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Mike Reiter

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Cinderella with a twist, got better than expected

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

Reviewed: 2020-02-17

Cinder is a cyborg, ward of a step mother and a mechanic. Parts of the setup that just don't make sense. Cinder seems to be the only means of income for the family yet they actively hinder her working. She ends up fixing an android for the son of the Emperor, or of course in a Cinderella story, the prince. Another part of the society that doesn't make sense is there is a deep seated bigotry against cyborgs. It is related that the cyborgs are typically survivors of accidents who end up getting mechanical body part replacements. Given the level of bigotry exhibited it is never explained why the people just don't remain limbless but able to function in society without the stigma.

I figured I would just listen to this book and forget about it. The performer was mildly engaging. THe book starts off reading quite young, more like young adult vs contemporary science fiction. About 3/4s of the way through the story gets more interesting with less of a happily ever after vibe. Plot twists are telegraphed from a 100 miles away and a lot of the time you are just waiting for them to come to fruition, but the ending was interesting enough to have me thinking of getting the next in the series, although I haven't yet.

An American telling Canadians how to live

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

Reviewed: 2020-01-08

Mike Myers has not lived in Canada for over 20 years, maybe longer. Before this book I would have definitely counted myself as a Mike Myers fan. First the only people what will read a book called Canada is Canadians. He starts off telling us what is wrong with us. Then goes on to say how Canadians have this big inferiority complex. Torontonians have that complex, and they feel they are superior to the rest of Canada so all Canadians must have that complex. I lived outside of Canada for 17 years and came back for the last 15 and what he is saying is definitely wrong. His prejudice comes out in things like he is surprised to see a good rendition of a musical in Saskatoon. Then he finishes up by telling Canadians to vote for a criminal, and to live under a regime that he himself refuses to live under. Over all this book isn't funny and is equal parts outdated/incorrect views of this country, reminiscences of his youth and propaganda. Save your money. I had this in my queue too long to return in so I had to listen to it, I wish I could get my money back. I would never say American go home, but I would say Mike Myers go home, and it isn't here.

Loved parts, hated parts

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

Reviewed: 2020-01-08

Over the course of the book the narrator, got irritating. The overall story is told by Jack, and he is Tasmanian. The person reading in his voice started to wear on me. I don't really think it is the performer's fault but the voice that the material is written in. I found the beginning of the book mildly interesting. The book is laid out so Jack's story is told, then Jimmy Oldcorn, and finally Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan. Intermixed with the first two people's story is the story of their time in a POW camp in the Korean war. The voice of the first part has the feel of somebody telling a story, and not their story. Which if fine but it is written from a first person perspective. That and the very upbeat Aussie intonations started to grate on me. I probably would have given up on the book but then Nicole's story started and it is quite engrossing. I learned some things about the Korean war and early last century China and Russia, so overall I guess it was worth it.

Funny, Modern bureaucracy over demonic possession

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

Reviewed: 2019-12-07

A student at a school for people with magic finds out she has an eidetic memory, but alas no magic, She gets assigned as an assistant to an insane field agent at the same time as the secret government department that handles magic is forced to become not secret anymore. Demons they used to kill become the oppressed, demonic possession is now a lifestyle choice and The Hand of Merlin is just a bunch of doddering old racists

Very funny, in the vein of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. The occult, the mystical and the dangerous are all overlaid with government ineptitude, spin doctors, political correctness and social justice warriors. It even has an ominous prologue that pretty much ensures I will get the next book set in this world with these characters.

Good, not great

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

Reviewed: 2019-11-29

The problem with sequels, or part 2's or whatever you want to call it, unless they are specifically written as part of a series, they end up with continuity problems and if enough time has passed the author is in a different mindset, as is the world, than it was with the first book. I am a fan of Margaret Atwood, and I am a huge fan of the book A Handmaid's Tale. As the first book had been made into movies, tv shows and become a cult classic, following it up was going to be difficult.

