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C.J.R Flanagan

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Death of Kings cover art

If only it wasn't for the narration!!

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

Bernard Cornwell's "Saxon Stories" series if fantastic. I love it.
I found this audiobook version of Death of Kings however to be extremely irritating. The reason for this was not for the actual voicing of the narrattion itself, but rather the creative licence the narrator took with character and place names. Bebbanburg became "Bamburgh", Lundane became "London". We all know that these are the modern names for these locations, but the narrators job is to read what the author has put on the page, not to add his own interpretation of what he thinks will suit the story. I especially found myself cringing every time the Perring said the name "Yoo-tred" (Uhtred).

Had it not been for this minor issue I would have awarded Death of Kings with the usual Bernard Cornwell 5 star review, and if you can get past the narration issues the book is as entertaining as always.

4 people found this helpful

Brilliant as always!

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

Bernard Cornwell is by far one of the best historical fiction writers on the planet. Sword Song is the fourth book in the Saxon Stories series which is based in England in the AD 800s. The central character of the series, Uhtred, being born to Saxon parents then kidnapped and raised by Danish Vikingr, is a fantastic vessel for the history behind the Danish occupation of England during the middle ages.

Cornwell manages to weave the history into his narrative seamlessly, without forcing the reader to endure paragraphs of "info dumping" which some historical fiction writers often do. This creates an extremely engaging story, and a perfect balance of narrative and historical information.

Jamie Glover does a very good job of performing the various accents of characters within the story, although at times I did find some of the accents and voices to be slightly irritating.

I do believe that readers should finish the preceding books in the series before moving onto Sword Song.

Could easily have been condensed.

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

I found The Psychopath Test to be fairly entertaining and informative. I'd suggest to any potential reader that it would be well worth reading Dr Robert Hare's "Without Conscience" (also available on Audible) before or along with TPT. Ronson regularly references Dr hare's work regarding the study of Psychopathy.

The Psychopath test is filled with plenty of interesting stories which serve well to get the information across without presenting it in a dry or boring manner. I found it to be particularly informative in regards to the process used to identify the various forms of mental disorders over the last few decades, and the impact this has had on the medical and pharmaceutical industry. I believe most readers will find this aspect to be quite interesting.

I definitely found that the book inspired curiosity and raised many questions in areas which I had not expected to be considering when I started reading the book. This is a definite positive.

I did find Ronson's narration to be rather bland and slightly tiresome, and found my attention waning and wandering on a number of occasions throughout the book as a result. A number of times I also often found myself questioning where a story or recounting of events was headed, and what relevance it had to the overall topic. This often gave parts of the book a 'padded out' kind of feeling. I think TPT could have been condensed somewhat and that a few of the stories could have been culled in order to change the pace of the book for the better.

I enjoyed The Psychopath Test for the information it contained and the questions it raises within the reader on a number of topics. However I would not recommend a potential listener to do so while driving, especially on a long trip.

6 people found this helpful

Meh..

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

I am a big fan of horror novels and movies. I have read quite a few shining reviews on Hell House and had thus been very enthusiastic to finally have the chance to read it.

I was a little disappointed to be honest. This may be because I have become desensitized to "Scary" subject matter, or simply because I had held such high expectations for Hell House, as it has been featured in so many "scariest novels" lists I have come across.

I quite enjoyed the section of the book which dealt with the sordid history of Hell House, and also found the setup to be quite effective. After this point, I found that it devolved into merely a slightly more adult rendition of a Ghostbusters script.

I tend to enjoy a more subtle style of horror, and find that quite often the simple suggestion towards a horrific or chilling event has the potential to be much more effective and unnerving than a mere blow by blow description of such a scene. Hell House seems to tend towards the latter.

Some people may find Hell House to be very creepy and highly enjoyable. There are plenty of eerie, paranormal and sometimes flat out blood-curdling events to keep a reader who enjoys this style of writing absorbed and entertained. I simply enjoy a contrasting style of horror to what I found Hell House had to offer.

3 people found this helpful

Very Motivating and Empowering!

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for motivation to ignore any excuses and doubts and take control of their own financial situation.
The use of the dichotomy of the"rich Dad" and the "poor Dad" to explain the differences in thinking and financial attitudes works perfectly.

