I bought this series on cassette when my library was getting rid of all their cassettes. The material was excellent but the quality of the used cassettes was awful, I had to stop less than halfway through because it was so frustrating, I thought of purchasing the set on CD but the price was pretty high. Now I can hear it all in perfect condition at a great price!
Robert Greenberg is smart and funny and presents the material in a way that is accessible to anyone. I'm delighted that we now get access to The Great Courses at our regular credit price!
I am a sucker for stories that take place in England or France from about 1700 to 1900 and I also enjoy a clever detective story. So I liked this very much. I was hoping it would be a series but apparently not. This book spans the period of the French revolution and it helps to have a little knowledge. But I appreciated that the author didn't spend a long time explaining the history, just let it emerge naturally.
There were some plot twists I didn't expect, which kept my attention, but the most interesting character to me was the detective Vidocq. Possessed of a criminal past, an iron nerve, and an incredible talent for disguise, he was constantly fascinating. In comparison the narrator is rather colorless. Simon Vance did a good job with the different voice and pronounced the French excellently.
The humor is delightful and there are plenty of twists and turns in the plot. The characters are a collection of misfits stuck in a place that is a cross between the North Pole and the Wild West.
It's a lot like John Scalzi's books, like The Android's Dream or Redshirts, in that there is a futuristic outer space setting, yet what really counts are old-fashioned relationships. And the sense of humor is also similar.
Her accents are great, she has to do everything from Incan to Nepali to the American West and she does them delightfully.
Not really but it was engaging and I could see listening to it again.
The audio really brings out the humor.
It could have been a lot shorter. The central mystery is presented several times from different viewpoints. I'm not that good at guessing in mysteries but here it was pretty obvious where things were going. I also thought some of the characters weren't very realistic.
Maybe a shorter one to see if it was more tightly written. I did like the combination of history, politics and mystery.
The narration was quite good, it definitely helped keep me interested.
Not all of it. I am a fast reader on paper so I think that would have been a better format where I could have skimmed through parts.
You have to suspend disbelief that someone would write a memoir with long conversations reproduced verbatim.
It is 100 years earlier than Downton but has a lot of similar themes, the inheritance of an estate, feuding family members, upstairs & downstairs characters, and of course a romance. Heyer reinvented the Regency genre in the 20th century and they are generally predictable, but she does have a distinctive hero in this one, not the usual man about town. There is a subplot that is a sort of mystery and takes up too much time.
The narration is excellent. There are many similar characters, brothers & cousins, and Philpott makes them all distinctive. Also there is a plot point around the way the main character speaks and he renders that very well.
Adults as well as kids can enjoy this amusing book, especially if you remember 1968. The classic struggles of 7th grade are set against a changing world background. But some things, like the power of Shakespeare and of friendship are constant.
This is a very detailed start to an epic series. The coming of age part is the strongest. I felt that after while the hero became practically superhuman, which made me less interested in him. There certainly were some great scenes and action sequences that kept me listening, but the whole didn't always come together. The narration was also good but not outstanding. It wasn't that easy to tell the various characters apart.
Maybe it's that I'm not as much of fan of military/macho fantasy, preferring some whimsy or humor, and more central female characters. I see there are some sequels coming but I don't feel compelled to listen to them.
Jacky explores America with a motley group of crew members. She experiences just about every possible mood of pride, shame, joy, misery, fear, triumph, anger, love, revenge, compassion, and just plain fun. And Katherine Kellgren portrays them all perfectly.
Some of the earlier books were a bit predictable, but this one has plenty of surprises. Happily we know that Jacky will get out of each scrape because there are more books to go, but sometimes it was hard to see how she would manage this time.
If you are at this point in the series, you might like to download the free conversation between Kellgren and the author, L. A. Meyer. It doesn't give any spoilers after this point except a hint of some more places Jacky will go. He explains why music is so important in these books, and she talks about how she develops the character voices and keeps them straight.
This series is one of several I would never have found or appreciated in print. The right narrator contributes so much more than I could get by reading it myself.
Remember the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark where a whole adventure happens before the opening credits? This is sort of like that, plenty happens in a brief time. It's probably not as much fun for those who don't already know our heroes, but I hope people try it out and go on to listen to the whole series. The ending made me laugh out loud. I hope there is a law that Tim Reynolds is the only person allowed to read Riyria books, as I wouldn't be able to stand any different voice.
The concept behind this book is fascinating, but the upshot seems to be bleakness and futility. Making different choices just leads to different miseries. So many ways to be unhappy and to die and so many times reliving the horrors of WWII. The only good thing for those who lived through it was that it finally ended! Here it keeps coming back.
For the last third of the book I was wanting to fast forward but never knew exactly where things might change (they don't, much!). And although I spent so much time with the main character, she still seemed a bit of a blank.
The narration was excellent and the evocation of the different eras was quite good, but overall I was quite disappointed. I wonder if this would get published if it was Atkinson's first book.
In my opinion, Connie Willis' 2-part work, Blackout & All Clear, is a much superior book about both the Blitz and the effects of individuals on history.
It's a challenge to present a story people know well from the movie. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences. It seems Anne Hathaway made some of the voices similar to the movie and others different. As a professional actor, she was great at conveying emotion and excitement, though a couple of the voices were kind of odd. This would be a good book for a family to listen to together, And of course there is a message about how you really already have what you think you need, whether it is brains, heart, courage or the ability to find your way home.
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