Anne Hathaway does a masterful job of reading a beloved classic. Thoroughly enjoyable for all ages!
I am a bit of a tornado junkie myself, so I was very excited for this book. The science and explanation was good. The author knows his stuff. The book is action-packed. I thought it was funny that the author has his character badmouth the movie "Twister", despite the many similarities between Supercell and Twister. There are two plotlines in the book: Chuck gets an offer he cannot refuse to find a big tornado for a Hollywood film company to get footage of; and we also meet two brothers that have been using tornado damage as a cover to burgularize victim's homes and businesses. Both plotlines are well-written and interwoven - up until the explosive finale that was straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster and way over the top. The author manages to give a lot of information about tornados in a remarkably fluid way without static information dumps.
The author did a good job with his main protagonist, Chuck, the down-on-his-luck tornado chaser. The secondary characters successful to varying degrees. I actually liked the treatment of the two brothers who are thieves. The dog, Smokey, was great. The son was a good device, but Chuck's religious objection to this son's homosexuality seemed forced as Chuck did not seem religious in any other aspect of his daily life. The FBI agent that pals along with Chuck was likeable, though her mission and her debilitating migraines seemed too implausible. The romance was handled well, and didn't get too intense too fast for the short time period the story covers. The hero's sidekick Sam was a good character but went overboard on the Vietnam part of his persona. The Hollywood film company bad guy was deliciously slimy.
Overall, this book was very much a Hollywood movie like Twister. Enjoyable, incredible, exciting, and fun. There was some awkwardness in the writing: wooden dialogue, too much Vietnam flashback, sentences or phrases repeated in the same page or paragraph, awkward treatment of the FBI agent and her self-description as a "tramp" and how she related to men that felt out of character. I enjoyed the listen but the book could use some editing to polish it up.
NOTE: I got a free copy of this audiobook for a honest review.
Another very good installment in the Dresden Files series. I love that the characters keep growing and that Butcher doesn't make the choices easy or trite. This book opened up some new plot points for the series, and stayed compelling, action-packed, and very "real" to human emotions. Thomas and Harry's relationship and dynamic is the main focus in this one, and it is a compelling change from the Harry/Murphy emphasis in previous books. I liked that Harry has more than one source of emotional support. I particularly liked the interaction between Harry and his apprentice Molly in this one. Not that this book was all about the feelings - there's lots of action as well.
This series just doesn't get weaker or wane even at book 10. New characters are introduced and old characters are fleshed out, plots entangle and more facets of the bigger puzzle of the fight over Chicago and the mortal world are revealed, and this is all frosted by Harry Dresden's insouciant sense of humor. Plus, more action sequences than you can shake your blasting rod at. This book primarily deals with why people do what they do, how far characters will go for their beliefs, and a bit of God-reflection as well, since it is the story of a fight with the Knights Of The Cross versus the Fallen Angels (Denarians).
James Marsters reads this book as he does most of the other Dresden Files books that are available on audio, and he gets really into this performance. He does more character voices, sound effects, and emotion than ever before. I think he loves this series as much as I do.
What a kick in the gut. Harry fans, book twelve is a real emotional roller coaster ride. Butcher digs deep in this one, and we find out where people stand and what they will do when it comes down to the wire. This is really revealing all the setup that Butcher did early in the series, and shows how well crafted this series is. I LOVE THIS SERIES!
Energetic, snappy teen thriller. Ted, our normal guy, gets telekenetic superpowers just in time to thwart some bad guys threatening everybody in his local diner. Ted has no idea where the powers came from, but he knows he has to use them for good. This book reminded me of the Heroes TV show, with resurrected cheerleaders and alien possessed bad guys. The dialogue is very John Green-esque but the romance stays firmly in teen romance land without any great human truths to reveal. Light, amusing YA sci-fi that will leave you hungry an hour later.
What a post-apocalyptic tale of a different color! No zombies, no aliens, no scenes of ultimate evil having its day. The story begins in modern time, and extends twenty or so years into the near future. The story opens with an aging actor dying onstage during a performance of King Lear, and end with his young co-star in a traveling Shakespearean troupe heading for Midwestern parts unknown, twenty years in the future. Our modern world ends in a sudden plague in this book, but not with a bang as much as with a determined whisper. This is an elegant, quiet, melancholy book, a telling of the tale of several tangentially-connected lives that that meet, cross, drift, and cross again. The characters in the book are revealed in greater depth as the storyline swirls around and returns to each one in turn. There are glimmers of hope as characters react to the new reality and gain acceptance of a harder, simpler, more poignant life that grows out of the death of the technological world they had taken for granted. The author has crafted a lovely literary look at emotional survival, and the book's plain but evocative language reminded me of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, but the author writes from a more forgiving opinion of human potential for redemption and peace. There is an almost magical feeling to this book, similar to Peter Heller's The Dog Stars, despite the bleakness of the circumstances facing the characters.
If you are looking for detailed prepper instructions or a good battling evil story, look elsewhere. This book is small and luminous, and will leave you with much food for thought and reflection on how you (even unwittingly) influence your fellow man.
There was so many great things about this book, and some disappointments.
First of all, the world of the story is good and unusual. The idea of a world with demons and humans separated by a Veil, where there are no angels to balance out the demons, is solid. I appreciate that there is no Heaven/Hell morality laid over the world. Our main characters are half human and half demon, and their differing views on their identity in the world were interesting. I do love a good misfit tale. The Institute is a great concept and makes a nice foil to the demons as villains. They offer Muse a way to improve her skills and while keeping her safe from the demons while doing it. I liked the demon magic system being based on elemental forces (fire/heat, ice/cold) and look forward to meeting characters in future books with powers in other elements.