This is much better than any other book about finance I have come across in the past simply because it is much less boring and actually quite entertaining. It was very refreshing to not be forced to wade through chapters upon chapters of mind numbing drudgery, as is the case with most books about financial matters.

After finishing Rich Dad Poor Dad I experienced a renewed enthusiasm to work towards financial freedom. It presents the information in a manner which is easy for the layman to understand and digest, and is very effective in leaving the reader feeling energized and enthusiastic.

1 person found this helpful

Believable and Atmospheric

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

This story kicks off with a very effective opening monologue. The first person point of view provides the story with a fantastic atmosphere. The writing style combined with a brilliant narration performance by Jeremy Northam allow the reader to become fully immersed in the story, which itself is quite creepy and realistic. The setting is realistically portrayed and allows the reader to really get a sense for the intense cold and isolation experienced by the protagonist as he progresses through the story.

I honestly cannot give enough credit to Jeremy Northam for this performance. I believe he presented the story flawlessly. Even his portrayal of the various Scandinavian accents are extremely realistic. Often narrator's attempts at various accents can detract from the story and drag the reader out of the experience, but this is most definitely not an issue in this case.

A well deserved four stars!

1 person found this helpful

Well worth a listen.

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

I've been a fan of Stephen King's novels since I was young. Many of his stories planted the seeds for my interest in the horror/supernatural genre. It was very interested in hearing such a successful and prolific writer give a run down of his writing process.
The first part of this book is autobiographical. I believe this to be important in giving the listener/reader an idea of how a person such a King comes to be a writer in the first place, and how events in his life have influenced him as a writer.

The second half deals with the actual writing process. This was very interesting to read.
It is sometimes easy to believe that writers such as King manifest award winning novels in their sleep with little to no effort, while the rest of us have to grind through hours of bad writing and false starts to achieve a result. King's honest run down of his process does well to dispel this belief, which I found very reassuring!

I'd recommend this book to prospective writers who are looking for pointers and inspiration, and also to fans of Stephen King's work who would be interested in learning about his life and the processes he used to create some of their favorite stories.

2 people found this helpful

Buy the paperback instead!

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

Although the story was quite enjoyable, I had to stop listening with 4hrs 36mins left on the recording. The sole reason for this was the cringe worthy attempt at Scottish accents for male characters by a female, English narrator. It became painful to listen to at times, so much so that I found it necessary to sacrifice the rest of the story (which I had become very interested in completing) in order to abort mission and listen to the radio instead.

I will however order the paperback in order to see the story through. Faber has done a wonderful job of creating a setting for what is shaping up to be a very dark and unpredictable story. I am very much looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

3 people found this helpful

(Sigh)...Face Palm!

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

To start with, I purchased the abridged version by accident (mistake No.1)

Now it may sound strange, but I find that a mid 80s sounding synth keyboard being used as background music throughout a story with the intent of providing "ambiance" can be a little distracting. Should have listened to a sample first! (mistake No.2)

So needless to say, this audio book was switched off within five minutes of hitting the play button. I had read some great reviews and all, but something just wasn't right with it. I mean.... it just seemed....somewhat watered down...
After another short web based research session I discovered, to my utter dismay, that I had just purchased a "christian horror novel"!

I'll paraphrase a quote from another unknown reviewer, "the idea of a christian horror novel is as ridiculous as the idea of christian porn." Didn't do my research!
(mistake No.3)

To make matters much worse, I discovered that upon charging the $9.99 to my old credit card by mistake (which is now inactive) I had incurred a $30 non-refundable bank fee! (mistake No.4)

So to summarize, I payed $40 to listen to 5 minutes of a 2 hour long "christian horror novel" with a six year old mashing the keys of a cheap, battery operated, toy piano in the background whilst I clawed at the steering wheel of my car and fumbled through my iPhone to find the stop button, narrowly missing a pedestrian in the process.

Excuse me while I punch myself in the face......

4 people found this helpful

Perhaps more suitable to an early teen audience.

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

Reviewed: 03-02-2014

The Family Guy episode where Stephen King pitches a story about a "lamp shade monster" to his publisher springs to mind, except this one is about a station wagon which eats people.
King has produced some excellent novels and novellas in his prolific career, although I'm afraid Mile 81 just isn't one of them. Sorry.