With all the charm and nuanced diction of a first-gen GPS-machine, the narrator absolutely slaughters this fine book. I will try to render in text an example of what I mean:
"Commander Norton. Remembered. Those fiRSt, TV transmissions. Which? He had replayed... So Many Times..... During the final minutes...... Of The Rendezvous. But there was one thing. No, Electronic, Image, could POHSSSibly convey. And that. Was Rama's. OverwHelming. Size."
I had to give up after 4 chapters, as I was risking the lives of my fellow motorists by listening to this snooze-inducing monotone. It was like listening to a GPS voice synthesizer trying to render Shakespeare.
I'd recommend it to anyone who had read the previous books, or anyone wanting to jump in (as the death of Caesar makes a good starting point). However, I would NOT recommend this Audible version, as the narrator ruins the book completely.
Everything. It was terrible. But let me try to list my main objections:
- Healy has a strange lilt to his voice that is either an accent or terrible reading skills. The upshot is that every full stop, he lifts his voice the way you sometimes do when reading to young children.
- His reading pace hardly ever changes, meaning even in tense, action-packed moments, it's as if he's reading "My dog Spot" to a room of 5-year-olds.
- He doesn't differentiate between characters as far as I could tell, meaning that when one character interrupts another, it gets reeeeally confusing.
- I don't think he's read the book beforehand; Imagine how you'd say the sentence "I think I'd quite like a sandwich and a nice cup of tea". Now imagine Healy saying, in the exact same way "You're a disgrace to Rome!..." (the exclamation point silent), and then continuing, completely obliviously (and still just as ploddingly) "...shouted Octavian and slammed his fist into the table." The disconnect between how Iggulden claimed Octavian said it and how Healy reads it would be funny, if it wasn't ruining my book.
I had to finish this book in hard-copy. Worst narration I've experienced since "Rendezvous with Rama".
If the cat wasn't already out of the bag about Joe Hill's semi-secret parentage, this book would have freed the feline for sure as this could easily have been one of his dad's mid-80s books. "NOS4R2" particularly channels "Christine", with a hint of "IT" (which it even references).
So, if you're a fan of King's, or of Hill's for that matter, whether to pick this up or not is an easy choice.
Oh, and I was surprised to find that this Audio-version actually contains an epilogue (hidden in the audio-book production-credits) not found in my e-book version - and it's also very well read by Kate "Janeway" Mulgrew, so if you're wondering which version to get, Audio is it.
This is one of the Great Science Fiction novels of the last few years - and yeah, I'm aware that me calling it Sci-Fi would annoy the author, but if it walks like a duck...
The story is set in two undisclosed futures; the 'present' of our main character Snowman, as he struggles to navigate the perils of a post-apocalyptic (a plaguealypse, this time) America, while caring for a tribe of genetically engineered post-humans; and also Snowman's past (and our near-future), where mankind is spinning ever faster towards a gene-tech driven singularity, while trying its hardest to ignore the impending ecocalypse. Snowman, then known as Jimmy, details his relationships with the two eponymous characters, Oryx and Crake, who will both have their parts to play in the catastrophe to come...
The themes themselves won't be new to any regular Sci-Fi readers; I sometimes get the feeling Atwood, like many authors who don't "do" sci-fi (Cormac McCarthy, Colson Whitehead), imagines their 'speculative fiction' is breaking new ground when they're actually on a well-worn track, both in terms of story and themes. But who cares when it's this well written?
The narration was ... well, it was good; it wasn't a detriment to the story in any way, but I sometimes felt it was overly morose. I guess that's not a criticism, just a preference; but for me, it didn't quite live up to the prose, and I found my hard-copy sessions (I always do a read-listen-read relay) more pleasurable. It could be that often the story's the thing for me, but with this particular book, the prose is an end in itself.
So yes, a whole-hearted recommendation from me - as a measure of this, I can say that I started the next novel set in this universe ("The Year of the Flood") literally the minute I had finished this - although i do recommend also going hard-copy/Kindle to get the most out of it. At any rate: Get it!
