I have listened to Friedman's Coldfire trilogy and was looking for more of her books. In Conquest Born rated highest among readers at Amazon. Some said it was their favorite book of all time. So, I went in with pretty high expectations, and was disappointed.
The story is not terribly, but nor it is really good. An excellent narrator makes up for much of this, making what was in my opinion a medicore story easy to listen to.
The characters: I felt no connection, empathy or sympathy for any of the characters. The main characters often not only did or said things objectionable, but contrary to their character, without any truly interesting inclinations or complexities like Gerald Torrent of the COldfire trilogy. I often didn't like or agree with torrent but he as complex and interesting and a hell of a character. In addition to this, I was often confused as to who the main characters were going to be in the begining. Several characters were introduced in great detail, and often one or more scenes would be told from their point of view, only to have them disappear never to return.
Plot: Boring, predictable, a lesson of black and white polar opposites where bad is bad and good is good and as I reader, I always knew who was who and what was what within this frameworkd. I had expected sci-fi or at least sci-fi fantasy, but what I felt like I got was a rather distant and it seemed to me, improbably love story. Not what I expected based on the book's description and customer reviews. I prefer a little more science in my science fiction and a little more unique, unexpected systems in my fantasy. I don't usually read romance, but would expect more angst, struggle, some strong emotions, not a bland depiction of fate.
Backstory: I usually don't have much to say about backstory or set up in books, its there, sometimes delivered in fake feeling dialogue or just delivered in paragraphs of backflashes or descritpion. Its not great, but what ever, all these devices get the job done, and I realize this usually has to be done one way or another. But, I was really frustrated with the way this book delivered the backstory/set up. It used communications for much of it, letters,phone calls, telepathic transmissions, which I found really disconnected from emotion, characters, and I kept listening thinking, people don't really write/talk like this, and I found it really distracting.
Ending: I saw it coming a mile away, what else can I say?
There were some interesting parts, but for me they were all secondary or behind the scenes things. For example, I found the idea of genetic manipulation, such as to develop human telepathy, and all the controversy that comes with that, and it was touched upon, but didn't ever get much attention.
Overall, not a bad listen, and I listened to all of it. Most people seem to REALLY like this book, and I thought the narration was excellent, so you'll probably like it.
I really like this movie! :) And I really enjoyed this book. Its a little formulatic with stock characters and plot, but its got good scenes, exciting suspense, fun setting and a great monster.
The characters might be stock characters types, but there can be something satisfying with stock characters if done well, a reader can know them, understand them, they are familiar, and yet there are quirks and personalities to make them interesting and fulfilling. I cared about the characters and worried about what would happen to them.
The setting of a museum built on a catecomb of old, unmapped, dark, dank drainage and sewer pipes seems hard to believe at first, but it was very well done, and made for a great environment for this spooky monster story. I especially liked the details of museum life and employees, archeology digs and scientists. It made everything vivid and real. Great details that added to the story.
I usually like books better than the movies, but I really enjoyed the movie and the book both. The book added a lot with great, funny, enlightening internal dialogue and commentary. I found this book entertaining, humorous, suspenseful and thrilling. I laughed out loud at work. I listened in my car on my way home unable to put it down. I listened at night and skipped one of my favorite shows. I would recommend this book to others.
In addition, the narrator does a great job. Voices seemed right on. Sarcasm comes through perfectly. A joy to listen to.
The narrator did a good job. 5 stars to him.
The book didn't do anything for me. The writing style seemed forced and over the top. Descriptions are exagerated and repetative. Adjectives are used repeatedly paragraph after paragraph for different things. (a head lulled, a tongue lulled, 2 different subjects described a few sentences apart) Prose is overly dramatic, overly detailed, overly long, and for me detracted from the story instead of creating suspense as I suspect it was supposed to. I felt little suspense. Sentences were very long, and every minute movement or action is described in exhaustive detail.
