I liked the story, and in the hands of a good narrator, I think it had some nice potential. But unfortunately, Jeff Cummings was not the man for this job. Because of a serious lack of variety in voicing characters, he fails in setting the mood of tension and mystery this book demands. His delivery is flat and strangely pedantic for most of the minor characters. As a result, the story loses what little depth and texture it possessed, becoming as light and inconsequential as an hour of Hawaii Five O.
When I was listening to Paul Bowles' exquisite The Sheltering Sky, I jotted down a phrase here in my notes to include in my review: the ambiguities of human behavior.
When we create art, we (meaning we members of the human species) are almost always guilty of placing the art in a digestible context. Perhaps guilt is the wrong word to use, because it indicates a transgression - perhaps this context is wholly necessary in that art must be able to be internalized in some fashion or it fails in communicating anything at all. With writing, this translates into the creation of a pleasing and familiar story arc with discernible beginning, middle, and end. Many readers find great comfort in this familiarity - in fact, they demand it in their novels. Book series are an indication of this phenomenon. In book series, we are allowed to reenter a familiar set of literary preconditions and live among characters we've grown accustomed to. These same readers often despise books that upset the standard story arc. Books are not a place to be challenged, set off balance, or placed adrift in a morally ambiguous universe. Novels are enjoyed by these readers because they clarify moral situations, not muddy them! Readers of this sort will undoubtedly hate The Sheltering Sky and its ambiguities of human behavior. For the rest of the reading world, this novel offers a profound and moving experience. My son asked me this evening which book that I had read this past month had I enjoyed best? I told him this one, and in fact, I have plans to carry on with Bowles and listen to Let It Come Down beginning tonight.
Books like The Sheltering Sky - books so keenly observant of human frailty - are truly rare. And in being unafraid to show ourselves our frailties, it offers us rare and beautiful truths. It surprises me in some respect that this novel is not more highly valued, though I do see it ranked among best books of the 20th century. Bowles reveals himself a master observer. The character he creates with Kit Moresby is one of the most outstanding and complex I've read in the past couple of years.
Jennifer Connelly does an excellent job - just short of outstanding. While her ability with accents is wonderful, it's in the general narration where she can sometimes let down the prose. It just felt a bit uninspired at times.
The Troop is an excellent horror story that will probably surprise you wit the direction it takes in the story. Certainly, one knows what sort of story one is in for when the author leads things off with a quotation from Lord of the Flies. But just wait and see what terrors await them on this weekend camping trip!
The writing is excellent - in fact, the description is so horribly visceral, you may have to take a break from time to time from the gore. The narrator was absolutely fantastic - sounded exactly like John Malkovich - who better to narrate this twisted tale?
Here's a scary story for you. Not one with fictional creatures or supernatural occurrences, but instead, a novel that details all the quiet miseries and disappointments we work-a-day stiffs endure throughout the course of a lifetime. It is not an escape, but a story that forces you to confront the choices you have made in your own life. The writing is done with great care and intelligence, so that the reader gets the sense that WIlliams truly knows this academic world and its inhabitants.
Stoner is so unsettling in its description of family and work life that I think we could cure the earth's overpopulation problem if this book became mandatory reading in the eighth grade.
We always hope that a series of books becomes better over time, but unfortunately, in a lot of cases, that doesn't hold true. I'm happy to say that Richelle Mead has been able accomplish this with her Vampire Academy series. Books 1 and 2 were entertaining, but Shadow Kiss bests them both. In this story, our heroine Rose has matured, becoming stronger and wiser, setting aside the silly behavior that used to make me cringe. There are plot twists and confrontations here that will leave YA readers weeping into their pillows. It sets up for a fantastic fourth installment. I also think this is narrator's Khristine Hvam's best performance so far. She minimized the little squeeky girl voice she tends to use during lighter moments, and voiced Dmitri in a solid and straight forward manner.
A very interesting and satisfying story of interwoven moral dilemmas. I thought that the narrator, Caroline Lee, did a perfect job. I admired so many of the small vocal moments in the way she chose to utter the lines.
I love this series. I feel like Molles keeps deepening the characters as they continue to advance into this unknown and hostile world. Christian Rummel continues his blood-and-guts assortment of voices - he does guys really well, but the girls come off a bit one note.
