The narrator hands down! After suffering through narration of 1Q84 and Fifty Shades of Grey I am so impressed with the authenticity of this read!
Her ability to give life to each character, enhancing their voices with what we would assume to be their personalities
Story line starts a little slow but once you get into it the story moves quickly. The graphic sex scenes didn't bother me at all since I am a fan of the Kushiel series.
Quite a few things:
1. The first thing I noticed when listening to this book (apart from the narrator which others have discussed at length), was that it required a certain suspension of belief. Here we have a graduating English major (or lit major) with a vocabulary that consists of not more than crap, double crap, and holy crap he's freaking hot.
2. The emails (which were painful to hear read) were a bit excessive considering this takes place in 2011 and text messages are readily available.
3. The sex scenes really do overtake the book leaving not much if any plot. I've read erotica before, but I can't remember not being able to go a few minutes without another sex scene.
4. The characters of the book all seemed to have a very child-like outlook on life and even when the author attempted to make the characters complex, they largely came off as immature and one-dimensional.
Disclaimer: I am by no means a literature buff, but I read a lot of popular fiction. I can't say that any other book I've read stood out to me as shallow before reading this one. This could largely be due to the narration.
Probably not. I will not be finishing the trilogy.
I feel bad for Becca Battoe because while her voice was very annoying and all of the characters sounded like variations of a valley girl, there was not much she could do with the writing she was provided.
While the BDSM didn't bother me at all, what did bother me was the description of what appeared to be an abusive relationship. While it is one thing to voluntarily enter into a dom-sub relationship because that's how you get your kicks, it's quite another to let someone beat you and try to become the type of person they want because you got turned out. To be afraid to say how you feel or stand up for yourself because that person might whip you. There were quite a few uncomfortable moments in this book, and for me none of them were during the sex scenes.
If you're looking for something along these lines with less intensity and amazing narration, try Outlander. If you're looking for something with intense BDSM sex scenes and a more intricate plot, try the Kushiel series. Both are period pieces. I personally saw very minimal similarities to Twilight by the way.
Addressing the plot that was created. I spent the whole book waiting to understand 1Q84 and the little people and everything the author spent sooooooo much time on only for those points to be ignored. The book could really have been 1/4 of the length. There was so much repetition and very long excerpts from other "novels". It really felt like Murakami was trying to achieve length at the cost of quality.
I would be hard pressed.
The only narrator I could really tolerate was the voice of Tengo. The female narrator has been reviewed enough on this board and the other make narrator had a tendency to whisper. I found this so distracting I almost stopped listening to the book when he started speaking.
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