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Audiobook Reviews

There is nothing quite like spending 27 hours gluing individual feathers to a lump of foam to make one appreciate the importance of storytelling as a human tradition.

For now I'm going to keep all these reviews on this page, and if it starts getting uncomfortably long I'll split them up into their own pages according to genre.

Also, the word "review" is doing some heavy lifting here. Mostly these are all worth listening to, unless I specify they suck.

Ctrl+F to search for just the subjects you're interested in.
Tags: SciFi, Fantasy, Queer, Nonfiction, Horror, Mystery

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
-SciFi, Queer

Love this series, it's one of the ones I re-listen to all the time.
Took a little time to warm up to the narrator. He's a little weak on the first book, but improves massively after that. Scifi series exploring personhood and the horrors of unmitigated capitalism.

Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells
-Fantasy, Queer

If you like Murderbot, you'll probably like Moon, and vice-versa.
A lonely dragon shapeshifter who was ophaned as a child finally finds his kind, but finding his place in this strange new place he's supposed to belong isn't easy.
Unfortunately, the last book in the series has a different narrator.

Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
-Fantasy, Alternate History

The Naponeonic wars in a world full of dragons, the series follows a British sea captain as he unexpectedly joins the ranks of the aerial corp after finding an egg upon an enemy vessel.
You're going to want the Simon Vance versions, as that's the narrator that does the full series and it's not fun to switch narrators for recurring characters part way.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
-Fantasy, Queer

After reading this one, I'm mad that slice of life fantasy isn't more of a genre.
Follow a big buff orc lady as she sets aside the adventuring life to open a cafe.

Backyard Starship by J.N. Chaney, Terry Maggert

The scifi adventure equivalent of one of those pop country songs about tractors and nationalism.

The Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen

Chronicles and not trilogy. 20 years later it got a 4th book.
Coming of age story of a boy growing up on an ex-penal colony planet best known for its dragons, who steals a hatchling to raise out in the desert to buy his freedom.

Ancillary Justice series by Ann Leckie
-SciFi, Queer

A ship sets out to kill a god.
Incredible series, solid narration, has solid re-listening value. Aliens, when encountered, are truly alien without the differences feeling contrived. After the ancillary books there are some others in the same setting, Translation State is my favorite.

Children of Time by Adrien Tchaikovky

Somewhat harder scifi than I normally care for, if you can say that about genetically engineered sentient jumping spiders and generation ship travel, but it's worth it. Switches between the accelerated evolution of a new kind of people and the scattered remnants of humanity trying to find a new home.

Locked Tomb Trilogy by Tamsyn Muir
-SciFi, Queer

Unapologetically dramatic prose, grimdark, full of twists and turns. The narration is great and doesn't shy away or try to tone down the intensity of the writing. The only way to get away with it was to fully commit, and this series does exactly that.

Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs
-Fantasy, Queer(background characters)

Is this series "Good"?
But listen, there's a lot of it and the worldbuilding and background characters are reasonably interesting. Like, you know that feeling after you go through the AO3 tag and then you go through it a second time with lower standards?
Anyway, it's about a coyote shapeshifter mechanic in a world full of werewolves, fae, and vampires. If you're itching for some werewolf politics, this may not be the best out there but it comes in bulk.

Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers
-SciFi, Queer

Slice of life in space. Lots of world-building, extremely cozy, though it still hits really hard at times.
Each of the books are fairly self contained, so you don't need to worry much about switching narrators around.

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

This dude has a gift for coming up with fascinating concepts, chasing down anecdotes, breaking down systems into easier to understand components, and just generally has a really entertaining narrative voice.
He's also just full of shit enough that you don't need to worry much about accidentally incorporating his arguments into your worldview without challenge.
Fun to listen to and learn from, but take things with a grain of salt.

Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer

One of my favorite nonfiction books, Carl Zimmer does an excellent job bringing to light how parasites, so often ignored as inconsequential, are massively influential on their ecosystems and a driving force in evolution.

