Having read a number of books in this genre, this one does not particularly stand out as exceptional or even good. The writing is disjointed and the author leaves many loose threads in her descriptions and the main character is as flat as a pancake. As for the audio bit, the narrator, in addition to the swallowing annoyance, reads the book as if it were her grocery list. I am disappointed to have even wasted one of my credits on this book.
I love stories that are well told, and an audio format is the type which requires excellent articulate reading. Unfortunately, I could not appreciate the narration due to the reader's constant thick sound of swallowing. This may be a story as great as any epic saga, but it's proportions are greatly reduced by it's narrator's clearly audible cotton mouth. Nobody wants to hear saliva coming through their speakers unless the story is about that.
The depth of the the history, culture, and humanity expessesed in the telling of this astonishing life story cannot help but to enrich you long after you have listened to the last of this book
I think this probably was a good book. I will not know if they do not re-record, because the swallowing - the very loud, disgusting swallowing - of the narrator caused me to finally have to put it down. I kept thinking I would get used to it, but I didn't and it began to make me want to gag. I understand people swallow, but I have never heard it on an audiobook. Edit the book, get rid of the swallowing, please!
The last empress of China was a fascinating person and a great leader. This book has little history and is mostly an account of court etiquette. I was bored most of the time. The reader has an interesting voice but a bad habit of swallowing hard every few minutes. So, if you want to learn more about the Forbidden City and the extravagant court life of the Chinese emporers, this may interest you. Otherwise, check out some real history books.
The previous reviews on this recording are much too polite. This is worst recording I have ever heard, and I can't believe anyone would offer this for public sale. Offensive swallowing is just a fraction of the problem. From beginning to end, the recording sounds like the narrator is struggling to breathe at every sentence and then taking deep inhalations from an oxygen mask every few words. I was even more offended by the narrator's disruptive and endless smacking and struggle for salivation from what sounds like untreated severe dry mouth. It is a constant throughout the recording and so severe that the entire manuscript is ruined.
This book is well read but the story is mediocre. I found it really hard to believe a 26-year old "party boy" is as brilliant as everyone seems to think he is. His fast rise to the top doesn't make sense given his actions. And the love plot with him and a fellow employee is stupid. But I like the twist at the end which suprised me because I thought the plot was going along the normal course of an overplayed story. If it didn't have this ending, I would have rated this book lower.