Like others, I have been a fan since the beginning; but enough is enough. It's time for this series to go away. Every successive book in this series becomes more and more like a bad romance novel. Repetitive and irritating. Even Ms. Kellgren, who's performances on these books has been second-to-none appears to have become bored with the material. This series like so many others, literary or otherwise, that have outstayed their welcome (i.e., the Saw movies, Stephanie Plum, M.A.S.H. & Friends), should have ended long before now. And why James Fletcher would continue to waste his ENTIRE life chasing after a character who one minute seems to be totally devoted to him and the next whore's it up with every guy who shows an interest in her is beyond me. Here's hoping that #10 will be the last book in this series (an even number is a good number to end on -- too bad it wasn't number four). I gave this an overall 3 stars only because of Katherine Kellgren, not for the idiotic story.
I'm all for a good revenge story, and before I begin my review let me describe patterns in my own behavior: I swear (unconsciously) nearly all the time, and I've been in careers that have exposed me to a great deal of violence (unfortunately), and I'm far from being a prude; but this story... jeez. Why does every book written today have to be so graphic in its descriptions of violence, sex and everyone swears like a sailor in heat? Most adults have had sex, so I don't really need to know what everything TASTES and (worse) SMELLS like. We've all been exposed to violent movies (and some of us the real thing) to know how much blood and gore comes from hacking a person in the head, stomach, etc. without all the detail. And the swearing. Overuse of modern English slang in Fantasy books set in "other-worlds" is often jarring and takes me out of the story. I know many young people today have been so over-exposed to this sort of thing, but frankly... I find this sort of writing lazy. This story reminds of a bad B-movie: so bereft of originality and intricate characters and plotting that in an attempt to keep the attention of the average "Best-Seller List" reader (and I'm being intentionally snide), throw in gratuitous amounts of blood, swearing and sex to keep them reading.
Michael Page, however, does his usual great performance.. so kudos to him. Nothing against his fine work.
This was my first Joe Abercrombie work, and unfortunately, probably my last. I'll leave this to the brain-dead video-game crowd that wouldn't know good books from bad.
Unfortunately for her, the material just wasn't as good as Ms. Carrell's first attempt at a little Shakespearean mystery mixed with Bibliophilia history. This one comes off as way too over the top, involving magic/witchcraft (material much better suited to Fantasy than historical mystery). Sad, since as a Bibliophile myself I enjoyed Ms. Carrell's first book (Interred With Their Bones) a great deal. As usual, however, Ms. Kellgren proves herself to be one of the best narrators in the business, and as I said, she does what she can with material not quite up to her impeccable abilities.
Sadly a book nearly as great as its predecessor is ruined by Mr. Davidson's reading. The Three Musketeers is my favorite book and I re-read it every year, and the audio book read by Simon Vance does a good job keeping to the "tone" of the original material. Mr. Davidson's "performance", however, of the 2nd book is absolutely dreadful. Every line is delivered as if he is either stuffily British and bored with the material, or flamboyantly foppish. None of the characters are portrayed correctly, and unlike the other version offered here at Audible, this one is "played" at the proper speed. Speeding up the entire reading still can't make up for the fact that Mr. Davidson must have been improperly directed or just didn't get the material. There is a lot of underlying humor in these books, and most of that is lost. I find I have to take this one in small doses. Too bad Mr. Vance couldn't have done this book as well (since he does the other four in the series).
Actually, I'm kidding, I love these books. Unlike most audiobooks where the author merely READS the book, with only slight changes in voice to delineate from one character to another, Ms. Kellgren actually PERFORMS these books. I dare not call it reading, as she enthusiastically brings these books to life like no other performer I've heard on any other book series. When there are songs, she actually SINGS -- and she has a good, strong voice. The books themselves are fun and full of wild adventure -- although they do become repetitive after the first 4 books, but with the added bonus of Ms. Kellgren's amazing performance, it is hard to imagine not listening to these. She is by-far the best performer and voice talent (at least in my humble opinion) working in the field today. The reason I say I hate these audiobooks, is because Ms. Kellgren is so outstanding that she has really ruined other audio-books for me -- I wish everyone put as much effort into their readings as she does, but, alas, they do not; they merely READ, and thus, she has forever spoiled me. So, as far as that goes... Thanks for your outstanding performance Ms. Kellgren.
I had originally started reading this book, but something just didn't click for me and I put the book aside. Robert Forster (a great, underrated and underused Hollywood actor), does a phenomenal job with this book. His droll reading gives the character of the Hit Man a wry sense of humor and depth that makes you empathize with someone who, in the eyes of many, is a fairly unscrupulous character. I realize that this comes from the writing of Mr. Block, but it wasn't until I heard Mr. Forster's interpretation of the words that I could truly appreciate what the writer had intended. I can't recommend this audio book enough.
I have read many "classics" over the decades, and am most aware that they tend to be overly long and occasionally tedious. But this book pushed even my tolerance. Interestingly, this was the last of 3 Defoe books I read, (in this case, listened to) -- the other 2 being Moll Flanders and A History of the Devil. I'm not completely up on my history of Daniel Defoe, but I suspect he must have been either a member of the clergy or a religious zealot, for all of his books come across as stories whose sole purpose is to sermonize his beliefs and values. Robinson Crusoe was tedious on many levels. The constant talk of God and the Bible consumed at least 1/3 of the book, details of no particular interest -- except perhaps to someone who may be stranded on an island sometime in the future -- took up entirely too much time, Friday (the native character) doesn't appear until nearly 3/4 of the way through the book, and very little of interest actually happens to Crusoe for the majority of his stay on the island. It is interesting to note that not one film adaptation has ever been as boring as this book. I give 2 stars only for some of the more interesting elements of the story. The narrator did a decent job of it -- but there were times you can hear the pages of his script being turned, and he occasionally stumbles and stutters over some of the lines (even pausing at the wrong moments), which would occasionally bring me out of the story. As I said, I generally enjoy classic literature, but unless you want more of a sermon and less of a story, skip it.
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