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Mike Reiter

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Funny in a Discworld sort of way (Spoilers)

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

Reviewed: 2020-06-21

Jim is a second year magic student, and not a good one. He dies in a school rivalry to be brought back as an undead minion 65 years later. Then his story starts.

This is an RPGlit story that is both funnier and more plausible than most. The spoiler is that it is an RPGlit story, you don't really find that out until 3/4 of the book has gone by although it is hinted at earlier. Knowing that doesn't detract from the humour and you probably could have figured it out by Googling the author and reading the summary.

The performance is very good and the story moves along. The comedy is of the wry Terry Pratchett variety and in some parts I was actually laughing out loud. I of course was wearing ear buds so my fellow shoppers thought I was just a nut job laughing manically, but it did make it easier to get to the deli counter.

A decent cyber romp

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

Reviewed: 2020-06-15

As in a typical Gibson story there is an AI. Also as is typical in a Gibson story, the AI is nominally female. I always wondered why he never just made them gender-less. I could never fathom why an AI would care one way or another, and if it did, it would probably a gender distinction far removed from what we understand as gender. At least in this book he gives a reason why the AI is nominally female.

Eunice is the AI. She is the commercial offspring of a military project. Verity is an app whisperer hired to test Eunice. There are some people from another timeline, various shady entities who are trying to disable Eunice and those that know about her, and the group that is protecting Verity from those people.

The story starts off very well. Eunice gaining sentience works well. The side plot of the background of the people from another timeline is interesting. Eunice being female plays into the narrator's voice. Lorelei King turns in a good performance and does well with the material. I would have given this book five stars but about a third of the way through the main protagonist, Verity, becomes less of a participant and more of a fragile, inanimate object to be protected. A lot of things happen around her, which although she is the focus of, she is not a real participant in. It is too bad Gibson couldn't find something for her to do, no even necessarily action, but even analysis, coding, anything.

A fitting end to the series

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

Reviewed: 2020-06-03

The war ends and Nyphron becomes emperor as predicted by Malcolm.

There are some unexpected twists to this book, such as what happens to Bryn, and some tie ins that you will recognize if you read/listened to the Riyria books. Overall Tim Gerard Reynolds does another stellar job performing as narrator and cast. The book does not stand alone, and you have to have read the series for it to make any sense or to even consider it a good book. Where the Riyria books did stand as individual books, but together made a more epic story, this series is really just one story broken into parts. As the last chapter of that story, this book is well done.

Interesting information presented blandly

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

Reviewed: 2020-05-15

The gist of the book is that what we think of as our knowledge of the world is wrong, or at least dated, and always takes the most negative option. It explains why this is so and tries to give data to help overcome the misconceptions. It is things like on average throughout the world men spend 10 years on education, what is it for woman 2 years, 5 years, 9 years. The answer is 9 years but most people pick two. Mostly because that the media presents worst cases. It is the same with rich countries vs. poor, which in itself is a misconception. Or that South Korea has both a longer life expectancy and a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S.

It doesn't say everything's rosie, and it does present a framework for evaluating the data.

The presenters voice sounds like an infomercial. Some points after they are made are beat to death. Overall it is worth a listen if for no other reason than to update your world view, but it is dry going.

Ok, not a fun as the first

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

Reviewed: 2020-05-06

This book is very much like the first book by Randall Munroe (What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions) but less fun. Several scenarios are postulated, like moving house. Absurd or unconventional solutions are proposed. In this way it us much like the first. Although this feels much lazier. The first book did the math. This book does some of the math but only for the most impractical solutions.

Guns and Magic, what's not to like?

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

Reviewed: 2020-05-02

In an alternate universe where FDR was assassinated, the US broke up onto several large states, some of them forming the Russian Federation where the Russian monarchy set up shop after the communists took over Russia, violence is everywhere. Descendants of Rasputin can do magic. The protagonist is a Gunnie. This seems to be a mix of guide, bodyguard, and hired killer. Electricity is spotty, cars are rare, poverty is rampant. Sort of 1930's US meets westerns from the 1960's.

Overall the plot moves along pretty good. The plot is relatively interesting. The narration is ok. I would probably listen to another in the series, they seem to be plots set with the same character rather than a serialization, but I am not sure I would seek it out. If the next book comes up as a $3 or $4 deal of the day I might pick it up, but I wouldn't spend a credit on it.

The hockey twist made it interesting

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

Reviewed: 2020-04-26

It is the story of a boy from northern Ontario that went to a residential school in the 1960's and grew up to be a troubled man. Unfortunately not a unique story. I think what elevates this story is that this person develops a love of hockey. Pain, frustration, family and comfort all intermingle with his relationship to hockey.

Overall it was well written and well performed.

You think it is going to be a Zombie book

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

Reviewed: 2020-04-17

And it is, except they are on the moon. The moon is literally a graveyard. Earth ships its dead to the moon for burial. There is a space elevator which I assume makes this a cost effective option. "Caretakers" are responsible for burying the "clients". The burial of the dead and tourism seem to make up the moons economy. An asteroid lands that reanimates the dead. The rest is pretty predictable. At least these zombies don't eat brains. Not as good as the previous two books.

A good continuation of series, ends in cliffhanger

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

Reviewed: 2020-04-09

As always Tim Gerard Reynolds performance is excellent and as I have said before he really is the voice of both this and the Riyira series. He has just the right amount of seriousness, sarcasm and humour to bring the material to life.

This is a good continuation of the last book, it does end in a cliffhanger but it is less abrupt than the last book. In the last book their mystic was captured and most characters jumped into the unknown. This book ends more like the stage has been set for the final conflict.

This book definitely does NOT stand alone and you must read the series before this book.

Space Roman Empire - Not to original

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

Reviewed: 2020-03-10

This book follows in the vein of Red Rising, with a bit of Broken Empire built in. Nothing is very original. Hadrian is the son of a powerful planetary lord in a galactic empire. Like Red Rising the empire adheres strongly to the structures approximating the late Roman/Byzantine empire. Even the name Hadrian is that of a Roman emperor. So there is a strict observance of class, bloodlines. There is a feeble excuse for excluding certain technologies, like the equivalent of Google, or guns, that would be inconvenient to the plot and easily remove obstacles on which the plot depends. The reader is supposed to believe that a people that has empires encompassing planets has to remember everything because their religion forbids simple technology like Google, or even just storing written text and being able to search it. That way people can look at your notebooks, and that you have to fight with swords. Even at that you are supposed to believe there is a galactic war going on. I am not sure how you fight a space battle with swords. Also I found it frustrating that unlike Red Rising, the book never goes into what the regular people do or how they fit in, only the ruling class. This makes the context of the story feel flat.

Also this book is just a setup for the series. The narrator hints that he become despised and killed millions but all for good reason, but at the pace the book moves, that is in the distant distant future. The tone of the book feels incorrect. It is supposed to be told from the point of view of a first person reminiscence yet the language is usually that of a third person describing the scene.

The performer is adequate, and may actually be better than that but the material requires him to take on an emotionless aire. The ending was intriguing enough that I might get the next in the series if my wish list is empty, but I wouldn't seek it out.