I rated the story three stars based on the entertainment factor, and the amount of listening time I got for my credit. However, I was tempted to go lower when considering many of the subtle and not-so-subtle undertones and failings of storytelling that bothered me while listening to this book.
To sum it up, this is very much a book written by a socially conservative Christian author with a lot of very traditional viewpoints. Don't get me wrong, that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, in this case, aspects of the author's world view come out pretty strongly in several negative ways:
[Minor spoilers ahead]
1. Religion. The only religion represented or even mentioned within this book is Christianity. There isn't really any excuse for this when it comes to good writing and world-building, regardless of the author's beliefs.
2. Sex/Romance/Gender. The only instances of sex within the entire many-year-long post-apocalyptic story are rape and/or heavily coerced prostitution (almost all of which is treated flippantly). The only gay character is a pedophile, rapist, and murderer. Every good character is basically chaste throughout the book.
3. Race. It got very tiring to hear every black character described as the "black man" or the "black woman" almost every time they were referenced regardless of how familiar the reader was with them. Whereas anyone described as "a teenager" or "a woman" or "an old man" was assumed to be white. Also there's a good dose of moderately offensive accents. The "best" character is blond-haired blue-eyed girl. A lot of this stuff is arguably somewhat excusable as the book was written almost 25 years ago, but even knowing that, a fair amount of it was uncomfortable.
At best, these attitudes made the book seem shallow and immature, as entire aspects of the human experience were missing - within a book about the human experience. Some omissions or simplified story might make more sense if the book were geared toward a younger audience, but large parts of the book hit fairly hard in dealing with abject despair and obscenely disturbing characters and events, which seems to go against that idea.
On the whole, I got some entertainment value out of this book, but I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone I know. In the future, I'll be more careful in reading reviews and paying attention to publication dates before spending my money.
I had several "driveway moments" during this book. Where I would pull in from work and just sit in my car because I had to know what was coming next. The narrator is SUPURB! He made this story come to life. Excellent all the way around.
Absolutely incredible. I am forever a fan of Mr. McCammon. Thank you for sharing. On to your next masterpiece.
Having read many reviews rating this book 4-5 stars I was expecting more. Initially (several hours into the book) I was struggling to find any single character to care about. Eventually around 13 hours in I finally found some sympathy for a couple of characters that I liked. Even so it was difficult to find a figure interesting enough to take on the ultimate villain. I actually had to stop and listen to another story before coming back and finishing this one. I wouldn't have been that disappointed if I hadn't finished it. Ultimately this story failed to live up to the reviews in my opinion.
Struggled at the beginning with this because I'd just re-read The Stand and the tone of this was so different. Once I got into it, this was more compelling. The Stand was brilliant for entertainment. This is for deeper thought about perseverance, love, sacrifice, and hope.
Too long, not well edited. Not much depth in characters. It came down to a conflict between good and evil.
No. But I'd love to see McCammon write more in his 'Matthew Shardlake' series.