Kenmore, WA, United States | Member Since 2008
I came into this book with little expectations, I have read some of Tad Williams other novels and had mixed reactions to them. Some I liked a great deal, others...not so much. But I was looking for something a little different from my usual fare, and the title of this novel intrigued me. The base world of this novel is contemporary Earth, near San Francisco but in this world angels and devils/demons walk among us every day. You see, they all have day jobs in the employ of Heaven and Hell as part of the eternal struggle of Heaven and Hell for the souls of the living. At our deaths we are put on trial, a literal trial..complete with Judge (an angel) an advocate (basically an angelic public defender assigned by the court) and a demonic prosecutor assigned by hell. The prosecutor and the advocate present arguments why the soul should be damned or a saved. I will admit, at first I was not liking this novel, I am not much for overtly religious rhetoric and feared that this novel would devolve into a treatise on the pros and cons of Judeao-Christian-Islamic religious dogma. Luckily it did not, Mr. Williams keeps clear of endorsing or refuting any particular religious dogma and presents his world largely outside the constraints of established contemporary religious thought. He sticks to the story and the characters instead. The lead character of this novel can be described as a slightly dis-enchanted advocate of Heaven. A kind of gritty angelic Colombo character, and he is very entertaining. I enjoyed the character self-deprecation and infinite compassion. All the characters in the novel were well conceived, and explored. Completely believable albeit in a "film noir" way. The novel was light, funny, and at times poignant. I highly recommend this novel for those of you who like a "gum-shoe" type tale with a supernatural twist, and especially for those of you who have never read a "gritty PI"-style novel but are a bit curious about one.
In this book Mr. McHugh really starts to delve into what makes Nathan tick, and by the end you realize that you REALLY want Nathan on your side. I am really enjoying this character, who is becoming for me the quintessential anti-hero. He is dark, angry, nuanced, and very self-righteous, even downright scary...a true "bad@$$" The character just keep getting deeper and deeper throughout this book and I could not wait to discover what next secret Mr. McHugh was going to divulge. Now that Nathan has his memories back, we also get to start meeting some of the people from his past, and they don't disappoint either. The characters in this book are amongst some of the most interesting characters I have ever met, even the bad guy in this novel had me intensely curious about his past. While the plot if this book is tense, gripping, and well-paced what really drives this book are Mr. McHugh's characters. He provides detailed back story for almost every character we meet in this novel, including one of the most complete back stories for the evil protagonist I have ever come across. I was particularly impressed how he presented the "bad guy's” backstory in small little tidbits delivered throughout the novel as part of the action of the "present day" action. Most authors provide the back story of the protagonist as a one off flash back presented in a couple of pages. The result is usually an, at least somewhat, one dimensional origin story. Not here, the protagonist was almost as intriguing to discover as Nathan's past.
As for the plot itself, as I said, it is intense and gripping. We have two plots in play, the major plot of a really evil person doing really evil things whom needs to be stopped. But we also get a secondary plot of evil behind the scenes machinations of which the main plot is only a part. We meet a very evil protagonist and are given hints at a larger, more menacing master controlling things behind the scenes. Both plots mover at the exact correct speed and with a perfect balance of detail. Once again Mr. McHugh is able to accomplish telling his story without going "to far". I personally don't like to read about truly horrific things done to nice people in such detail that it gives me nightmares. I like them stated, but not overly dwelled upon so that I get the level of evil that is happening without wanting to scrub my brain out with soap afterwards, and Mr. McHugh for me reaches this exact level. I highly recommend this novel for adults who want a light easy listen.
This take on the paranormal detective/mystery novel is one of the better worlds I have come across. In a nutshell, in this world all the old legends are true, the old gods are/were real etc... and now live in secret in the modern day world. A secret hidden island/land, called Avalon, is where the seat of power that rules these hidden entities resides. Our intrepid Hero runs afoul of an evil cabal out of Avalon, and must fight his way clear. What made this book for me was our intrepid hero. While he is definitely a "good guy", he is no overgrown boy scout. He is dark, angry, and at times vicious. He is more avenging angel then superman, if you know what I mean. The story itself while at times dark, is well written, intriguing and easy to follow and never gets so dark that you want to fast forward. Mr. McHugh is an excellent writer, who is able to keep his language simple while still remaining very descriptive as he paints his world. If you are looking for a light adult listen, I can highly recommend this book. I have already purchased the second novel and am looking forward to it.
