trying to see the world with my ears
Listening to the first 9 novels in this series was my summer 2009 backyard treat. Lang. of Bees is not the strongest in the series --I agree with comments in previous reviews-- so I almost rated it lower, but it's still great listening compared to other light fiction. HOWEVER, had I known the novel was a "part 1," I would have waited for part 2 before starting it. By 2010, I will have lost interest.
I've read all the previous Mary Russell novels, but I just couldn't induce myself to finish this one; ennui was overpowering. To my mind, the quality of both the writing and the plotting has deteriorated with each new book. Please... not another crazy religion. No more endless boring discourse on Hebraic minutiae. Annoyingly, Mycroft Holmes is all over the place in this one, not as a genuine character but basically as a shortcut for the author to provide things for Sherlock and Mary. By making things oh so easy for them, drama is garrotted. The narrator does a creditable job on the English characters, but tortures French accents to death. Maybe the ending made the beginning worthwhile, but I didn't stick around to find out.
This is pretty difficult for me, as I admit I prefer to read on my own rather than listening to someone else read a book. However, I have a long commute, and I listen to audio books as I drive to work each day. I've become accustomed to it, and overall I enjoy the Mary Russell series. There are certain books that I have elected NOT to download, following a bad experience with genre as audio book ("romantic" novels in particular, I found don't appeal to me in this format. When reading these, I tend to "skip" or skim past bits and that can't be done in audio books, at least not easily).
Unfortunately, this one book in the series (so far) has something in common with those books that I don't like to listen to. It contains content that I find even less appealing when read aloud--odd little bits that I might overlook if I were reading, but which you are forced to attend to as an audio book. In this case, the little "quotes" at the beginning of the chapter feel intrusive and uninteresting, and I found it grating after the first few chapters. The other books have similar quotations, but these seem more off putting (some sort of pseudo-religious text, possibly a real one, I can't tell). I can't blame the narrator, it was just a literary device that didn't work for me in this one.
one of my favorite books
Classic Sherlock, because he's clever, but has some bad habits
Rather slow-moving. The details are necessary for the next in the series, but really just as a way to introduce you to the characters and circumstances to come.
It's a bit tedious, but will be worth the read once you get The God of the Hive.
I really enjoy this series of Sherlock Holmes spinoffs. Mary Russell is a fabulous character and the perfect match for the famous detective. The reader captures the tone of the time and does the various voices believably.
A caveat: if you are a fan of Jane Austen, you "may" like this book. For me however, it was Sherlock Holmes--poorly narrated, and as written by Jane Austen (but without Austen's considerable skills).
An hour into a 15(?) hour book I found myself wishing that the bees would swarm and attack the narrator. I don't think I have ever read a book where I started rooting for the villain if only to end the novel immediately. I don't give up on novels, so I listened to the end, and the only satisfaction I gained was in deleting it from my iPod immediately thereafter.
Cliche-ridden writing, tedious "clever" dialogue, and pretentious English characters. Save a credit, there has to be many better books out there.
I have no idea if the narrator is actually English or not, but if she is, her's is the first "British" accent I have heard that I do not like. Then when she tries to imitate a French MAN, speaking British English with a bad French accent . . . it's just painful.
I have no idea how this book has become so popular. I have to believe it is female Jane Austen fans who like the tedious digressions and pompous English society characters, and are willing to forgive the actual quality of the writing.
(FYI, after probably 30-40+ audible listens...I think this is my first one star review.)
Exciting, captivating! It was exciting to listen too! I was carried away into the time period. There was never a good place to stop, I wanted to keep listening till the book was done. I am definitely going to listen to this book again, again!
I happen to really enjoy Laurie King story's of Marry Russell. That said I had listened to The Game First. I was expecting it to be as well written as the Game so I was a little disappointed I think. Still a good listen of you follow the Marry Russell Novels though. It also is nice it gives you some extra back round on Holmes past! I wont give it away but I really enjoyed that bit. Also the reader is excellent.
I eagerly read each of the Mary Russell books, and have also ventured into reading others of Laurie R King's books which are also good, but I was a little disappointed in this one. I thought that the narration was superb. Overall, definitely a book not to miss if you like Mary Russell, but not one I'd recommend to someone new to the series, even if it wasn't chronologically near the end.