Frankston South, Australia | Member Since 2010
After book 3, I was gutted to find out Roy Dotrice didn't do the narration for book 4. Instead, some talentless no-mark got the gig and, almost without exception, made an absolute dog's dinner of it.
So imagine my delight when Dotrice returned for book 5!
And then I started listening...
I've praised Dotrice's work previously because he gave a huge range of characters a unique and consistent voice. Why then does he suddenly elect to give a young girl the screwed up voice of a yokel crone when previously she'd been anything but? Why then does he take what was previously a rich, husky female voice and again turn it into something more suited to a wart-nosed witch? Yes, the majority of the characters are as they were, but these two aren't the only jarring changes but they are by far the worst.
And then there's the story. The previous books had intrigue, shocks, revelations and great characters and a wide but still cohesive narration that was occasionally interspersed with chunks of 'nothing much happens'. This book still has the intrigue etc, but it also has great swathes of text where characters just... really... don't... do... much. At all. I'm looking at you Daenerys, you wishy washy sack of absolute tedium. Other characters that have been dead since before book 1 suddenly take centre stage. Martin has never been shy of offing major characters but he seems to be developing a taste for occasionally resurrecting them without really seeming to have good reason. The cast just keeps getting bigger and more complex. The chronology of events from one place to the next gets tricky to follow.
Dragons feels more like a book from an author who's created too much 'stuff'' in his world trying to give it all time in the sun so he can get it straight. As a result, the tale sometimes seems a little forced and occasionally 'round peg, square hole' as pieces are forced into places and events that just lack.. something.
Still, if anyone can tie it all together in the end, it's GRRM.
Where to begin?
The story is 'apocalypse by the numbers'.
Characters are so thin that if they turned sideways they'd vanish.
The writing varies in quality from painful to facepalm and stops at all points in between.
The dialogue especially is staggeringly bad.
Our hero, a teenager, knows absolutely everything about everything (astrology, history, farming, tactics and on and on), and is as adept at showing up teachers with his scholarly skills as he is grizzled old veterans with his planning and military acumen.
I cannot think of a single redeeming feature about this, except that the narrator does a creditable job which the material.
Women are useless in the apocalypse it seems.
At one point a character trades honey for used women's underwear. No, I'm not making this up but Iam getting miserable trying to review this. Honestly, it's utter drivel, so bad it could almost be a parody but it's just not that self-aware.
Try the Mountain Man books, or The Remaining books, but avoid this.
Decent enough story, but the set-up is better than the pay-off.
The character's are well written and believable as are the things they're doing as a rule.
The mystery at the heart of the tale is a bit of a non-event as there are so many holes in the basic premise it's not hard to see at least some of what's coming. That said it's actually a very interesting concept, it just this book doesn't really explore it more than needed in order to move things along.
This could be an excellent start to a bigger journey, but as it is this is just one of those 'you could worse than give it a spin' type recommendations.
Possibly the single dullest book I've ever read. I genuinely hated everything about it. I love survival and prepper fiction, from EMPs to zombies to Captain Trips; I'll lap it up. But this? It's bad enough to make you grind your teeth at both what it has to say and how it says it.
Writer and narrator combine effectively to speak as if the reader is a 7 year old who is blissfully unaware of the great insights our 'perfectly placed to see it all coming' writer it. Find God, buy guns, listen to the 'outside voices' in your head and you might get through. Fail to heed this patronising nonsense and you might end up wearing a 'the end is nigh' sandwich board and not washing very often as you smugly wait for it all to fall apart.
Utter, irredeemable drivel. Luckily it can be returned.
Starts of well but soon drops off. There's no mystery, no tension and no real plot. The bad guy is one of King's weakest creations, as is the hero, and the story around them is equally as bland and unmemorable as they are.
One thing Mr Mercedes proves is that King really needs to either get someone who understands how the interwebs work or stop writing stories that feature it as a main plot point. The same goes for computers and car security systems for that matter.
It's all just so disappointing and mediocre. It's not bad so much as wholly unremarkable. There's nothing about it that makes the book feel like a King book.