This is a wonderful book. I acquired it for one of the long drives this vacation...as we crossed Montana. My 7 y'old AND my 3 y'old daughter AND my wife (who generally dislikes audio books) were all engrossed and quiet for the entire length of this book. It is well read and wonderfully written.
First a little about the story, this is a book about a "sickly" child, Benji, who (for a reason I won't divulge here) gets a VERY smart dog (Elvis), and how by getting this dog he changes his life for the better. Benji is a fairly typical ten year old boy, albeit sickly, living a typically life. His travails include occasionally passing out and dodging bullies. His mother is a bit hysterical (and thus hilarious) but so well conceived and written that she is also sympathetic, my wife even said she could (kind of) relate to her. Likewise, Benji and his friends are very relatable resulting in a very sweet and fun (and funny) story of making a place for yourself in the world. We all laughed (my 7 y'old most of all) out loud and even my 3 y'old went on how "that's funny".
I highly recommend this book for listening with your kids.
First off, I have to get it off my chest, it has to be said that the cover art is moronic...all I can think is if she fires that gun she will be smacked in the face by the recoil, and fails to convey the "hard sharpshooting" mystic that is supposed to be Andrea. But oh well, who cares about that anyways.
The story: The story is a little aggravating, even annoying at times. I think that Ms. Andrews is trying to explore the ramifications of shape shifters who are subject to becoming mated, a condition that is supposedly a great deal more intense than just married and apparently consists of a biological attachment as much as a romantic attachment, and how it affects a person who also possess a human mind that is capable of deciding against the mating. Basically what I am trying to say is that half of this book is about how Andrea and Raphael fight this "mating" and the emotional and intellectual angst this creates in Andrea's mind. Unfortunately is makes Andrea come across a bit like a dimwitted teenage girl. I did not like the whole "irresistibly drawn to him" subplots and "what the hell is wrong with me" angst that permeates much of this novel. But the overall story/plot line was not bad. Andrea investigates a murder, said investigation leads to major bad guy that needs to be defeated. (I don't want to give away any spoilers). When Andrea is not whining about Raphael, she is an interesting character whom I came to root for. It helps that the Narration was quite good. If, like me, you have come to really enjoy the Kate Daniels series, of which this is an offshoot (pun intended), you will probably enjoy the novel. But if this is your first foray into Ilona Andrews novels, I suggest you read the Kate Daniels series first (Magic Bites is book 1).
I found this one a little on the average side, although I did enjoy it for the most part. Of course if you LIKE listening to the whiney ramblings of a teen-age like women pine after an ex-boyfriend whom she "just can't seem to call" to discuss the issue, and then wonders why that is not working. So she spends all her time getting angry and... well, acting like a jilted teenage girl ..then hell… you will probably love this book. I just can't bring myself to believe that rational, real women act like that so I find it annoying.
So I did not get to listen to this book as my 6 year old daughter finished it in one sitting. SHE wants to review it though so what follows is her words, I am merely the typist.
" I liked the book because I really like ghosts and because I liked the A.S.G. (Averagely Spooky Ghosts) and I liked the I.R.G. (Incredebly Revolting Ghost). I liked the song the I.R.G. sang when he was playin on the piano. The I.R.G. was really funny. I liked the A.S.G.'s name because it sounded neat. And I liked how the A.S.G. scared the mean sister."
