I really enjoyed Theft Of Swords, the first installment of this series. The main characters, Royce and Hadrian, have an enjoyable banter - if literally superhuman skills and luck - and a skill for adventure. This set of two books further explores the mystery set up in the first two: mainly, there is some big event coming that threatens humanity, and a powerful manipulative force fighting for chaos, and the duo known as Riyeria are needed to save the world as they know it.
The book further develops the back story and explores the relationship of the partners, as well as the characters Arista, Thrace (Modina), Magnus the Dwarf, and minor but crucial characters such as Myron and Saldor. The adventures of the cast are tempered by sad tragedies, and the author doesn't shy away from depicting the senselessness of death and the grotesque bloodthirstiness of certain elements of humanity.
I've read a short story by Michael J. Sullivan, and he is careless with his grammar and punctuation to a degree that is distracting. I'm so glad that I listened to these books instead. The narrator does a great job of creating distinct voices for everyone and imbuing each scene with appropriate shades of everything from humor to heartbreak in a way that enhanced the experience.
When powering through this audiobook, sad that not even the talented Tim Gerard Reynolds could enliven it, various adjectives flitted through my mind to describe the prose:
It was a veritable SAT vocabulary fest in my head. I've read that this author has some great novels but considers this one his life's work. I actually feel sorry for him for having spent so long on this clunker.
Glad I listened to it even though I guessed the "twists" halfway through the first act. It's more of a drama than a mystery.
The description of this book is quite misleading. It's actually the story of two young drama queens mistaking violent possessiveness for romance, enabled by their equally young and drama loving friends. The best thing that can be said of this book is how it accurately captures the tunnel vision of people so self-involved that a lethal tragedy merely serves as backstory to what they think is a great romance. The author acknowledges this, throwing in a few comments from minor characters, but seems to buy into the horse pucky. She lets her protagonists escape any repercussions - and certainly any remorse - from their distasteful and occasionally criminal actions. She filled the story with improbable situations, such as a Vegas made of broken kneecaps and 1970s cliches, self-made obstacles, and bad behavior.
I listened in vain to the end hoping for some growth. It was torturous to spend so much time with two characters so pathetic, so incapable of learning. I advise all potential buyers to spend their precious time elsewhere.
This is a neo-con Hollywood fantasy where all the heroes are manly white soldiers (except for one cunning Asian American soldier, needed because of the location of the story), the heroic but unpopular president makes all the hard choices while allowing pages-long lectures about fantastical, egregious crimes of "the previous administration" (code for Obama), women are underwear models who are admired but absent from anything important, and the bad guys accept a spanking from the Good Ole U S of A when we demonstrate our larger.. uh, stick.
Whatever. The action wasn't believable enough to be compelling, and I couldn't immerse myself in the absurdity of the rest. Of you lean to the view that America just needs to flex her military might and the rest of the world will fall meekly at our feet, then thus could be a fun flight of indulgent fantasy. If you don't, it might be a groaner.
I'm not big on the zombie genre, but I do like sci fi/fantasy, so I gave this book a chance. There are weaknesses - virus levels are measured in microns (a unit of length, not of number or concentration), internal inconsistencies, the villain at the end acts out a cliche that makes no sense in context (despite the speech he gives to indicate murderous insanity) - but despite all these flaws, I just wanted to keep listening. The author paints vivid pictures in an America just a few decades from now where (suspend disbelief) technology has progressed stunningly in response to a virus that creates "night of the living dead"-like zombies through a (suspend disbelief) lab-engineered mutation of the common cold. The fact that zombie-ism is contagious, and that transformation isn't immediate, is central to the plot, but the contradictions between the virus origin story and the way it behaves made me think that an origin story actually subtracts from the plot. So just power through the parts where the book's version of virology is discussed, and power through ridiculous scenes like the narrator taking the time to explain her brother's dating history during a zombie mob attack, and immerse yourself in an interesting thriller where the journalists are targeted because they tell the truth, and the harshness of a zombie-filled world forces people to horrible, soul-dimming acts of mercy and love and self-protection. "Sophie's Choice" with a virus instead of Nazis.
