Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
The overall premise of Speaks the Nightbird and the underlying story is a good one, but it was ruined for me by 1) the obsessive need for adding unnecessary deviant sexual content AND 2) it was way too long. It could have been told in less time and been a better story. I am a big fan of historical fiction. This one ran off the tracks with distracting side stories. The mystery of what was happening in the town and tale of the witch being held in the jail for execution could have been and should have been told much more tastefully. The narration was first rate.
Say something about yourself!
I don't remember the last time I enjoyed listening to a novel this much. I got drawn in as soon as the magistrate and his clerk got to Fount Royal to investigate and determine the fate of a woman accused of witchcraft. This was 1699, and it didn't take but a few loose accusations to condemn a woman to be burned at the stake. Unfortunately, mob mentality takes over too easily when there are a few people encouraging their fears.
It's not about the witch----this is a story about what happens when evil wins if good men do nothing. In this novel we have a very good man--the clerk Matthew Corbett who assists the magistrate Isaac Woodward. Is the beautiful Rachel a witch, or the target of nasty gossiping women? Or is there another reason she has become the focus for all the evil acts which threaten to bring down this new town? The author masterfully keeps us guessing until the end.
A complex story with suspects galore! Matthew in his quiet, soft spoken manner, goes about investigating on his own when the magistrate falls ill. He is steadfast in his determination, yet never lets anger or frustration interfere with his goal.
A small caution for the squeamish--there are some graphic bloody scenes and some explicit sexual language (including people and animals) -however, these types of acts probably are true to that period and as such - are not inappropriate.
- - - -and what is it about that voice of Edoardo Ballerini that makes it possible to listen for hours without ever tiring of it? Truly one of the best narrators on Audible.
This was a good book, not great. There were periods where the story dragged but they were not so long that the could not be surmounted and the story itself was sufficient to keep me going. It could definitely have been improved by shaving a few hours from its 30-hour length though.
If Mr. McCammon would remove some of the more graphic sexual scenes, both human and non-human, he may have a very good YA novel on his hands. Besides these scenes, and some of fairly graphic violence, the book reads much like YA fiction, which is not necessarily a negative. I enjoyed reading and listening to both the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series and have no qualms about admitting it. However, it almost seems as if Mr. McCammon realized that his work was somewhat on the YA side and added these scenes so as to avoid such categorization. While some of the scenes were helpful in casting light on the particulars of the case being pursued in "Speaks the Nightbird," others seemed, at best, superfluos--particularly the scene between the blacksmith and the object of his affection.
Overall, I would suggest this book to anyone desiring to receive a long book for their credit and something light that requires little strain of the intellectual muscle. It was enjoyable enough and I don't regret the use of a credit on the book but I won't pursue the rest of the series with any urgency either.
Also, if you are easily offended by graphic sex and violence I would suggest looking elsewhere.
Obviously several people liked it from the reviews. I love historical fiction but was not impressed with this one. I bought it because of the favorable reviews. Guess my taste is different from most of the other reviewers.
No. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.
Loved the magistrate. Such a sad character. Did not like what happened to him.
I just did not like the resolution to the plot. I had to make myself finish the book. Once the magistrate was out of the picture, I didn't really care what happened.
In route to a colonial settlement in the Carolinas known as Fount Royal, a magistrate and his clerk take shelter at a inn. What happens there sets a very dark tone that carries throughout the novel.
Soon the two reach Fount Royal where they enter into a battle of wills with Robert Bidwell who is both the town's proprietor and their host. The purpose of the magistrate's journey is to try a woman who is accused of witchcraft. Because we live in modern times, it's clear to readers that sorcery doesn't exist, but try to put yourself in the mindset of a small town filled with God-fearing citizens who have no other explanation for what is happening around them. Or are they God-fearing citizens? Over time Matthew, the clerk, peels back the thin veneer of civility, unmasking ignorance, greed, and depravity. Yet no one, not even his mentor the magistrate, will believe him.
The book starts out a bit slow and predictable but don't give up. Soon you will be intrigued with the characters and their lives. One caution though, there are activities in the book that are repellent.
The narrator is perfect. He masters all the accents and nuances.
Avid reader, loves suspense, classics, and any books that are well written no matter the genre.
I enjoyed this book. It started with a bang! Moving right along I could picture the characters and the setting vividly and slowly slowly it started to move slower and slower....
It drives me crazy when an author repeats how someone feels or what they are thinking over and over. There were so many great characters and the story was good - it just could have been shortened to keep you more engaged.
I will try the next in the series but not right away.
What an spectacular listening experience. This would have to be one of the best audio books I have listened to...
Great value 30hrs of listening for only 1 credit.
The narrator added another dimension to the riveting plot..beautifully written by Mccammon..
I have downloaded the next book in the series and am looking forward to another great listen.. so glad that Ballerini is again narrating.
A good editor could have greatly improved this book by removing the various subplots inserted simply to throw the reader off the trail. Also, some of the characters' actions do not comport with normal human nature and motivation.
Overall this is not a bad story, but if you are a historian of 17th century colonial America it may well drive you mad. It appears that everyone has matches (not invented in usable form until the 19th century), wears tricorn hats (exceedingly unlikely for backwoods Carolina and a 19th century word to boot), and are citizens, (a term not in general use until Revolutionary times). I eventually made a small game of find the historical anachronism. But if you don't care about accuracy of detail you may well enjoy this story.
I would try more books narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, but no to Robert McCammon. I seriously hope to avoid any more of his work.
There were rave reviews on this book, and I can see why. In the first half of the book we are introduced to well developed and exciting characters on a mission. There are mysteries to solve, a damsel in distress, bad guys galore, and common individuals that are like most real people, both good and bad.
On the other hand, McCammon seems to have a predilection for abnormal sexual practices. For example, the descriptions of Rachel's supposed sex scenes with Satan, or the guy who prefers to have sex with his mare (yes I do mean his horse). I don't know if this was his attempt to titillate his readers, but I've seen a lot of negative responses to the sexual preoccupation of this book. I can't say I was forced into indignation, but at the same time I was repulsed. We all know there are examples of such doings, but really, is that what we signed up for when we purchased this book?
This author does seem to have an obsession with the penis. There are many descriptions, inferences, and innuendoes that I doubt very seriously would have been in use in 1699. As a time piece the preoccupation with sex in the puritanical early America's seemed out of place and completely unnecessary.
Ballerini does a stellar job at differentiating characters with tone, accent, and pauses.
Maybe, but unlikely. Not just because I wasn't crazy about the book either. I almost never watch t.v. and I manage to make it to the movies less than once a year.
The mystery was interesting if convoluted. The main characters were well developed and interesting. The story line, well, I've already covered enough of that to justify my rating.
Would I recommend this book? No, not really.