Idea and storyline are appealing and original, but the prose is repetitive, long, drawn out, unoriginal, long, repetitive, same words used over and over again, ... do you get the idea? I listened compulsively, because I really wanted to hear the story. However, I did switch the listening speed to 1.5x, which really helped to reduce the boredom with the dry hackneyed words that appeared again and again. Is there no other way to describe a particular man as a "cut-throat"? Is clothing with blood on it, described only by the word "stiff"? Yet, the story was fascinating. I enjoyed the parallel evolution of events in both 1300's and 2000's. It was intriguing that the author envisioned time travel, video phones, and fabulous medical advances. However, interestingly, mobile phones were not heard of and the protagonists are constantly frustrated by not being able to find available landlines, or having to wait in their rooms for return phonecalls. In hindsight, would I listen to this book again? Difficult call - I think, yes. It catalysed some research into the middle ages and the plague. I enjoyed the characters. And the storyline was fascinating.
Overall story line is quite interesting. Frustrating, slow and awkward writing style. Many prejudiced and unlikable characters that seem to be presented as profound. Slow, thick, heavy narration does not help to move the story along. I did not listen to the sample audible provides so when the reader began I thought "Shoot, an entire book of this?"
Amateurish stalling techniques posing as cliff hangers rank as the biggest frustration builders- simply silly, and time wasting. The writing gives the impression it was produced by a novice. I would bet history-buff girls in middle school, keen on the blue death, would readily buy in. If presented to me as a work by one of my young budding writers here at home I would tell them the "Idea of the book is intriguing, and you are a pretty good story teller, but honey (!), go back and put some brains into the writing. You're not in Jr. High any longer." Unless this is an anomaly in Ms. Willis' cache I haven't the patience to wade through any more of this simple predictable "stuff". I will also avoid this narrator "like the plague"!
Writer, Reader, Former Bookseller (RIP Borders)
The story, the characters, the writing, the narration.... all truly amazing. Deep, rich, and moving while laced with a cheeky sense of humor and a constant pace. Never glosses over nor bogs down. The plot is not recycled, but the idea is fresh and innovative. The moral will carry with me. Sterlin is an absolute genius. Willis is no amateur either. I am in awe.
i first listened to blackout by the same author and was blown away, this book was ok but slow. the story line was ok ish but was frustrating with the speed it went along at. it seemed to me that if i had skipped over the first two parts and went straight for the third part i could have summed it up in a few mins and carried on.
well worth the listen if you have the time.
Great story and narrator, but pretty depressing in parts. Willis' humor shines, but it hard to make happy times in 1300s.
The premise is sound - young historian goes back in time to the 1300's. The story moves way too slowly, and the female main character is hard to empathize with. The same info is repeated over and over.
"Timeline" by Michael Crichton is a much better listen and full of believable thrills for a modern time traveler.
I really , really tried to finish this book, I hate wasting the investment of time and money by not finishing a book but I could not bring myself to do it. It felt like throwing good $$ (and time!) after bad the story drags on forever and is a good replacment for Sominex! Don't waste your credits on it
The science fiction elements are few but required as they are the bits that allow the story to be. The people are the bones that walk the story forwards. An interesting presentation (flashing back and forth between times and situations) of memorable characters.
This book was long. And repetitive. And long...
One reviewer said the characters bleated -- almost 30 hours of whining. The characters were all one note, every time they appeared they were reacting the same way they did last time. I am a huge history buff and especially interested in the time of the plague, but after 15 hours, frankly I didn't care. I know how Europe's encounter with the plague came out and just sort of wished they get on with it.
What a great idea and what a horrible execution. Like reviewer Frank, I bought this on the strength of the favorable reviews and impressive awards. I will cast a more skeptical eye on such things in the future. Our heroine goes on an ill-considered mission to the middle ages and we are treated to hours and hours of repetitive bleatings from her and everyone else in the book about how the mistake was made. It is repetitive to the point of exhaustion. The descriptions are hackneyed and the characters cartoons. Everyone involved in the plot seems dimwitted -- and we wait many chapters for them to come to insights that were either obvious from the get-go or inconsequential or, more often, both.
That this book won awards as the best of its year (in two different years for some reason) is astonishing. There are reasons some academies decide NOT to give out awards in years when the quality is not up to the standards of other years -- lest the laureates taint the laurel. Doomsday Book is an argument for such restraint on the part of Hugo and Nebula juries of the future.