This is the type of book that is not intended to be read all the way through, it's better to take the survey, then concentrate on the areas of the book that refer to your brain.
I had the impression that there were many tables being read that would have made much more sense to look at than hear.
Also, there is a recipe section of the book. Listening to recitaions of recipes is almost totally pointless.
I really wanted to like this book. I heard the author give an interview and I was excited to read a book about how the real world can be magical and how children have to take responsibility for their own learning so that they can participate in battling the world's evils. But instead the main characters keep waiting for adults and other Order members to take care of them, teach them, feed them, solve their problems for them. And the "real-life" villans sound nothing like the ones I'm familiar with. Rather than political despots and child abusers I was expecting, these 2-dimensional villans heave fireballs, steal dragon's teeth, and intrude telepathically into people's minds seemingly without motive. The description of place is also lacking. I keep finding myself imagining the scenes taking place in the dark.
I basked in the first three quarters of this long but engaging tale of a woman transported back in time. The dialogue is natural and the characters fleshed out. The poetic explanation of what it feels like to be pregnant stands out in my mind. There are several suspenseful scenes that had me staying up late at night to finish them.
But the author sets up some provocative situations that she then spends little time addressing later on. I don't think I'm spoiling anything to say that for a nurse who has just seen the atrocities of the Second World War, it surprised me that she spent no time musing about the morality of killing off the Hitler line before Adolph could be born. The nurse does have a conversation with a priest where she asks, "if you knew that a lot of people would get hurt, would you do anything to stop it?" But it turned out that she was thinking of trying to avert a single (albeit bloody) battle that took place in 1745. The 6x-great-grandfather of her 1945 husband turns out to be a vicious sadist, but she spends no time wondering if she loves her 1742 life enough to kill the sadist, thus preventing her 1945 husband from being born. The most frustrating part of the book for me was that the main character knows the date of the sadist's death but finds out that he did not die when she thought he would. But she looks down at the ring on her finger from 1945, notices it's still there, and the matter doesn't bother her any longer.
Rather than explore the moral and temporal ramifications of the main character's actions, the last quarter of the book is silly and maudlin. It gives the story no forward momentum and prevents anything of substance from happening. Worst of all, the book ends before we find out how the nurse's actions might have influenced the immediate future.
I was expecting to read a rather cheesy Passover story and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was nothing of the sort. An excellent storyline with fantastic vignettes, convincingly real dialogue, and authentic accents. The narrator was good enough that I could not tell which accent was her native tongue. Overall, a top-rate product.
I chose this abridged version of Dracula because I wanted to learn the basic plot. I think that this abridgment might have strained out all the fun parts of the book.
It seemed to me as though Dracula was a perfectly polite, if mysterious host, and Harker, the guest, comes off as this self-important worry wart with delusions that his host is trying to kill him.
It reminded me of any number of old westerns where the cowboy hero fights against the Indian villains. But when you watch those films nowadays, they seem completely silly, and so does this version of the book.
Let me preface this comment by saying that I am an audio book addict.
I'm not sure what it is about the narrator, but I can't seem to pay attention to him for more than a couple seconds without completely losing track and falling into a daze. I couldn't tell you what this story is even about.
I liked thenarrator. His grizzled low voice lent itself well to the mushers in the story.
But I was dissapointed with the story not because of the subject matter but because of the anticlamax. For an author who is able to take the reader onto the dog sled itself, he does a terrible job of describing the illness (just another case of excuciating bleeding membrane in the throat) and the sense of urgency, and I sometimes had trouble following where the dogs were and how much back-up serum remained. There were elements of the story (like the air rescue attempt) that I believe took away from the narrative. And the epilogue just got more and more depressing! Don't listen to it!
This book may have come first, but I think that society is now saturated with TV dramas that attempt similar plot lines.
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