My family listened to this book on a long car ride. Mom, Dad, son (12) and daughter (9) all agreed it was a very good book; even better than the first in the series (which son didn't like at all, but the rest of us did). We loved the accents of the reader, which were still easily understandable over the road noise of the car. In fact, I am sure that this book is much better listened to than read, as the reader really nailed all of the qualities of the characters. I'm not sure how well the book would work as a stand-alone without having read the first one. It seems like there might be times that it would be hard to follow.
I got this book for a recent road trip based on all of the positive reviews. I don't like writing negative reviews, but feel a need to do so when my experience is so at odds with the prevailing wisdom. I had to turn it off about 1.5 hours into the story because I was literally struggling to keep from falling asleep while driving. The story begins very slowly, and I didn't see any of the humor that other reviewers refer to. Perhaps it gets better later, but I will never find out. The reader was OK, but wasn't lively enough to make up for the slow pacing of the book.
My 12 year old daughter and my wife agreed with me. We have listened to close about 50 books aimed at children and young adults over the last 5 years, and this is the first one that none of us was interested in continuing. We turned on Divergent afterwards, and within 5 minutes were already more invested in the characters than after 1.5 hours of Howl.
There were lots of good things in this book --- interesting characters, good plot twists, well narrated scenes. It's just there were lots of dull times as well. I don't know if it was the narrator or the plot, but I ended up listening at 1.25 speed just to get the book moving more.
Wife and I enjoyed the book. This is the second series read by Kellgren that we have listened to, and we are going to look for her in the future. The story was interesting, albeit somewhat slow. My 12 year old boy (just finished 7th grade) and 10 year old (just finished 4th grade) girl both complained the whole time that it was on during a recent long car trip. In that regard, it reminded me of The Graveyard Book, another book that was just too slow for my kids, while very interesting for the parents.
There are a couple of places in the book that I was just as glad that my 10 year old daughter wasn't listening. There is an attempted rape of a prepubuscent girl, which was foreshadowed throughout the story. The language of the attack isn't too explicit, but explicit enough to have been troubling to my daughter, had she been listening. She did listen to a description of a hanging, and was troubled by the language.
Bottom line: I wish we would have gotten a different book for the car ride. We will not be listening to the sequels as a family, even when the children are older.
I listened to this book on a long car trip with my wife and two kids (boy 12 and girl 10). We felt the story started quickly enough, and within 30 minutes all of us were into it (except my wife --- more on that later). There were parts of the story that were too intense for my daughter, who asked us to turn it off a couple of times because she was getting scared. She is a very mature 10 year old, so I would say 10 is the absolute low end of ages for which this book might be appropriate. In retrospect, I wish I had picked another book for her.
The performance was good. The reading was lively enough to keep us interested for a long book. His voices for the characters were also nice, except that his voice for the one female character sounded more like baby talk than a 16 year old girl. Additionally, sometimes the perfomer's voice didn't match the excitement in the story. Overall, though, the performance didn't detract from the book.
While overall we liked this book very much, parts of the book seemed to drag on without advancing the plot quite enough, and the ending was not quite up to the same quality as the rest of the book. Except for that, it would've been 5 stars.
As an aside, my wife didn't listen to the first 2.5 hours of the book. After a 2 minute catch up from my son, she was able to jump right in to the book after that time without really missing anything.
My family listened to this on a recent road trip (Mom, Dad, 11 y.o. boy and 9 y.o. girl). Mom, Dad and daughter liked it, but son thought it was too old-fashioned. The accent of the reader was a little bit hard for the kids to understand over the car noise, but was much easier for them when we finished the last hour listening at home.
Hilarious book that the whole family enjoyed. (Kids 8 and 10.) Kids had both already read the book, but loved listening to the stories anyway. Mom and I laughed so hard!
We have listened to lots of books on our road trips over the years, and this one was my family's favorite. (Family consists of me, wife, 11 year old boy and 9 year old girl.) The story was funny and kept moving enough to keep us entertained on the long road. The reading was lively and understandable for the kids, who sometimes struggle on road trips to understand. The only downside was that it is relatively short, so we needed several other books to pass the time.
We listened to this on a long car trip with our kids, ages 8 and 10. My wife and I LOVED it!! The author did a fantastic job with the voices, and we were sad when it ended. The kids, however, weren't able to follow the story and complained about it being on. They much prefered Lightning Thief, the other book we listened to on the trip.
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