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Gentleman Gamer

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A Good Entry, Though My Least Favorite

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

Reviewed: 2018-09-19

I really really really like the Strike series. It's not really due to any one factor in particular- the fact that JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame is the author, that the leads are likable, the mysteries interesting, etc.- but because of multiple. These are well written, believable and engaging stories that captivate the imagination and draw you in, and Career of Evil is no exception.

And yet it's my least favorite of the series. Objectively, there's nothing wrong with it; the story of Strike and Robin having to deal with a demented and sinister serial killer who's determined to ruin and end their lives is captivating as ever, and the development for both of them is likewise interesting.

On a personal note however... it's just hard to read. Apparently I have no problems reading and re-reading a story where a model falls to her death or a writer gets disemboweled, but I do with this; weird you'd think, but there's a solid reason behind this. The misogyny and savagery of the killer when reading from his viewpoint and the bleak, harrowed atmosphere that follows Strike and Robin through their investigation makes for an interesting story, but not a fun one. When you really engage with the story as I have, elements like this rather detract from the overall experience; the story remains interesting, but less enjoyable.

But hey, I'd still recommend the first two books highly and I'd equally recommend reading this at least once after doing so. Just don't buy this expecting wanting to do so more than that however, if you're anything like me.


#Audible1

1 person found this helpful

Strobel hits it out of the park

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

Reviewed: 2018-09-19

The problem with apologetic work, I realize, is that invariably there can be a bit of confirmation bias.

If you're a Christian, as I am, then you naturally appreciate the way Strobel and his interviewees methodically present compelling cases and scientific evidence for Jesus' life, integrity and overall impact: but then, you went into the book expecting no less. It can be hard then to really analyze the book critically; examine it for flaws or areas where the arguments could've been made stronger.

If you're an atheist and read this book, it can be likewise be hard to open one's mind to the arguments unfolded here; not keeping an open mind to the evidence, but instead coming in with a predetermination to not believe a single word written and argue against it however possible. Maybe not every atheist reading will necessarily be so closed minded I grant, but that certainly might be a temptation.


So to both Christians and atheists and whoever reads this book, just as Strobel does, I urge you to keep an open mind and read this intelligently. Weigh the evidence presented, see if it has merit in and of itself. If so? Go where the evidence leads. If not? Do your own research and follow up on your questions; don't just immediately drop the book and walk off.

Either way, I highly recommend this book as a starting place in your intellectual journey.

#Audible1

1 person found this helpful

Unexpectedly Helpful

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

Reviewed: 2018-09-19

I got this book on a bit of a whim, not entirely sure why; I'm a 20 something male university student, and while cleanliness is nice to me, it's not exactly high on the priority list if I'm honest.

This got me to care however; it went into depth on why tidying is important, how it effect you and most importantly, how to take some of the hard steps needed to be tidy. Even if you're not someone who normally likes self-help, 'how to be more organzied' sort of books, this still comes highly recommended. As someone who's not in that camp myself, it was helpful to me.


#Audible1

5 people found this helpful

Fantastic, Interesting, Inspiring

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

Reviewed: 2018-05-03

The best reading of Lewis's story as I've been able to find on Audible. Peter Noble has a voice that is expressive and able to change 'character' when need be, but which is likewise able to read a lot of thoughtful exposition without boring the reader, and in fact achieves the opposite. So yeah; this comes highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

An Excellent and Versatile collection

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

Reviewed: 2017-12-06

I tend to, in my own mind, separate Lewis' works between 'the familar' and 'the difficult': that's not to say that one or the other is better per se, but to deny that there is no such distinction, to suggest that all of Lewis' works are easy to get into would not be true. The Problem of Pain, the Abolition of Man, and especially Miracles are all titles that I would classify as 'difficult' reads, whereas Mere Christianity, the Screwtape Letters, and the Weight of Glory are comparatively much easier for the layman. The former works aren't beyond the layman necessarily in terms of language or logic, but they demand you give your full and constant attention, or else risk being lost and confused mid-argument, unsure of where your attention 'dropped off'. Or at least this is the case for audio versions of his work; I couldn't tell you if this is similarly the case for the print versions.