The Book of Night with Moon by Diane Duane
-Fantasy, Scifi

Do you like cats? How about dinosaurs? Norse mythology? String theory? New York City? This book about cat wizards almost certainly has something for you. Takes place in the same universe as the Young Wizard series, but isn't YA

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
-SciFi, Queer(background characters)

Very edgy. Maybe a little too edgy for me. Series follows an exceptional wormhole navigator through corporate conspiracies, diplomatic missions, and revolutions.
Vibes similar to the Mass Effect games.

Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn
-Fantasy, urban fantasy

A werewolf named Kitty just wants to host her late night radio show and make her way in a world where all the other monsters are much bigger and scarier. Series gets darker and higher stakes as it progresses, but the pacing is good.
A bit older, can be a bit jarring to encounter that good cop trope, but less egregious an example than some other series I could name.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

Lovecraftian horror without the xenophobia. Narration is really great. Not sure what else to say, this is a masterpiece.

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Fun take on vampires(and zombies) as parasitic hosts, nice worldbuilding. A little uncomfortably horny.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron

I have to say, the last book in this series could have been a third shorter without losing anything of substance. Bloated with repeating plot points to the point of being distracting, which is really unfortunate because I found the story and characters a lot of fun.

The Daily Grind by Argus
-Fantasy, SciFi, Queer

When an IT guy working at a call center finds a doorway into an eldritch office dimension, it doesn't take him long to realize that fighting for his life against monstrous staplers and dodging exploding coffee traps for loot offers a chance at a better life than tech support ever will.
Part of the 'Lit-RPG' genre where people get videogame-style powerups. It's cozy and wish-fullfilling fluff that shies away from genuine character conflict, but it's fun and there's a lot of it.

Kitty Cat Kill Sat by Argus

An uplifted cat is kept busy running the most advanced satelite base left in Earths' horrendously crowded atmosphere. One of those books that sows enough hints and ramps up the ridiculous factor just slow enough that it feels natural when it's time to harness the full power of the sun to protect the planet.

A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher(Ursula Vernon)
-Fantasy, Horror

My favorite book from my favorite horror writer.
Don't want to give away the plot, just trust that the pacing is tight and there are plenty of clues and red herrings before the true horror is revealed. The southern accent of the narrator is fun, though a few of the character voice choices are a little jarring. The Hollow Places is also a great read from this author.

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle
-Horror, Queer, Fantasy

Yes the campy queer porn writer, no this particular one isn't porn.
A very fun novel about taking on abusive institutions and religious trauma with the power of love(and also fire).

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
-SciFi, Queer

Very much a YA novel, but by far my favorite example of young people overthrowing their oppressive government power fantasy. Solves the obligatory love triangle correctly, avoids the 'family is the most important thing' trope with a vengeance, has giant robots fighting aliens. Does have some issues, but you have to cut a book some slack when you aren't the intended audience.

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Regular millenial gets an inheritence after his rich uncle dies. Said inheritance is a supervillain lair, array of minions, and collection of sapient genetically altered cats and some murderous dolphins on strike.
Like The Kaiju Preservation society, Scalzi creates an appealing world where a regular person is given a meaningful job and circumstances converge so that billionaires die violently as a result of their own hubris.

Mort(e) by Robert Repino

I fucking hate this stupid book.

An insane genius ant queen orchestrates the downfall of humanity and creates uplifted animals to rule over. Could be a cool concept, but it falls apart almost instantly when we're supposed to suspend disbelief that all the pets would instantly turn and kill their people with almost no exceptions. Extremely edgy and violent, but it's not a satisfying sort of violence. Endless bad things happening to everyone, plot bounces all over the place, no coherent theme, and most egregiously the author makes a cougar a major character while not knowing the difference between a fucking mountain lion and a bobcat so you're constantly hit with descriptions of this bobcats' incredibly long, fluffy tail.
Ant queen turns on her creations because they're inventing religion. I have no goddamn idea if the author was making a book about Religion Good or Religion Bad.
Somehow, there are more in this series??? Of all the books to get sequels and offshoots...

Cat Tale by Craig Pittman

A history of the fight to save the Florida Panther. Good pacing, rather grim, but ultimately hopeful.