I'm a piper and a knitter, and reading is my drug of choice.
Connie Willis is an excellent storyteller. Her characters are distinct and interesting and believable and human. I love these characters and I love the story of both Blackout and All Clear. Connie Willis obviously did incredible amounts of research before writing this. It makes you feel as if you had experienced the Blitz first-hand.
This continues Willis s great tale of time travelers in Wirld War II. The characters are complex and lovable. The ending is all one could hope for. It could--and should--have been cut to 18 hours though. The fear of creating great harm was just played on and on. Still I would not have missed it though.
The story was brilliantly written. It had many fun twists and plot layers. It was all handled in a skillful manner that gave satisfaction. The metaphors were layered on metaphors and the story gave the reader an experience of going through the London of WWII. It was very long but that was evocative of the long war the people of London lived through. Great book.
Yes, I loved the audio performance. I enjoy history so this type of audio book is right down my alley.
I can't give it away.. but the closing chapters of the book left me in tears.
I don't recall
The resolve and determination of the characters and historians trying to survive the Blitz
Connie Willis has me hooked on her books. Her level of historical detail, empathy and ability to give Agatha Christie a run for her money on an ending you don't expect.
I have previously read and enjoyed Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, so I assumed that I would also enjoy All Clear and Blackout. Unfortunately, I have been so disappointed by these two books, that I am unlikely to waste my time on another.
This genre still is of interest, but this author is not.
I would have cast almost any English narrator in place of Katherine Kellgren.How about Davina Porter? Katherine Kellgren has had a remarkably successful career, but I am mystified by her decision to mimic an outdated and stereotypical upper-class, strident English accent and use it for almost every character. She ruined it. I am English, and I winced every time she pronounced 'passage' as 'Paaaasige'.
I wouldn't necessarily cut characters from the book, but I would trim the book because of the endless repetition and tedious descriptions. Even the dialogues became predictable. Many of the time-traveling historians lost credibility for me with their inane chatter, and lack of common sense.
Unfortunately I paid for and downloaded "All Clear" first after reading that it was set during the Blitz. Only when I listened to the introduction by the author did I discover that I should first read "Blackout". "In for a penny, in for a pound" as we say - I downloaded both. I quit after a few chapters unable to stand the narrator. I probably could have enjoyed the books in print. In future, I'll listen to a sample before purchase, unless the narrator is one of my many favorites.
I really enjoyed this book...both of them in the series. I feel a definite void now that I've finished. This has been a long time to spend with these characters.
The historical bits were good. The time spent on the theater was a bit much, in my opinion. And I wasn't thrilled with the ending. I still have a question.
I loved the narration. Katherine Kellgren did a fantastic job!
I'm unable to write an accurate review of this. These two books are very different than what I tend to read. But they are good, very good - just hard to explain.
This is a joint review of Blackout and All Clear, which rightfully need to be read as one book. Blackout/All Clear are technically sci-fi books featuring time traveling historians experiencing WWII England from the perspective of normal people living on the home front. The sci-fi elements of the book are pretty limited. It's just an excuse for getting modern people into the historical setting and providing additional drama above-and-beyond the drama of the war so that the characters, who know that the war ends successfully, experience the same uncertainty as the contemporaries because they do not know how their own experience will end. The book is incredibly well-researched. In a forward to the second book, the author describes an amazing experience where she was able to interview members of a reunion group of women who served their country during the war and many of their real stories appear in the books. The author makes you feel like you have been dropped into the Blitz with bombs dropping around your head--a feeling of despair and fear buoyed by amazing acts of humanity.
The author does not wear her faith on her sleeve or make the message overly obvious, but there is a Christian message in the story--or at least an undertone of a message that I found especially heartwarming. The subtle message plays out through one of the character's interactions with a local parish preacher and through another character's frequent visits to the famous The Light of the World painting in St. Paul's Cathedral. It is amazing how the author is able to weave a story of faith into the overall plot without being overt or preachy. This shows the author's talent and the strength of the message.
I confess to being a history major in college and having a particular interest in World War II, which I'm sure influences my love of these books. Regardless of your interest in history, though, this book is a masterpiece. If you don't have a strong interest in history, this book may spark an interest and you may find yourself cruising through Wikipedia for more information on the historical events. You will have a better appreciation of what civilians went through during World War II--their fears, joys and sacrifices are all on vivid display. The writing is clear and captivating. The story is vibrant and creative. Blackout/All Clear quickly leaped into my all-time favorite books.
I also need to say a word about the narration. I've listened to dozens of books on Audible and this is by far the best narrated that I've heard so far. Katherine Kellgren is amazing and really brings the characters to life--particularly Alf and Bennie, two adorable urchins that the narrator clearly enjoyed bringing to life. Her enthusiasm for the characters really shows through in the powerful narration.
Lastly, it should be noted that Blackout/All Clear represent the third and fourth books in the Oxford Time Travel Series. The first two books are both fantastic in their own right--Doomsday Book (a dark drama) and To Say Nothing of the Dog (a lighthearted comedy). It is not necessary to read either of the first two books to read Blackout/All Clear as the stories are almost completely independent. There is one relationship in Blackout/All Clear that makes a little more sense if you have read Doomsday Book, but the essential background information is explained in Blackout/All Clear so it's not mandatory to read Doomsday Book first.
Blackout/All Clear is truly fantastic.
Very well acted
Love all the historical and literary references
A well thought out and research piece
It would make a tremendous mini-series
It's just too long to be a movie
It gave a great perspective of what it was like to live through the blitz
The last two thirds of this book is great. Unfortunately I think a lot of people may quit reading it during the first third. The beginning of the story is repetitive and appears to have a very shallow plot. But if you have patience you will be rewarded with an intriguing, unusual time travel story.