This is a fantasy story, and not something most people would think of when they think of Stephen King. So, if you are in the market for the stereotypical horror story King is so famous for, this may not be a good choice for you.
But, King does write fantasy, and he writes it well. I enjoy his fantasy books just as much and sometimes more than his horror novels. This book is set in a similar world to his Gunslinger series. I did not know this going in, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. And, the villian has made an appearance in other forms in others of King's books. I always like to see the connections and overlaps between King's books.
The story itself is a more traditional fantasy, with kings and queens and castle, dragons and evil magicians and good vs evil. But, as with most things I've read from King, its not "traditional" fantasy, you know the kind with cookie cutter cardboard characters and predictable plots. As always, King delivers believable and very "real" characters that really pulled me into the story.
The book is written, though, as if it is a story teller is relating the tale, and some may find that annoying. I'll admit, I USUALLY do, but in this case I found it didn't detract from my enjoyment at all.
And lastly, the narrator, Bronson Pinchot, did an absolutely amazing job. The voices of the children were spot on, the villian was creepy, and the women didn't come across as nasal or whiny. Things like yelling and far away speakers and whispering was very well done. He is one of the best I've listened to and will definately be looking to see what else he has narracted.
I've listened to the first two books, and have grown to enjoy the characters, the strange yet somehow familiar and facinating settings and plot lines. This story in particular, was an unexpected history lesson in the strange and the facinating.
My favorite scene was set in the book's past, envoked by a letter written by an owner of a curiosity cabinet in 1870 (I think it was), the horror, the vivid descriptions, the tangible suspence, and the morbid facination was riviting.
And, I rather enjoyed all of Pendergast's manners and the ease with which he manipulates and deflates the arrogant poeple who get in his way. It never failed to be satisfying.
I missed the characters from the first two books. Pendergast and Smithback was kind of a more minor character in the first two, but they are the only two left in this book in addition to a new female scientist character that while interesting and likable was new and not what I expected. I miss the main characters I had grown rather attached to from the first two books.
In addition, the narrator does a great job. I read some pretty terrible reviews, and almost didn't buy this audio book. I must have the same narrator, but I kept thinking that couldn't be so, because I quite enjoyed his reading. Some complained of an uplift in tone (as if asking a question) at the end of sentences that weren't actually questions. I anticipated this, waited to be annoyed by this verbal affect, but honestly, I didn't notice the narrator doing this AT ALL. Unless, of course, he really was reading a question. There were a few, very few, technical mistakes where a sentence was repeated twice in a row, but it was only a few seconds, and happened so infrequently, it didn't in the least take away from the overall story. I am rather baffled by those reviewers who professed that these things completely ruined the book for them, because it was really no big deal at all for me.
I know a change in narrator can be irritating. I felt the same way when a book in Butcher's Dresden Files series was narrated by a different person, and it completely ruined the book for me. So, if you've listened to any of the other books in this series, I would recommend to listen to the sample first. But I encourage you to give this book a chance. I almost didn't and I'm glad I did. I would have missed out on something great if I had passed it by.
Great book, great movie, pretty good audio book.
I've read Tom Clancy's books over and over. I own them all, well, all the ones he himself wrote. I haven't gotten into the newer franchise books written in conjunction with other writers. I also own all the movies based on his books. I'm not typically into military novels, but I've always ranked Tom Clancy in my top 10 favorite authors. I've read and enjoyed Clear and Present Danger multiple times, and my enjoyment has never diminished. Clancy always has just enough detail to make his books interesting to me, but never so much as to make me feel like I'm reading a technical manual or military play book. I enjoy his characters, again, enough information that they are real people to me, but never so much that character descriptions take over the plot. I get to feel like I'm really there, along side these characters, engaged in mundane routine military life or exciting action packed battle scenes. I rediscovered all of these things in this audio book. I just have one complaint, and its a pretty big complaint, the narrator, while not terrible, has no variation for characters, female, male, latino, irish, whatever, they all sound the same! Sometimes, I litterally couldn't figure out who was speaking and had to rewind. I kept thinking, its good I've read this book so many times and know what it going on, and even then, I had trouble keeping characters and speakers straight. It was very frustrating. If not for Clancy's skill as a writer, I would have stopped listening.
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.
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