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Entries in fantasy (33)


Pyxis: The Discovery -- Audiobook Review

Pyxis: The Discovery (The Pyxis Series), By K.C. Neal, Narrated by Lisa Cordileone. Published by StoneHouse Ink, Dec. 17, 2011. Length: 5 hours, 35 min. Availability: Audible

The mysterious wooden box labeled “Pyxis” belonged to Corrine’s recently deceased grandmother. Filled with glass vials containing various colored liquids, Corrine doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do with the box, but she does realize it’s intended for her use. If only there had been time for Grandma Doris to talk with Corrine before her unexpected demise!

Being a somewhat typical teenager, Corrine divides her curiosity about the box with other pressing matters, like working at her dad’s café, planning schemes with best friend Angeline, and obsessing over the return of her maybe-boyfriend Mason, after his year-long absence on a mission trip with his family. And don’t forget plotting against her arch-nemesis, Sophie, who lives to make her life miserable.

Author K.C. Neal does a lovely job of intricately weaving the magical world of the pyxis into the day-to-day concerns of a group of small-town teenagers. It’s not long before they discover sinister forces from an alternate reality that threaten those they love. It’s up to this unlikely group of teenagers to discover their own latent powers, compliments of the pyixis, which will help them in their fight to save their community.

To the author’s credit, both the real and magical worlds are made much more compelling by her development of the characters. Learning more about each of the main characters drives the story as much as the mystery and suspense of lurking danger.

Narrator Lisa Cordileone takes these engaging characters, lifts them from their print descriptions and gives them three-dimensional personalities that are a delight to hear. Cordileone simply knows how these kids should sound. From righteous indignation to heroic confidence to self-conscious questioning to withering sarcasm, Cordileone voices it all and when she does, you know she has nailed it.

The review copy was provided by the narrator -- I did not hear the copy available from Audible. I did detect a very slight reverb or echo effect in the narration, but my ears tend to pick up on this kind of thing. The final mastered copy may not have this issue, but even if it does, it is not noticeable enough to distract from the listening experience. A preview sample is available on Audible.

Although intended for a teen audience, this title can be enjoyed as an entertaining, rather quick listen for just about anyone who likes teenagers as protagonists. The first in an ongoing series, the second title, Alight, has not yet been published.


Final Crisis- Audiobook Review

Final Crisis, by Gary Cox, multicast production. Adaptation, 8 hours, GraphicAudio, 2010. Reviewed in SF Site by Steven Brandt. READ SF SITE REVIEW

Publisher's Synopsis: Victorious at long last against his enemies on the world of New Genesis, Darkseid has unleashed the forces of Apokolips on Earth. With the secret of the Anti-Life Equation at his command, Darkseid now possesses the ability to eradicate all free will from humanity—and usher in an end to the  age of super heroes.  Facing an ever-growing army of mindless slaves and corrupted heroes, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the remnants of the Justice League of America find themselves consumed by the spreading darkness. They remain humanity’s only hope—the only light that will not be  extinguished in the world’s darkest hour. But at what cost? 


The Lost Gate - Interview Exclusive - Stefan Rudnicki interviews Orson Scott Card about Card's latest nove, THE LOST GATE. The audiobook was relased earlier this month! You can read the entire interview at Blackstone's site.


Blood and Honor, parts 1 & 2: The Forest Kingdom Saga - Audiobook Review and Honor: The Forest Kingdom Saga, Parts 1 & 2 of Book 2. by Simon R. Green. Multicast performance, adaptation 10 hours) GraphicAudio, 2010. A guest review by Sarah Trowbridge.

The kingdom of Redhart faces a succession crisis. Old King Malcolm has died, under ambiguous circumstances which may or may not have involved foul play, and it's unclear which of his three sons is destined to take the throne. According to ancient Redhart tradition, the rightful ruler is the one who can produce the official crown and seal and then survive a blood-oath ritual on the ancient Stone beneath the throne. The trouble is, none of the three princes are exactly king material. Lewis, the eldest, is an earth-magic-wielding warrior with a wicked temper and a tendency to rape and murder the daughters of lesser nobles. Dominic, the youngest, though more scholarly than Lewis, is also ruthlessly ambitious and quite possibly psychotic. The middle son, Viktor, viewed by some to be the least of three evils, is merely a headstrong ladies' man ... one who happens to have spent the last four years banished from court for attempting to murder his younger brother over a woman. Read more...


The Fat Man - Audiobook Review

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but somebody’s got a grudge against Santa and The Fat Man may not be around when it’s time to load up the sleigh. This hard-boiled detective novel comes straight from Kringle Town, delivering a holiday mashup that uses humor to carry a unique story of the meaning of Christmas. The 11-minute podcast includes clips from the audiobook and comments from narrator Johnny Heller and author Ken Harmon. Be sure and give a listen!


The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart - Audiobook Review Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, by Mathias Malzieu, read by Jim Dale. Unabridged (5 hrs) Blackstone Audio, 2010.

Edinburgh, 1874. Born with a frozen heart, Jack is near dead when his mother abandons him to the care of Dr. Madeleine-- witch doctor, midwife, protector of orphans-- who saves Jack by placing a cuckoo clock in his chest. It is in her orphanage that Jack grows up, amid tear-filled flasks, eggs containing memories, and a man with a musical spine. READ REVIEW at SF SITE


The Passage - Audiobook Review Passage, by Justin Cronin, read by Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden. Unabridged (36 hrs, 52 min) Random House Audio, 2010.

"It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born."First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear - of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse. READ REVIEW at Audiobook Fans.


Good Omens - Audiobook Review Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. REad by Martin Jarvis. Unabridged (12.5 hrs) Harper Audio, 2009. Reviewed in Books for Ears. READ REVIEW.

The world is preparing to come to an end according to the Divine Plan recorded in the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (recorded 1655). Meanwhile, a fussy angel and a fast-living demon have grown fond of living among the earth's mortals for many millennia and are not looking forward to the apocalypse.


If I Were You - Audiobook Review

If I Were You, by L. Ron Hubbard, multicast performance. Unabridged (2 hrs) Galaxy Audio, 2008. Reviewed by guest contributor, Gil. T. Wilson. Listen to the review...

Once again, let's jump back in time when authors were paid around three cents a word and pulp magazines in every genre carried thrilling and fun stories. This time we are going to the fantasy genre with a couple of stories, from the Golden Age, by L. Ron Hubbard.


Peter and Max - Audiobook Review

Peter and Max, by Bill Willingham, read by Wil Wheaton. Unabridged (8 hrs) Brilliance Audio, 2009. Reviewed in Fyrefly's Book Blog. READ REVIEW

This tome features Peter Piper and his incorrigible brother Max in a tale about jealousy, betrayal, and revenge. Set in two distinct time periods, prepare to travel back to medieval times and learn the tragic backstory of the Piper clan, a medieval-era family of traveling minstrels. Then, jump into the present to follow a tale of espionage as Peter Piper slowly hunts down his evil brother for a heinous crime