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Mike Reiter

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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.

Nostalgic but didn't age well.

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-17

I grew up with George Carlin. I always liked George Carlin. Some things are better left remembered. Listening to this was nostalgic, and some of it was amusing. A lot of the comedy didn't age well. A rant about people wearing walkmans for example. Yes I guess you could translate it to people on their phones, but only for the listening to music part. Overall it very much had the feel of an old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn while professing he didn't care about the lawn. Probably the most recent comment was about George Bush, which make sense since Carlin died in 2008. Some of it was amusing, none of it was laugh out loud funny. An ok listen if you like George Carlin or have any interest in 1970's counterculture comedians

Endearing story, good characters

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-13

Jess loses her job when the restaurant she works at as a waitress burns down. Being in her 60's, in a small city in the interior of B.C. she finds it impossible to find a job. She turns to growing pot.

The characters are endearing, it certainly has the same vibe as the movie cocoon. I enjoyed the characters and I thought the narrator, Kyra Harper, has a perfect voice to bring the main character to life. I am sure somebody who actually grows pot could poke holes in it, but as an outsider, there was just enough detail about growing pot to make it ring true. The ending was a bit too fairytail but didn't detract from the story.

It is interesting that this book came out in 2017, but it must have been written much earlier. Part of the plot stems around this being an illegal activity. But by 2017 people already knew that pot was about to become legal in Canada, and today, everything she did would be legal.

For con men and charlatans, maybe courtiers

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-07


What I hoped for in this book was really about how to be a leader, or a better leader. I was disappointed. The premise of this book is that you can gain power through deceit and trickery. While the lessons might be applicable in a Royal Court, or maybe Politics, except for in the most dysfunctional company, most of the lessons taught in this book would not be useful. It is really about tricks, deceit and backstabbing but never about how to produce anything or motivate people beyond fear. There are a lot of anecdotes to illustrate the rules that the author expounds, but I know at least one of them was wrong. The author states that both Tesla and Edison were up to share the 1914 Nobel Prize in Physics. Rather than give Tesla any publicity, Edison refused and the the prize went to somebody else. Actually it went to Max von Laue for the discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals. But Nobel Prizes don't work that way. Even if Edison had refused they both would have been awarded the prize and Edison would have just refused. But all the publicity would still be there.

The inability to get facts right, the lack of methods of motivation, the focus on deception make me feel this book is for the stupid, sociopaths and or morally bankrupt. Only where power is based on a popularity contest, like politics, or bestowed such as a royal court, would any of this be useful. I guess within the corporate environment it could be used to move up the ladder but you better vacate the spot as soon as possible and sell short on the stock because once you achieve any sort of power, you will be in a position where you don't have a loyal team supporting you and you have no idea how to product anything. Also if you pay attention every "Rule" has a contradictory "Rule". "Crush your enemy utterly and completely" is a rule as is "Show mercy to your enemies you will gain a most loyal ally".

If you are ever hiring somebody that has risen in previous companies but never stayed anywhere more than two years, they are probably the kind of bottom feeder that adheres to the advice in this book. I guess on positive aspect it does have is it elucidates the tactics so you can shut that scum down when you see it.

The last 3 or 4 chapters are potentially useful for regular people who aren't working towards a career as a con man

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Reading the series is a must, doesn't stand alone

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

Reviewed: 2019-08-12

Tim Gerard Reynolds does an excellent job with narration. Since I have listened to all the Riyria books and this series he, to me, is the voice of this world and setting. The story starts a bit slow but picks up speed. There is one part of the book when one of the main characters does something I would consider stupid and I found it pissed me off, and then I realized it is because I actually care about these characters. Some secrets are revealed and my only real complaint about this book is that it is not a stand alone book. If you had not read what came before, you might be ok but probably not and the worst sin, is it ends in the middle of the story. I don't mean the overarching epic, I mean the story that is being told just stops in the middle.