I listened to this through the end hoping it would get better, but was very dissapointed. The plot is implausible at best, the characters are generally dislikeable and the author often fails to build the proper foundation to make their actions believeable. Very shallow writing with a thin, unlikely, and predictable plot.
First Council contains many insights into the workings of the executive branch. Questions of trust intermixed with interesting plot turns permeate the book. It kept my interest!
I like this book! I'm sure Brad Meltzer likely takes some liberties with life working in the White House. However, you get a good feel for what it might be like to work there. While the audio is long (14 hours), I was interested and always wanted to see what happens next. There were a few moments when the dialog got choppy and hard to follow but I chalked it up to fast talking between characters. (Remember, a few moments out of 14 hours.) I did not like the ending but a couple of my friends who have read the book said the ending "makes sense". I actually liked the narration although some of the reviews on this site make me wonder if I need to go back and listen again. To close, I give it 4 stars. Good story! Good dialog! Great setting! Better then ok narration.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but Scott Brick's narration drove me crazy. He would whisper some lines and then start shouting. I listen to the books while driving and was constantly adjusting the volume. A more consistent narration would have made this a great book.
I finally just finished The First Counsel and am forever grateful to be finally out. The charactors in the book are all the same in mannerisms and speach. You could make a drinking game out of the repeated phrases such as "Are you insane?" or "Don't lie to me." You can't help be be frustrated with the sheer stupidity of all the charactors and it didn't help that the narrarator made everyone sound angry all the time. I had read another book by the author and was disappointed with that one as well. If you want a good book where the charactors are smart and the story a little too real at times, try Vince Flynn. He has 5 books in all that are part of a series but unfortunaltly audible doesn't have the first two but I started my husband out on the third and he was able to pick up the story with no problem what-so-ever. If you like it too, join me in requesting audible get the first two books for downloading.
I think I'm being generous giving it one star. I'm finally to the last CD. It's a very tedious read. The narrator was too over-dramatic for me. At times, he spoke so softly I couldn't hear him. Other times I am turning down the volume because he is screaming.
It seems the author managed to get a very in-depth tour of the White House and built a novel around it. It seems much of the tedium comes from the fact that he devotes too much time to inventing scenes so that he can incorporate every stop on his White House tour.
The characters in the book were simply unbelieveable. Nora was such a flake. Michael, too stupid for his own good. The dialogue was just plain awful.
This was my first Brad Meltzer novel and will be my last.
Two books a month for longer than I can recall. A mix of 2 to one fiction to non fiction listens. Fiction includes King, Koontz, Lincoln Child, Douglas Preston, Michael Connerly, Evanovich, Joesph Finder, Brad Meltzer, Tess Gerritsen and Patterson. Non Fiction includes musician and political biographies , business history and economics.
I enjoyed the story as much as "The Zero Game", but I had the a major problem with the narrator. I had to constantly raise the volume to hear him and then he would yell out and and blow out my ears. The process got so bad, I just bought the book. The narrator is dire need of a compressor on his voice. Story five stars and the narrator none.
While I would agree with many of the reviews here which detail volume issues with the narration I believe that those issues are overshadowed by problems with characterization, plot, and suspension of disbelief. One issue I found very distracting was the gender disparity in the narration. Maybe it was just another problem with the narration but I could swear that multiple times a female character was referred to as "he" and vise versa.
I found the characters almost entirely unlikeable. That may have been Mr. Meltzer's intention but without empathy for a protagonist who - while he should be considerably intelligent as an attorney in the White House - came across as unwise, and hampered by an inability to make good decisions. A leading character - his girlfriend - who comes across as not only overly spoiled and immature but flawed to the point of real distaste for the character. Cliché after cliché run rampant and I was left wondering in what universe these two would possibly exist and survive....
Without real empathy for the characters or a resultant interest in their affairs the plot just sort of crawled along...why do I care what happens to these characters? Is it just because they reside and work within the White House...pull that plot device out and you wouldn't give them the time of day. Why do I feel suspense for characters who consistently make choices that go against what I basically believe that their character would generally do? It's hard to watch (or listen to narration about) somebody make repeated poor decisions when you can't justify to yourself their actions.
I've very much enjoyed Mr. Meltzer's work in the past (and expect to enjoy it more in the future) and as I mentioned before - maybe this was his intent with these characters - but for me; I cannot believe what I am hearing/imagining as I listen and that spoils it for me.
The most interesting to me would be the aspect of an insiders life within the White House. The characters, their motivations and their thought processes was the least interesting.
Audio quality issues (volume) and what may have been some enunciation problems.
"The First Counsel" has lots of problems, some of them technical, but not all of them. Yes, the sound quality leaves a lot to long for, as the other reviewers have mentioned. I, too, had to keep backing up and readjusting the volume when the narrator started whispering. Also, the recording seems to have been made a bit slower than usual, deepening Scott Brick's tenor, nasal voice ??? ironically, improving it, in my opinion. The story suffers from unpleasant characters. The femme fatale keeps behaving like a harridan, making us not like her at all; yet the protagonist ??? Michael Garrick, a White House lawyer ??? falls for her anyway, inexplicably. Then he keeps making more foolish decisions. I generally like Brad Meltzer's books, because he devises good plots, with lots of insider knowledge; but I think he phoned this one in. Purchase "The First Counsel" only if you collect Meltzer.
I listened to two other books by Brad Meltzer and they were fantastic, so I was really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately this was a complete disappointment. The story started off great - White house intrigue, first family involvement, possible blackmail... All great beginning, unfortunately the story was thin, the character development weak to none existent. The dialogue monotonous. You just did not care who did it.