I like a book that keeps me guessing, and 'Gone Girl' certainly did that... In many ways, it's the 'Scream' of crime-writing. A familiar setting, the woman who goes missing and the husband who everyone thinks did it... The difference here is that everyone, from the suspect to the cops to the witnesses have all read the same detective novels, and watched the same true crime-shows, that we have; they are all too well aware of the tropes and clichés of the script they find themselves enacting, and yet they seem unable to break out of it.
The narrators did a great job of conveying the characters they portrayed, the husband in the present reacting to his wife's disappearance and the ensuing suspicions; and the wife coming to us from beyond the grave as it were, in the form of her diary entries.
I recommend this whole-heartedly for any fan of the genre - it breaks with convention in ways that some will love and some will hate, but whatever your reaction, at least you'll have experienced something new; and that in itself is worth the price of admission.
This would rank in the top ten.
It's similar to George R.R. Martin, though the world itself contains more magic. The characters and their moral opacity is very similar though. It also has some of R Scott Bakker in it, in that it presents a group of heroes and a society that we as readers are supposed to think are, well, idiotic and posturing macho prigs and pigs. The charaterizations are faaar deeper than Bakker's, though, and it's much less grim.This book is the start of a (finished) trilogy, and you won't understand the scope of Abercrombie's brilliance until you've read to the end of third book, but trust me, this series is far more subtle than it seems at first glance.
Honestly, everything. He was so good I will actively search out books he reads in the future. Every single character had a disctinct voice, without ever descending into parody (a common failing amongst performers who do 'voices'). The only thing that ever bothered me was his weird way of pronouncing the word grimace, but after three books I'm now on board, and will change the way I say it in the future, instead of grousing :-D
It is surprisingly funny, especially the internal monologue of the torturer Glokta.
Great writing, some of the best fight-scenes I've read, but also very deep characterizations and a deeper and more philosophical arc over the series than one usually expects from a fantasy series, and also deeply funny - if you have any love for Fantasy at all, buy it now, you won't be disappointed!
Yes, already have :-)
"The End of the World is coming, but that doesn't mean you can get away with murder..."
I really enjoyed Carrion Comfort, as it was a perfect example of the early 80s horror-boom, and it should be a perfect fit for fans of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Robert McCammon.
However, it took me a while to get into the narration, and while I eventually ended up thinking it was fine, at first I got really weirded out by the narrator's interpretation of the young black heroine - I read the paper-back concurrently with listening on audio (audio during the day while doing chores, paper-back in the evenings), and she was much stronger and more confident in my head. The narrator gives her this nasal whine, and also a southern dialect that borders on parody. I DID get over this after a few hours, just thought I'd mention it - other than that the narration was fine.
On the whole though, well worth your credit - a solid horror novel, with a classically silly premise that is elevated by the quality of the storytelling!
I had heard of Chabon, but I have a weird antipathy toeards "real" literature, ie. the stuff that gets the prizes; too often it's so far its own behind it's a complete waste of time. It's usually written extremely well, true, and this means it has some pleasures; but literary juries tend to abhor anything resembling a plot or a pay-off, and I ENJOY those!
That said, I have recently come to the conclusion that the Pulitzers may be the exception to the rule, as this novel is a prime example of. Wonderfully written and just a joy to read/listen to, I can't recommend it enough.
Interestingly, I looked into Chabon after listening to this book, and found out that he's fallen out of favor with the literati, since he accuses them of being stuck-up prigs. Thank you!
I enjoyed Swords and Deviltry, but not as much as I though I would - I get the feeling that the stories in the book were published in serialized form, and as short stories, once upon a time; both Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser failed to coalesce as deep characters for me, they're just templates running around their world. The saving grace is the humor in the writing, and I'll continue reading this series in the hopes it gets more fleshed out later.
I really enjoyed this book, and the narrator is one of the best I've heard, catching the cadences of a teenager perfectly.
The book explores the same themes as "Children of Men", but from a completely different view-point, and it is a very accomplished piece of literature.
However, it should be noted that this is Literary literature with a capital L, and as such is concerned with big themes and exploring philosophical quandaries rather than telling a great yarn; don't get me wrong, it's an excellent story, but it's not a classical A-to-B-to-C story, and as such may disappoint some.
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