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hdamoca

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Good first book

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-16

This was a good series, not my favourite TEOTWAWKI series, but certainly not the worst either. If you like this genre, this is probably one of the best series of books, though to me it fell flat the longer the story went on.
I do like this narrator, and the book kept my interest long enough to listen to the whole trilogy.
Just be aware, these books that are 2 or 3 pieces are never stand-alones, and if you like one book you sort of have to get the whole series.

29 mins in and I was hooked

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-13

Because of Rommel, The Rottweiler. Because the world may end, but there are still going to be good dogs out there. I need a little bit of good dog stories in my TEOTWAWKI books. "He had a dawg". (End of chapter) and I was hooked.

That and the languid melodious voice of this narrator, who I've never listened to, wow. I am completely captivated by this very different story. I'm just early into it, but this is probably exactly my type of book, I love what I hear thus far. As hard as my last review was to do, this one is going to be easy unless it changes dramatically.

Farming is important. Keeping animals is important. If the world ends and everyone else is gone, I hope to Hell I still have a good dawg, my horses and in lieu of cattle, my chickens. Because you aren't parting me from them.

Grow food people, that's the best way to survive if you're going to survive some apocalyptic event, as long as we have crops to grow, sun from the sky and rain...and some modern medicine, and an ability to hide from people or fight back. And thus far he isn't wrong about how different animals react to different things. All I can say is someone better not eat Rommel 3/4 way thru the book, is all I'm saying.
Maybe this book will bore some people, but it might be a breath of fresh air in an otherwise difficult to write about genre. So far I haven't heard a million things about different guns, for which I'm thankful. It isn't constant shoot 'em up fights an gore, and that's what I like i this book.

This writer can WRITE! He paints pictures with words. And yeah, Odd Billy Todd is a bit like Forrest Gump, but I'm fine with that.

I'd like to like this better...but a honest review

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-11

I'd really like to like this better, and perhaps for it's genre it's better than most recent attempts, but it's no Alas Babylon or Lucifer's Hammer or The Stand.

The End of the World as We know it books need to have more than a few chapters on the before/during event part. I want to know truly what a CME really does, or what a large asteroid strike really will do to the world, as WELL as the "after" part.
You can give people character so they aren't so plain Jane and stereotyped, my biggest problem was following who was who, where they were going, and why were they doing whatever they were doing, back and forth-- and it truly was confusing.

I also started and quit this book several times. Got bogged down at around hour 4 twice.
Kevin Pierce's voice is great, but sometimes with a lot of characters it can get monotonous. I've listened to other books he's narrated and enjoyed him a great deal as a narrator. But for whatever reason I kept starting and losing the story, and was about 18 hours in--when the Cajun Navy showed up, and they were great for that part of story. I've never been in the South but I live where Acadiens still live. (They were expelled from Nova Scotia...)

The skinhead convicts and gangbangers I could do without. Such stereotypical bad guys with weird names like Spike and Slash and Hand and I'm just making up names now... Once the A/C and refrigeration dies, a lot of those folks would die, too. 3 days without water, you are dead or close. Getting out of Super Max should still be reasonably hard. You need survival skills beyond turning on the tap or going to the corner store. Most city folk would simply be screwed in hot weather. (We're country people with a well)

The FEMA thing...well as a non conspiracy theorist, not my thing but there has to be a bad guy or 10. I'm not done the entire series yet, this review will likely change. Kinda lost who was doing what, with the exception of the Coasties who used rank to clue me in on who was speaking.
Honestly in 30 days would the entire world fall to wrack and ruin? Also, where the heck did the congressman go? I'm at hour 21 and last he was hiding in the valley with his injured son in book 1.(He show's back up in the 25th hour, and becomes quite important, so yay.)

Here's the problem with these books and not just this genre but also in Science Fiction--the writing is repetitive and formulaic, the battles are similar, everyone survives on MREs. No one really survives, they just collect stuff from all over. People, grow FOOD! That's how you survive an apocalypse where we're busted back 150 years, do what people did back then.p without any real ending, it's almost like the writers are paid by the word. A couple times I thought--there, end it there. But there usually isn't any great conclusion, just an ending. (I got the Omnibus so have all three back to back, half through 2) This is a problem, I guess to suck more money out of buyers, because a lot of these books should have been half the size and only a single book, not 3 credits.

