This is a very good entertaining book. The story is about a person who starts to notice a lot of strange things about his new apartment building. He forms collation of other tenants to unfolds the mystery of this building. The mystery is very intriguing and complete fiction, but it unfolds in very entertaining though highly unlikely fashion. The cast of characters in the book are very interesting and narrative is snappy delivered expertly by Ray Porter.
I found story to be very lean, and it moved at a brisk pace. The cast of characters are well flushed out, and their interaction is entertaining. Even though last stages of story become a bit out there, I would still rate this a very good book. I would recommend this book, and I will consider picking up other books from the same author in the future.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
SciFi is not my usual genre, but the almost universal rave reviews with promises that this was new and different than any other book around made me take the leap of faith. Ultimately I was both disappointed and pleased at different points in the story.
I hated the slower than molasses set-up. It took right at half the book to get beyond the introductions to the cast of characters, and as much time as the author took to work everyone into the narrative, there was little depth to any of them. You could see the broad stereotypes from central casting. The comparisons to Scoobey and the gang sounded somewhat intriguing in the reviews that I read, but especially in the front half of the book it became tiresome and trite.
Once I hit the halfway mark, things picked up considerably. There was action and the wild ride creativity that had been promised in the reviews. It was Scoobey Doo meets Dr. Who, and I mean that in a good way. (Yes, Dr. Who is my one scifi guilty pleasure). Well written, unexpected and breathtaking. The characters took on greater depth and dimension as they were (finally) given something to do.
Then I hit hour 10. After the thrilling Act 2, I wondered what the author was going to do for four more hours. That's when it hit some hard core scifi that I don't mean in a good way. The fans of the book who gave the rave reviews obviously had no problems with the turn of events. But it didn't appeal to me. I don't want to ruin anyone else's pleasure with spoilers, so I won't be specific about what disappointed me. But the movie Jaws came to mind in the sense that for most of the movie we never saw the shark, and we were scared to death. It was after we actually saw the shark that it didn't quite match our imaginations. That was the kind of let-down that I felt. True fans of Clines may be better pleased. But for my leap of faith - my bad.
I think there are three things that work very well together
1. The book is full of great character development and chemistry between the residents of the building. You want them to succeed and believe they are friends.
2. The mystery unfolds at a satisfying pace and doesn't disappoint. I had a very hard time putting it down. I found myself looking for moments I could steal way to listen.
3. The writing is witty and clever.
That is very hard. They all work so well together. If I had to make a choice I would say Tim. Mainly for his patience, wisdom, and things that unfold in the book.
I have not. I was very impressed with this narrator and even looked up his other books to see if there was anything I might like. I really liked his performance!
I listen to a lot of books and a lot of those are mysteries. There comes a time when you see the same patterns being used over and over. I was getting a little tired of what was out there. This was an incredibly fresh book. I will caution people that it does have a sci-fi feel similar to the television show, "Lost". If you prefer linear police detective books over unexpected thrillers, then you may not like the content. You can't argue, however, with the superb writing and the excellent narration.
I honestly think I lost IQ points listening to this book. The worst part was that I got sucked in initially by the reasonably suspenseful plot devices. I put up with the cardboard characters and cliched writing because I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding the building. But the pay-off was so bad, so ridiculously bad, that I felt like an idiot having wasted any time on this drivel. I want my time back and the brain cells I expended in the effort. The narration was ok, although some of the accents were pretty lame. (Ray Porter's German is much better than his Indian.) I just kept wondering, "Isn't he embarrassed to be reading this?"
I understand from reading many other reviews that mine is a minority opinion. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
So you have a diverse cast of poor to barely-middle-class Los Angelenos living in an old apartment building in which everyone is willing to ignore the occasional creepiness and green cockroaches because the rent is ridiculously cheap. When new guy Nate moves in, just another wage slave working in a dead-end temp database entry job, he actually starts taking an interest in the strange mysteries of the place, like the rental agent who turns out to be an actress, the doors that don't go anywhere, the absence of a connection to the city power grid, etc.
He makes friends with his neighbors, and slowly they all become involved in solving the mystery. Half the book is character spotlights, from Veek, the minimum-wage worker who has high-powered cluster computers in her apartment, to Xela, the nudist who dyes her hair in day-glow colors with matching carpet and drapes. Tim, the guy with all kinds of secret agent skills who says he used to be a small book publisher. And Andrew, the creepy Bible freak. There has to be a creepy Bible freak.
