I loved the quick pace of the novel and I absolutely adored Katherine Kellgren's spot on narration. It's such a good story and I was thrilled when I realized that I would get to listen to more of Kellgren in the sequel. Truly flawless.
The two urchins, Alf and
Binnie (spelling?). They were such scamps and I found myself laughing aloud at their manipulative behavior and their comically adorable exchanges.
This was a tie between Alf and Binnie. Both are charming little con artists. Maybe a slight edge to Binnie.
I loved the pathos of Dunkirk. The dilemma of not wanting to change history but finding oneself stuck in a situation that required true heroism.
I hope more of the titles I love feature truly gifted narrators like Kellgren. Gifted narrators like her are a big part of why I have fallen in love with audio books. I will look for more titles narrated by her specifically.
Historical & SciFi Book Lover, especially Georgette Heyer, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis (& New Who). Also books for the kids.
This is an absolute monster of a book - and after ?18? hours of listening, it is only the first half. (Then you have to rush off and download All Clear). This book, in parts wonderful, unnerving exilarating, bleak, humourous frustrating, rich (very) in detail. Also, the narration is just wonderful. Amongst the best I have heard. With Blackout you would have thought Connie Willis had lived through the Blitz, this tale is so very well observed. Some aspects are confusing (all the loose ends and confusions in this time travel tale are nicely tidied up in the second book). This book just stops (not even a cliffhanger) hence the 4 stars.
I have enjoyed Willis's previous books, but this is like the winner in a contest to see how many times you can get away re-using the exact same sentences over and over and over in one novel. (I can't go to Dunkirk! I need a skirt. I need to get to the drop. OMG maybe I changed history, etc. etc. etc.) Do they not have editors anymore? Oh and this is just part one of a two part book. Is she paid by the word? Buy her a delete key please. I downloaded the second half already but won't listen to it.
the leads are boring dorks. The "premise" is maybe they changed history and made Hitler win the war, but what they are worried about is their boss man will be really mad at them. Seriously?
The only thing sort of keeping the book moving forward is that it keeps switching b/w lead characters often enough to distract you from the fact that nothing much is happening with any of them.
It's a shame because the Blitz is interesting and there are several very engaging minor color characters.
Time travel is the device making this more than just a catalogue of vignettes from the Blitz but time travel in Dr. Who or even Diana Gabaldon is more logical than here. Tip for time travelers lost in the past: put an ad in the paper.
This didn't work for me. I like Connie Willis, I love the narrator, but this story just didn't grab me. I didn't care enough about the characters and their struggles in WWII as time travelers.
The premise of this novel is fantastic, and the overall plotting is extremely well-constructed. But I found the writing itself disappointingly turgid and almost gave up several times.
There are some novels that work in print but don't work as audiobooks. I think I would have loved "Blackout" in print, because in print you can skim-read, and this is an extremely skimmable book. I say that because Connie Willis's style is functional rather than stylish, and is unbearably long-winded: she spins out some mildly amusing comic sequences ad nauseum until the joke is worn thin, and the novel contains endless scenes in which characters think through their predicaments and then work logically through every possible solution in minute detail. This would be fine in print, but when you have to listen to Every. Single. Word. it becomes achingly slow and repetitive.
Another thing that bugged me was the empty characterization. The world of 2060s Oxford has no characteristics at all; all we're told is that Oxford University has invented time travel; apparently nothing else in this future world is worth mentioning. Similarly, our time-travelling students have no backstories: they're just generic Oxbridge types who are functions for kickstarting the plot. And in the 1940s section, the Londoners all behave like stereotypical figures from old movies about the pluckiness of Brits. I felt as though the author had gotten her knowledge of Britain largely from Brideshead Revisited and Ealing comedies.
The reader does an superb job of covering lots of different accents, and her treatment of the Cockney evacuees is particularly delightful. She speaks at a good pace that helps overcome the novel's plodding style at times. However, her use of a cut-glass upper class accent for the main narration is a mistake; it makes for a strident and headache-inducing listen. And occasional mis-pronunciations cause irritation ("she walked down the parsage and put on her gars marsk" - erm, no, not even in 1940s England....)
In summary, the clever plotting and the inherently entertaining premise of "Blackout" kept me fighting through to the bitter end, as I did genuinely want to know what happened next. It was a struggle through, and I'll be buying the next instalment to read in print at the airport, where it belongs.
All I can say is that I couldn't get past the first part...only good news is it really helped me fall asleep many nights
No, I would not try another book by Willis
Chosen a better voice to read the story.
Shrill voice, much too excited, detracts from the moderately interesting story line
At the risk of repeating others: This book is not really science fiction. It is a historic novel vaguely disguised in a shroud of science fiction via time travel. To be clear: 95+% of the content is life in England in 1940. So if you are expecting a "science fiction" book that explores how time travel is used (and abused?) to study 1940 England, this is not it!
Also to repeat others: This is NOT a complete book. If you get to the end and are at all interested to learn what happens to the time travelers, you have no choice but to buy the follow-on book ("All Clear"). There is absolutely no effort to wrap up any of the story lines in this book; it ends in classic "cliffhanger" fashion.
In general, I found the descriptions of life in 1940 England fairly interesting. And the author does a nice job of picking three (dominantly) different areas of England to dive into, providing quite a variety of perspectives on life there at that time.
Unfortunately, the interesting, detailed descriptions all too often degenerated into overly detailed and often tedious sub-details that really added little to the story and flavor, other than verbal length. After one particularly long and tedious passage about one hero trying to get to a farmer's house (to borrow a truck), failing to find him, and trudging back...I began to wonder if this was written in Dicken's era and the author was being paid by the word! So, be warned: some detail is very interesting, but there are long passages of inane sub-detail that add little overall value.
Lastly, the overall plot becomes quite predictable about half way in. I won't say too much (no need to spoil it all), but suffice it to say three time travelers are having problems getting home and keep wondering where their "retrieval team" is. And keep wondering, and keep wondering. Hearing this repeated many times x3 travelers really got to be a bit much.
Will I buy the next book? Maybe. But only because I listen as a mild diversion while exercising.
This is the worst audiobook I have ever listened to. The narrator did a fine job (I don't understand the reviews that commented that she didn't), but the writing was horrendous. I have listened/read books before that I did not particularly care for the story, however, I could see how people with different interests could enjoy the story. For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone could enjoy this story.
The story went on and on into pointless detail about characters running from one place to the next, trying to find their 'drop' or other such thing. Lots of action with very little substance. There was no character development whatsoever. I got the two main female characters mixed up because neither one had any character development or back story. There was far too little detail about the characters or the time period in which they were, which was a disappointment. I kept on listening to the book only so I could find out the end and, as others have said before, there really isn't any end - it just abruptly stops and then there is a book 2. I would have stopped listening long ago if I had known that.
I got this book because I was intrigued by the story and it could have been a really amazing book if the author would have focused on the story and not so much on drawing out in excruciating detail very boring 'action' scenes. The substance could have been condensed to 1/4 of the current book and it would have made for a much better story.