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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

Like the previous two Audible unabridged audiobooks I reviewed in the Nightside series, Hex and the City and Paths Not Taken (which form the first two parts of the Lilith story line in Green's ongoing series), it turns out that I had not read Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth before listening to it this past fortnight. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to miss reading this entire trilogy of novels but the end result was that I approached Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth not knowing anything at all as to how Green would resolve the Lilith story. Yes, I knew both Taylor and Nightside survived -- with a fair amount of damage to both I'll admit -- Lilith and her crusade to remake the Nightside in Her Image, but not how. What I noticed this time is how good Green is at creating an alternative version of present-day London in a much stranger reality than ours. For example, well into the story here, there's an extended scene involving enslaved fairies working in a sweatshop that's straight out of the absolute worse excesses of Victoria's Empire. Again, I must note that listening to these stories is certainly the best way to get the full feel of what Green's depicting. The Lilith War trilogy of books represents the longest single work in the Nightside series so far with Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth wrapping up this story quite well. As an audio experience, the Lilith War trilogy is very close to twenty-five hours of Really Fantastic Entertainment for any lover of fantasy. Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

I was once again really, really impressed at how well the narrator, Marc Vietor, does in creating a believable cast of characters who each have their own distinctive voice. I yearn to have him narrate all of the Raymond Chandler Philip Marlowe mysteries, as he would be the perfect person to give voice to those works!

This novel is entertaining look at the early history of the Nightside as initially John, Tommy, and Susie travel backwards in time with the assistance of Father Time. Later in the story, Tommy gets tossed back to present day Nightside, though John and Susie keep going backwards towards. . . . Oh, I'm not saying as you'll discover that yourself.

I will single out two highlights of the novel for me.

First, the look at the earlier incarnations of The Londinium Club -- where those with real power go to indulge in pleasures best not described here -- adds a nice touch to the texture of the Nightside story. I particularly like that the Doorman is apparently immortal! The Londinium Club is reflective of London as it grew around this magical place and Green revels in telling its story.

Second, and a real treat for me, was the long look at Herne the Hunter, His Court, and the Wild Hunt. (Yes, John being the prey. A truly bad idea for Lord Herne as John doesn't play fair. Indeed, Herne will suffer badly for taking on John.) I think I've said before that I considered the Nightside novels to be fantasy, but hearing them makes me think that they are more properly treated as classic English horror as the detailed descriptions of the beings herein and what they do is rather visceral when heard.

Suffice it to say the story, though not resolved, is advanced properly.And the usual high production values of everything Audible does is evident here.

Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

I can now say unequivocally that listening to this story was an immeasurably better experience for me than I had reading (and re-reading) any of the other Nightside novels, as the incredible work done by everyone at Audible makes the story come truly alive. Until I started using an iPod to listen to audiobooks while taking a long morning walk around the downtown area of the city I live in, I had never really appreciated the experience of a well-crafted audiobook, as I simply can't listen to them when I'm doing anything else. All of the Nightside novels are told in the first person singular, as narrated by John Taylor himself. Think Philip Marlowe or perhaps Lew Archer. Yes, he's hard bitten. Cynical. And Marc Vietor's voice work which clearly indicates that he's seen everything life can possibly throw at him. Indeed Vietor truly makes Taylor, his world, and all of the other characters come alive for me in a way that they don't quite do on the page. At best, I can just say the voice work is perfect. And Marc Vietor does all of the Nightside novels! So I envy the hours upon hours of great fiction awaiting you when you listen to all of the Nightside novels!

Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

It has been said by some reviewers that the novels in the Nightside series can be broken down into sections. The first three in the series are considered stand alone novels, linked by the mystery of who John Taylor's mother is and why his father drank himself to death over her true identity. The next three are definitely linked into one narrative as they deal with Taylor's search for her and the consequences of finding out who (and what) she is. The books after that are said to return to the stand-alone plot of the first three. Well, this is sort of true, but not really. A full appreciation of the Nightside series requires that you either read or listen to them from the very beginning with Something from the Nightside to the ninth one so far, Just Another Judgment Day. Fortunately Audible has all nine available, with the talented Marc Vietor narrating the whole series! I can't think of a better way to experience these novels!

Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

What I find terribly cool about listening to this novel is that I can really see, for the very first time, the influence of Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man on the series. The main characters of that novel, Nick and Nora Charles, are clearly reflected in the characters of John and Bettie in this novel. Working together rather well, they solve a complicated mystery by combining their talents in a way which compliments each other quite nicely. (Somewhere in the Nightside series, Green pays homage to Samuel Dashiell Hammett by mentioning that multiple Maltese Falcon are always for sale somewhere in the Nightside. Nice touch, Green!)

Good parts here from a narrative perspective include John and Suzie dealing with the Aquarius Key; Max Maxwell (so named because he so big that his name is repeated twice), the self-proclaimed Voodoo Apostate, at the demon infested Fun Faire fending off really nasty bounty hunters being ridden by the loa Max would like to control; and Taylor dealing with a very hungry T-Rex as he needs to talk to the Collector very badly. The ending of the latter is the single funniest bit of dialogue in the entire Nightside series! (Scariest bit is the part describing Shadow Deep, the Nightside prison. What a nasty place that is!)

Was it better listening to The Unnatural Inquirer than reading it? Definitely yes.

Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

Great story, terrific narration, appropriately used music, and crack production -- which means it must be an Audible digital audiobook! Ahhh, it indeed is!

