I kept waiting for this to get interesting. And, sure, Steerpike's ambition was vaguely entertaining, but the story seemed highly dependent upon everyone else being frightfully self-absorbed and dim-witted. I've heard the Gormenghast series referred to as a "Fantasy of Manners." This kind of Fantasy story differs from normal Fantasy tales like 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'The Chronicles of Narnia' in that instead of being exciting, it's unrelentingly boring and in place of highlighting the nobility or redemption of characters who struggle through epic battles, it holds all the characters in sneering contempt.
Maybe books two and three get better, but I won't risk it.
On the plus side, while listening to this, my mind wandered far from the Groan drone, and I realized what I should buy my wife for her birthday (tickets to a Mystery Dinner Theatre) and she really loved it.
I am an avid reader. I have a major in literature. I can only think of one other book I did not finish. That being said, I cannot get into this book. How others compare this to "Lord of the Rings", I do not know. Maybe something in the 2nd half is worth the purchase. I just can't get there. I understand that character development is essential in the Fantasy Genre but this is too much. Do you really need to use 4 to 6 adjectives to describes every stone, blade of grass, and hair follicle mentioned in the book? In Summary: Too Slow!
I found this book a chore to slog through. The author is not at all interested in plot, and it is 100% mood. The characters are all annoying and not likeable, the only one who's interesting winds up being the villain of the piece. They whine and moan and all say how stupid they are and it takes forever to get through it. It's not like I don't have patience for circumlocutions, because I dig on some Victorian literature too, but this was just arduous and painful. I kept waiting for it to get better, kept hoping. The writer does a very good job of injecting mood and laying out the setting, but that's all he's good at.
I have to say I gave it a fair chance at over 7 hours, but it never picked up. I heard excruciating details about several characters and the tidbits about every crack and crevis about the castle, but there was no story! It never went anywhere - zero plot...I couln't have been any more boring. It was compared to Tolkin - I can't believe it!
I love most books that transport me to another time and place & books that uplift my spirit.
To be honest, I first had to listen to the first 4 CD's over and over a couple of times in order to understand what was going on since my mind would wonder onto something other than listening to the book. Peake takes a long time getting you accustomed to the characters, and once you know the characters they are suddenly gone.
His second book is similar in introducing many characters at once, and your mind swims trying to understand what is going on. It is tedious, but I am still listening, and will get the third book because I now know what to expect from this Author. The reader is good. The story is good, but could use a great deal less description of unimportant material relating to the characters.
I picked up this series after a glowing review in someplace like the NY Review of Books (should have known better). Egad. I have no problem with rambling and detailed descriptions, if they are delightful, ghastly, or entertaining. So, i love Dickens and Austen. I've read Mark Heprin's Winter's Tale four times and listened to Susanna Clark's Jonathan Strange twice. But the narration, characters, and endless (and seemingly irrelevant) detail in Titus Groan had me crying Uncle and flipping iPod "channels" after a few hours. Maybe this is one of those works where You Had To Be There when it was first published. I just couldn't find the discipline to slog through it. I would have to be trapped in an elevator or stuck in a foreign hospital with nothing but this series for entertainment to get through it all.
In no way would I compare this book to The Lord of the Rings. I suffered through over 8 hours of this tiresomely boring story. Enough is enough. It never goes anywhere. The characters repeat every single thought or utterance 2 or 3 times. All the characters are,without exception, either stupid or ugly (or both). And to top it off, their voices and accents grate on your eardrums unmercifily. In over 8 hours I heard not a single musical or cheerful dialog. I'm glad I only purchased book 1 in this series! I'm removing the 2nd and 3rd books from my wishlist now!! In this case, an abridged version would be an improvement -- at least 85% could be cut easily!
Characters that you wish would just go away but never do. Tedious writing. Description of every hair out of place but the plot really never gets anywhere. Maybe I don't have the patience for 10 minutes of garbage till they get to the what the characters are actually doing. Which ends up being NOTHING
It is an excruciatingly slow story in which absolutely nothing happens for long stretches of time. It's really too bad because the author has some great characters and draws an interesting world. Unfortunately, over 8 long hours of listening, we were introduced to a handful of people, a baby got baptized, two men fought, and there was a fire. That's it! I'm not kidding. I honestly don't know if I will be able to even finish this book.
No - in fact I am truly surprised that this classic is so boring. I generally like this type of novel.
The narrator is superb. I would definitely listen to him again. The problem is the writing, not the narrator.
Good lord! What a question. I would have cut 8 hours down to no more than 4. So where do I begin? Let me be clear. I NEVER listen to abridged books. There is absolutely nothing for Audible to do here. This book should have been edited down when it was published. It's too late. I would not have bought this if it had been an abridged version.
Great production of a bad book. No one's fault but the original editors at the original publishing house. They should have taken this talented author in hand and cut cut cut.
Why do your people always ask if someone is ready just before they are about to do something massively unwise?
This book is more poem than plot. The performance is flawless, though Audible seems confused about whether it's Simon Vance (who can do no wrong, in my opinion) or Robert Whitfield. If you want someone to paint you pictures with words and aren't too worried about a solid story, go for it.