I had already read Howard Pyle book many years ago. I was surprised how different Howard?s story was to what I had experienced in the movies. First of all there is no Holy Grail. This led to much research online where I learned that Howard version is considered the closest to the original and that the Church of England inserted the Holy Grail later.
Having said all that I found this version to be well written and very well read but ultimately not quite right for my taste. Many characters have been seriously changed in what role they played in the story and, more importantly, what kind of person they were. This legend has always been about the honor and chivalry to the point where the characters are almost to good to be believed, this story has more believable character but at the cost of lessening the legend.
The one exception is the scene with the Green Knight. I do not remember it at all in Howard?s story, but it was excellent and had all the elements I wished had been present throughout the book.
I was never so thoroughly unprepared for a book. The premises; a young boy on a lifeboat with a tiger, a zebra, and so on.... I was expecting a charming, whimsical tale. I was even prepared for talking animals. What I got was firm slap in the face of what such a reality would be like. The writing was so vivid that at time I could taste the salt water on my lips.
It is impossible to say much about the story without ruining it for the reader. I can only say that at times I was going to give up because the story could get so tedious and slow. Exactly would it would be like on a lifeboat for 227 days (btw: that is not a spoiler, he mentions that fact early in the story).
But don’t give up. As unprepared as I was for the book at the beginning of the story, I was even more unprepared for the ending. I was left with a story I will never forget.
When I read reviews like: Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read,' my expectation are high to say the least. Well I must be missing something because this book was not much of anything.
We spend the first half of the book getting everything set up. Then BOOM! Everything starts happening, action, excitement, mystery, and all. And then, 20 minutes later, it all stops. I mean really stops! The second half of the book absolutely nothing more happens. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. But nothing.
I live and breath sci-fi so it's not the genre that wasn't working. THe narrator was below average, but I don't blame him. He definitely did not add anything.
Most of the positive reviews appear to be from people who read the book 20 years ago and this was a wonderful blast from the past. Good for them. As for me. I recommending passing on this book.
I remember reading this book about 25 years ago. I loved it. I remember it as one of my all time favorite books. When it popped up on Audible I was so excited to relive it. Well, you can;'t go back. I was bored beyond belief. In the first 15 minutes we establish the basic story, Our two main characters are bouncing around in alternative versions of late 20th century america. After the first few bounces the novelty is over, but you have several 100 more to trudge through. I guess when I was 18 that was enough, now I am 46 and I need a little more. I write more for require spoilers which I hate coming across in reviews. Heinlein is a great writer and perhaps my previous reading spoiled the story for me. I'll finish with saying that the book is dated socially and politically and possibly could offend people. Which I guess means it could be worth listening to anyway.
I loved the first book and was excited to read the followup. Everything that made book one a exciting, original, and thought provoking was replaced with boring character endless battles. After about four or five hours and repetition I had to give up. Maybe eventually something actually started to happen, but for me it wasn't worth the effort to listen to and was retroactively ruining the original story. It started reminding me of Dune. The first book was a masterpiece, after that it became a generic cash cow.
If you read the first two books you have little choice but to read this one. As for enjoyment it lives somewhere between the Golden Compass and the Subtle Knife. The Golden Compass was perfection, the Subtle Knife was convoluted and forced.
Too often the story drags and too often I feel things are happening only because they have to rather then as a natural progression.
But the book cleanly, and often brilliantly, resolves all the complex story line. And, as with the first two book, the character are beautifully crafted and the audio book production is flawless.
You'll be satisfied and more then a little heart broken when your done.
If you read the Golden Compass you have no choice but to continue this series. I wish I could say this was as an enjoyable, but I can't. I can say that it is an interesting, if not a tad confusing. In general the series walks a thin line between young-adult and adult literature. There are times I found it a tad childish, and there are moments when I can't see a child understand the complex story.
Like most trilogies, this is an in between story that mostly sets up the next and final book.
The production is first rate. 20 year of audio book listening I can say it is one of the best on that level.
I am half way through the third book and I can say that I look forward to listen to them all again which is something I seldom do.
I have been following this series from the beginning and have loved every page of every book (even that silly stroll through the Wizard of Oz). But this book killed my interest as true as Roland's aim. A series that began as a surreal western in the first book, became an exciting parallel universe tripping adventure in the second, then rolled into a full fledged SCI FI journey by the third. After that it lost what little grounding it had and by this book became tiresome in it's endless dialogs and pretentiousness. The story of Sue and Mia just isn't working for me and I am sorry to see it take center stage. Most of all I miss the action that was so prevalent in the other books. Nothing ever happens (gun fights) until the very end of the book. I really hope the next one is better because I have come to far to stop now.
Let me start with the biggest issue that all who read (or listen) to this story must know: THE ILIAD ENDS BEFORE THE TROJAN HORSE!!! That?s right. After Hector death the narrator said ?the end.? I spent sometime online and learned that the famous story of the Trojan Horse is to be found in the works of Virgil.
Having said that the Iliad is true test of endurance. There is a solid 45 minutes spent reciting each of the 1,000 ships (as in Helena, the face that launched ?). Endless lists of strange names of people you will never meet again in the story. And the name of people change too. Sometime it is the person name, sometime they are referred to as son of so-and-so, sometime even grandson of so-and-so. The whole book is the endless battle of Troy that not only does not conclude in the book, but every time something decisive is about to happen a god steps in and stops it. I am glad I listened to it, but it was not exactly the most exciting audible book.
The Odyssey, on the other hand, is absolutely incredible. This story actually goes somewhere in fact it goes everywhere. I can?t say enough about this story. But you do have to hang on at the beginning. It starts almost at the end. The first 3 hours take place back at Ithaca while suitors are trying to marry Penelope. Finally we meet up with Odysseus who tells story of his travel. And what a story it is.
So in conclusion, try to make it through the Iliad, but if you find yourself fading jump to download part 3 for the beginning of the Odyssey.
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