"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
This book was a home run all over! Excellent narration, superb storyline, engaging and interesting characters, great imagery and poignant.
The reviews for this book are indicative of how excellent a book this really is. The entire book was done so incredibly well! When I first got this book I didn't really know what to expect, in fact I didn’t even know there was a movie about the book and had I known I probably wouldn’t have got the book due to my aversion at times to overhyped books turned movies... Good thing though because I would have missed out on a very good read...
I found myself fascinated with how the Sara Gruen (the author) introduced Jacob at 23 and at 90 or is it 93 (you'll get it when you read to it). The different struggles with Jacob at these two different stages of life is manoeuvred quite will and interwoven immaculately with the main storyline. I like how the author was able to introduce the topic of growing ‘old and irrelevant’ at one end of the spectrum and being ‘young and impetuous’ at the other end. In both stages (the young and old Jacob) the common thread is tragedy and loss in a sense but eventually finding one’s place once more.
The myriad of characters are all very interesting (as one can expect from a circus) and the relevant characters were all developed quite well! I found all the major and minor characters fascinating... Rose Marie, Uncle Al, Marlena, Camel, Walter, August... I honestly didn’t think any of these characters were short changed in terms of character development in this book and you get to peer into each of them even if it’s just a bit.
Unlike a lot of books that tend to run on incessantly, providing you with seemingly useless details, Water for Elephants doesn't do that. Nor was it too short, it doesn’t leave you thinking that aspects of the books were rushed. It hit that sweet spot that so many books miss some times... that clear, nice balance of not being too long but not being too short and yet still leaves you wanting more. It has its sobering moments that make you nod silently in approval and smiles inwardly leaving you to go through the book a little slower, not wanting to miss the salient, poignant points being mentioned. It of course also has those nail biting moments that makes you sit up a little bit straighter and has you rushing the book trying to figure out what’s next and how everything is going to unfold. The closure at the end of the book was poignant enough and very fitting, but yet I wanted it to continue because it was just so good.
Narration like this is what makes Audible titles and Audiobooks in general worth listening to. David LeDoux portraying John in his 20's was great but John Randolph Jones portraying John in his 90's is AMAZING! I like multiple narrated books and this certainly did not disappoint in any way, shape or form. Inflections were on par, strength of tone was excellent and pacing was superb... A better cast they could not pick and they brought life to these characters in a way I doubt much other narrators could.
I would recommend this to anyone. Excellent writing, pitch perfect narration, engaging story, poignant life truths, sobering in all the right areas, fun in others, great timing, great character development and a very fitting closure. GREAT STUFF!
I love these books that are narrated by three persons! Along with 'The Help' that I rave about constantly, the 'Boleyn Inheritance' is one of those. Exquisite writing, matched with beautiful narration made this book a joy to listen to. I must say though, the only reason this book does not get 5 stars across of board is because I listened the Abridged version (by mistake of course because I normally never listen to Abridged books unless I must). The narration in the Abridged book was just plain better, the one here is great, superb, beautiful, but the other one is in fact better. Do not let that stop you from getting this book though! I would also suggest you give 'The Other Boleyn Girl' a listen too prior to this if you can because this builds so well from it.
Overall... if you like Historical Lit set in that Renaissance period... You will LOVE this book!
It's hard not to find Phillipa Gregory skills downright envious at times. She has a way of taking you there that all writers try to do and only the really good ones are able to achieve outright. This is the type of title that you can sit back in a dark room and allow yourself to be taken there. I was taken there many a times just listening to the narrator, listening to the engrossing story.
The story of Mary Boleyn (the other Boleyn girl) is one of pure intrigue. You cannot help but pity her and how she seemed to be used and manipulated for his family's ambition. She seemed genuinely an honest woman, a true 'rose' of the court despite what she seemed to be doing to Catherine of Aragon, she did still seemed subservient to the queen at the time. Anne Boleyn's character takes a new light in the book and see a woman somewhat blinded by ambition who is thrust in a situation that she simply could no longer control. You see the transformation of the King from a handsome young man to a cruel old man. You see the constant struggle of George Boleyn with his marriage to Jane and his sexuality. The uncle... Uncle Howard... you see the start of his treachery which carries over to "The Boleyn Inheritance". You also see the fall of the strong and majestic Queen Catherine of Aragon. The entire story itself is enthralling.
The narrator does a really good job. I thought I was listening to Mary herself throughout the book, or at least how I think Mary would sound in my mind. She does a very good job of taking you to that moment in time, you sense the childish romanticism as a teenager and her maturing into a woman, a mother, you can feel her fear as things in the court became more dangerous... Absolutely beautiful narration in short.
Librarian, Avid Reader, Audiobook Addict!
I did end up listening to this book on audio because I had a hard time getting into the print version. The Narrator Simon Slater was excellent and his mastery with all the different voices helped keep all the characters straight. If I were rating just the audio quality it would be a 4 - 41/2.Will be seeking out what else Simon Slater has narrated.
As for the Book -I did enjoy this book although it is rather confusing because so many people had the same names. I also think if you have no prior Tudor knowledge this book may not be for you. You need to know some of the players and history for this book to make sense. If you are a huge fan of the Tudors and would like some background into one of the minor players (With the Royals being the major ones) then this is for you. It was very well written but not a book I would read twice. the book itself 3 1/2 Stars