I don't know what was wrong with this book. In theory, it had all kinds of good stuff. There was plenty of action and suspense. There were smart characters and a scientific (wildly implausible, of course) environment. But none of it worked. Somehow, I think the appropriate response to scalping and bodies pinned to walls and massacres is not falling asleep, but I just could hardly keep my eyes open for it. I don't know if it was the narration or what, but I have never seen so much gore result in so little interest. I kept slogging through thinking that at some point I would find something to like, but I was mistaken.
The narration had good range for the accents, although I found the southern accent grating (I usually do when it's faked). Somehow though, the narration could in no way inject excitement into the action.
When reading a book like this, I want my heart pounding and to be thinking, "O.K., I'll go to work, go to sleep, make dinner- whatever activity- as soon as she makes it safely out of the dark and terrifying room full of scuttling noises and things that go bump in the night." Here though all I thought was, "how can this book possibly have another part to it? Could I stop at the end of this part and pretend the novel cut off suddenly with the death of all of these terrible, unlikable, two-demensional, dull as dirt characters? No? Fine. Whatever. I'll just keep going so it will be over." That is not a happy way to move through a book.
I always try to say something good about any book I review so here it is... Relic is helping me break my bad habit of listening to the next book in any series I start (and then maybe just one more...) in thhe hopes that it will get better. Also, there was one likable, eccentric character who made me laugh. He wasn't in the book terribly long though.
Perhaps this is just not my genre--mixing science fiction into a thriller. If that juxtaposition doesn't bother you, you may love the book. My larger complaint is the overbearing Southern accent used for Pendergast. As a native Southerner, I find that the exaggerated dialect and mannerisms of the Pendergast character make him less credible, and frankly quite annoying. I won't be back for more of this series.
I listened to Relic over a couple of long trips in the car recently. I would describe it as Michael Crichton meets Sherlock Holmes, and the story is engaging.
However, the narrator, David Colacci, turns a good listen into a great listen. He makes the characters come alive. You love Pendergast, root for D'agosta, and want to see Coffee flayed alive. Colacci may be the best Audible narrator I've ever listened to. I was crushed to see the sequel, Reliquary, is narrated by someone else. AUDIBLE, DO US A FAVOR AND BRING BACK COLACCI AS PENDERGAST IN RELIQUARY!
Last, the conclusion to Relic is clever and caught us totally off guard. As soon as the book ended, my wife and I went back to the first chapter to pick up the clues we missed the first time around. An excellent listen.
So much is wrong with this book; where to start? With the cardboard, cartoon characters, I guess. The museum honchos - prissy, silly, clueless. Seriously, they're more concerned about the bad publicity of having to postpone the exhibition opening than the fact that three grisly murders have occurred there the day before, and the unknown person/thing who did the killing is STILL THERE? The hot shot, pompous head of the FBI in NY who snidely dismisses southern FBI agent Pendergast, he of the honey-dripping accent that everyone thinks makes him dim-witted? We immediately know that these folks are in for serious humilation when the sainted Pendergast shows them for fools.
Then there's the narration. The reader is adequate when speaking in a normal voice, but his accents (an Austrian and a Scot sound like Col. Klink and the Gorton Fisherman, respectively) are laughable.
But maybe the worst part is the loud and annoying special effects - tunnel, walkie-talkie, etc. - that had me grabbing the volume control button repeatedly to avoid ear damage.
There was never the slightest sense of tension or threat as the plot progressed. I did get this book on sale, but it was still a waste of time and money.
Without wanting to spoil "plot" details, this reads as a highly contrived story with cardboard characters, and it's almost as if the authors were primarily aiming for a movie deal. There were several points in the story where you just have to say "..ah, come on.. give me a break!". Also, the worst Scottish accent effort by the narrator you are likely to hear. But light listening if you have something else to do at the same time.....
After reading the Monster of Venice, I wanted to check out other books by Douglas Preston and came across Relic. After reading the summary , I dismissed it because I do not like supernatural-themed books. I bought it on sale, not realizing what I bought and almost didn't listen to it. But I gave it a chance and I really liked it. The authors are talented and the characters are interesting. They make something that is unbelievable, believable. The narration is good, too.
This audio novel was just the right blend of creepiness and science fiction. I was on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what was going to happen next. I particularly liked Dr. Frock and the revelation about the monser was intriguing. I'm picking up the sequel Reliquery.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
There was excellent character development. You came to know the characters. I like thrillers where you don't know what is goingto happen (no foreshadowing) and what does happen is believable and unexpected.
Margo Green is a kick butt heroine. She is fearless. Also, this is the introduction to Special Agent Pendergast.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
The narration is well done... characters are narrated consistently and distinctly.
The characters are fairly realistic and fleshed out but the story itself is pretty lame. I read scifi and thrillers/detective stories and thought this would be a blend of the two but it doesn't really hit the mark as either.
You have to accept the existence of a monster, which is fine. But you also have to accept that a museum would not shut down as soon as there were a series of atrocious and unexplainable murders inside it. Then you have to accept that a graduate student would be the "detective" and the "real" detectives more interested in... I'm not sure what they were doing, but they weren't doing any detecting.
I got this book on sale so give it 3 stars. If I had paid full price I would have been disappointed...
Thr3e and any of the Harry Bosch stories are better thrillers. Altered Carbon is a better blend of sci-fi and detective. Artifact is a better "monster" story. Now I just wish someone could point me in the right direction because this is audiobook number 4 in a row that I finished only because I had paid for them.
The story is very flat and there is no suspense at all in the whole book. The narration is also not very good. The narrator creates unique voices, but the recording quality is not that good either. Especially, the sound effects for direct speech are very bad (e.g. echo in the cellar, walkie-talkie voices). It hurts in the ears when listening on an iPod. All in all, not a good book. The newer Pendergast stories are much better, especially considering that Pendergast is not the protagonist in this book and some book catalogs do list this book not as a Pendergast book.