(translation by Dad)
My daughter LOVED this book, it really caught her imagination and she is dying to get the second in the series. I could hear her laughing and squealing from her room the entire time she listened to the book. She thought the characters were really funny and she became quite invested in their lives and story. Note to parents: while in the end everything turned out well, there were points in the book that worked her imagination to the point that she got a little scared. The next night she said that she was too scared to sleep alone, but when I told her that if the book scared her that much she could not get the second...that ended that thought...but I do think that there were points in the book that were a little scary, so I suggest not letting young children listen to it at night. :)
OK...this is one of those books that adults are going to have to sit through. As an adult, this book is too simplistic and clearly geared to young children to really be enjoyable. That being said, it is not a torture to listen to it. My daughter on the other hand LOVED it, she talked about it all the time, and she even teased/reassured her younger sister that she was not so quite as "naughty" as the namesake of the book. Indeed, this is the first book that she "rated" herself...she literally told me how many stars I should rate this book when she saw me on the website.
One of the nice things about this book is that the chapters are nicely divided by "story", each chapter is a stand-alone little story about "my naughty little sister" and what she and her friends were up to. I think my daughter liked the book so much because these stories were simple, realistic, and (I suspect) possibly true. She is able to relate to the stories very well, and I think it made her feel better to realize that little sisters are the same the world over. I do recommend this book, and my daughter highly recommends it.
I have historically loved the Kitty Norville series, but this one left me a little wanting. First off let me say that Marguerite Gavin is spectacular as usual, and the production of this audio book is of very high quality. The writing itself is crisp, funny, and well done...the story on the other hand is basically a set-up for (hopefully) the next novel. The plot in this book just seemed very low-key, no really overall dramatic plotline, when something does happen it is quickly resolved..then something else might happen but these subsequent events did not really seem connected to the prior event. Rather there seems to be several hidden sub plots/action streams happening that we don't really get to see yet. I equate this book with a "book 1" of a trilogy, where some minor things happen but the real plot is to be revealed and resolved in subsequent novels.
That being said, I think that Ms. Vaugh is leading up to a humdinger of a showdown and anybody who misses this book will be lost in later books. So it is a must-read for Kitty Norville fans, but it will probably leave you a little disappointed that nothing really happens.
So I had originally rated this book 3 stars but in light of my daughters obsession with listening to this book over and over and over and over and over and over....(ad nauseum) I felt I needed to bump up the rating to 4 stars. I am not exaggerating when I say that she has been listening to this book every night as she goes to sleep for over a month. She just keeps listening to it again and again. From my viewpoint, I felt that this book was good but not in the same league as Ms. Cleary's "Romana Quimby series". These, I believe, are Ms Cleary's first attempts at writing, at least they are her first published attempts. They were written back in like the early 1950's, and were written in "modern Portland, OR". What this means is that they are set in early 1950's Portland OR, and as such represent the sensibilities and thought patterns of that time. The result is that the stories are a bit dated, and for today's adult audience a little silly. My daughter on the other hand loves this, she keeps asking me to explain some of the (now defunct and dead) aspects of that society...what she calls "the olden times"...for example I found myself explaining what a phone booth was.....
The writing and storytelling in this series is not as polished or as sharp as Ms Cleary's later works but it is still good. Mr. Harris' performance on the other hand is actually quite entertaining and was one of my favorite parts of listening to this book. I don't think many adults will love this book, it is simply too dated. But that being said, I certainly did not mind listening to it in the car with my daughter (at least the first time) and my daughter LOVES it, so in the end I give it my recommendation.
This was another book that I purchased for my 6-year old daughter. I am afraid that she never really got into it, and after about 1 hour she asked me to stop playing it. I don't thins that this book is really meant for younger children. I don't mean to say that it is inappropriate for younger children. I just think that the beginning starts a little slow for them and it is hard for them to become engaged with the story. Also, the main theme of the book for the first hour is a 12-year old girl coping with the emotional aftermath of her parents separation and recent divorce. Topics that are just a little heady for a 6-year old who has not yet contemplated, nor probably wants to, such a situation. The performance of the narrator is adequate, and the writing is actually not bad, the story was just not for my daughter. But I could see how older children, especially those who are coping with their own parents divorce, might actually really like this book.
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