A great amount of the story was back story told, just info dumped. I realize this is a second novel, but I felt like most of the it was just backstory or recap of the first book. I kept wondering when the plot/story of THIS book would get going. When it finally did start to go somewhere, late in the book, it was rushed, and finished in a cliff hanger (continued hopefully in the 3rd book) that left so much unexplained I felt let down. I didn't care for this book or this series well enough to contintue.
Characters were cardboard, uninteresting, and I didn't get into any of them. Plot is predictable yet unfulfilled at the same time, ending abruptly with no real satisfaction. I'm glad I got this on sale. I'm a little surprised to see so many 5 star reviews for this.
Callis Rose just didn't do it for me. I'm glad I got it on sale because it wasn't worth much to me. It was a difficult listen, confusing writing style.
-Strange omnipotent point of view that skips point of view around to every character in a scene.
-Prose nearly entirely written in passive voice.
-A story mostly told instead of shown. I prefer showing to telling.
-Unbelievable characters driven by plot instead of their own personal motivations. I prefer character driven plots to plot driven characters.
-Characters make giant leaps of understanding and insight. They just KNOW things.
-Oddball personal details about totally random and inconsequential characters that mean nothing.
-Awkward foul language/behavior that doesn't ring true.
-Some awkward prose in general. Such as "Spittle issuing forth from her mouth" and after strangulation her neck was "red from rough ministrations".
I didn't connect with any of the character, and felt no sympathy for any of them. I didn't care about her. People are cruel and horrible with no rational reason, no redeeming qualities.
The subject of abused psychic children and the havoc they do has been done before far better. Obviously some seem to find the style and plot of this story satisfying. I would suggest listening to a sample first to hear writing style.
On a positive note, the narrator did a great job! So good I will look him up to see what else he's narrated.
I listened to the Audible audio version of this book. I was hesitant based on some less favorable books, but I'm glad I gave it a chance. I liked it. This isn't a detective story, not really, as unlike Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowrs, Jake Winter is not a detective, but it is a murder mystery. What makes Dead Watch different is that the hero of our tale is an investigator/fixer in Washington DC with connections to the President's office. I thought it made for an interesting setting. I found the politics and intrigue facinating. I look foreard to more books in this series.
I did find Jake Winters himself a little lacking. He seemed very similar to Sandfords other characters. While I find Sandfords characters pretty much cut from the same cloth, I like the basic wireframe he bases them all on. And, Jake is no exception except he comes without the nuances and intricacies that make Sandfords other characters into real, well rounded, flawed people. I hope Jake develops more in subsequent books. With a little more oersonality and a good flaw or two, his story would be 5 stars.
I also thought the narrator did a great job!
I have mixed feelings about this book. The narrator does an excellent job, and kept me listening after I would have quit. The book is excruciatingly slow to get to the meat of the story, the influenza outbreak. I read a lot about infectious disease, and some of the books are slow and/or dry, but this one was worse by far. The first hours are just back ground stuff, in great detail, history of John Hopkins, history of medical degrees, doctors, researchers, down to how they dressed and looked and spoke, where they lived, how they rented rooms from, who their friends were, how those friendships changes. Quite frankly - I DON'T CARE! I want to know about the flu epidemic! Any pertinent back ground, what little was important, could have been given in a few paragraphs, a few pages at the very most, and I'm not exaggerating. Not at all. I kept looking at the time, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3.5 hours, and still this book had gone no where! I finally put the speed on fast. I was greatly tempted just to fast forward, but was afraid to miss anything that was actually about the supposed subject of the book, you know, the Great Influenza that is the TITLE of the book. In addition, I found the frequent and blatant American elitism extremely annoying. The author is very condescending about non-American medical professionals, institutions, colleges and researchers even though the early American medical degrees are described as nothing more than a certificate for attending a few lectures while other countries had actual colleges and real medical degrees. It is also clearly stated that these American researchers built upon work already done by foreign researchers. Statements such as "american doctor/researcher such and such was THE BEST in the WHOLE WORLD or the leader in such and such field in of the whole world. It got old and tiresome really quickly.
