AVP Aliens vs Predators: Ultimate Prey Audiobook
By: Justin Hopkins
I was thrilled to see this drop on Audible. Was a massive fan of Alien: Bug Hunt and thrilled to see Jonathon Maberry coming back for Aliens vs Predators. I love the Yautja (Predator) and will always take them and the Xenomorphs being brought together. Now, that I have listened to it, multiple times, lets dive in, but just like before. I will do my best to skirt around any major spoilers. Do my nest to talk about the stories within without blowing anything major.
Ultimate Prey brings us Stretching from the old west to current day. On fierce foreign planets and deep space voyage in far away futures. Characters finding themselves caught in a timeless fight between extraterrestrials. One, running solely off of instincts. The other, bound by pride and honor of the hunt. While many, are unsuspecting. Dealing with something much larger then themselves. Others, are aware of the situation, but everyone will be digging down deep within, to find out how far they can push themselves and finding allies in unsuspected places.
Going into it, was most excited for the Yautja and coming out of it, they were my favorite part. How much we got a deep dive into their lifestyles and actions. How much honor and pride they take, in not just the Hunt but their every day lives. the differing opinions they have on humans and how, not only did some of them change based around their encounters, but how they changed the people they were around.
A lot of the writers did something interesting. Which was done in the movies, but did click for me here and that was how different people reacted when dealing with a Yautja vs when they dealt with a Xenomorph. How scared and filled with terror a xenomorph they’d get when encountered by their more animalistic ways. While, their was base level of fear when staring at the Yautja. There was a morbid curiosity, in the foe that more resembles them in a way. More fear would tick in when the mask came off, but by then curiosity had already set in. This was not all the time of course, but was interesting when this did play out.
Loved the callback and references some utilized, such as the Raid on Area 51 event for the basis of their story. Bo’Kui being the ancestor from the Yautja from Drug Wars, in Predator: If it Bleeds anthology. A sequel to Predators and Scott Sigler bringing his world from Aliens: Phalanx back. Fun moments for people who have been following along and great way to get people to go back and enjoy what came before.
I loved the complex character work they bring us throughout. Abuse victim finding the strength to stand up for themselves. A trans character, who had been poisoned and left for dead on a planet in the middle of the battling species. Finding an unlikely ally, who is in a similar situation. On the flip side, you have Yautja’s who are coming to light with issues of their own. Broken pride and honor running deeper then they thought. All of which elevated the stories over just being about the hunt.
Alright, shout out time. Everyone killed it. Standing ovation to Jonathon Maberry and Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Again, can’t imagine how hard it was to narrow this down to fifteen and getting just the right placement. All of the writers did amazing. Pouring so much love and care into their stories and they would be. Even the couple, I was not a fan of, were still good. Just compared to the rest of the lot kind of fell flat. Starting with, Chris Ryall, Steven L. Sears, Delilah S. Dawson, David Barnett, Mira Grant, Susanne L. Lambdin, Jess Landry, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Yvonne Navarro, Curtis C. Chen, Roshin “Rush” Bhatia, Maurice Broaddus, E.C. Myers, Scott Sigler, Jonathon Maberry and Louis Ozawa. We got to call out the narrators as well, being an audiobook and all, and they did an excellent job breathing life into their characters and stories. Starting with, Bradford Hastings, Nicol Zanzarella, Stephanie Weeks, Feordor Chin, Timothy Andrés Padon, Soneela Nankani, Chelsea Stephens, Hilary Huber, Erica Sullivan, Sura Siu and Shiromi Arserio.
3. Abuse, Interrupted 2. First Hunt 1. Blood and Honor
This was a blast of an anthology. From great character work, deep dives into the Yautja and some terrifying moments with the Xenomorphs and some peeks up their own hierarchy. The pacing was perfect and even the ones I didn’t really take to I would listen to again. Just because I had such a good time in general. Check it out if you haven’t. Final Grade – S
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!
Cemetery Girl: Book 2 Inheritance Audiobook Review
By: Justin Hopkins
Off the excitement I had leaving the first story in Calexa Rose Dunhill’s story. Was eager to jump to the next story, Inheritance. Which going off the title sounded pretty ominous. Didn’t read the description, because I preferred to go in blind, but started to worry about the safety of the returning characters. Lets jump in and see if my fears are warranted shall we.
We start off two months down the road. Winter growing closer and Calexa is talking to the stone angel, before heading off to Lucinda’s for dinner. Lucinda is beginning to get more worried about her. Not wanting her to suffer winter in the Cemetery and trying to convince her to go to the cops for help. Calexa is not quite ready and doesn’t want to move into the spare room because of fear of being found, but agrees to stay in the attic bedroom for the night. Where she has a dream about being haunted by the ghosts on Dunhill. Troubled by the fact that she can’t help them if she can’t help herself. Awaken by a sound. Getting downstairs to find Lucinda being attacked by a masked assailant. Stabbing her before she could stop it. Knocking the knife away from the attack which scares them off. Holding Lucinda close as she fades away. Seeing her spirit rising from the body, but to her dismay, flies into her instead of flying off. After a flurry of memories wash over her. She begins to clean the house of any of her prints before calling the police before fleeing back to the cemetery. Watching the scene from her tree. Swearing to find out who did this is where I will leave it for now.
