First and foremost, if you have not read/downloaded the Hunger Games first, you will find yourself lost by this book.
Catching Fire is great sequel to the first story, propelling the reader into to all the places where I'd hoped after the first one ended. The stakes are higher and the scope is as well, focusing more on the entire territory of Pannem and less on the District or Arena. That said -- it definitely was the "middle story of a trilogy"... coming to a conclusions which really was just meant to set up the third book. But hey -- it was certainly as addictive as the first one. Last word of warning, and one which may other reviewers seem to miss prior to downloading -- THIS IS A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL! The dialogue is simple and the plot is concrete (there's nothing subtle about it). That's the audience it was written for. Not sure why there are so many people reviewing it as if it weren't intended to be that way.
It's Area 51. By it's nature... anything you ever hear about it, is going to have some shadow of doubt. The information in the book is certainly amazing, especially the historical background of the area dating back to before World War II. This, for me, was the best part of the book. Seeing Area 51 in contexts.
But... as it goes along and more claims are made, about the "amazing" and the "unbelievable" it sort of meanders. Many of the authors claims are backup only with "... this has never been revealed until now". Hell... I could write a book and tell you that I'm revealing some amazing piece of unknown history. I don't necessarily doubt the information in the book, but given that it's about the most mysterious area on our country's soil, I wish I'd been offered more substantiation than was given.
The narrator (also the author) liked to enunciate her words... almost irritatingly so. She was very soft spoken, almost monotone which I know some people appreciate, but for me, made things a bit drab.
All in all... the first half, the historical context which Area 51 was placed in was fascinating. But... the part I expect most people will be looking forward to... aliens and such... wasn't quite as flushed out.
McCarthy isn't known for having a break-neck pace in his novels. I knew this going in. Nor is he known for telling takes of sunny hope and blooming roses. What he is known for is being a master wordsmith, weaving stark takes with wonderful prose and characters who often times are developed more around what they feel than what they do.
The Road is no different. It is a bleak story. Know that going in. It's meant to be bleak and it succeeds. It is the story of a man who swore to protect his boy no matter what. That is what you watch and very little else. It's not about excitement (although there are some tense moments) and finding "the promise land"... it's about making it one day, one moment, and one step at a time. But the relationship between the two is solid. It's believable, given the circumstances of the book and you feel what they feel.
As a parent of young children, this was especially a poignant novel for me. Found myself thinking of my own kids often in this book.
Stechschulte is one of the best narrators around. I remember his work on Shutter Island and he is no less brilliant here. Deep and cautious in his reading he is like a warm fire on a cold night.
IN SHORT: If you're looking for a post-apocalyptic thriller with a lot of excitement and action, you might want to look elsewhere. This is meant to be a character study, a true tale of "what would you do" in this situation.
If you're looking for blood and guts and gore in a apocalyptic zombie novel, this is probably not for you. There is a bit of that, but primarily, it's extremely well written, cerebral, often political novel based on the "first person narratives of those involved in WW:Z".
Imagine Terry Gross on NPR doing a down-and-deep interview with someone... and you've got this piece nailed. It's fascinating at parts, very real throughout, occasionally a bit slow, and filled with political rhetoric which is fascinating, given the fictitious backdrop of a zombie apocalyptic
One thing is undeniable however, the A++, first rate cast which reads the story. From Alan Alda to Henry Rollins, each narrator brings their character to life. This is one of those cases where I feel the audio book's performance added to the overall enjoyment of the book.
All in all... a zombie think-piece (wow... I never thought I'd write those words in my life).
I have gorged myself on business books in the last year. This was hands down one of the best. It applies to many areas of life even outside the office. From the newest 'rookie' at a company to the CEO, this has countless rules which can be absorbed and used the moment they are learned. No one argues that Disney has phenomenal customer service. This is a great guide, from an authoritative source on how to relate those practices to your own business and the benefits they will reap.
Lincoln Lawyer, from a modern-day noir mystery stand point was fantastic. It was simple to read, yet complex in all the ways that count. Conflicted characters and unclear motives. This adheres to the same great principles. Michael Haller is a great character to focus these stories around and his cast of supporting characters are wonderful in their own right. The plot is fast paced and exciting, and the twists and turns are surprising without being contrived. The backdrop of Los Angeles is one of Connelly's biggest assets and he makes the city a character in its own right. If I had one dissenting note, it's that I feel like the internal journey taken by Haller (in terms of where he begins as a person and where he ends as a person), are very similar to Lincoln Lawyer. All in all, however, this was another great read for crime/mystery fans.
I wanted to love this. Very simple. I adored the previous to books in the series (a must read, by the way, if you're going to even remotely understand what is happening here) but this just took the momentum and more importantly, the essence of hope from the first two books and nearly ground them to a halt. Mockingjay was incredibly dark and while the other books managed to give a light at the end of the tunnel, this story had an overwhelming sense of bleakness. I suppose Collins should get points for taking the book somewhere totally unexpected and the overall story resulted in a moderately pleasing resolution, but along the way... there wasn't much to love, just one dark page after another.
I've made a habit of reading/listening to many popular business books in the last couple of years. Branson undoubtedly has made a great success of himself and he's done it in interesting ways. But this book was less successful compared to others I've read as far as offering instruction or relatable ways of conducting your own business. The stories told were interesting and it was fascinating to hear about the genesis of the Virgin brand, but at some point, the reader needs more than what amounts to "think outside the box" and "take risks". Lastly, this is defintely geared towards the "start up" -- creating a brand and going big. From the stand point on working within an existing company, perhaps one with a more conservative outlook, it was difficult to relate.
A very nice, well thought out crime procedural told from the POV of the defense attorney in the case -- an interesting (and good) choice since most crime procedurals are are told from the POV of the police.
It's a quick read that keeps you guessing. Filled with characters who are flushed out enough to be identifiable and whose back story doesn't bog down the story. The plot is full of twists and turns but avoids anything "out of left field" or too contrived.
Especially fun for those of us who live in the Los Angeles area. He calls out many, many well known locations, streets, land marks and restaurants. He talks about getting stuck in traffic on Laurel Canyon and the Garlic Cheese Bread at the Smokehouse in Burbank. Made me feel like I was right there.
Every review, with a couple of exceptions, were written by women. The author is a woman and 95% of the characters are women but I want to go on record as stating categorically, this is NOT "chick-lit".
This was a tremendously powerful novel that captures a time and place that I had never been, but felt apart of after listening to the story. I can't praise this book enough for the methodical pacing and the way you are drawn into each character... slowly but surely.
The narrators were flawless and captured the dialect with precision, but never took it over the top. It sounded so beautifully natural.
So... from a guy who typically reads fast-paced mysteries and sci-fi books... Give this a shot... it's time on the best seller list is well deserved.
Larsson took a nice mystery (in 'Dragon Tattoo') and has sizeably broadened his scope by this, the final book in the trilogy. The stakes are exponentially higher for this book, involving more than just a handful of people as the earlier books did.
The pace is fantastic, a "driveway sitter" (meaning... a book you sit in your driveway to continue listening to even after you've gotten home) and the characters are more fleshed out than ever before. If you liked the first two -- you'll love this one.
Just a note: Obviously you will need to have read the first two to appreciate this one. No argument about that.
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