What I didn't like. In the first book the reader is never, except for a brief introduction, told about the world the main character lives it. You are left to infer the society from her accounts. It rang very true. If you were writing about your week you would not explain how money works, or public transit or home computers etc.. You would be writing for your time and would assume those reading would have that knowledge. This made a Handmaid's Tale very personal and stimulating. Due to the introduction of more characters that intimacy was lost. Also in a Handmaid's tale you got the feeling that it was an oppressive regime for everybody and a particular group was more heinously oppressed than most. In this book it felt more like privileged women oppressing less privileged women. I guess most stories deal with the elite, and maybe their servants, like Upstairs/Downstairs and nobody wants to read a story about your plumber or garbage man. There is some mention of econwives and econo men, but it is never mentioned how they live, or what their world looks like. I guess I was hoping for more of an exploration of the society. Also this had a definite conclusion where I really enjoyed the ambiguous ending of the first book. As a narrative from a person, that felt right.

What I liked. In this novel Margaret Atwood puts the society of Gilead in a broader world setting. It answered questions left unanswered by the the first book as to how was the rest of the world letting this happen?. It also gave a broader context to the breakup of the U.S. and how Gilead fit into that. In a connected world even disconnected places have a context. I liked Jade's voice. I don't mean the voice actor's voice for the performance, although it was good, but the things she thought about, opinions, conclusions. She goes through probably the biggest changes, even the name I am identifying her by is an interim one. I thought the performances of all the voice actors was excellent. I enjoyed the symposium ending, it was a bit of a tie into the first book.

Decent start to a series

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

Reviewed: 2019-11-14

The characters were mostly engaging. It had a nice mix of modern problems and magic problems and a reasonable way to introduce magic into the world. Most of it has a pretty light tone. I will probably get the next in the series.

Good story, interesting speculation on society

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-24

Ostensibly a story about a skateboarder, pizza delivery man, religious nuts and ancient Sumerians. If you liked Reamde you will like this. The story is set in a world where governments don't really exist and small state-enclaves are franchises of major corporations and the Mafia. Part of it takes place in the real world and part of it in cyberspace.

The characters, at least the main ones, are fairly well fleshed out. The technology is interesting as is the speculation on the development of human society. Some of it is amusingly retro as things like the library of congress would have been replaced these days with Google and smartphones would have made all the jacking into consoles obsolete.

The story is fast paced, and interesting. I enjoyed it. One complaint was the sound. It was ineligible and clear all the way through but sounded tinny on every device I tried. I compensated by cranking the bass on all devices. Without that I would have given it 5 stars.

First amusing then surprising

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-06

The novel is about a man, his wife, brother and sister-in-law having dinner at an expensive restaurant. The books is laid out as parts of the meal. Appetizer, main course, desert etc. The story is told from the man's point of view as a first person narrative, including his thoughts and observations, rather than just a recitation of facts. He is what is called the compromised narrator as his feelings and opinions colour his version of the tale. As the meal progresses , flashbacks are included.

I found the beginning very amusing, and while the book is written and has the point of view of somebody from the Netherlands, the wry wit and perfromer's accent made it very much feel like this could have been written by somebody from England as well. Particularly the bits about owning vacation homes in France. The second half of the novel takes a very dark and unexpected turn. I don't want to give anything away so I won't go into the happenings. I did enjoy the book, they style the story and the performance were all very good.

Millennials, YouTube and Aliens

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-01

A bunch of aliens land on earth, then don't move. The night it happens a young woman is walking home, sees one of them and gets her friend to come and make a video. From there the book delves into being "internet famous", tribalism, and social media obsession.

It felt like the voice of the protagonist, both in terms of the narrator's actual voice and the written voice of the author, work for a 23 year old and social media personality. I assume since Hank Green has several YouTube channels, and is kind of internet famous, he drew on his own experience. The characters are engaging. The story is interesting. I wish he had allowed the listener to try to solve some of the puzzles rather than just mentioning them as a background plot device. Over all I enjoyed it, the main character was a bit annoying by the end, but it worked with the story.

Fun, Light, Fast

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-01

The book is based on the idea that the world we knew fairytales from is mostly true. The three adventurers, Marie, roughly from beauty and the beast, Frank, who it is hinted at is Frankenstein's monster, and Jack, who is Jack be Nimble, and Jack be Quick and Jack the Giant killer make up the Bastard Champions. The book goes through several fairytales, like Cinderella, in an amusing way. The tone is fun, the twists on the stories are interesting. I enjoyed it all the way through, I hope there is a sequel.