Al-Harthy Complex, Oman | Member Since 2011
First of all, let us get one thing clear. The recording and editing quality of this book was outrageously bad! To top that off, the narrator made so many mistakes where he repeated himself (or maybe the writing style repeated itself) to the extent that it probably is the biggest factor affecting my ratting in a negative manner.
Now on to the actual book itself. The book in short, did not feel very coherent, the characters lacked a certain amount of depth, the ending was anti-climatic and over all was rather predictable. The story was not so bad, but it is obviously not written by a master story teller.
It was just good enough to keep you listening, but it is definitely not a memorable book. When it comes to books about youths discovering supernatural power within them and saving the world, you are far better off reading the first few books of The Wheel of time and the final books of the series (skip the middle). Or you could go for the Mistborn series.
some of the characters act in an extremely irrational manner which detracts from the books enjoyment
I am now half way through the book, but I felt I had to write a review now while I have the time rather than later and not have it done at all. As an Omani, I still found this book thoroughly enjoyable. It's nice to see how a foreigner perceives us and our customs and traditions. As of the point where I have reached in the book so far, I do find that the authors Omani social circles had focused on one ethnic group out of a vastly varied mixture of cultures.So far, it seems that the author has spent most of his time with the Badu and missed out on mixing with African Omani's (I am not talking about people who have been in Oman for 5 generations, I am talking about Omani's who even today speak Swahili and can give you a mile long list of relatives in Africa), he also has not covered the culture of Baluchi people from Baluchistan and the culture of Lawati people who are mostly based in Mutrah.
I also find his stories about wildlife very comical but totally inaccurate. Camel spiders might be the ugliest thing you could ever run across, but they have no venom and no numbing poison. They do however have a very powerful bite that can go through your clothes and because they tend to eat things like mice, they are very likely to be carrying diseases that they can infect you with. Similar inaccuracies about other critters. But it's OK, because it does make for a more entertaining story to tell people that we have this terribly ugly spider that you could eat you alive and you wouldn't even notice till it was too late.
The author romantices Oman in a wonderful way and paints it s a land of fairy tales, as a measure of the success of this book, even me as a native Omani started seeing Oman in different more romantic way while listening to this book.
On the down side, the narrator would occasionally swallow words at ends of sentences and you couldn't make out what he was mumbling even after rewinding several times. I assure you this has nothing to do with English being my third language. There has also been many editing errors where the narrator would make mistakes and repeat a sentence then not edit out the error. It would get rather confusing to the listener sometimes. There have also been many instances where the Narrator paused for a very long time. This could have easily been edited out.
A message to the author just in case he hasn't been to Oman for a while. Development goes on and sometimes at the expense of loosing some of the charm the country has. The old dirt road Quraiyat to Sur has been replaced with a modern super highway, but as a result, the road has lost all it's charm and the entrance to Wadi Shab is no defiled by concrete pillars holding the highway in place. Lots of the beaches in the north of Oman are now allocated for hotel projects and if you really wanted a nice isolated beach, you would either have to go by boat or drive very far our of the capital.
Many gems still remain, some of them have benefited from the modernization. Misfat Al-Irbiyeen is now more accessible with no risk of your 4WD vehicle falling of the edge of the mountain, you can now safely take that ice cold shower under the waterfall to ward off the summer heat. Little villages near the Wadi Shab tombs are now far more accessible but still retain their charm.
Anyway, enough straying off topic. Buy the book, it's funny, engaging and offers a pleasant distraction from daily life. I highly recommend it.
A note to anybody tempted by this book to visit Oman. If you want to enjoy Oman, you need to do lots and lots of research. Oman isn't the sort of place you would enjoy just dropping into with your suitcase and fully enjoy. There are two ways to enjoy Oman. Either get a tour company to arrange your activities for you...... Or, just make Omani friends, preferable ones driving around in unwashed 4WD vehicles
Good way to pass your time, some exciting moments, interesting twists to the story but nothing very memorable
kept me listening almost non stop, but I cant say the characters have always been logical in their actions, the hero acts a bit immature sometimes. Good book, but I don't see myself remembering it 6 months from now
Fun story, don't take it too seriously and you would enjoy it. I recommend you listen to the rest of the series to understand what it is all about before getting this.