Ok, finished the book and while it was a tough slog, I did enjoy it in the long run. At least they kind of addressed the growing food issue at the very last hour. I really appreciate the afterward by the writer, enough that I bumped up the story to 5. Wish it was a forward instead.

5* for the Big city dumb shit. :)

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-04

I've read Stephen King since Carrie came out in the 70s, I think his very first novel. I went through high school and college, young, middle and now way more middle adulthood, reading Stephen King. Yep, am one of the Constant Readers.

Not every book or short story was a masterpiece, but to me The Stand, the Dark Tower series are/were. (And Black House...) . I love how he weaves s from other books throughout his entire writing. (So I was convinced, wrongly that "the back half of backhalf" were The Breakers...) I did pick up the "As George says, and we shall not see him again".

I've honestly listened to this book twice, because for the first part I was wondering if he had actually written this, the tone was "different" somehow. Though it reminded me a bit of Firestarter in theme. But it kept my interest, and I kept with it.

As others have mentioned, it started out about the Night Knocker and then we were with these kids in the Institute. Took a long time to get back to him, but hang in there.
As is often the case, this story is about exceptional children. Some of his most memorable characters have been kids, it's a theme of Stephen's, and It isn't frightening or classic horror. It's a good story, I'm on my second listen because you miss a lot during the first pass.

I liked the narrator, he's no Frank Muller or RC Bray or many of the greats but he's good. He did a good job with the characters, though a few times he starts a chapter in the voice of the person he's about to d, but again, not a big deal, and I'd certainly listen to him again.

Yes, there are a few references to the President who shall be nameless, but it is what it is. Annie has it right. ;) (Canadian here, thankfully)
I digress.

More morbid fun in the Annapolis Valley!

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-24

Makes you want to live here, eh? Zombies and zombie rats notwithstanding.

I've really liked this series, with the exception of Book 2 Safari, which I fairly hated, hence a lower rating than usual.
I'm from NS, Mom from the Valley and Dad not far from Tancook Island, so this was a fun romp through our rather strangely inhabited yards for Maritimers. The author has his geography a bit mixed up, and the funniest thing is ole South Mountain is pretty much a hill, but I digress. All in all, unless you are from here, you wouldn't know the difference anyway.

I take issue with a couple things, while trying not to spoil it. God love him he tries but RC Bray makes Newfoundlands sound a bit like demented leprechauns! He gave it a go and then wisely stopped, to understand how a Newfie talks, say Jaysus, say Bye, and we're good me son.

The other thing I take issue with is the use of "Sound suppressors" which we simply do not have in Canada, we aren't Amer-icans, we don't love our guns here in the North. Most don't own a gun, most wouldn't. I understand the writer is trying to appeal to a certain genre, and that genre tends to love guns and battles, but it's hardly indicative of 98% of Canadians. I have a rifle because I have livestock and predators, but we're probably the only gun in our rural neighbourhood.

But into the meat and potatoes of the books, I disliked Book 2 because it made no sense for Gus to lose his mind and start having long and often tedious conversations with the foppish Captain Morgain, and it makes no sense that he would burn down his place after burning the mythological city of Annapolis. I did not "get" the premise there at all. And then book 3 had nothing of Gus at all. While it was a good story, I hated they had to give Scott a love interest when he and Gus were great together. It does get a bit tedious with all the hiding and running and fighting...I just didn't think it was necessary to the story. Oddly enough, women also read this genre or at least I think so. It isn't all about guns.
Funny, I'm listening to an RE McDermott trilogy, and he just made reference in conversation to "Burning down the house, to kill all the rats", as I finish this review. That one's coming. Have many of the same criticisms.
And while I don't know much about zombie rats, I do understand real not dead rats. Real rats live underground, feed in a different area than they live and generally nest in yet another area, generally within 100 feet of their food source. They tend to make bolt holes every 2-4 feet in my chicken barns, they don't like to be above ground except when feeding. Now wit zombie rats, I guess all bets are off...

