Truth be told, the murder mystery isn't the reason to read this one. Kate Carlisle packs this short novel with local flair. There are tips about good places to eat and visit while in San Francisco. On top of that there are several lovable characters - I especially liked Brooklyn's odd couple neighbors. As for flaws, it feels like several characters don't get time to truly develop and revelations come quickly and are forgotten. Also, the romantic involvement seems to creep in too quickly - almost like the author fell into a quick fantasy and wrote it in without giving us enough time to see that it was much more than a fling. Worth a read or Audible listen but don't bother with the rest of the series as it pretty much repeats just in different places.
The 5th Wave has quite possibly the best use of multiple readers for a non-dramatized work that I have come across so far. For the chapters focusing on our heroine Cassie's perspective, Phoebe Strole's narration provides a beautiful blend of emphasis, emotion, and appropriately-timed day-dreamy wonder all without sacrificing clarity or flow. Additionally, Brandon Espinoza's performance during Ben's sections fits the tone and emotion of that character to the point that I may listen to another of his narrations at a later date and question what Ben Parish is doing in that book.
The scenes of separation and flight are pulled off masterfully! Rick Yancey demonstrates that he understands people in stressful and emotional situations by utilizing the appropriate balance of fear and the desire to be strong for someone else's sake. His characters seem to genuinely feel guilt or, in the cases of flight, feel the numbness and tunnel vision with odd bursts of distraction that come when you're just trying to save your skin. I think the best "moment" of this is when Cassie finds herself pinned down by a sniper and you're provided with her in-and-out-of-focus meditations on what brought her to that point and her conflicting desires at that moment. I think that may have been the point (or points) that pulled me into that world.
I originally picked this up for a father-son read-and-discuss with my then 12-year-old. Although I wouldn't recommend the book for most children below high school age, he devoured it and so I had to pick up the audio so I could listen at work to keep up (and, boy, did I want to keep up)! My reservations on age appropriateness deal mostly with graphic content that I realize some parents don't even want their older children reading. As such, I was only comfortable with my son reading this as I read along and we discussed what was happening - which, I should add, led to some great conversations that drew out information about my son's fears and perspectives which he would have kept to himself otherwise. Although some of the themes and details have appeared elsewhere, Yancey provides a rich and engaging story with memorable characters. The plot and perspectives beg discussion so I would recommend reading this with a friend, family member, or group. I'll conclude by pointing out that the number one gift on my son's birthday wishlist was the next book in the series - The Infinite Sea. It's that good.
The characterization was brilliant! The characters were real, familiar, and oh so devious!
The boy. I've known that boy!
It's personal, it feels like I can see it through the eyes of a younger version of him.
That laugh that comes when a shiver runs up your spine.
And now I need to read more Gaiman . . .
I found this to be a fantastic fictional work. While the author took liberties with some of the original stories about Siddhartha (think T.H. White's The Once and Future King), he does get a decent general faux-biography going. Chopra's personal ideas get put in characters' mouths and in the discussion of the concepts at the end, but those with knowledge of Buddhism and Siddhartha beyond pop-culture stories like these will be able to spot the inserts and appreciate the story anyway. Chopra does a decent job at narration here (better than his other attempts anyway) and his voice kind of fits his story. I listened to this entire audiobook on a trip and am waiting for the opportunity to listen again once I've explored more of my library.
Basically, it comes to this: If you're looking for a book on historical Buddhism or the real Siddhartha, then look elsewhere. If you have already read some of that material and are just looking for a good story, then this is perfect.
When trying to think what I liked best about Firestorm, I sadly can't recall anything that really stands out. I liked that they didn't use the typical "unbelievably well-behaved" stereotype for the teenage character, but I didn't like that they went for the "horny pervert" teen male stereotype instead. I liked that you couldn't always quite tell how things would work out, but I hated the deus ex machina pulled at the climax. I liked that it was written with thoughts to expand the novel's universe in a series, but I disliked the lackluster "ending" to this part.
I was persuaded to do a book talk at a school where I taught science for a couple years. I was given this book because it "has all of that sciencey stuff you like, right?" In a lot of ways, I think the problem was that this book tried to do too much of that "sciencey stuff" and did a lot of it poorly. I like time-travel stories, but that connection was forced and poorly explained. I like mutations, but those seemed over-the-top. I even like nature, but the vague "I want this to look like it has some ecological perspective" brow-beating and the "we can't actually do anything about the destruction of the environment without magic" climax send mixed messages and ultimately seem to be weak excuses for plot devices.
The students and I ended up discussing better literature and the concepts of time-travel ignored here. The only thing we all seemed to like was the "stream of consciousness" writing style which did help the pace.
No, I consider it to be a weak imitation of good science fiction.
Honestly, his performance was the only thing that made this book bearable. I picked up the audiobook as I had a busy schedule where I would be doing a lot of driving and could "read on the way." Ramon de Ocampo kept a great pace and enunciated clearly. His "female" voice needs work, but that gave me a good laugh at its sheer creepiness.
Yes, to avoid reading anything else written by David Klass.
Save your money/credits; there are much better Young Adult novels on Audible.
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