Once you get past the beginning fluff (literally hours) and get used to or ignore the rather heavy handed america elitism, the books gets more on topic and was more interesting. Though the narrator does a great job, I wish I had read this one so I could have skimmed through the beginning fast and easy instead of wasting hours of listening time.
I really enjoyed this audio book. Great content. Great narrator. Narrator is perfect.
Some of the negative comments I read were:
1) Skewed negative skew on part of author, making the dark ages out to be all bad, evil, backward and generally horrible.
2) Made out all lords and church officials out to be greedy, murderous villains and the root of all evil.
3) Incoherent book structure, dry presentation and cherry picked fact, and incomplete narrative of the black death because origin is not sufficiently covered.
I am not a expert of the Dark Ages but I have read SEVERAL books on plagues and epidemics including the black death. This was the best book I have read so far. The mysterious inconsistency of the recorded history of the black death was well explained here. The current leading theories the explained, symptom, time lines, outbreaks and environments were described/explained effectively, and researchers and historians and historical records were referenced. Through the whole book, records from the time are referenced. I found the entire book to be well referenced, well explained, effectively presented and believable. Sections were separated by population class, and had a timeline through and after the many waves of plague. For example, gentry, peasants and church officials had their own sections on how they were effected during and after the plague. I found this presentation effective, easy to follow, and in my opinion, this format was by far the best choice.
As for those complaining about the negative portrayal of the Dark Ages, well, uh, it is called the Dark Ages for a reason. People were greedy, racist, and locked into a class system that left many people stuck in poverty and servitude through the generations. Jews were blames for the plague and burned. People were tortured routinely. Officials were bribed. The medical/scientific people were ineffective against the plague and believed the plague was caused by sin, witchcraft, Jews poisoning, "bad humor"ect. But, even so, the author gives examples of educated female intellectuals, generous lords taking care of their surfs, providing churches, mills, and such, churches having female preachers and leaders. I'm not sure what some readers expected, chivalry, noble knights, fairytales and robinhood heroes? But, the Dark Ages certainly wasn't all white knights and gentile lords and ladies, but neither does the author portray all people and everything as horrible evil darkness.
As for the complaints about lack of focus on the origins of the black death, the author DOES address/explain it effectively and thoroughly. But, the title of the book is "The Wake" of the black death, meaning AFTER the black death, and so this is the focus of the book, which I found fascinating. There is many details and examples given that illustrate the times and effects of the black death perfectly.
I highly recommend this book. It appears to be well researched and referenced. It is well laid out and conveys its content extremely well. This, coupled with a talented narrator, made for an enjoyable as well as educational listen.
I really enjoyed King's Joyland. I had seen some negative ratings, and wasn't sure what to expect. Joyland exceeded my expectations in every way. It is one of my favorite King stories now, up there on my list by Bag of Bones. I felt like Joyland was a lot like Bag of Bones, though I can't exactly put my finger on why. It might be the first person point of view, the great characters, the element of a child who can see what others can not, and the relationship of the protagonist to the child. In any case, I had the same feelings when i listen to Joyland when I listened to bag of Bones. I listen (or read) to Bag of Bones usually twice a year, sometimes 3 times. I can see myself adding Joyland to my repeat listen list.
Michael Kelly did an excellent job narrating. He was perfect, perfect inflection, perfect tone, perfect voice all around. I expecially appreciated how he read the children and female characters. Many men read female voices as nasal and valley girl, which totally ruins the story for me. Kelly did a great job, and I could enjoy the story. In fact, I felt the narration added to the story rather than just disappeared into it.
