As a Historical Fiction lover living in Miami, I was thrilled by the idea of learning about the history of the Everglades through this book. But, after trying desperately to stay engaged, I had to abandon the book after the first few hours into it. I just could not stay interested.
For excellent historical fiction reads, I suggest Shantaram and The Help. These books will compel you to sit in your car listening long after you've parked.
This is the first audie that I was not able to listen to through completion. I was bored stiff with book one and things didn't get better halfway through book two. I purchased the book based on some of the rave reviews, and all I can say is different strokes for different folks. Shadow Country is one long a boring piece of literature. Not at all what I expected.
I whole-heartedly agree with the positive reviews of this book. It is a wonderful story of strong characters during a wild time in south Florida history. One of the reviews said that part three could stand on its own as a novel. That is true, but it is so much richer if you have the background from parts one and two. The language is pretty rough, but is entirely in character.
One note about the narration, though: if you primarily listen in the car, be prepared to adjust the volume frequently. The narrator tends to let his voice drop to a whisper, then comes back full-force in the next phrase, so you end up increasing the volume to hear the soft parts, then turning it down again to protect your hearing. The recording engineer should have used more audio compression to keep the dynamic range to a comfortable level.
This long and involved tale would have gotten lost for me without the amazing narration given by Anthony Heald.
I typically choose the longest books available since I spend several hours a day listening. Most of the time, the books with irritating or inept readers make it hard to keep listening. I've already searched out and chosen several more books with Mr Heald narrating.
This is an intriguing story with great insights into the minds of friends, enemies, and family members. As always, "to understand all is to forgive all", and so I find that though I started out hating EJ Watson, I end up forgiving him because I hear his side of the story at the end. A great read.
It dragged out. It never became my cup of tea. The approach was unique with the different points of view. If you want to see how different characters perceive the same situation you will enjoy this book. The narrator was authentic to the characters with his tones and accent.
I've listened to 4 of 5 sections of this audio book. Peter Matthisen is a gifted writer and the narrator does an excellent job. The thing is, the main character is such an evil, despicable character that I can't find the energy to care enough to finish the book. What I will do is go listen to the last chapter and not put myself through the rest.
I only awarded 3 stars because somehow I managed to finish it. It's the same story told over and over again by different people. I really was done with Watson long before the end of the book. You'll get some sense of what Florida was like in those days, but not really in depth. The best part of it doesn't come til part 4 where EJ starts the story from his point of view. Unless you are very, very patient skip it!
I would have enjoyed this tome much more if the last section in which EJ Watson talks about himself came first. For me this would have made views about him in the first two sections more readily understandable and would have helped me keep track of the myriad of realtives, friends, and enemies. Without a book in front of you, be prepared to write down names.
I guess the whole thing was worth it. The narrator was exellent and the saving of the Everglades is worth understanding as is a last frontier history burried under the Wild West. A lot of Nigger-talk for those sensitive to it, but the story could not be told without it.
If you haven't read the book(s) already, there are just too many characters to follow the story. There's a big difference between seeing (in print) who's talking in a book and just hearing the characters in an audio. In the first section, they seem to change very often. It would have been more helpful had there been a list of characters and who they are in relation to Mr. Watson. The narrator is good and I think I may have enjoyed this audio had I read the 900 page book. This audio exposes the weaknesses of audio books. A waste of money in my opinion. Buyers beware!
I had a hard time with this story. At one point, I had several pages of notes trying to keep all the characters and their relationships to each other straight. I finally gave up. Then I thought I must have listened to it out of order, since it skips around. I wanted to get the story, but this would be better if you also had the hard copy to refer back to.