Finally! I have found a book to break the 3-star slump I seemed to be in.
I have found a new author and new narrator. Bryce has a lot more novels to discover, and Humphrey Bower brings many of them to life with his fabulous command of accents.
The story has a little bit of everything. It is a romance, but not a mushy tale, of two young people separated by war when the Japanese invade Java. Nick sets sail for Australia expecting to meet Anna there. Anna, gets caught behind enemy lines and learns to do whatever she needs to do to survive. Nick, because of his command of the Japanese language is recruited to Intelligence in the Navy and stationed at Guatemala Canal.
Will they survive the war, and if they do, will their love for each other survive?
This could have been a heart wrenching story, but it was one step up from a Harlequin Romance. If Kate Alcott had gotten rid of the love triangle, which added nothing to the story, and focused more on the drama of the inquiry it would have been more compelling.
The most interesting part of the story was the testimony at the inquiry. The author's note said that much of it was taken from the actual transcripts. There were some moments when the reality of the tragedy really hit home and when you could almost feel the fear that ruled people fighting for their lives. While the author did focus on this human tragedy, she whitewashed it with a stupid love story.
The least interesting was Jack. He was superfluous to the story.
I thought Susan Duerden was very good when it came to dialogue. She spoke naturally, and conversationally. She gave unique voices to many of the characters. Perhaps the strongest voice was that of Lady Lucille Duff-Gordon. The problem came when there was no dialogue. She accented words at the end of each sentence which gave it a rise and fall in rhythm, hence a very sing-song voice. I found that tendency to be distracting.
Good question. It was an okay story, and I finished it.
It's official. I want to see Tommy Lee Jones play the role of Pendergast in the movie... if there's a movie.
Oh, right. People want to read a review of the book, not my choice for actors to play the characters....
It has all the elements that make for a good mystery, including the gruesome quotient and the hint of possible super natural elements. It kept me awake on the long drive home. I doubt it will keep me awake at night though. We don't have any corn fields around here.
Scott Brick does an excellent job of giving each character his/her own voice. I think I've fallen in love with Pendergrast just because of Scott Brick's voice.
This was a fun read. Neil Gaiman is a great narrator of his audiobooks and I enjoyed his performance.
I would love to see this as a movie with all the quirky ghosties and denizens of the graveyard.
I've been intrigued by some of the other books in the series. It was highly recommended to me that I read the first few books to learn the background of Kate Shugak. I didn't find the story to be all that suspensful.
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it instead of listened to it. I thought the narrator's voice didn't suit what I thought the protagonist should sound like. Kate seemed to be a no-nonsense country gal with an injury to her throat. Her voice should have been husky at the very least. I was distracted by Marguerite Gavin's interpretation, so much so that I didn't focus on the story the way I should have.
I liked the premise of this book - an alien life form that clones a person from your memory. The thing that dragged me down was the endless narration of scientific technical journals. I have to marvel at the mind of Stanislaw Lem to create such a theory.
The narrator really saved this book for me. He created such individual accents for the various characters. My favorite voice was that of Snow.
There's nothing more fun than a romp down the Nile, searching lost tombs while being chased by a mummy! Just like everyone else, I'm going to say that I loved the interaction between Peabody, the ever wise busy body, and Emerson, the curmudeonly archeologist.
My only problem with this book was that the protagonist sounded much older than her 32 years. Perhaps that was the result of the narrator's voice. I struggled (and was distracted) by that inequity.
Perhaps my other problem was that I was preoccupied and had trouble focusing on the story. I was constantly missing things and having to rewind. I may have to read it again someday. Nah! I'll just read the next book in the series.
I was about half way into the audiobook and wondering what the story was all about. But I decided to persevere to the end. I was already planning my review, "I missed the point". But, the point was made very succinctly at the end of the story. And then I understood -
This is a modern day fable, complete with a moral at the end of the story. It's about being different and how people fear that which doesn't fit into the norm.
One of the problems for me was the narrator, Holter Graham. He did great mooing sounds as the minotaur and distinguished well between voices. However, his performance was quite perfunctory and bland on everything that wasn't conversation.
I listened for 1 hour and never laughed once. From all the reviews I read, I thought it was going to be a romp full of great laughs. But for me, it was a yawn.
Overall, this book was an enjoyable read. There were a few things that brought my rating down.
First, I felt a bit confused from time to time. Perhaps the confusion was a result of the audiobook format. If I was reading it in another format, I could have flipped back and forth for the timeline. I was at the second last vignette before I figured out that the author was telling the stories from the most recent to the oldest.
Second, I thought the ending was a bit weak. It seemed to go flat.
Last, I think the narrator did a fair job. I would listen to her again. My issue was with some of her accents. When she spoke in an Yiddish accent, she rolled her h's that sounded like she was horking out a goober. Others, she threw in a lisp to achieve the accent. I think the stpry would have been better served to have her team up with Paul Michael to do the male accents. She was fine with her own Australian voice and when she did the American voices.
Other than those complaints, I appreciated the premise of the novel - giving the Haggadah a timeline as it was created and handled by various people throughout its 500 year history. Each story not only chronicled the history of the book, but also the tribulations faced by the Jews.
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