So, I went back and read some of the negative reviews, and they mostly seem to be a negative reaction to the fact that Joyland isn't a blood and guts, scary HORROR story. As if horror is ALL that Kind writes. King has never written ONLY blood and guts scary horror. He writes fantasy and sci-fi to horror to the strange and fantastic. I would say all his writing has elements that carry through all of his works, but not all of them are the same. Joyland is a ghost story, but that's not the only story. There is also a story about a young man and a woman, a young man and a sick child, an amusement park, and so on. King's works are always stories within stories within people and Joyland fits that mold. If you like King for his well drawn characters, fantastic yet somehow down to earth and believable plots and settings and the way he can make those people and places come alive, then you will probably like Joyland. If you are only interested in blood and guts and scary horror, you might not like Joyland at all.
What did I like best . . . well, the setting, I liked that it was set in the Pacific Northwest. I liked the realistic characters and their relationships. I liked the magic that was integral to the plot but not the WHOLE plot. I liked just about everything about this book.
This book reminded me a little of The Shining, in that the PLACE itself felt haunted, like the hotel in The Shining was, but it also reminded me of the movie Poltergeist, in that not EVERYTHING haunting the house and the land, the people, was evil.
I enjoyed the young adults the most. The adolescent boys seemed especially realistic to me. I also like the - well, i just liked them all, and I thought the narrator did a great job reading them.
I found this book to be exhilarating in its descriptions, heart poundingly real. I didn't feel like The Good House was blatant in your face Horror like other books in the horror genre, but it was definitely spine tingling and suspenseful, and I couldn't stop listening. I was on the edge of my seat.
This book was slower to start than I expected. I was thinking there was going to be more jump out and scare you type action from the very beginning, but it was a slower build than that. I appreciated the slow build in that I got a firm grasp of the characters and their families just in time for everything to start coming undone. The slow build up lead to more impact for me. A great story, a great performance, a great book.
Not a complete waste of time in that I enjoy end of the world stories, but I had several "eye roll" moments and head shaking through out the book due to the sexism, racism and classism that were treated and presented as normal.
I might, if they like end of the world type books. I would warn them of the sexism, racism and classism to prepare them and then let them decide for themselves.
I thought Ganim did a great job, not too overly dramatic, but with enough inflection to impart emotions. He read women without the annoying nasal voice that many readers use for women.
Maybe, if they updated the science and cut out the sexist, racist and class prejudice. Actually, they have made updated movies on this theme, and I did enjoy them.
I really found the blatant sexism, racism and classism annoying. Our main character hero, Tony, feels entitled to OWN his love interest, and thinks/talks/behaves really angry and jealous when he can't have her as he is due. Tony (and therefore our authors) describe this love interest, Eve, as possessing an intellect "as good as a man's" unlike other women. At least she had a mind and used it (at the behest and direction of her father, of course) but it was more than I expected from a book pulished so long ago. Our hero Tony also has a "Jap" servant (actually called a Jap servant) named Keto who speaks in pidgin english, brings him coffee, answers the phone, all as directed of course, and gets ordered around and is described as being unable to comprehend what is going on, relying on Tony to fill in everything for him. And, Tony, is described as having a bearing of the class, wealth and breeding of all the high class generations behind him.
I had great difficulty relating to the people and culture because of this. I had mixed feelings ranging from annoyance to distaste to anger, and kept trying to remind myself of when this book was written. But, when it wasn't written, wasn't a sufficiant excuse for me to ignore and not care about the portrayals of women and non-white people, and I'm finding it difficult to accept that other readers can just ignore it.
Not really money well spent. The story is good, but the narrator reads the female villain in a horrible whiny nasal valley girl tone that was annoying at first but by the midway mark made me grit my teeth. I began to put on fast speed during her scenes. Totally ruined all suspense and interest in her as a character.
The female villain and her revelation should have been (and was in the paperback) but moment/impact ruined by terrible narration of her voice.
The female villains voice!! All other woman and all other books by this narrator are fine, just seems to be this book and this character. Why why why he read her like he did is beyond me.
I think the whole Prey and Virgil Flowers series would make a good tv show.
All the Prey books are great and I live them all. The narrator does a really great job on all other books and all other characters. The reading of this book was just a little off for some reason.
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