I don't normally read these kinds of books, but the reviews were great. A lot of listeners loved the book. I didn't. The story had a lot of promise, but the characters that ended up being the ones focused on had a good beginning, a poor conclusion and a soft middle-story. The descriptions were good, but didn't add too much to the plot of the story. There was also a weird digression into the occult that added nothing to the story and was a little annoying. The narrator was excellent; the story itself had promise. The descriptions were good but didn't build the story as well as they could have.
For me, this was a case of a bad fit. It's a case of "everything is not for everyone." You may enjoy this book. I wouldn't recommend the book, though.
Not sure what the hype is about. It was a really detailed book with a lot of descriptions and some were really interesting, some not so much. It just ended up being OK. Not great, not wonderful. Not sure I would read it again though. And I found that disappointing. I think a circus setting is marvelous and the idea of magical people controlling it was interesting too but was never made into anything that wowed me. The storey disintegrated into a love story about two people we really didn't know much about personality wise and didn't care that much about. They were not the most interesting people at the circus but the interesting ones didn't get their stories told at all. Over all it was like a novel trying to pull in trends from other books that were big hits. Steampunk, wizards and magic, forbidden love, etc, etc. It was almost like the writer was trying so hard to hit all the trends that they forgot to write a good story. The descriptions of some of the stuff were interesting but descriptions of settings do not a good novel make unless they make the STORY more interesting. This just didn't grab me. But the narrator was great!
after all the initial hype and stellar reviews, i was really looking forward to enjoying this book! however, with the exception of the author's vivid and intriguing (initially) descriptions of the circus, this story was abysmal! the plot was flimsy and the characters were awkwardly developed which made the descriptions more tedious as i waited for something (anything) to happen. it was an excruciating exercise in futility!
I want to be careful not to be too hard on this book. It was a good book. It had magical moments. I think it would have fare much better without the hype. With this book being pushed right and left, I expected an ending that truly sparkled. The ending was FINE, but I had hoped for more.
I would recommend listening to this book, but I would strongly suggest letting it be just a book as if you had never heard anything about it. If you're willing to just be entertained and enjoy the circus, you will likely be happy.
... in a very long time. I've recommended it to everyone I know and haven't gotten a single response other than that they loved it - and it doesn't matter whether they like war stories and Westerns (my husband) or Lord of the Rings (my son) or Tuesdays with Morrie (my daughter) or PD James novels (my mom). Now, how can you resist a book that has that kind of following?
When this book came out the reviews were good, but it was because Jim Dale narrated it that made me buy it. I bought it and let it "sit" until now. I'm not a huge fan of period books, that's my only excuse for why I let it sit for so long (Diana Gabaldon being the exception). I'm kicking myself for not listening to it until now. It is awesome! It's very well written. Morgenstern does such an amazing job of describing everything in such a way that it is not tedious and also makes you feel like you're there. At times I swear I could smell popcorn and caramel. I didn't catch on that it was going back and forth in time right away, but I caught on fairly quickly. The narration only makes the book that much more amazing, as I think Jim Dale would be magic reading the yellow pages. An excellent book.
I really wanted to like this book, but it was excruciatingly slow! I listened to it on Audible and the book was broken into two 7-hour parts. When I finally got to the second part, the action got started, but by then I was just ready for it to be over.
I really had a problem with Jim Dale's narration, too. I loved him reading the Harry Potter series, but for some reason he read this one in a sing-songy voice where every sentence, whether declarative, exclamatory, or interrogative, sounded like a question. At one point while listening in the car I actually yelled at my radio, "Shut up!!" and hit the off button.
Add to that the book was written in the present tense which also left me on edge, and this was not an enjoyable experience. Ok, I'm done with the whining and I'm on to the next book as quickly as I can!
This was disappointing, I guess just not my style. I accidentally skipped ahead 3 hours and didn't even notice for another hour. It just wasn't a clear story or really all that compelling.
The advance hype drowned out the experience. It was weak story with little character developoment. It turned out to be just an average book read by a brilliant narrator.
I read for fun, multiple genre's. I review from a normal person perspective, not a fancy critic analyzing every nuance and writing style.
I really tried to like this book. I am almost done with the first download. I like books that draw you into the story quickly, and something is always happening to someone. This isn't that book. There is hardly a story. Its mostly description of a story she is trying to tell. If you like fast paced books and want to be hanging on by the end of the first chapter don't get this book. If you like artsy books, descriptive (like moby dick) then this is the book for you. If this was a childrens book it could be told in about 20 pages. Actually it would probably make a beautiful illustrated childrens book. Although I haven't and probably won't finish it. I have moved on to Fall of Giants.