He has constant opportunities to show initiative and take positive action but consciously shies away from them, preferring to stand there mouth agape in stunned silence, and then wonders why things are going badly for him.

The good points are that the book continues the previous tactic of letting us into the heads of other characters, and much of it is dedicated to Aiden and the creation of The Ship - which is really interesting and well written, and Martin reads it well.

But, to reiterate - too much is left unexplained. It's difficult to be specific without creating a big list of spoilers, but simply put - don't expect to know what's going on at the end of the book because you won't. If you've got this far you actually feel a bit cheated - presumably Aubin will write another book at some point in the future, and because you've got this far you might as well carry on.