An interested narrator.
Fire the narrator
Someone who sounds like they WANT to read the book.
Unable to listen long enough to form an opinion on the book or author.
I really wanted to like this book but found myself getting incredibly frustrated with it the longer I listened. At the midpoint I took a week long break from it to start and finish another book. I ultimately came back to it out of sheer stubbornness. The only book I've ever walked away from entirely was Stephen King's "The Cell" (just horrible) and I am a huge Stephen King fan. My biggest critique (and what drove me crazy) was the main character's inability to grow and learn from her mistakes. She continued to make the same mistakes over and over. I love characters who even though they're flawed and don't have it all figured out go on an adventure and eventually discover their own strengths and weakness along the way (think Rand Al'Thor - Wheel of Time, Tris Prior - Divergent, Fitz Farseer - Assasin's Apprentice, etc) Ultimately, even though the pace and plot line of the book picked up at the very end - I never came to love the characters. Definitely not time well spent.
I thought it was predictable. The central relationships were so black and white/2D that you can easily see where each one would go.
Her performance was the only redeeming factor. She was fantastic.
While the magical theme used in the book was incredibly original - the author did a poor job of introducing the reader to each category and type of magical talent and gifts. Every chapter mentions a new class of talent and you never really understand any of them. I think in the right author's hands this magical world could have been incredibly rich and interesting. Other Fantasy/SciFi books and series I do recommend: The Name of The Wind, Game of Thrones, The Rithmatist, Lockwood & Co., Wheel of Time, 14, Divergent
I love reading many different styles of books. Lately, I have been more into fantasy (a trend started by a Song of Ice and Fire, that led me to the Mistborn Trilogy, The Kingkiller Chronicles, Wheel of Time...) The books that captivate me the most are the ones with the most well-thought characters and well told story... something mundane can be made wonderful by a good writer.
Mostly a pleasant read, done in almost one sitting. Loved the style, the voice, the narration and the work over all. It did have some issues though:
In the beginning the book is a bit confusing. Then, the premise becomes ridiculous. After that, it feels like it's gonna be a great story. But... it disappoints you. It floats a bit in fanfiction-like world before going through a few cliché routes. In the end, it's not so bad, but you're left with a bittersweet feeling of how good it could have been. Since it is a series, and a long one at that, it will probably improve over time.
I don't get the Harry Potter comparison as it feels nothing like it. I saw influences of Mistborn: the final empire, the Hunger Games, and unfortunately, some Twilight. I wish instead of falling in the same old tropes, the author had subverted them and made something actually unique. But I guess it's too much to expect from a first attempt.
From now on I get a bit SPOILERY. You've been warned.
What was great:
- The dystopian scenario and the main character predicament at the beginning of the book are incredibly frightening and compelling. I wish it wouldn't have been dismantled so easily in the end. I wish some of the psychological consequences of it had been better explored.
- Page's characterization (compassionate, but with some self-preservation - something that seems to be lacking in YA heroines these days - I'm looking at you Bella Swan and Elena Gilbert. Katniss, of course, is the exception to this silliness and actually wants to stay alive).
- Special mention to her heartbreak moment that felt so real. Bonus points for the fact that Nick liked a boy and that wasn't even a point of note in the novel - not even remotely important for the character's sad heartbreak. Also her unravel from that as we've all been that sad, so sad, saddest teenager ever.
- As someone already mentioned, the alternate history was fun. The setting in Oxford was clever. Some ties to mythology were good too.
- Her relationship to Jackson is particularly interesting and sad. It makes for a curious dynamic in her gang.
What was bad:
- The author could have left out (with no damage to the plot whatsoever) : The blood drinking. The telepathic bond. The 'soul' drinking (although this one could be important later, I guess...). The age of the male hero (did he have to be 200? can't he have been a God already? Eternal? Or you know, young, and actually age appropriate for the heroine. That would be nice for a change these days...). Someone's been reading way too many vampire novels. Or way too many times one in particular. She does write waaay better though...
- The romance. While the unrequited love for the best friend was lovely, natural, and well-written, the love story with the warden felt rushed and out of place. For the initial chapters I thought they were going to avoid that trope, which made me smile. But then I was disappointed. Maybe I'm just sick of women falling in love with men who have so much power over them in these novels. Aren't they so great, 'giving' them all these little freedoms and concessions to do things that were theirs to begin with? She kept some elements of the resentment in there, but not enough in my opinion. This guy was her OWNER. And he invaded her most private memories, forcing a state of intimacy (another plot device that was not.good.) on her. She should have been way more conflicted about him and not only about whether or not she should trust him...
- The damsel in distress. Paige had this kickass power... but every time she uses it, some male character has to come to her rescue. That got old real quick.
What was clumsy:
- How did her friends actually figure out how to show up to save her? And what a GREAT freaking coincidence it was that it was on the same day of her jailbreak plan!
- How convenient that her warden had been part of a past rebellion. His 180 from mean tough slave-master to sweet kind revolutionary was done poorly and unbelievably.
- The premise of what all these slaves were actually doing there was never really cleared up.
- Do flesh-eaters just disappear now that everyone's run away from Oxford?
- There was a missed opportunity for character development among the slaves. And among some other characters of her gang, which were barely more than names.
- I couldn't keep track of which mean guy was which... they were all so generically... evil.
- How she got caught. If people scanned the train all the time and if it was so easy to spot her... her father could have waited a bit no? For the next vacation? It was contrived and completely out of character as Page seemed perfectly sensible to risky situations later on.
This is a creative story line and fans of The Hunger Games series will enjoy it. There were a few things about it I didn't like so well (no spoilers!). The narration was a bit flat and lacked energy.
I did not read the print version, so I truly cannot compare. However, I am so glad that I listened to this book because Alana Kerr did an excellent job with the language and the pronunciations.
The building of the world. It was hard to keep up in the beginning because everything was so foreign, but I loved the creation of this future London. Shannon really brought me into the world, I could see it all in my mind. I found myself hating anything that made me turn off the book. I just wanted it to keep going and going.
I really liked the building of the relationship between Paige and the Warden. Also, I really like the relationship between Liss and Paige. Seeing Paige work out who to trust and who to befriend. It really is hard to choose just one scene.
There were, but I don't want to give too much away. I really like where Shannon left us. The ending definitely left me wanting more, but also feeling a completeness. I love that.
This book is writen in first Person. Some people don't like that, but it didn't bother me in this book.
The performance was good, the story was boring - my annoyance is that I relied upon alot of positive reviews when I bought this and listened to it for a long time waiting for it to pick up steam, did not finish it 3/4 way through
a fast forward button - goes on forever in some parts
too many complicate minds parts
less complicated story line
to many rafts
The story was pretty good for a new comer. She will improve I'm sure. I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it instead of listening to it because I did not care for the reader. I will recommend my friends read it but will not recommend audio edition.
Not at all.
For a rookie writer, this is a great start. The dystopic world she imagined is really engaging- but I just couldn't muster a sense of connection for the characters.