Tag Archives: SciFi

Review: Dark of Night – Flesh and Fire

Dark of Night - Flesh and Fire
Dark of Night – Flesh and Fire by Jonathan Maberry narrated by Ray Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this audio book for review via AudiobookJukebox.com*

I cannot get enough Jonathan Maberry, so you could imagine my enthusiasm when I found out about this book. It takes three of Jonathan’s worlds and melds them together. Joe Ledger, from his bestselling thrillers, meets Des Fox of the Dead of Night series. That series leads into his run of hit Post-Apocalyptic zombie tales, Rot & Ruin. Rachael Lavin makes her debut as well laying out the adventure of Rachael; a cosplayer who, out of necessity due to the new world in which they now live, turned real life superhero. Having read virtually all of the books from those three series, save maybe a novella or two, I put this at the very tip top of the queue. I also was very excited to see how well Jonathan and Rachael work together. I have very high hopes as Jonathan Maberry is a proven editor, and exceptional one. These ingredients mixed with Ray Porter performing is a recipe for a hit.

The story starts off six months after the events of Fall of Night. Des Fox sets off in hopes of finding somewhere more secure for her people and ends up running into some major trouble, Joe and his dog are doing their best to save a girl from some thugs and ends up running into a situation he may have been better off avoiding, and Rachael sets off to find more survivors to bring back to her base and ends up coming across something only a hero can handle. In a world where the word “safe” has almost no meaning, the three take seperate paths as they battle their way through the dead and the living culminating in a thrilling and intense conclusion fit for a Maberry novel.

Jonathan Maberry’s writing was never in question of course; the man knows how to tell a story and tell it extremely well. Not to mention the fact he can write a very intense and completely enthralling fight scene. Rachael Lavin’s debut was a home run in my opinion. She has a very similar style of writing to Maberry, probably due in part to her time in his writing program, Writing for Teens. That said, she absolutely has a voice all her own and she knows how to use it. She channels her inner hero, intertwines it with her apparent love of comics, through her writing and delivers an enthralling tale. For any that may be concerned with jumping into this book without having previously read any of his other work, do not be deterred. The author does a great job of including backstory and easter eggs for his characters through very well done dialogue. Dialogue delivered with precision by Ray Porter.

Ray Porter is without a doubt my favorite narrator. Every book is a stellar performance. Despite the fact that he reads his books cold (he does no prereading, just jumps in), or maybe because of it, he reads with passion and precision, and speaks as if he knew the characters personally. Very few writer/reader combos can compete with Maberry and Porter; I’m convinced Ray is in fact Jonathan’s “writing voice” come to life. The fact that Rachael Lavin has such a similar writing style to her predecessor made for a seamless and stellar narration of all points of view in the novel. For fans of Jonathan Maberry and/or Ray Porter this audio book is an absolute must have. It brings the authors world together in epic fashion and explores new facets of the characters. It’s an outstanding debut for Lavin and a collision of awesome for Maberry.

More by the narrator    More by the author

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War Games meets Ender’s Game

Armada
Armada by Ernest Cline; Performed bye Wil Wheaton

ARMADA is Cline’s second novel, the first being READY PLAYER ONE, which I read about a year ago and loved. His follow up is extracted from the same vein, pop culture; emphasizing on video games and SciFi movies. I had so much fun listening to RPO, I wanted another one. I was pining for a new Ernie Cline novel. I picked it up on day one, listening before it even completed downloading.

Zack Lightman is sitting in his high school class, when he looks out the window and sees a UFO. What makes it worse, it is the same spaceship from Armada, the game he and millions of others play. –Armada is an online flight simulator in which you work for the Earth Defense Alliance (EDA) controlling combat drones remotely while battling evil aliens hellbent on destroying humankind. Prior to that, the same company released a game called Terra Firma; in that game, you control remote mechs and defend the planet from the ground. Zack thinks he may be suffering from schizophrenia, until the next day when an EDA transport ship lands on his school lawn. A familiar face steps out and calls for Zack. Apparently, the EDA is real, and due to his top 10 ranking in Armada, he’s being recruited! Zack goes on to meet some new friends, fight alongside some old ones, and discover a part if his past he thought long buried.

