At 956 pages, this book was long. I don’t mind a long book, but I tend to delay in reading them because they are such a time commitment and 1000 pages of literature can seem quite daunting.
I would compare Swan Song to The Stand. I never read The Stand, but (unfortunately) I saw the movie and these books are pretty similar except in The Stand, it was some sort of plague that wiped out the population and in Swan Song, it is nuclear war.
Despite its length, Swan Song kept my attention from beginning to end. There was a nice introductory period for each character that was sufficient to get a handle on their individual situations without dragging on too long before the apocalypse begins, and there were also just enough characters to keep the story moving without it getting too diluted. Though there are moments where you wonder how McCammon is going to tie all of these characters together, gradually it begins to come into focus and he even throws in a somewhat unexpected twist at the end that kind of comes out of nowhere but somehow also makes perfect sense.
There was an inconsistency to the villain in the story that bothered me a bit. I was confused as to his end game. Sometimes he seemed to want to make sure that the world ended while other times, it wasn’t so much that he wanted it to end, but that he wanted to make sure that everyone kept warring with each other and/or suffering as much as humanly possible. Which is it? Do you want them to live and suffer or do you want the slate to be wiped clean? And then, there were times when he wanted something, and though he seemed unstoppable in every other situation, he would somehow fumble his opportunity and then come up with a justification for why he didn’t need it anyway. And there was absolutely no explanation as to his origins. He was simply the manifestation of evil and McCammon left it at that.
I really liked the juxtaposition of having some characters to root for and some to root against. In the beginning, it’s hard to tell where he’s going with some of the characters, particularly what I'll call his two sub-villains. But as the story develops, McCammon uses those characters to give you a distinctly different picture of his post-apocalyptic world – a world where people are just trying to get by and a world in where everyone is fighting for power.
It was a gritty book. Cringe worthy at times, but what can you really expect from a post-apocalyptic book. If you’ve got a weak stomach, you might want to steer clear. But if you can handle it and a book of this length, then I would highly recommend Swan Song.
Audiobook review: I thought Tom Stechschulte did an excellent job. His voice was strong and easy to listen to, and he had a clear and distinct voice for each main character.
McCammon? No. Not without scanning the physical copy quite thoroughly first.
Too much deus ex libre. Waaaay too much. It's not preachy mind you - not at all. It just requires too many 'divine' assumptions I simply don't share for me to enjoy.Plus the stereotyping of race and gender. The main characters were exceptions, yes - but that doesn't give McCammon a free pass. After all, main characters are intended (from an author such as this at least) to be exceptional in some manner.
The narrator did a fair job.
Oh certainly. The author is a fair writer.
I don't think Robert McCammon sets out to be a Stephen King clone by any means so please don't take what I'm about to say to mean that. If I'd known just how King-ish a writer McCammon was beforehand, I would have passed on this book.
I am a D-Bag.
Can anyone say rip off. Well maybe not out right plagerism (not sure if I spelled it right) but close. I was embrassed for McCammon for writing this.
If I'd read the blurb more thoroughly, I might have twigged that this story was going to be a supernatural thriller / cautionary tale, rather than the sort of straightforward apocalyptic survival story that I really enjoy, and was expecting. I didn't like how much inexplicable supernatural weirdness was going on, and the whole bit about people's true character's ending up showing on their faces seemed like an old fable. And what the heck was the man with the scarlet eye, anyway? It was never really made clear.
The author's habit of cutting off swear words irked me - he clearly wanted his dialogue to be edgy but didn't have the courage of his convictions to actually have his characters saying words like "bitch" without someone or something interrupting them.
Maybe it was largely due to my expectations, but I'm afraid I was quite disappointed with this book - from about halfway through, I was mainly continuing just because I'd paid for it.
Audiobooks are the greatest invention ever!
After almost 50 audiobooks this is the first one I am not going to finish. In a moment of late night haste I only downloaded the first and third parts of the audiobook. After listening to 16 hours of parts one and three I saw that I was just going through the motions. I'd listen to and from work but wasn't looking for reasons to grab my headphones at home.
I know it is unfair to judge a novel without experiencing all of it. I will not say Swan Song is a bad novel. I will say...
1. I found the story to be slow
2. I never felt the characters give me a reason to be interested
3. I was sufficiently uninterested in the story to notice that I had skipped 25% of it.
If you read the description and other reviews and are interested, by all means, get the book. You may love it. I didn't and have left off with the feeling that if I wanted to read The Stand I would have downloaded The Stand.
I will say the narrator is good.
THIS IS A GREAT BOOK! I USUALLY ONLY LISTEN WHEN I DRIVE (I'M A REPO MAN AND TOW TRUCKER) BUT CAUGHT MYSELF LISTENING IN MY OFF-TIME. I WANTED THE STORY TO GO ON AND ON....
Yes. I would give them another try.
Only the ones who have to have a happy ending.
Not bad overall. Could use some twists and turns in the story though.
When I got an email from Audible.com that this book had been released as an audiobook I couldn't get there fast enough. I had read Swan Song back in the 80's just out of high school and, though I didn't remember much detail, I distinctly remembered being riveted the whole way through. Twenty-five years later it's even better than I remember. This story doesn't have a dull moment. It draws you in and keeps you wanting more. The last set of books I read that did the same was The Hunger Games trilogy. I couldn't wait to get in my car each day to listen to Swan Song and today, when I finally reached the last chapter, I was so sad that it was over. Tom Stechschulte does a phenomenal job with all of the characters...and there are a lot of them. His voices, accents and delivery succeed in creating another world that you become a part of. This one is worth 2 credits...it's a bargain that they only charge 1!!
Usually a book soooo long would take me atleast a month to finish, not this one. Only a week, I even got in trouble because I listened to it at work. I just couldnt put it down. 5 stars!
So glad audible listed this as a recommended listen. I can't believe this book isn't more well know, it rates up the with the likes of Steven King's older novels.