Hell to Pay is just plain fun to hear voiced as what we get is a well-crafted hard-boiled mystery that adds considerable detail to the story of the Nightside and its denizens in a tightly focused manner. Most of the support characters are not really involved in this story, though some are mentioned are mentioned in passing, such as Susie Shooter and The Punk God of the Razor, Razor Eddie. The latter deserves a horror novel all to his own. This is a refreshing return to the earlier novels in this series as Taylor really does use his own smarts to solve the mystery and bring things to the usual literally bloody conclusion. Good show, Simon!

Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

All of the Nightside audiobooks have terrific production, great music appropriately used, and superb narration. In this first outing, Marc Vietor does a terrific job of portraying the hesitation, the uncertainty John Taylor has at returning to The Nightside after (literally) hiding in London proper. All in all, I'm sure, without giving away any details of this terrific fantasy noir novel, that you'll agree Something from the Nightside is a superb listen. Keep in mind that it is a horror novel or, possibly, really dark fantasy. It's definitely adult in nature, and rightly so. I think Something from The Nightside will hook you rather quickly on the rest of nine works to date Green has written and Audible has made all of them into audiobooks! BLISS!

Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

I have now finished listening to all nine novels in the Nightside series -- a feat that took most of the last six months, as I treated them like radio series by listening to them while I was doing my morning walk along the streets of the city I live in. That's nearly seventy hours of really interesting storytelling. I envy those of you starting the series from the beginning as you have a lot of truly great listening ahead of you for fantasy, when well crafted, has the power to pull you out of this existence and transport you to new places; it's pure escapism at it's very best.

Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

Now I've said it before, but I'll repeat it again -- all of these audioworks have great story, terrific narration, appropriately used music, and crack production, which is true of all the audiobooks that Audible does in house. Certainly I was really, really impressed at how well the narrator, Marc Vietor, does in creating a believable cast of characters who each have their own distinctive voice. Dead Boy is voiced as a weary, seen it all sort of zombie (or perhaps not, as Green doesn't say that he is such a creature; nor does Green say that he isn't). Dead Boy sounds different than John Taylor, and all of the other characters are also voiced in a manner that lets you know who is on stage.

Nightingale's Lament has everything I like in an urban fantasy -- an interesting and very cool protagonist, snappy dialogue, loads of violence, quite a bit gore, a smidgen of sex, weird characters, a bit of a mystery, and a pacing that never lets up. And for once, there's a reasonably happy ending for the client, a rare occurrence in the annals of John Taylor!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-23-10

Green Man Review's Review

Shaman Bond is not John Taylor of the Nightside series and the narrator here is not Marc Vietor, but rather is the more than capable Stuart Blinder, who has his own distinctive style. If you enjoyed the Nightside series, you will find much to enjoy in this series of audioworks.

The other difference is that the stories in the Secret Histories are much longer than the Nightside stories. The Man with The Golden Torc has a running time of over seventeen hours compared to just under six hours for Something from the Nightside, the first book of that series. That does not mean a more leisurely pace as this story positively gallops from scene to scene, and within each scene as well, barely allowing the listener to catch his breath!

I said that Stuart Blinder is not Marc Vietor so I was curious as to how he came to do voice work. This is his illuminating answer:

"I've done VOs for commercials and TV shows but have most fun in audio books. Got the theater bug in the UK but spent most of my career acting being a manager in the corporate world! Been in the US 22 years, the last 4 professional VO actor. Heard George Guidall give a talk on his art and caught the bug. Asfor voices, I try to get inside each character, identify a defining voice element and then think of people I've known or heard that would fit."

He certainly gets into each character, like Marc Vietor, with a great deal of fun. And it's worth noting that The Man With The Golden Torc is a rather successful attempt to mesh together the spy genre with the supernatural which means that some of the characters are fresh spins upon old themes. The bottom line is that for any lover of good contemporary fantasy, The Man with The Golden Torc is a must listen. I certainly found it to be even better than I expected and I expected it to be very, very good.

Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-23-08

Wish it were better...

It's not easy to find a new twist on time travel, but Ken Grimwood hit on a truly creative premise. His characters don't just travel back to the past - they get to relive their lives over and over. And each time they use their previous experiences to relive it in a different way.
Where REPLAY succeeds best is in its examination of how ordinary people use those repeated second chances - for better and for worse. And it has a strong underlying message: most of us won't change the world, yet we can build rich lives by cherishing even the most ordinary experiences.
But it's that ordinariness that makes REPLAY a somewhat unsatisfying listen. Grimwood tries mightily to create an epic romance for the ages between his main characters, Jeff and Pamela. But, to be honest, their love story isn't especially interesting. And even over their many lives together, they barely face danger or conflict. I keep thinking how much more interesting REPLAY would have been if there were an evil "replayer" pursuing the couple through the ages - or some ultimate challenge they were forced to meet. Instead, too much of the book is concerned with mundane events (and far too many forced pop culture references). And I can't recall a single turn of events that was truly surprising; I caught on to the main plot twist far before it was revealed. Still, I was interested enough to hang in there so I could find out Jeff and Pamela's ultimate fate. I just keep thinking that if Grimwood had really pursued the science fictiony backbone of his story, he would have produced a far more satisfying book.
Narrator William Dufris has an engaging, animated voice, and his high register allows him to bring female characters to life in an unforced way. But far too many times he stopped me cold with baffling mispronunciations.
Bottom line - if you like stories with time-twisting love stories, try THE CONFESSIONS OF MAX TIVOLI. Or FLASHFORWARD, if you want harder sci-fi.

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14 of 20 people found this review helpful