There are some books where the content is good, but the narration sucks and totally takes you out of the book (I'm looking at you Washington; A Life). This isn't one of those books. The book itself is very powerful, taking you into the lives of the troops on the front line of America's forgotten war. You get to know personalities and the hopes and desires and fears of those soldiers and you get to see the impact on their families back home.
The narration is just solid. You are not brought out of the narrative by the narration, which means it is just about perfect.
It is sometimes hard to listen to because the story itself is intense and emotionally tough, but I think it is important to hear these stories and know this bit of our history.
I feel like a chump for getting this audio book. It was only just over three hours long... a little thin for me to spend my prized credit on, but I did... I did because I liked the Name of the Wind books, the two thus far completed, and because the prospect of learning more about Aria was intriguing.
Three plus hours later and I know almost nothing about Aria except that she is insane. She has been weakened as a character. While I learned almost nothing about her past or about why she is the way she is, I do know that she is insane. She is as insane as insane. Three hours of her caring what a blanket thought and describing the attitudes of the walls and making soap... let's not forget about her making soap.
It was literary masturbation. It is the sort of thing writers write to be cleaver, for other writers to impress them at parties ("Look, I wrote something that broke all the rules!"). The after notes were basically the author saying just about as much. Yes, it was a weird, odd and maybe horrible story, but if you didn't get it, it wasn't for you. Wish I could rewind even the few hours I spend with this story.
This was a poorly done thing and it should have stayed in the trunk.
The story is interesting enough, something new, which is what I was looking for. however, the narration didn't work for me. putting on an American accent, and doing it poorly, really took me out of the story, again and again.
I won't do the follow on books because it is the same narrator.
I got 40 hours in and realized this was only the first book of many and the outstanding issues weren't going to be resolved and I didn't want to sit through another of these.
Maybe the writing stands up a bit better if not being read by Michael Kramer, but he seems to do all of Sanderson's books, or those I've encountered, at any rate. I find him too dramatic and that breaks the suspension of disbelief you need to sink into one of these books.
There was a bit too much "Storm Father" in this. I also was constantly beguiled by characters taking the most indirect route, doing the least plausible thing or otherwise acting in a manner which would only prolong the story-line while being out of human nature.
The book bounces between present and past and that was also a bit annoying. It was annoying to bounce from character to character, always when things were getting interesting. It was a constant raising to climax only to have cold water poured all over the storyline.
I think I'm done with Sanderson. I liked the Mistborn Series (the first three, at any rate), but it is all starting to feel contrived.
The author can be a little fond of expensive words at times, but he really does write well. Powerful imagery of the horrors and stupidities of war. Just well written.
The narration, which has killed so many a good book, was first class. I'm a fan.
This guy has maybe earned the right to say whatever he wants to say and, yes, it is a free country because of folks like him.
I'll take issue with his little rant about liberals though. He claimed that if he shot Osama he'd probably be put up on war crimes charges and condemned by the "Liberal Media."
Of course, OBL was shot, right in the face, and the mainstream media didn't really get upset about it and only the fringe of the left had any issue with it. I'm liberal as hell and I celebrated the death of OBL just like any Texas red neck.
We can love our country just as much as anyone else. The rant he made about liberals did put me off a bit.
The narrator is a bit dramatic too, which I wasn't really fond of, but the story is what I got the book for.
I saw all the positive reviews and thought "this many people can't be wrong." However, this many people also find professional wrestling entertaining, so, I guess this many people CAN be wrong. I didn't like this book. It was listed as Fantasy, but is mostly, almost entirely, not. It was a frustrating listen as the main character stumbled along into one calamity after another. She also spend a fair bit of time getting serviced, which sounds find and good, but really started to get a bit dull after, oh, I don't know, the 800th time. I'll skip the next in the series, and all others from Ms. Gabaldon. I'm sure she has her place and her following, but it was soooo far from what I was looking for. It felt like it really belonged in the paperback section with Fabio on the cover.
I've listened to a lot of books by Carl Hiaasen and I have to say, this narration didn't do it for me. It sounds like Columbo reading the story. The two other narrators I've heard have been really good, but this one... it just didn't do it for me at all. It was a voice that didn't fit with the location or the characters, minus just a couple.
The story itself was good and had a unique twist.
Also loved the location on Andros playing a part.
As usual, Carl does a great job describing a place that he loves, the Keys and the Bahamas and manages to capture the threats to those places without having the book be about that.
Love the fishing stuff.
The narration really detracts from the story. It is read with a theatrical/grandiose voice that is entirely too much. It's kind of annoying. You do have a chance to get used to it, since it is 50-some hours long. I like the long, long books since I'm in the car soooooo much.
I have to say, at this point (I think I'm on chapter 47), I'm looking forward to it being over, which wasn't the case when I listened to Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, also an important historical book.
I might look elsewhere if I were you.
It was an interesting story, even if the dialogue was a bit forced at times. The country twang added by the narrator is a bit annoying, but the underlying story is powerful and it told the tale of a key battle in Afghanistan that I didn't even know about.
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