Will Patton is a quality narrator though but when the best thing about an audiobook is the bloke reading it, something, somewhere, has gone very wrong.
A pretty standard tale but though the story's kind of old hat to someone who likes zombie fiction, the characters are well fleshed out despite being mostly well-worn and typical.
Surprisingly, there are a couple of pretty emotional moments, especially towards the end of the story, as the author makes a point of dwelling on cause and effect. He makes a decent stab of putting some real pathos in to proceedings and, more often than not, does a good job of it. In that way, this is a cut well above the average.
Biggest obstacle I have is the narrator who does take some getting used to. Male voices are either slow, deep and gravelly or fast, a bit squeaky and bland. Aside from stereotypes like the duuuude surfer voice, that's about as varied as things get. Female voices aren't that great either. But you get used to it well enough and once you do it rarely intrudes.
All in all, you could do a lot worse than give this a spin. I'm off to grab book 2 anyway, which gives you some idea of how much I enjoyed book 1.
Look, none of the series is particularly well written, but what they had was passion and belief in them. The guy writing them knew his subject - survival when society crumbles - and that made up for an awful lot that was missing in terms of literary merit. Often the book was a manual for surviving when the brown stuff hits the fan but by book 3, the author was struggling to keep things going whilst not repeating the same old things.
Book 4 though is almost entirely a waste of time and, in terms of the overall story, pretty much irrelevant. Characters that weren't that brilliant to start with but were at least kind of believable, are now paper thin, spouting trite and repetitive dialogue. Plot points that were once fresh and interesting to read are repeated and rehashed, with what should be major events built up into absolute non-events.
Most of the time you get the distinct impression our author Angry American ran out of things to say and just... kept typing anyway. It's almost entirely filler.
Rowling is at the top of her game, and reintroduces us to some already well-established characters and adds more to them as we go. She's a natural storyteller, plain and simple, and she does so with smooth and seemingly effortless skill.
The narrator is absolutely flawless. His characters never jar, he never over-eggs his narration and always gives them detail and definition without 'acting' them out.
The 'whodunnit' story is set in the world of publishing and you know Rowling is an expert witness in telling us what it's like there.
I'd rewrite it to better suit the tone of book 2. As a standalone story it rates about an 'ok'. It's typical horror and seems to be written primarily for shock-value. Book 2 is almost the opposite of this.
He's fast becoming my favourite narrator. Manages to avoid the 'tough guy with gravelly' voice cliche whilst still making everyone distinct. He also does female voices very well.
I bought book 2.
I'm complaining about something that's free, but I just think book 1 might put some people off reading book 2 which would be a shame.
Need solar panels.
Seriously, reading this made me want to buy a large backpack and convert my house to solar power. I'm not being facetious.
It should stand comparison to all manner of post-apocalyptic books, but it actually stands fairly alone. That being said, this is my first survivalist-themed story.
It's a decent sized cast of characters and he gives them all a strong, unique voice. He also doesn't give the hero a hero voice, instead going for something more grounded and everyman.
Not moved as such, but I found the depiction of how quickly society would break down to be both believable and more than a bit worrying.
This is very obviously written by someone who knows what they're talking about. Often, the story feels like a survival manual; recipes, plans, how to modify equipment, what equipment to get and more besides are all covered in detail and the story really has substance behind it. The reason for the apocalypse may (or may not for all I know) be unlikely, but the characters reactions to it rarely feel less than very real.
I was entertained enough to easily justify buying the other stories in the saga and went through them all in short order. Pretty thoroughly recommended.
Juliette, who has every characteristic of the indomitable hero and none of the cliches that usually go with it. Great character and if they ever make a TV series of this (and they really should - it's perfect for the medium), there'll be no shortage of actresses who want the gig.
Juliette. See above.
Yup. Couldn't manage it but one day I'll go on holiday and devour the trilogy on a beach whilst cooking in the sun.
Thanks to the other reader reviews that made me give the trilogy a whirl. Most appreciated.
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