Here though, there are a good mix of his works; both some of his 'accessible' and some of his 'difficult' essays, letters, sermons and such are here. This is nice as a listener as it adds some variety in both content and in quality. Moreover, due to each work being on a different topic, you don't have to feel bad about 'skipping' works that you find a bit too dense to tackle, or else feels irrelevant. Moreover, there are some real gems here; Chapter 4 in particular, titled 'Equality' I believe, was fantastic, and will be something I'll have to come back to again, as it makes some excellent points on practical 'evangelism' for the modern day Christian.

In conclusion, I ought to add that Peter Noble does a great job at narration. He does sound a bit like a schoolmaster and thus may bore some, but for others- myself among them- he speaks in a relaxing tone, and communicates Lewis' messages clearly, fluidly and with proper emphasis throughout. All in all, no complaints.

So yes; with good content, a solid narrator and a cheap price, this comes quite recommended.

1 person found this helpful

Excellent Dramatization

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

Reviewed: 2017-11-14

Wasn't quite sure about the voice of Poirot at first, but he grew on me with time, and the rest of the cast gives an excellent performance. All in all, well done and highly recommended.

P.S: Please Audible, please give us more full length dramatization of Christie books; I really like this, and would love to see more.

5 people found this helpful

A Treasure of a Tale

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

Reviewed: 2017-10-12

Having listened to the original novel of Treasure Island, when I discovered that Audible recently published a full length dramatization of the tale, I was immediately interested. Despite its age Treasure Island spoke to me; it had a spirit of adventure to it, while also having a something to say about the dangers of treasure and what it does to you when you're always seeking after it. It was an enjoyable story; so then, how does the dramatization measure up?

-First off, it's well cast all around; Jim and Long John Silver in particular were well done. I wasn't sure about the casting of Silver at first, but his reading grew on me after a while: you can really buy how such a man can come across to different people underestimated, overestimated, liked, feared, believable and seemingly honest as well as deceptive and two-faced, all within the course of a story. Such a role is hard to capture and do well, but it IS done well here.

-Moreover, the length feels just right; they capture the plot of the original story almost tic for tac, with pretty much every scene and piece of dialogue- if sometimes paraphrased- making its way in here. Yet nothing feels drawn out, or like it shouldn't be there; the story is well paced, well told, and as engaging as ever here. Perhaps more so, given how unlike the audiobook, each character has their own voice.

-The only minor detractor for this version of Treasure Island is that there ARE a couple of changes done here and there to improve the flow of the story. That's all well and good, but to be honest, I didn't like the ending as much: without spoiling anything, the ending landed on more of a sombre, darker not then in the original, and I'm not sure it was an improvement. Nonetheless it was still fitting for the story, and didn't detract too much for my enjoyment of the story all in all.

In conclusion, if you've read Treasure Island before? Pick this up. If you've LISTENED to it before in audiobook format? Pick this up? Never read OR listened to it, period? Pick this up. This drama is something I can heartily recommend to everyone: it may not become a new favorite for you, but I'd be surprised if you didn't find something to enjoy in the thing. And then again, I wouldn't be surprise if it DID become a new favorite story of yours by the end of it.

The Best of the Poirot Short Story Collections

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

Reviewed: 2017-10-05

Though the funny little man with the egg shaped head and luxurious mustache has filled out most of the queen of crime's bibliography, he has excelled generally more in his novels then in the short stories. Oh, he has good short stories alright, but compared to the likes of Miss Marple, Mr Quin and Parker Pyne, they generally fall a bit short. They're not bad, but they don't quite reach excellence like his novels do.

