I highly recommend this audio novel but have one reservation. Blue tooth streaming in my car tends to drop off every time there is a pause in an audio. Between songs you don't notice it, in most audio novels its barely noticeable. In this one, however, it drops off each time they mention the name of the speaker. Not knowing who said what makes the story far less enjoyable. If you don't have this problem, ignore my review, the audio is brilliant fun over the iphone headset. If you do, well you've been warned so you might look for a solution before you buy (perhaps avoid streaming and run it directly).
This book is a series of vignettes. I'd call them short stories but they don't have proper endings. Perhaps they come together at the end to provide a proper ending but I didn't get that far so I wouldn't know.
The vignettes star different folk, but are all told in the first person. The narration is good but its the author and it sound like he's telling us stories of his life which makes for a bit of confusion when suddenly he's a girl and all.
The first couple of stories flirt with edginess and then it turned into Gay porn. If the book was good I would have continued simply out of curiosity but it wasn't really good enough and started sounding like forced edginess at that point so I put it down (or deleted it).
James Franco has potential as a writer, no doubt, but it wasn't for me.
Gor books tend to bi-polar. They alternate between sequences of excellent adventure and sequences of Slave, Sleen! Slave, Master. Generally in the hardcopy form you can skip the repetitive and annoying Slave, Sleen! Slave, Master chunks and get to the excellent adventures (or I suppose you could do the reverse). You can't do that easily with an audio novel.
Also the book's narration is confused. The narrator goes over large chunks of obsessive details about Gorean slavery but the book sets it up that the narrator is telling his story to other Goreans. That worked when it was Carl Tabot telling us the story but not so well in this context. Also the narration switches between 'the stranger' and the scribe at different times but both speak in the first person and have the same 'voice' as Carl Tabot. Even worse its the tangle created when the narrator related bits they were told by a woman which is also told in the first person and leaves the impression of the dangerous "stranger" relating this tale and acting out the girl parts. Kind of odd.
Still the action adventure bits were good. He drops you into the action in a way no other writers of swords and sorcery do and I think he could have been one of the greats if he skipped the Slave, Sleen! Slave, Master bits or isolated them to their own book series.
The author has a way with words and the turn of phrase. Interesting characters but really not much of a plot line. The author says he was never one for chapters and it shows. Like Hitchhikers Guide it meanders about from quirky bit to quirky bit. All entertaining but not really getting you anywhere. I'll relisten to this again just for the writing, I just hope later Pratchet books have more of a story. Hated the ending. Had no issues with the recording quality that Audible is clear to mention. Narrator does a great job.
And it just felt flat, regurgitated meat from better books. Perhaps it gets better but I didn't make it far past the garbage shoot as it all felt too derivative.
The story is dull and the future unlikely. The narrator does a decent job but really I can't understand how this made the best seller lists and school reading lists. Maybe I'm missing something but I can't see buying any books by the same author again let alone watching the movie they are currently putting together.
I'm a big fan of Carl Hiaasen, at least his earlier books. This one never sat right when I first read it and now listening to the audio I've reconfirmed that impression. Hiaasen has always used familiar elements but never before has it felt so going through the motions than this time. The villains just didn't seem so villainous, the heroes were scum bags. Only the dog was really likable.
Carl Hiaasen must have a labrador because his descriptions are dead on. That is probably why he seems to have transferred over towards children's fair. His bag of tricks was a bit used up.
If you want to try Carl Hiaasen try some of his earlier work. Any of his earlier work.
It's not bad, but this is the setup for a long series and he spend a good deal of time discussing the political situation and how the technology works. I found the enemies plans a bit dull and the end resolution unsatisfying. I liked it enough that I'll try the next book at some point, hoping that now that things are setup he doesn't need to do it again and the story will thus be more satisfying.
His story more or less from the beginning told by the man himself. It feels like he's chatting to you over tea or a drink. The story is mostly linear but jumps about here and there to address the topic at hand and wrap up a character while they are fresh in mind. Feels very conversational that way. The man lived a charmed life (after a very rough 30 year start) and seems to have a really nice outlook on the world.
He really never has a bad word to say about anyone. I'm sure in private he might, but he has the class to avoid that sort of thing so if you are looking for dirty laundry you won't find it here.
The Elephant of the title is the part of East London he came from. Didn't know it was called the Elephant and he never explains why.
Yeah if you hate his politics you probably wont enjoy it but if you have followed the tea-party movement its a wonderful glimpse inside, and of the methods used to try to paint the tea-party in a horrid light. His outlining of those tactics are worth the price alone. I bought the hardcopy version for my mother after listening to the Audio version. Wonderful stuff.
Alan Cumming does a great job. This novel brings the story to life and makes me want to see the play again, and probably dig up the Nigel Trantor novel for comparison. Really the only flaw in the story was that cover art shows a castle a century or two out of date, still artistic license and all, that's a pretty tiny little quibble and certainly not enough to cost a star. If you ever wanted to know what Macbeth was about without the sometimes difficult shakespearean style this is it.
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