I have the last book of the series ready to cue up and I'll wrap up this series. It was fun. RC Bray was mostly awesome--the writing is often quite witty and not so juvenile as most drivel we get from this genre...I enjoyed it. It wasn't the worst in the genre. Probably wasn't the best, either.


Zombies...in Nova Scotia!

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-20

I have to admit, I've never watched a zombie anything, or read a zombie anything, but while looking for my next read, I stumbled upon this jewel.
This was SUCH a fun book to listen to, because I'm a Nova Scotian. The writer's taken some (big) liberties with the Annapolis Valley (where there is no city, nothing even remotely like a city), but it was still really fun, and only those of us who actually live here would understand it. Appreciate R.C Bray for not slaughtering the name of Antigonish. Doubt he'd get Musquodoboit right on the first go, though. Maybe we'll see. ;) I also appreciate that he didn't try to give us terrible accents, though a subtle Scotish lilt is fine. (Anna)
What caught my attention was the name of the 3rd book Hellifax. I thought...no, not my Halifax. But it was.

So, I decided to listen in order, and started here. Turns out I really like the writer so far. He's quite funny, and doesn't use childish grade 7 terminology, which makes me happy. It's always nice when a writer can actually write. Made me buy the Omnibus, and if I enjoy it I'll finish the series. I have almost 1/2 this book to go, but I'll finish it tonight.

We're going to have some problems with firearms in later books I know, because in Canada most of us do not have a gun, we are not a gun society here like our Southern neighbours. I have a rifle because we have livestock but without an FAC, you can't buy ammunition. No semi autos, handguns must be registered, and we don't permit silencers here at all. But I'm sure he's writing for the wider US market, who do love their guns.

Self indulgent and not for non Americans

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-18

Ok, so I love the genre we used to call "The end of the world" or post apocalyptic, which is now called any number of things. Much of the time, if it's set in the USA, there's a fair amount of "rah-rah America" chest thumping in the novels. Which would maybe be called "patriotic" to someone of that country, but if you aren't...it's a bit loonytunes. I'm Canadian. Born in the 60s. Lived through the real Cold War. I love my country but do I wish to replay the war of 1812? Nope, no I don't. And in no case would I think that being a British soldier in a re-enactment would give me enough clout after the world ends to become a leader and take on the big evil government! Even if I played a general, too. (I know, I know, technically John is a retired general with no battle experience, but our military doesn't work this way, I don't think your's does, either. Writer is not ex-military, for sure.)

One Second After was good. What I hated, was in the middle of a battle-- in book 1 or 2, I forget--they literally STOPPED before evacuating, and have a conversation about John's daughter being pregnant. In what world EVER would that happen if you had at best an hour to evacuate? No woman would think,"oh, we have to talk about this, now". And neither should a man with sense. It was silly and if it had only happened once it would have been ok, but this kind of stuff happened more than once in the series.
Contrivance in order to wax philosophical or not, it's annoying. I honestly don't believe if we were on our last gasp as survivors we'd really care about a teenage pregnancy, especially not if we've already dispatched our dog(s).

What else did I dislike? All the political foolishness. The US of A is not the only country that READS. Nor do we in the rest of the world really care about President Washington kneeling in the snow, unless we're reading history books, which we aren't. I'm interested in American history, but not when I'm escaping from realism while listening to End of the world books.

This review may change, it's not really a review of this book more a summary of gripes. Still an hour 15 mins to go.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori!

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-16

The fact that this book quotes a WW1 poem we learned 40+ years ago "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" (which our History teacher loosely translated from latin to "It is beautiful and proper to die for one's country) gives this author and book a whole 'nother star!. That poem rocked my 14 year old brain all those years ago.

This is a quite good series. Not great, but very good. Some of the science is questionable and there may be some iffy accents-- but I'm not Southern so the narrator IMO did a fine job. I had no problems going from book 1 to two's narrator, which isn't always the case. In this series, I like both these narrator's fine so it was a non issue. Often changing a narrator mid series can be jarring, but I like Bronson Pinchot so it's all good.

