This is the first example of "literature as an art form"
writing that I can ever remember actually enjoying. And I really, really liked this. I never came across anything quite like it, before. And just how much the narrator was
responsible for how much I liked it...maybe more than 50%. Nick Sullivan truly
deserves the word "incredible" to describe how he carries this story from start to
finish. I've never heard of or read William Gaddis before listening to Mr. Sullivan
doing "JR". By this reading, Gaddis seems like a giant of American letters, a
genuine master artist of the written word.
If you insist on straightforward plotting and rapid pace...forget it. The work is looong
and meanders along routes that don't appear on any literary maps. But it does move
along. Its sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes pessimistic, sometimes
uplifting...but for me, it was never dull. Mr. Gaddis and Mr. Sullivan combine to
produce as honest and entertaining a picture of the American dream as I've ever read.
Whether one likes the writing of this author, or not, one has to give Mieville credit for originality. Few writers,, especially the modern crop of fantasy writers, have the gift of owning a genuine imagination. Too many have pedestrian minds or are too lazy to want to make the effort to rise beyond hack status. Fewer still can really take you where they have gone. I found that Mieville made the trip effortless and immensely entertaining, from start to finish. Excellent characterizations. The story pushed along briskly, driven by by genuine human motivation. It moved along quickly but never skipped over those fascinating little side trips.and details which flesh out the author's creation enough to enable the reader suspend his or her reality and live entirely, albeit briefly, in this new place. And, when the ride is over, makes the reader wish he or she could go right back and stay awhile longer. Although I have not greatly liked some things he has written, with this book...and this series...he shows he can create something close to a literary masterpiece. .
I think this could have been a pretty good audiobook. Mr. Dufris' narration is fist rate, throughout. Having said that, in my opinion, the author fails on two levels. First, it is too "cutesy". The dialogue used by all the characters smacks of a tv sitcom...maybe even not a bad one, by today's standards. But I can't take it very long. And, it never stops.
My 2nd dislike...overt and overwhelming "political correctness". One can call me a "male chauvinist pig" or something similar, and I won't argue the point. But, the idea of portraying all female characters acting like tough guys, and espousing violence and, in general, acting just like egotistic, alpha males minus the anatomical trappings doesn't seem to serve either the story line or provide any human insights of worth. It's just a form of social pandering that seems to be in vogue, I guess. So as to sell more books of this kind to women? I don't know. Scalzi has talent. Mostly, here, its wasted.
Cornwell is a very good writer of historical fiction. Not only is this book and the trilogy the best work he's done, its the best working of the Arthurian legend I have ever come across.
The best Cornwell has done. More than that, the best take on the Aurthurian legend that I have ever read or heard.
I am a major Cornwell fan, although I don't feel everything he's done...and I've read and/or listented to 95% of his work...is worthy of high praise. As a writer of action packed historical fiction, he is peerless, in my opinion. This trilogy, the Warlord trilogy, is his best work, I think. Not only does it completely refresh the Arthurian legend and give it more credence than anything I have read before or since, but, it should rank as a honest to goodness, major "classic". It is every bit as much a real classic as Mallory's work. Cornwell exhibits as much and more wit in these 3 books than anything he's done before or since. His insights into the age and the individual lives of of the characters in that time are without parallel...no one I've ever read has done this better. Each of the books, "The Winter King", this one, and "Excalibur" is, in terms of quality, the equal of the other two.
Either reading them or listening to them being read has given me immense pleasure and
more food for thought than was easily digestible. There is no better means of immersing oneself in the legend of Arthur, the King, than reading Cornwell's Warlord trilogy. .
First, I am a fan of Reynolds and I like John Lee's narration. I have listened to almost everything he's done and Lee's narrated, until Reynold's came up with "Blue Remembered Earth" and its sequel. The former, I despised. I did not bother with the latter.
"The Prefect" is a very good example of Reynold's writing, and included good characterization, effortless descriptive power and able fostering of my desire "to know what comes next". John Lee did well with it.. I have read it twice and listened to it, once. The ending did not ring my chimes, but it was alright. The rest of it was very good to excellent.
It helps if one is familiar with the setting which Reynold's created over several novels to place the story in. But, even those who are not familiar with that setting will enjoy this work, I think.
Joe Abercrombie is a master of the genre. And, I've thoroughly enjoyed this whole series. Steven Pacey is, as usual, superb. This work and series,, in my view, is fantasy writing at its very best. I've praised other books in this series as well as the writer and the reader. This book is just as well written and read as the others. I think it would probably benefit the reader who has never read Joe Abercrombie, before,to begin with "The Blade, Itself".
I would love to see this series go on for a long while.
This is a fantasy novel which was hard for me to finish. Although I listen to a lot of SF and Fantasy, I usually find that good writing in the latter category is hard to come by. I've found that most of the posted reviews I which rave about this or that fanatasy novel are not to be trusted. Because when I try most of these highly rated books, they give me literary indigestion. Most are just awful...poorly written rehashes of hackneyed themes which were, in most cases, handled a lot better by earlier writers. Still, I keep trying them out, looking for the few that might just be gems. And, I've found a few...a few.
The Red Knight is an example of another disappointment. In some parts, near the beginning, it even showed flashes of the start of something really good...the single reason I gave it more than 1 star. But, the flash dies off quickly, each time, and the reader is forced to continue to trudge on along the book's prosaic path to its mundane conclusion. I guess this kind of over worn, comic book, style of writing appeals to a lot of readers, like the ones who rate unimaginative, poorly written fantasies with 5 stars. But, for me, its just another "fantasy" novel I wasted my time with.
First, I admit that I am a genuine fan of the writings of Martin Cruz Smith. He has always done a masterful job of writing fiction. I have read or listened to each novel in the "Arkady Renko" series several times, and was highly entertained each time. The same holds true for me with his other works, as well. Like all first rate writers, no matter in what genre they write, there is nothing "artificial" in their work. So it is here The story flows, the drama unfolds from the basic human nature of the characters and they remain true to those natures. Every word seems finely crafted to fit where it should and enhances the storyline.
Frank Muller's job was well done. Someone new to Smith's writings and this series, might do well to start with "Gorky Park", which is the first in this chronological series. But, by itself, this is a good book to listen to.
The author can make very entertaining stuff out of the seemingly non grandiose. He's done that repeatedly in (what I'm able to recall of) his non fiction books. In this one, he takes a big bite of "...Nearly Everything", thoughtfully chews on it and and cleverly reports how it tastes. This report, read out loud, with exquisite pacing and wit, by Richard Mathews, actually becomes more entertaining when listened to a 2nd or 3rd time...when one picks up the bits and nuances they've missed during earlier readings. The book seems seriously factual and intellectually sound. But, contrary to the usual lack of humor most often found in such writings, this book is a hoot. It is slyly witty and darkly humorous. The narrator is superb in bringing out these qualities. And by doing so, this reading does a great job in helping one gain a bit of honest perspective of one's actual place in our universe, I believe. Very enjoyable.
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