Atmospheric, original, literary
My first Will Patton audio, but not my last!
Stiefvater's writing is as compelling and evocative as ever in this highly original psychological thriller. The narrator of this audiobook, Will Patton, is masterful at communicating each of Stiefvater's intricately drawn characters. The audiobook is atmospheric and beautifully dramatized, and, having attended the Odyssey Awards ceremony this past June at ALA in Anaheim and witnessing the caliber of the books and narrators who won recognition, I predict that Patton and Stiefvater will be among the top contenders for The YA Odyssey Award for excellence in audio production of a YA book.
The last few Reacher books I have listened to have demonstrated a steady decline in quality. The action in this book meandered from Seattle to Arkansas (where everyone is stereotypically ALWAYS an idiot), to Paris, London, North Carolina. Too little action, too much talking. The constantly changing settings did nothing to advance the plot.
Many reviewers have stated their unease with Childs "jumping the shark" by having Reacher travel to Europe. I was offended by Reacher's know-it-all American attitudes in Europe, for example at the taxi station in London when Reacher acts like a stereotypical American with disregard for any culture or belief but his own. Reacher as a foreign operative? Picking fights just for the heck of it? In addition, some plot points stretched credulity: would Reacher and Nice really have been able to scope out the location of the upcoming summit in London? Would they have been the only others doing surveillance besides the local gang?
Dick Hill just isn't portraying Reacher as a vital, tall, brash hero. He makes Reacher sound old and folksy. I experimented with speeding up to 1.5X. but still couldn't hang in there with the book. We had to stop listening to the book on our road trip last week because Dick Hill was putting us to sleep. Whoever heard of falling asleep to the Reacher from "Kill Shot" or "The Killing Floor," back when Reacher was Reacher?!
Disappointment. It was nice for awhile having Lee Childs as a go-to author that we could enjoy on road trips.
Stephenson's skillful pacing and mind-blowing imagination and detail remind me of the often overlooked writer, Allan Folsom, author of five terrific books: The Day After Tomorrow (1994), Day of Confession (1998), The Exile (2004), The Machiavelli Covenant (2006) and The Hadrian Memorandum (2009).
Hillgartner's narration gripped me and yanked me through an unusual book that I might not have persevered with were it not for his excellent storytelling and voicing of characters and accents.
Powerful, redemptive, darkly funny
Owen's dual performances as The Prince of Peace and The Ghost of Christmas Future stand out as one of the most ingenious, hilarious, memorable,and celebratory literary experiences I have ever had. The narrator is masterful at conveying all of Irving's dark irony.
This book is an example of one of Audible's main benefits for me: allowing or "forcing" me to read fine, powerful books that, for one reason or the other, I never got around to reading. (Other examples include "The Poisonwood Bible" and "The Kiterunner.") It was obvious from the opening paragraphs that I was going to enjoy this reading of an American masterpiece.
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