I know that a lot of young adult (especially supernatural young adult - is there any other kind these days?) has questionable logic and behavior, presumably because teens don't think all that much of the motivations and reasoning of grown ups, but this book is extra absurd. Not only the behavior of the protagonist's mother, who irresponsibly endangers the girl, and the lack of sympathy for the poor cousin, who (as it is mentioned before she is mocked) is a real victim of the situation, but the inexplicable actions at the end of the Really Hot Guy. It's like the author didn't want to end the book without checking all the boxes. Disappointing, because this could have been an interesting blend of historical fiction and sci fi/fantasy.
I'm a mother of a beautiful toddler girl. I should really have been an emotional mess listening to a story about the aftermath of a toddler girl snatched at age 3 and not returned to her family for 2 years.
Somehow, the author manages to avoid forging a connection between the reader and any of the characters. The mother character, Megan, is so unpleasant and makes so little sense that even her kids in the story don't want to be around her and her friends walk on eggshells because anything can set her off, and she doesn't feel like she has to be fair to anyone at all, even as she whines "that's not FAIR" to pretty much every other character more than once. Maybe that's true to life, but it doesn't make a compelling protagonist. The father shows inexplicably boundless compassion to one of the kidnappers and, although more sympathetic, is too one-dimensional to truly engage the listener.
I read a little about this book because it is confusing just to jump in. Turns out it is a sequel in a self-published set of four novels that was a hit in book clubs, clubs which I can only surmise had at least one member without any critical reading skills and an overabundance of forgiveness for bad writing choosing the book. I would die of alcohol poisoning if I had to take a shot every time "it broke his/her heart," but I would stay sober if I didn't have to drink during "it broke her heart...it hurt." As in, "it broke her heart to hear him say that. It hurt to know that is what he thought." Then, "it wasn't FAIR."
Oh, Lord, such a boring and actually irritating book. Irritating for what it should have been, with such a naturally compelling story. But it is plotted too poorly to enable the listener to sustain disbelief. One of the most glaring holes, which I couldn't believe until it was explicitly laid out, is that the surviving kidnapper, an elderly man married to the demented, now-deceased woman who had done the actual snatching, seemed to genuinely believe that his Alzheimer's-riddled wife just showed up one day with a 3 year old, with no clothes or papers, and that child was his granddaughter. "Hey honey, I'm home! Look what I got! It's a grandchild for us! Nevermind that she keeps crying for mommy and is absolutely terrified!" And all the times her journal was quoted where she says "this time, I'll do it right. This girl is my second chance." The guy is criminally stupid if he really believed it, and just plain criminal if he didn't. Either way, he belongs in jail, no matter how bad he feels now.
Reading this review, I guess that the book did arouse passion in me after listening to it. Passionate dislike and annoyance that I wasted hours of my life, though, probably aren't the reactions the author was looking for. Save your money.
It's got what you expect from a Patterson novel: action, fast pace, a tortured (former military) hero named Jack, titillating mysteries/side stories, and murder. It's really not special, really not terrible. Well, not terrible in a bad way.
The author re-imagines the Book of Ester as a love story. It is fun listening, even if the characters all feel sort of one-dimensional. It's not like the Bible is full of subtlety. (I've read a lot of the old testament. Jews good, others bad!) The author makes a credible stab at giving a human back story to the characters of the Bible, but she admits that it isn't faithful to the Bible's book, so don't listen to this instead of doing your theology homework.
The story is one of family relationships, specifically mother-daughter relationships. But she is too heavy-handed in her focus, using a sweeper brush instead of a fine point. She also writes NorCal culture in the 1990s as if no Indian people or subculture exists - this Indian adoptee has never eaten Indian food? Really? Or been to Fremont? Or heard of waxing? My uncle lived in Menlo Park from 1985 - 2003, and I can tell you this reeks of invention.
The author then pretends you can see through the air of Bangalore all the way to the sea. In 2004. And that you can take taxis there and not hit bad traffic.
These patent fabrications reinforce the feeling of artificiality that pervades the women's relationships with one another as well. It was a nice try, but really suffered from the forced details she made up trying to make the story more dramatic. It did not feel like it could be true, and the people didn't feel like they could be true, so when the latest emotional tragedy struck I found it hard to be moved.
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