While I have not yet finished the book, from the start of the book one thing was clear. The author portrayed the Arabs in Iraq as total Savages. I can understand making AlQaida people look bad because they really are bad. But overall, I got the impression he portrayed the every single Arab in the opening scene as a savage. Even the Arabic press are portrayed as being flat out supporters of the terrorists. I wonder if he has ever watched AlJazeera channel before he made the reporters for it look so bad. Iraq is like every other war torn country, there are good people and bad people. Also please notice the Nigerian villain in the story has a Muslim name (hint hint).
I continued listening to the book because I want to see what other racist trash he comes up with later on in the book.
I won't go into much detail, but I would say that the writing of the book lacked refinement. The author liked to portray sounds throughout the book the same way you would see them in a comic book. This felt like a shortcut for when the author was too lazy to describe what had happened. An entire critical battle scene would be written like this"Clunk, thunk".. that's it. Sounds like lazy writing by an author who just couldn't be bothered. The author also constantly repeated the same words throughout the book. I can't count how many times I heard the word boring used while listening to the book. Not only is the repetition of words excessively considered bad writing, specifically the repetition of the word boring makes me feel like I am listening to a teenage story teller. There were also glaring gaps in the story telling. Kind of like watching a movie that was edited to make it short enough to fit on the allotted time on TV.
The author has potential, but needs to work on polishing and refining their writing skills. While I am not a professional critic, I knew enough to see this as weak effort.
Narrator kept on using these nasal voices that were consistently annoying. The way he portrays the voices has no correlation to how people speak in reality. It was so annoying that I found it hard to actually focus on the story. The author also made a choice to pick thoroughly confusing names for his characters. This when combined with the annoying reading made it hard to follow the plot almost a full 4 hours into the reading. After a total of 4 hours of listening I was barely getting a vague sense of differentiating the characters in the book. Maybe it's just me, but I am not happy with this book so far and I am finding it rather hard to continue listening to it.
The Author, while claiming to be focused on science for the sake of science spends way too much time trying to convince everybody that god does not exist. When I buy I science book, I want a science book. When I buy a theological book, I want a theological book. The author is so insistent on proving there is no god that he almost sounds like an extremely religious person who is trying to make you believe in god. I would argue that the author while consistently saying he has no faith in religion, is treating science as if it is a religion.
Sometimes I would think while listening to the book "come on, get on with the science" I've had enough of this lame discussion on how he has mathematically proven God does not exist. Also, what he fails to understand in his constant battering criticism of religion is that some religions have actively encouraged the seeking of knowledge and the study of science. As a Muslim, I know that my religion encourages me to learn and study. Religion is something we accept based purely on faith. I don't need mathematical proof that God exists. Science is based on math, observation and analytical thinking, I compartmentalize the two and have no issues with believing in both.
If the two conflict, not a big deal, chances are there is something I have misinterpreted from either the science side or the religion side. If the the conflict is extreme, I don't give myself a headache about it. Science has done good things to my life and religion has done good things to my life, I don't feel compelled to go around actively trying to discredit one or the other. For someone who does not believe in God, I would consider the lengths to which this author has gone in an attempt to prove this idea almost like an act of desperation. His arguments had the same tone, pitch and fervor of some of the extremely religious guys I've met who are trying to sell me their way of life as the only way that makes sense.. So, dear author, tone it down a bit and focus on the science next time.
The book is a good book, and I really did genuinely learn a lot from it, but the author completely ignores the fact that there is still a thriving world outside the internet and there are still people out there without internet connectivity. He also completely dismisses the value of all non internet media. While the returns from non internet media have diminished drastically compared to how they used to be, they still have massive reach and potential. I still do give this book 4 stars because the advice it does give about marketing on the internet has proved valuable and useful to me, although my good old printed media marketing has had far stronger impact to date, having a magazine write a 3 page positive review of your service, has a very strong impact and adds lots of credibility to your business. Much more so than my blog which has a grand total of 6 comments so far! Besides, in the region where I live, the bulk of people in the age group where they could be my potential customers find social media sites as trivial and more suited for youngsters (as can be proven by the typical member demographics in these sites when you look for members from my country).
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