This has received some criticism for being a rip off of THE LAST STARSHIP. I haven’t seen the movie, so those criticisms fell on deaf ears. I’m a gamer, I’m a sci-fi and fantasy geek, and I love comic books; I think it’s safe to say this book is aimed at people like me. The pop culture references, I feel, are a big part of what makes this book so much fun. They tug at little strings of nostalgia, or they remind you of a movie you love but haven’t seen in awhile. However, it is a double edged sword; the same one liner Zack spits out that makes you think of your favorite scene from Lord of the Rings, also takes you out of the story you’re reading, it can be distracting. The pace of the novel was really good, there wasn’t a huge chapter filled with an info dump (well, maybe there was and I missed it because I was enjoying the story). and the dialogue was a lot of fun. The plot was slightly predictable with respect to how the journey would unfold. It follows a very typical coming of age layout — Young man has power thrust upon him, he struggles with new responsibilities, he charms the girl, he endures loss and overcomes, and ultimately, he becomes the hero. — however, I can honestly say the ending surprised me, I did not see it coming. That coupled with some really great writing, leaves me wanting more. Ernie has major writing chops, that’s obvious. I was completely engrossed in both this and RPO, from beginning to end.

This is a fun, light read brought to life by Wil Wheaton. As usual, he delivered a great performance. He is easy to understand, most of his voices are distinguishable, there’s never any background noise, and he has a way with Mr. Cline’s dialogue that just meshes well. I haven’t heard a Wheaton book I considered poorly read; he is always good.

Overall I loved it, I recommend it, and I will be listening to it again. I suggest you do the same, sir or madam who is reading this review, because if you were not interested in these themes mentioned above, you probably would not have made it this far. Go, enjoy some interstellar dogfights and a shared love of geekery goodness!

 

There is another really good review of Armada at Audiobookreviewer.com

View all my Goodreads reviews

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Review of The Academy by Vincent Trigili

I previously reviewed THE ENEMY OF AN ENEMY, book 1 in the The Lost Tales of Power series for Audiobookreviewer.com. You can find that HERE.

image

The Academy by Vincent Trigili, Read by Jack De Golia

As a member of the Imperial Navy stationed on the Dragon Claw, James played a very important role in The  Great War.  Now that he has resigned,  all James has left of that time are the nightmares. With the opening of Grand Master Vydor’s school, the  Academy,  James decides to apply. Despite not liking the odds with several million applying every year  and only one thousand accepting,  he made the cut.  Shortly after arriving,  James was made a leader of his own team of Prospects — the lowest ranking at The Academy — which he took very seriously. Over the following seven years, his team ranked among the top of the class and broke many records. Upon discovering why the school teaches the way they do,  James was quickly promoted to Apprentice Wizard.  As part of the graduation from prospect to student,  all those moving forward are told what their mastery is.  James was a Spell Weaver,  the rarest of the magical focuses. Being the only other Spell Weaver other than Vydor,  he was the next in line to be Grand Master. As such,  he became a huge target for the rival and want to be conquerors,  the Sorcerers. Things escalate quickly for Shadow Weaver,  the name James  takes upon learning his power, and his friends. Patti, also known as Flame, a woman whom James has been in school with for 10 years invited him to visit her planet and meet her parents. It turns out Patti’s mother was under the influence of an evil creature, all to get Shadow Weaver. That’s when everything falls into place and the story really gets rolling. There’s  kidnapping, attacks on planets,  unlikely heroes,  and hooded and mysterious Magi who seem to know  more about the Spell Weaver than he knows about himself, and they seem to have put some major events into motion.

Jack De Golia took the helm as narrator for this story and he did a great job. Again,  I was pleased and impressed at his talent for voices, every single character is easily recognized. His reading of The Academy was more fluid than what  I remember from The Enemy of an Enemy, which was my only complaint about his previous performance. With such an improvement in just one book,  I will definitely be keeping my eye on Jack.

Overall,  I really liked this audio book. While I enjoyed the first book, this one is definitely an improvement in both writing and storytelling, and in the narration. I would also like to add that Mr. Trigili did a great job of mixing the magic of Fantasy and the interplanetary space travel of Sci-Fi together. It never seems out of place when someone is wielding wands in a star ship landing bay, or others are throwing fireballs down hallways. Give this a go, it’s very entertaining and the world being created by Vincent Trigili gets more and more intriguing.