This was more of a whodunit story as opposed to the first one .It was a gamble to kill of Lucinda this early on, but they used it to maximum effect. Really throwing Calexa’s make shift world upside down. She still has the same issues of not wanting to be exposed yet, but now she doesn’t know who it was or if she is in danger. She doesn’t have the skills to solve it on her own. Leaving you wonder who it could be and keeping her on her back foot and reacting to most of the things around her. The wildcard of Mason and if he wasn’t going to take it upon himself to call the cops. Then they throw in the element that Lucinda left everything to her, but if she came forward, she would risk exposure and it all worked so well.
This was as much of a stepping stone to the next story as it was a sequel to Pretenders. Setting up Kelner as someone who is going to get behind her in more of an assertive way while at the very end, they end with Mason being left alone with a man wanting to know all about the ghost of Dunhill Cemetery. Ending with a massive cliffhanger and what could possibly happen next.
Graphic Audio continues to knock it out of the park with their audio books. Sound Affects and background noises, all down to the smallest details are top notch. Emilyn McFarland has really got Calexa down pat. Chris Stinson was a nice addition as Mason and look forward to seeing how he plays out in the next book. Same with Andy Brownstein’s Kelner.
There was a negative to this though and that was having the gang involved. They didn’t add anything to the story. Were suppose to try and lead you to think they were involved with her death, but never at any time did I suspect them and to lead her to where she needed to be for the discovery. Which could have been done another way. Small gripe but still a negative for me.
This was a fun story that has definitely built my excitement for the next installment in the series. Would strongly suggest giving this audio book ago and can’t wait for the finale. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
Alien Out of the Shadows Audiobook Review and discussion
By: Justin Hopkins
This is probably a long overdo review and not talking about the fact it came out in 2016, but the fact I first mentioned it back in December during another blog, but after having a great time during the Cemetery Girl Audiobook Review. Decided to return to this one. A story with a bit of a strange premise. Taking place between Alien and Aliens and not one return, but two. Let’s dive in and see how it did shall we.
The story starts off on the ship called the Marion. A mining vessel above planet LV-178. When a distress signal comes from two returning ships, the Delilah and Samson. The Samson manages dock, but they witness aliens killing everyone on board on the video feed. Leaving them to seal the dock door to keep them locked inside. While the Delilah crashes into the ship. Causing significant damage and sends the Marion into a slow descent toward the planet. Leaving them with no other option but to send a distress call in the hopes of being picked up before the ninety day count down to being burned up in the planet’s atmosphere. After a while though, they realize that there long range antenna was damaged and they don’t know how far out the signal has gotten, but a ship has in fact picked it up and was on it’s approach. The Narcissus, The escape shuttle with Ellen Ripley still in stasis from her escape of the Nostromo… 37 years ago. After shock of not only hearing that, but that the nightmare she barely survived once, is currently here and worse this go around. Her and Hoop go to the Narcissus to find out how she got here and Hoop checking on its conditions. To see if it can be used to escape on. She finds that Ash, the Android who tried to have her and her crew killed in its attempt to bring the alien back to Weyland-Yutani, had downloaded his programming onto the Narcissus computer and had been controlling where the ship went. Hoop shut him down, before returning to the Marion. Gathering everyone together for the news that while it was not the best, but the Narcissus was their only way to escape, but they would need the Fuel Cells from off the planet and the Samson was the only way down. Would deal with Ash once they were a safe way away. Just barely managing to deal with 3 of the 4 aliens aboard the Samson, the final one getting loose, but they leave it for the time. They head to the planet, but Ash has gotten into the Marion’s systems. Laying out plans to continue his agendas of bringing an alien back to the company and that is where I will leave things for now.
This was a really fun, intense story. Showing a crew of people trying to put their collective skills and handful of weapons together and try and survive against multiple xenomorphs and a destructive AI tilting the board against them. Having multiple aliens and spending time on the alien world, with signs of what the planet was like before the Xenomorphs wiped them out and covered by the storms with Seddon after being impregnated with a chestburster and what was going to happen to them towards the end, because we already knew where they had to end.
Obviously a big worry was the inclusion of Ripley being a part of this. Since we know that she is going to survive and go back into stasis alone, but they worked around that really good cast of characters. All of them were charismatic and no one was trying to work against the other. Just trying to survive. From Lechance and Sneddon and Kasyanov and Chris Hooper. Hooper even did survive at the end. Being forced to escape in an escape pod after not being able to make it back to the Narcissus and would love to see them bring him back at some point cause he was a good addition to the story. Then you get Ash in the form of this AI puppet master was just the perfect touch and may have had the most gruesome kill on Kasyanov.
The big production they had was awesome. The background sounds were all just fantastic of sirens and elevator falling. The screams and screeches coming from the Xenos when they attacked and scurrying through vent ducts. Topped off by some excellent performances from the Voice Actors. Laurel Lefkow played Ripley so well. Not only did she sound exactly like Sigourney Weaving, but got into the character so well. Andrea Deck as Kasynaov and Mac McDonald’s Lechance and Corey Johnson’s Hoop… everyone involved did amazing selling the horror and desperation of the characters and brought this story to life in wonderful fashion.
My only real gripe with the story is Ripley having her memory wiped. I get why they felt like they had to do this, but they didn’t really have to do so. When she finally did wake up, would have just chalked up the events to one of many nightmares since there was no evidence on the ship of the stop on the Marion.
As you could tell, I had a blast with Out Of The Shadows. Start of a trilogy that at some point will be checking out the other two, but do strongly suggest checking this title out.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.