An audio book has two components, which make it either a good listen or bad, or somewhere in between. The writer has to have a good story and understand how to write but the story alone is not enough to hold the reader's attention. And if the writing is poor, the narration is tough . . . to follow and to engage.
This book has two flaws: horrihble writing and terrible narration. To give the narrator the benefit of the doubt, perhaps it's the writing, but in any event, if you respect what a good author and good narrator do, leave this be.
My suggestion is this writer spend a little time studying the craft and that the editor who bought the book be exiled to some land where the written word is banned.
I love historical fiction. Moving between the two time periods was a great way to weave the plot. I felt the book was overly long. So much time was spent developing the first part of the story and then at the end it was "slam, bam, thank you mam." All in all, a great story but better editing would have helped a great deal.
This book would seem to have been written by a breathless teenaged girl eager to please her creative writing teacher. The author follows all the rules kids are taught in writing class: use at least one simile per paragraph; always use an adjective with every noun (two or three are even better); description, description, description! Alas, while this may work well to get a good grade on a high school short story, it makes for tedious reading in a novel. The author also seems to have had the movie rights in mind. During the long explanatory conversations, she practically provides stage directions. There was one towards the end of the book where the words, "He paused," were used so often that I wished I'd though to count them.
The parallel stories are engaging. The characters, though two-dimensional and stereotypical (the plucky heroine, the stalwart father, the evil siren, the brave but doomed leader), are fleshed out enough to hold one's interest in the story. A ruthless but sharp editor would have made a very big difference in this book.
This thing drones on and on, the descriptions of the most mundane things every time we switched from past to present and vise versa were painful. About 10% (maybe less) is in French, why bother?
I had to give it up about 3/4 of the way through (a better book came along). I hope to finish it when I have more free time (I wish I'd bought the abridged version, the story might be good).
I disagree with the previous, negative, remarks about the narrator. I thought that she did a fine job with a poorly written story.
The book was overly complicated considering the fact that the plot was painfully predictable. There were too many characters, pointless details were described in gratuitously ornate fashion, and too often the dialog lapsed into something one would expect from a Harlequin romance.
The basic premise was interesting and there were parts that kept my attention, but overall it seemed that the author either fell in love the the idea of the story, or simply couldn't help herself from going into too much detail.
I very much enjoyed this book. Only one small complaint is the amount of French both old and modern dialects. (I am not a linguist by any means.) You do become used to it and the beauty of the language won me over. Other reviewers have mentioned the skipping back and forth between the two time periods - I did not find this to be hard to follow, the characterization helps to clarify what time you are in. I loved how Mosse brought the two periods together. You will find yourself wanting her to write more about one over the other by turns! Engaging characters and deep relationships - all in all a beautiful and original story.
Excellent narration and accurate history more than compensate for an only-slightly weak plot of the girl in the 1200s. The character of the present-day archaeologist is believable and the story draws the reader to investigate present-day Carcassonne.
I love to read. With two kids and a full time job in management, audio books have emerged as my only chance to leverage this love.
I listen to audio books all the time and have never had as much trouble keeping my attention focused on one book as I did on this one. I physically would make myself listen to it then realize it was an hour later and I had no idea what had happened. The jumps back into time and back to the present were nonsensical and not very entertaining. The supposedly suspenseful scenes were predictable. I think she was trying to be religiously controversial (another crappy Da'Vinci Code spinoff piece of nonsense) and that even fell on its face and lacked real depth in my opinion. The ending was wrapped up in a little bow and served on a little platter of perfectness. It was like putting happily ever after at the end of a horror flick. Nothing worked for me here and I definately give it a big thumbs down. I give it one star because I couldn't search the book for typographical errors.
I disagree with the notion that the narrator was horrible, I thought she was very good. The abundance of French names and places made it hard to follow sometimes, but I thought this was a solid story set against a backdrop of history that was previously unknown to me. It seemed well researched and had a good balance between the old and new, interweaving stories and characters from the 13th and 21st centuries in a compelling way.
I guess the story more or less stayed together but it was very much like a slightly stirred version of the DaVinci Code with some changed names and roles. Enough with the thousand year old religious sects with dangerous secrets about to tear the world to pieces already.
To her credit, some of the historical references were interesting, but they came at the cost of following a laborious and slightly tortuous plot. If you are a die hard fan of medieval religious mythology by all means dig in - otherwise pass it by for something more original. Try Follet's series (World without end, Pillars of the earth) for example, they were fresh and well put together with hefty doses of interesting history.