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The Rookie by Scott Sigler

Originally posted at Audiobookreviewer.com

the rookie

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got offered to review The Rookie for Audiobookreviewer.com. I have only heard one other story by him, HIPPO from V-Wars: Blood and Fire, and I can honestly say that I’ve never read anything like it. I’m a huge fan of football and Sci-Fi both. Galactic Football? During off season? Yes please!

Scott Sigler tells the story of Quentin Barnes, a rookie from the PNFL, a Tier 3 team…There is a really cool set up for Sigler’s 3-Tier Galactic Football League, but I think it would be better left discovered on your own… At 19 years of age he is a prodigy who can throw the ball over 80 yards, and is faster and stronger than any other human QB. He was raised in the Purist Nation, a radical religious group of humans known for their racism and fear of all other races. Quentin’s dreams start to become reality when his contract is bought out by a Tier 2 Team, the Ionath Krakens. In a league where players death is a regular occurrence, he must battle his ingrown prejudice with his need to win. In a league filled with races that can jump 3 times as high as humans and bench press over 1000 pounds, Barnes may find it better to stop thinking himself infallible, sooner rather than later, if he hopes to make it to Tier 1.

In a story self-described as “…a story that combines the intense gridiron action of Any Given Sunday with the space opera style of Star Wars and the criminal underworld of The Godfather.”, Quentin goes up against threats on his life, personal strife, and crime lords. There is so much more than great football here, and there is a lot of great football. It’s packed full of story, from death threats on the field, to crime lords running the GFL, and a trip through personal discovery that was brought to life by Scott Sigler himself.

The quality of the audio book was fantastic. I had never heard Mr. Sigler’s narration and was a little surprised, and extremely pleased. Complete with fantastic character voices, all identifiable, and sounds effects that fit the story perfectly, this is a must listen.

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Review of The Enemy of an Enemy by Vincent Trigili up at Audiobookreviewer.com

Originally posted at audiobookreviewer

Enemy of an Enemy

The Enemy of an Enemy by Vincent Trigili, Read by Jack de Golia

I had looked into getting this book more than once in the past but never bit the bullet. When an opportunity arose to review it,  here at Audiobookreviewer.com, I took it. The term Science-Fantasy jumped out at me as I am an avid fan of fantasy. Though I do only dabble in Sci-Fi I’ve always really enjoyed the  genre and have wanted to experiment with the melding of the two. Vincent Trigili does a pretty good job of doing it.

This story focuses on Vydor. A young officer in the Imperial Navy who gets signed on to a mission that is all but suicidal, by the emperor himself. He is granted a ship, the Black Talon,  and a squad of Dark Knights, the best warriors in the Empire. Upon arrival to their destination they were attacked by a group of Magi, the very people they  were sent to find. The Magi over powered Vydor and the Dark Knights. Only Vydor made it out alive despite the help of the Black Adders, a group of black ops group thought dead. Soon after, the Black Adders meet a mysterious man names Mantis. Mantis tells the tale of a war between Wizards and Sorcerers and the sad truth that the Adders universe is being dragged in and it’s up to them to stop it.

This book surprised me. It started off very  slow,  it was mostly mediocre dialogue the first half of the book, most of it relevant and some not. Right around halfway through it really got interesting. The first bit of combat erupted and the story started to unfold alot quicker. Introducing new powers, conspiracies, and hidden agendas that surprise and will change Vydor’s life forever. My only real complaint about the story is everything falls into place almost too easily, with people agreeing without question and immediately.  Seems too easy. The story is really cool, however the story telling leaves a little to be wanted.

The narrator of the book is Jack De Golia. This was the first I’ve listened to his work. His production quality was very good, no background noise,  breathing, or any other real distractions. His reading was a little slow and choppy. I got past this by speeding up the playback  speed to 1.2x. On the other hand,  he did a very good job creating voices that are easily identifiable with their respecting characters and consistent throughout. I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to others work by him.

I say give it a try. It has a good price tag, especially when utilized with the whispersync feature. Plus,  it’s a fun mix of fantasy  and Sci-Fi. From space ship and Ensign, to telepathy and magic wands,  Mr. Trigili has you covered.

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