The story itself is very well written, and it comes to life with Ms. Pardee's narration. While the storyline kept me curious about what was happening, the narration is what kept me listening. Her mastery of voices, personalities, and the occasional external audio contextual contributions were fantastic. If I could grant the performance more than 5 stars, I would. This was one of the most enjoyable readings I've listened to because of the care Ms. Pardee took with individualizing each character's voice and audible mannerisms.
The characters are well developed, the foreshadowing is appropriate, and the outcomes amusing. Except for one trait Ms. Geary attributes to witches, she almost had me convinced they could exist and could actually do the magic she describes. Her research of alchemy and its integration into her witches' practices added authenticity to their behaviors. I do not want to spoil the story for others so I will refrain from describing the one part she included which shattered the imaginative reality I created for her characters.
I've devoured (read) the entire Harry Potter series, Twilight series, Hunger Games series, and listened to another book about witches (I'll have to look up the name of it) and enjoyed all of them if that gives you an idea of the genre of books I like to read or listen to for entertainment. I just started listening to the second book and expect this will be another series I add to the aforementioned list. This book does not try to utilize any other author's thoughts or schemes. I find this series to be a unique portrayal of the lives of witches in the United States. Oh, and Ms. Geary's descriptions of Berkeley's geography are not far off from reality either.
As one might expect, listening to hours of Mr. Rather speaking is quite enjoyable, especially when you grew up listening to him in the evenings. I'm glad he read his book because it added emotion to the places he intended there to be emphasis. I always respected him as a journalist and now I know why one should respect what he does as his career. As humble as he is to describe his accomplishments, I know they were not subtle contributions. I was aware of his departure from the evening news and always felt like he was used as a scapegoat. It was the country's loss when he was replaced by people who do not understand how to communicate as well as he does.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about many of the major events that Mr. Rather reported about in the last fifty years. I was alive for some of them and recall them with my own perspectives as he recounts his. For the events I do not remember or have not already studied, I appreciate his in depth descriptions of what was happening at that time. He is a true journalist, an honorable person, and a pleasure to listen to.
I read the book and LOVED it. I stayed up all night to read it because I could not put it down. Listening to the story was a completely different situation. The narrator did not choose to emphasize some of the subtleties that I put in the language. Some of her voices were questionable and seemed to stereotype the characters. I did not feel like she captured the passion, angst, and self-doubt a 16 yr old girl would possess. I kept listening only because I love the story. I've actually read the entire series but may not waste more time listening to it if the same person narrated all of them.
I have read all of Lisa See's other books and am looking forward to her next one. All of her books are written after months, if not years, of research. This one is no different, however this part of history did not set well with me in some parts. It is not Ms. See's fault that history is so ugly, but it was difficult at times to listen to what was happening in the story. It is one thing to be aware of events in history and another thing to hear about it in historical fiction. This is my first See audiobook so maybe I was not ready to listen to the stories I usually read with my eyes. I may still buy the book because I remembered at the end how she usually gives some background on the research she did for the book. I do not recall that being in the audiobook version.
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