I'd been looking for a good police procedural and found it in The First Law - great characters and well crafted plot with unfolding clues. This is my first Lescroart and now I think I'll back up to the first book in the Dismas Hardy series. My only disappointments with this book were a few places that stretched credibility, and a strange narration. The narrator was brilliant with many of the character voices but also sometimes hesitant as if he was reading it for the first time. I didn't find this to be too much of a problem myself and I do highly recommend this book.
I'm a big fan of historical novels and that made this a great read/listen for me. Someone who isn't into the international intrigue and wartime events that surround this story may find it tedious at times. This book couldn't be called "fast-paced." Much of the narrative includes historical background just before and during World War I that sets the stage for the details of a plot that kept me anxious to find out what happens next. I'm familiar with some of that history so it made the story richer for me, but someone else might find it overburdening.
One complaint I do have is that in parts this reads like a romance novel. I like a romantic thread, including a little sex, in a historical novel but not long segments devoted entirely to romantic twists and turns. That's what kept me from giving five stars to the story.
On the plus side is the narrator's incredible ability to make the voices of a couple dozen different characters very distinctive, applying the appropriate accents from all over Great Britain, Europe, and the US.
If you like rich historical detail, this is an excellent historical novel.
I have read (listened to) a couple of books in this series and enjoyed them, and the overall story in Hour Game is captivating. Lots of action, good characters, intriguing mystery, and some deadpan humor. But I want a good mystery to reveal enough clues to give me some hope of guessing at the solution and late in this book I realized that wasn't happening. If you don't mind having no chance to solve this mystery yourself, I recommend this as a rip-roaring story that will keep you listening. And Scott Brick does a fantastic job of narration. But for me it was a great letdown when at the moment of revealing the truth, the protagonist disclosed essential information I could not possibly have guessed at and I'm not convinced he could have either. Thus my 3-star rating.
The only thing I can compare this to is the famous PG Wodehouse series with Wooster and Jeeves. It is the same genre of humor, takes place in early 20th century England, and is very understated and/or silly humor. But the humor in this book is so dated and the story so dull that this is barely amusing, and after waiting through an hour or more of listening for something entertaining to happen I gave up. I can't think of anyone I know who would find this book appealing.
This book might be exciting for very early teen or pre-teen readers but certainly not for the average adult reader. The plot events are all predictable, the writing is simple, and the characters are one-dimensional. And Kevin Anderson should learn a little more about sailing ships if he wants to write credible fiction about them. I have sometimes enjoyed fiction written for younger readers but the target audience for this must be much younger than anything I've read. I just couldn't make it through this. I know Kevin Anderson can write better than this.
I give very few 5-star ratings and this was headed for one until the very end. It is perhaps the best of the Tales of the Otori, better I think than any of the trilogy that precedes it. In this final installment it can be difficult keeping track of the characters because almost all the characters from the earlier tales are involved plus new generations of all the various families, but still that wasn't a significant problem. My only reservation was that the ending was not quite what I was hoping for and so I held back awarding that 5th star. But if you enjoyed the previous Tales, you definitely have to get this one.
This is a teen romance-adventure novel, and as such it's probably pretty good, so I rated it that way. But that's not what I expected. I got fooled by other reviews saying this is a great adventure story and a good read for all ages. The story is told in the first person by a seventeen-year-old girl and yes it has some good adventure but there is also a lot of narrative about her romantic feelings and experiences. For an older male these teen romance interludes weren't very appealing. Too bad, because I did enjoy the adventure part of the story, which is, as others have noted, basically Red Dawn in Australia. This is probably a great book for girls from age 10 to 17, give or take, but if you're not in that category you might want to look elsewhere for a good adventure story.
I was looking for a synopsis of World War I to fill a lot of gaps in my knowledge and happened upon this Audible version. It's probably a 4-star or 5-star book as such, but without the maps of the print edition and without being able to see the spelling of people's and places' names, the Audible version is extremely hard to follow. The writing however is very good and I'm buying the print edition now so that I can get more out of it.
This was my first Stephen King book. Great, imaginative story, entertaining characters, wonderful narration. But it disappoints me to discover that millions of King readers must love this much graphic bloodshed and violence in their entertainment. I read a lot of mysteries and science fiction but the violence in the Dome exceeds the sum total in all the other books I've read in the past two years. Without it I would have given Under the Dome a five-star rating, but as it is, three is the best I can do and this will be my last Stephen King novel.
I don't read much fantasy but this was on sale so I thought I'd try Piers Anthony, knowing he's been around for 2 or 3 decades. I wasn't prepared for an alternate 20th century earth that is much like our own in everyday details but one where science and magic play equal roles, Satan competes with God for souls, ghosts and demons are prominent, and the lead character is not Death itself but someone who holds "the office of Death."
On the positive side, the suspenseful story is cleverly written and fast paced, and there are glimmers of humor and double meaning scattered throughout that keep the story from becoming too grim. Although I was tempted to quit several times, because this is not the kind of fantasy I enjoy, the entertaining writing style was enough to keep me engaged to the end.
On the negative side, the story seemed to me to become both more dreary and more outrageous as it approached the climax and I found myself glad when it was finished. But that may just be my own taste and limited exposure to fantasy. So, in deference to more devoted fantasy fans than I and to the well-established Piers Anthony, I'm giving it four stars, largely because I enjoyed very much the way he told the story.
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