If you've not read these first two detective novels in the new series by J.K. Rowling, you are really missing out. I think there is something about being the #1 author of all time that makes it a bit hard to be valued in a sane manner - way too many expectations and assumptions to hurdle! But despite all that, I must say that I love the way this author writes! She has a style that perfectly balances a literate prose with suspense. Her characterization and dialogue are absolutely superb, and I think, slightly underrated. It's easy for those things to be overshadowed in a fantasy series, as the reader marvels at the intricacies of the illusionary world of magic and wizardry. But think about it again now that we've moved into different work- there are few authors I've read in the last decade who create richer characters whom the reader simply adores. And I've read enough crap by now to know that that is not something that occurs easily. It takes extraordinary skill and instinct.
Robert Glenister is absolutely fantastic. I'm astounded at the array of voices he is able to muster, but more so at the perfect interpretation he selects for Rowling's dialogue. It's so special to hear a gifted reader bring his many gifts to bear on writing of this quality.
I gave a positive review to the first book in this series by Martin Jensen; however, this time around I feel that we readers have been let down a bit. Winston takes much more of a back seat to Halfden this time around, as the murder of a monk baffles the duo. I found the story much less compelling here, and recalled that the threat of the King's wrath added necessary tension to "The King's Hounds." I did enjoy the addition of Alfilda to the sleuthing pair, but wish her character could be given more to do than brood and stare out windows. Would it be a better series if the author took us into the minds and perspectives of the three central characters? I think perhaps so. Napoleon Ryan does a good job again in his narration, though his pacing is very languid and occasionally it sounds as though he needs to spit.
This is a perfect recording. First, an impeccable translation of a top science fiction classic. When I listened, I kept having to remind myself that this novel was first published in Polish in 1961! According to Wikipedia, this edition was rendered specifically for Audible through the estate of the author, Stanislaw Lem. That kind of care and attention really show through in the quality of this production. I have read a ton of Audible books in the past year - over 50 - and this one right near the top.
First, the story: there is something so immediate and timeless about this story. An eerie sense of disorientation, a psychological mystery in the best sense. How can writing this fresh be over 50 years old? I can only credit the author and the translators in bringing together a remarkable work of art. And please be aware: this is not some standard, cliche-ridden potboiler. If you're looking for that brand of genre sci-fi pulp, you can easily find that elsewhere on this site. Solaris, on the other hand, has an amazing energy and organic quality to the way it unfolds. Read it with your full attention, in a quiet space. It's so easy to see how its nightmarish atmosphere have been co-opted by countless science fiction stories and movies since it was written.
I have read another story narrated by Alessandro Juliani, from the Amber series. In that, he was good, but in this endeavor, he absolutely shines. He lends the perfect tone to Chris's voice and observations. it is obvious Juliani made a very careful study of the story before beginning his job, and the care shows throughout in his considered inflection.
I can't recommend this more to a true connoisseur of science fiction literature.
This is the second in the series of police procedurals by L.J. Sellers. She has based these books around Eugene, Oregon, with gruff, good-hearted Detective Jackson as her protagonist. Sellers has a gift for creating a compelling narrative that swiftly moves the reader through the plot without a lot of fluff. The story plays out just as a good police investigation. There are red herrings, blind alleys, and department politics to contend with. The book reads like an episode of Law and Order, complete with a few moral lessons along the way. Such as...
SEMI-SPOILER ALERT: In "The Sex Club," we learned to keep a sharp eye on our children, and to avoid extremist religious viewpoints with an unbending moral code. Here, in "Secrets to Die For," we continue the theme of broken parent/child relationships with children withholding things about themselves from their parents. In both these first two novels, the fanatical parents wind up bringing great harm to their children through their misbegotten actions. Karma is tough in Sellers' universe!
The narrator, Damon Abdallah, is purely perfunctory in his delivery. He is annoyingly monotone during most of the narration. We only hear vocal variety during the moments of dialogue. His Detective Jackson is a morose bore, though I found him more tolerable this time - perhaps simply because I was used to Mr. Abdallah from "The Sex Club." But even he couldn't sink the book for me.
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