I recently finished The Commune (I need to review it) The Traveller first 3, and Gray, along with the classics. Loved Gray, the Travellor series bored me with too many guns and names for guns (I'm Canadian) it got annoying.

5 stars for Ann Dowd and cast! Excellent tie in

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-13

I read The Handmaid's tale when it came out in the 80s. It's always been a favourite of mine in dystopian fiction.The very first book I ever heard was The Handmaid's tale some years ago. Loved it in audio form too.
I was a fan of the first season, but the show has gone steeply downhill the last 2 seasons, with the exception of some shining stars, one in the form of Aunt Lydia. Love to hate her character, Ann Doyd always knocks it out of the park with her performances. I love Aunt Lydia's TV story, she fascinates me.
So consider me THRILLED that Margaret Atwood decided to reprise both The Handmaid's Tale and to flesh out Aunt Lydia's character in The Testaments. And then to have Ann Doyd narrate her part? 5 stars across the board, just for that!

I'm not going to pick apart or spoil the book, although Aunt Lydia's behavior is surprising in a good way, is all I'll say. This isn't the brilliant literary masterpiece of The Handmaid's Tale, life has changed much since Atwood first put pen to paper for that book. But that's not to say this isn't as brilliant a piece only in a different way. Many of us older Canadians will get the funny/not funny references to "Participaction" commercials of the 70s and 80s on Canadian TV, and quite a few other subtle Canadians.

I enjoyed this book a lot. To me it is a bit too happy ending, I preferred not knowing at the end of The Handmaid's Tale whether Offred survived or not, but that's me. The Testaments is tied up a bit too well but it was enjoyable and really well read by the narrators. Was great to hear Tantoo Cardinal, who I remember from North of Sixty. All the narrators made this a really dynamic audiobook and a great listen.

Buy the book, You will appreciate the double entendre when you hear "PeN is Envy"...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

I cannot believe I am rating it so low

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-10


Generally I don't read books that were written in the 40s or 50s, because as a non visual reader now, I can't get around some styles of writing. Where once it was easier to read the printed page, over the last 56 years I've tried to read Earth Abides 3 or 4 times, and failed. You either love it, or hate it. I did not enjoy this book, although I listened till the last sentence. The narration made it palatable to me.

The problem is- The protagonist, Ish, is a lazy and unlikeable snob of above average intellect and little common sense. I freaking wanted to throttle him so many times- that fount of knowledge who thought a lot and did so little, except talk and breed and think and talk and breed.
Ish--how oh how did you, a man of "superior" intellect, not manage to teach any of your people anything of value? How did you not learn immediately how to become pastoral? Farm, keep chickens, grow corn, learn to ride horses? Cripes I'm 56 and I can do all of those things NOW, and personally would still want to hang around and impart knowledge in the event of an apocalypse, if the zombies don't get me first. For one thing- Chickens make food, and horses mean you can move at speed where vehicles don't go. At least in Neville Shute's On the Beach, they had a pony pulling an Austin Mini or something similar. Being pastoral is easier in some ways than being a hunter gatherer, but it requires work. These people had lots of time and lots of chances to learn the old way of things rather than just subsisting as parasites and scavengers in a devastated world. There are a few things I've learned in my many years as a horse owner and the main thing is I never want to not have one. To know I can technically jump up on my horse (or creak up at least) and ride away from danger is a powerful thing. These people didn't hardly bother with a garden because of pests, how on earth did they survive all those years, stewing in their stupidity? I know, Ish "tried" to school them, but if you are going to procreate like rabbits you should at least give it a go when water runs out- think about what you need to survive as a species and act, not just lay around and think deep thoughts and wish the other people in your little commune weren't so stupid. How maddening it was to listen to this.
This book is a biography of a time and place that we've long departed from, and while it is a classic, it did not turn my crank at all.

On the upside, the narrator did a fine job for the most part and did his best to keep my attention.