Muse/Charlie is a good protagonist. She was imprisoned and abused, and is coming into her own now. We want her to find her power and to find her place in her world. She has a metalworking aptitude, which I'd love to see her work more with. She has fire elemental magic. She gets thrown into and situation after situation without much ability to do more than react, but by the end of the book we see her getting her feet under her and starting to plan her own destiny finally. She waffles a bit too much about who to trust and love, but her abusive backstory makes that believable (for now). Now that she is getting some clarity and training, I expect her to be much stronger in the second book.
Some things were frustrating to me. The sex scenes in this book seemed awkwardly thrown in. There is a "love triangle" of sorts, but poor Muse is choosing between two men that have treated her badly and broken her trust, and with all the twists and turns of the plot, I was left thinking she should have thrown them both away and went on with her life.
I felt that the demons were a little underwritten (thought that may be rectified more in coming books). We are told there are seven Princes in Hell, and that Akil is the Prince of Greed (so I assume they are the seven Deadly Sins), but that is not explored in any way that I could see. I'd like to know more about the origin of the demons and what their world and motivations are. I am very intrigued about the role/powers of the half-demons and look forward to more revelations about them. How did they come to be? How many are there? What role will they have in defeating the demons or bolstering the humans?
There seemed to be some continuity errors (Muse refers to something a character told her or taught her, but we never saw that scene, etc.), which made Muse seem a little unreliable as a narrator. The pacing shifts rapidly, and felt too much of action action action without time for the character to react or reflect, which keeps the reader from bonding with Muse. Similarly, I am unsure how to feel about some of the secondary characters (Mika, Ryder) because we're never given enough time with them to see what their true natures are. Everyone seems to be a double agent in this book. I'd like to see a bigger scope in the next book - make me care about the world and what the greater stakes are. If it's just Akil versus Muse because she dared to leave him, that's pretty shallow and uninteresting.
All in all the book was interesting, fast-paced, and a good start to a series. I am eager to see the world fleshed out more, Muse come into her own, and the scope of the struggle between demons and humans to be revealed.
If you have not read the other two books in the Kingkiller Chronicles (and you SHOULD), do not start with this novella. This is a side tale, an exploration of an enigmatic character you have already met, a girl whom Kvothe named Auri.
That said, as Rothfuss himself says in the introduction to the audiobook, this is an odd little thing of a tale. I think it perfectly fits the odd, magical little thing that is Auri. The tone and language are enchanting, magical, delicate. There is not much of a plot, as the story covers a week of Auri preparing for the next time she sees Kvothe, and keeping her home in order. What we are told is mysterious, yet revealing at the same time. We are given hints of Auri's backstory, and shadows of things that may come for Kvothe. We explore the Underthing where Auri lives, and get to see more of how her mind works.
I gulped this story down like air in one day, then re-listened to it again immediately. Rothfuss is masterful with his use of words in writing, and surprisingly reverent and gentle in his narration. I was transported and amused. I am a little in love with Auri. I am intrigued to learn what drove her from the University.
My initial reaction to listening BL,LB was that it was less wondrous than the first two books in the series. I suppose that is misleading - many many impossible, surprising, and dangerous things happen in BL,LB. The stakes are getting higher; characters die. Characters are revealing their complex natures and we're getting a better idea of what each's potential is. Blue's and Adam's powers are defining themselves more clearly. The pace seemed hectic, but somehow the book seemed slightly more mundane to me. I missed the wild darkness of the Ronan/Kavinsky pairing from Dream Thieves. Greenmantle was diminished from his portrayal in the previous book, not at all how I envisioned him (though Piper was a welcome surprise). I'm glad the Grey Man was there, but he was a tamer version with all the tension taken out of his story line. The new character was, quite frankly, irritating. The pacing seemed odd to me - in particular, cave rescue at the end seemed a bit rushed and too conveniently contrived.
What worked? The emphasis on the women of 300 Fox Way, and in particular, Persephone. Female characters get things DONE in this book. Adam maturing and losing some of his foolish pride, growing more self-aware. More revelations about Ronan (though I though he was a bit of a dulled knife). Hints toward a possible Ronan/Adam romance. The heartbreaking romantic tension with Gansey and Blue. Malory was also a bit disappointing until the lovely heart-wrenching explanation of the service dog. Stiefvater's complexity and specificity of character description - every characters feels real, matures, gains understanding, makes mistakes, has emotions, and makes sense. The promise of getting to know Artemis in the next book. The lovely detailed language that Stiefvater uses so easily and off-handedly that make you forget how finely crafted her writing is to make you inhabit this Raven Boys world so familiarly, so immediately.
I'll wait a week or two and re-listen. Gansey seemed to me to be an observer rather than a leader in this book, and I want to see if that seems true after a re-examination. 3.5 stars for now.
It is no surprise that Will Patton does another great narration in this series. His tone seems to make thing more plausible or honest. I love that his narration works even with younger or female characters.
Likeable werewolf story with some unique twists on the werewolf mythology and pack dynamic. I loved the strong female lead character and the twist on "alpha" that Wolfie/Chase represented. I loved the pack of misfits. The relationship between Terra and her wolf reminded me of Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock and Big Cat (in a good way). The romance felt genuine instead of pre-destined or contrived, and never moved into overt "romance novel" territory. The writing was clean, if a bit rough or unexplained in parts. It could have used a bit more fleshing out here and there. Overall, very enjoyable storyline, dimensional characters, good balance of humor and danger, and character growth. Reminded me of Patricia Briggs' writing, which the author is also a fan of as she mentions Terra reading Briggs' books in Shiftless.
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