The one exception to this is this collection of short stories, The Labors of Hercules. I'm not sure what sets this collection apart per se: the semblance of an overarching narrative perhaps, maybe the running theme, maybe the diversity in tales represented, maybe maybe maybe. But whatever the reason, I find it the best of his short stories; moreover, even if you disagree, there'd be seldom denying I think that this collection has Poirot go a greater variety of quests then any other collection. From solving a kidnapping of a dog to escaped murderers to reuniting lovers to proving an 'insane' man sane, there's no lack of interesting setups with equally interesting conclusions to the various problems. And whereas in other collections I might be tempted to skip a tale or two, there's no such one here to bore me.

Between that and excellent as usual narration by Hugh Fraser, this collection does no wrong. Be you an old or new Christie fan, you owe it to yourself to check out these stories; you won't be disappointed.

3 people found this helpful

A Thrilling, if Sombre Mystery

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

Reviewed: 2017-10-05

I've listened to most, though not all, of Agatha Christie's mysteries in audiobook format; moreover, in the case of one mystery having different narrators, presuming I enjoyed that particular story I'll also listen to it multiple times just to gauge which reading I prefer. Maybe a bit extreme, but as you could probably guess I'm a big Christie fan.

Now, while the second telling isn't available on Audible, 'Murder on the Orient Express' has two narrators to my knowledge; Dan Stevens, and David Suchet. Hugh Fraser in other cases puts forth Christie's sense of humor quite brilliantly, showing the comedy of every scene beautifully; Suchet may not be arguably as comedic, but can do character rather well, particularly where Poirot is concerned. Dan Stevens however, brings gravity to his readings; he makes us feel the full weight of the characters, the situation, the tension, the emotion, etc. More so sometimes then the original book may have done.

In the case of Murder on the Orient Express, I'd argue that while the book loses some of the 'coziness' associated with Agatha Christie and a bit of the humor, ultimately this is a good reading of the story. Without going into detail the crime and the backstory behind it are both shocking and grave enough, and Dan makes you really feel that. Moreover, with a large cast involved and a large variety between their nationalities, he successfully makes each one feel unique, believable and come to life. Between that and an engaging, sonorous voice, he makes the world of Agatha Christie and the setting of the Orient Express come to life.

So all in all, if like me you generally are used to other narration where Christie and Poirot is concerned, I'd give this one a shot nonetheless. To the rest of you who haven't read a Christie or a Poirot before, this would be a good place to start. Whichever boat you're in, just know that Dan Stevens does a fine job here, and well makes the time you'll sink into this story worth your while.

5 people found this helpful

Wickedly good and spiritually instructive fiction

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

Reviewed: 2017-09-26

This is typical C.S. fiction; an enjoyable story, but also one with a distinct point to it, and several underlying messages to take away.

The story is simple: a highly experienced, 'senior' tempter by the name of Screwtape sends a series of letters to his novice tempter nephew, advising him on how best to tempt and guide his 'patient' (a.k.a a human living in wartime Britain) so as to best lead him to 'our father's house' (meaning hell). They're technically the protagonists, but while there is a snide wit to Screwtape's writing that is appealing, his wickedness and contempt for humanity shines through every page. He delights in pointing out 'simple' misconceptions we form of God, ourselves and the world around us, and how they can take those errors and use them to guide us away from 'the enemy' (God). He and the rest of the demons clearly delight in our misery and despair, and get angry as well as increasingly desperate when we escape the traps and paths they set us on.

This method of storytelling works wonderfully well for what Lewis is going for; whereas a series of messages about Christian behavior and living would be instructive, somehow telling it from the perspective of the devils who want us to go down a different path makes it all the more engaging. This is helped enormously by the deep, sonorous, intelligent voice of Joss Ackland, who pours Screwtape's personality into every sentence and makes what's being said all the more riveting. Close your eyes and you could really believe that it's a devil talking instead of a person on the other end, really advising another demonic being on how best to tempt us.

It might be a bit unorthodox or dark for some people's tastes, but otherwise I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for good Christian fiction, some darkly instructive teaching, or wants to experience some of the best of CS Lewis' writing. :)