The other half of the book is plot, as the Scoobies go about solving the mysteries. And find it's turtles all the way down. All I need to do is drop the word "Lovecraftian" and I've pretty much told you all you need to know about the story and whether or not you're interested.
Is this a brilliant, genre-breaking, or Hugo-worthy novel? No. But it's a pacey adventure with a little romance, a little death, a little SAN loss. The big reveals make sense, given the necessary suspension of disbelief, and Peter Clines has created a consistent world in need of saving.
I've come to rely on Peter Clines to deliver good dark fun with straightforward prose and storytelling in gleeful genre mash-ups, and that's what 14 is. So: Lovecraftian adventure in a creepy old Los Angeles apartment building. You in or not?
This book starts out with a great premise. Kind of an X-Files, or Twilight Zone vibe. Unfortunately the writing is not very good. People are continually saying and doing things that just ring false and contrived. Every time that happened, it took me out of the story, and it happens OFTEN. It's irritating. Several times I almost stopped listening.
The other complaint I have is that, once the big secret is revealed there are about 10 or so more chapters, and everything from that point on is utterly predictable. Basically, once you get to the big reveal, you can pretty much stop listening. Just imagine how the story would be resolved if it were a Disney movie, and you've got it.
Also, there are a LOT of loose ends. Many of the "oddities" that set up the premise of the story are never explained, at least not to my satisfaction.
The narrator does a good job. I liked that all the characters are given very distinct voices.
So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
Ray Porter is always good; he gets 4*; (I'm giving him an extra one just for finishing this reading.)
Leaping Lemmings!! I betrayed myself--I did not listen to reviewers I trust. Their friendly warning reviews faded to the end of an ever-growing ever-glowing list. I held out for 7 mos., but all those stars! stars! stars! I was glamoured. Good Gawwd...I would be one of those bloody furry lemming puddles at the bottom of a cliff. And deservedly so.
Read the Lovecraft *cosmic indifferentism* canon. Read his description of the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu, Yog Sothoth, Azathoth--the anthropomorphic beings (tentacled head, whale bodies, dragon wings, and ALL) that occupied the ancient dimensional universe. 14 started out kind of fun, but the piracy got so outrageous, the monotony so monotonous...the Scooby Doo shtuff, the Bradbury name and Tesla, *Sqwhales*, dragging in the descendants of Lovecraft..."I eat you, food for me..." *Ludicrous: So foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing.*
As a mom of teenagers, I spend a lot of time in the car, and a lot of that time is spent listening to Audible. Because of that, I tend to listen to a lot of YA novels, and my reviews will include the "Mom View" of cussing, sexuality, etc...
I bought this while it was on sale, & I'm glad I did. I wasn't really sure where the story would take me, and was delightfully surprised along with the characters as their investigations deepened. The characters were well developed, and Porter did a great job with the voices, so that they were all easily distinguishable from one another. He also made it easy to picture the characters and events in my head. I would definitely recommend this to others.
**Not, however, for YA listeners. This novel has plenty of cussing in it, and even one (none too steamy) sex scene.
I hate writing this kind of review because I know it's probably not helpful -- I can't totally recommend this novel...but I can't tell you to stay away either. The writing is OK. The plot is imaginative. (The performance, as is customary for Ray Porter, is terrific.) And yet...
As other reviewers have already pointed out, the plot takes a somewhat bizarre twist (not totally unexpected for me, perhaps simply because I had read the other reviews). It is not really science-fiction, but it's not "horror" (as you would perhaps expect from the initial plot of X-number of individuals living in a building where unexplained things seem to happen), The twist makes the novel fall somewhere in limbo, genre-wise, making it harder to like.
The novel starts out slow. Much happens before anything really does. In a way, this is not totally bad because, by the time the characters seem to be in danger, you find yourself actually caring for them. Still, it does drag at times...And some of the characters remain cartoony till the end.
Perhaps the novel could have used another edit -- or more careful plotting ahead of time.
And yet...I did finish it and it kept me hooked at times.
I had this in my wish list for a while and finally decided to take a chance. I thought the book was headed in one direction and it went totally another. The characters are believable. There is plenty of humour and snark. I think if you enjoy a good mystery you'll love this book.