As an adult fan who's read Ender's stories since the 80's, I really loved this book that fills in the gap between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. The psycological warfare amongst Ender's friends and enimies was especially interesting. Some of the story lines felt drawn out at times, but they were well-written. The readers were good but they are not young; I would have enjoyed it much more if they included children in their large cast of readers. Don't miss the piece at the end read by Orson himself, especially if you feel there are discrepancies between this story and the orignals -- he explains it all.
This book is about a young, smart inexperienced but not emotionally fragile woman who meets a world-savvy, sexually experienced, rich man. In the beginning they misunderstand and dislike/distrust each other and themselves, but a deep relationship ensues nevertheless, with each opening up about secrets and relationship needs along the way. Sound familiar? If you enjoyed the self-exploration and relationship-unfolding aspects of 50 shades, you will like it in this book, too.
In the case of Gabriel's Inferno, imitation is not only flattery, it is successful for the most part. The characters and story are vastly different than 50 shades despite the similarity mentioned above. Another major difference is the absence of explicit sex scenes. There is plenty of longing and sensuality, but don't get this book if you want a sex scene to read every few chapters -- you're going to be disappointed and have to make it up in your head. I don't think I would have listened to this book had I known that from the start but I enjoyed it nevertheless. It had everything else but that.
The story seemed longer than it needed to be. Not that it was boring (it was not) but I kept thinking, "Ok, THIS will be the plot turning event" but that never happened. Rather, there were small moves forward here and there as the story unfolded. Lots of little raised and resolved plot aspects as you got to know the two of them. Maybe a bit too much like a lot of teasing only to be let down at just the right moment, if you know what I mean. It's not that THAT isn't also fun, right, and then there is a great ending.
The narrator bothered me a little in the beginning because his sensual voice occasionally sounded more smarmy than inviting. Of course, that's to my ears, and yours might love it. On the other hand, Gabriel is an unsavory character at that point in the story, so maybe it is fitting. As the story went on, I found the narrator to be expert in his ability to capture and express all kinds of emotions from all the characters. Even without intense and explicit sex scenes (which I would love to hear this narrator do!), the narrator made Gabriel's expressions of love, need and desire extremely, uhm, worth listening to!
Many people complained that the writing in 50 shades was poor and everyone was just reading it for the explicit content. I never agreed with that and felt it was a solid piece of romance story telling, better than most. I would say the same for Gabriel's Inferno. It gets great marks from me for character development and for exploring the way that our personal experiences create obstacles for us and we need to learn to open up and trust that one person in order to grow. Is it great American Literature, no, but it is not junk.
Overall, I'm glad I took the time to get to know these characters and I am definitely going to get the next in the series. I'm not sure if this was the first book or not, but if not, the first wasn't needed at all for me to get involved with these characters.
First, I have to admit that I did not finish listening to this book. Second, I have to say that general modern americal literature is not my favorite genre (I usually read sci-fi, paranormal romance and non-fiction). I was an English minor and love to read, and I know that good writing comes in many forms, so I bought Gone Girl because everyone said it was so good. The moment I started listening to it, I understood why people loved it! The insights of the author and the way they were translated to the page resonated for me! It was a joy to read/listen to. But a few more chapters in I started to just not care. I enjoyed the insights about life for thier own sake and I enjoyed thinking about the writing as an art form, but I did not care about the story or the characters enough to continue reading all the details ....and there was plenty of detail. The details were actually the interesting part, there just was no story.
After giving it one more try, I decided to go on-line and read reviews to decide if it was worth continuing. I found that there were many, many people who were highly disappointed by the ending. I had no idea what the ending was, but how awful to be considering whether to finish a book or not only to hear that the end is unfulfilling! I decided to read comments that contained spoilers and found out not only what the ending was but that other people had the same response as I did.....they did not liek the people/characters so they did not like the story. After reading a commentary on the ending by the book's author, I felt I'd had the whole experience as if I read the book, so I didn't finish it.
I know this is not a review that gives you much to go on in terms of whether you should read it or not, so that's why I suggest you read the good reviews and the bad and decide whether it's worth the effort.
"Decent" as is a satisfying read but nothing to write home about.
The narrator did a great job of reading as if acting when it came to dialogue - when someone was speaking from pain, joy, etc., you heard it in the narrator's voice. On the other hand, the narrator used an overly effeminate voice inflected with the tones of expression one might hear among men in a hair salon, but the characters were in the military and might or might not have wanted or needed to be inclined that way. Not for all the voices, really just one and spattered throughout others. It doesn't ruin the reading by any means, but was a distraction for me.
The story is quite predictable, but the details within what you know is going to happen are satisfyingly individual to this story and these characters. You KNOW how it's going to turn out, but it's still an interesting journey. I thought the author's ability to observe people in real life and translate those personalities to writing was above average. A main part of the story included preachiness about views on whether it's ok for men to like men and about how church doctrine (highly similar to Christianity) ruins people and families by telling them what's right and wrong vs. letting them be themselves. It doesn't bother me, but it might be too much for some readers (but then, why would they be reading this book at all?).
The physical scenes between the main characters (there were none between other characters) fit in well with the story, they were not merely put in gratuitously. They all involved caring and relationship between consenting adults. They were fairly brief and not nermerous, but you definitely wouldn't want anyone but a consenting, interested partner of your own to hear them by mistake.
I probably should give the book 4 stars instead of just 3, but athough I enjoyed it quite a bit Its just one of many I enjoy quite a bit, so nothing really stands out. On the other hand, it is definitely decent writing and performance all the way around. I guess I'm picky!
I was unable to finish listening beyond the first several chapters due to the narrator's voice. He wasn't monotone, but he had a cadance that remained the same regardless of what was going on in the words. He also did not have different voices for the two main characters and did not pause for normal lenths of time at puncutation, so it was impossible to keep track of who was speaking. It was a frustrating and annoying experience. Since I didn't finish listening to the story I can't judge it, but it seemed pretty average.
I opted to download this book because it's been so talked about and good enough to be made into a movie. I also like post-appocolypse stories -- not love them, but like them. I expected a road of challenges and horrors, and it had that, but the horrors were mental/emotional and the challenges were the same all through the book: stay away from bad guys, watch your back, find food. The story did not have the typical format of building to a climax with an aftermath, which makes it more like real-life being on the road but doesn't make for as exciting reading. It is very much a story about fathers and sons, almost a "coming of age" story for the youngster. This is defintiely not a horror-filled book; definitly not like a Mad Max movie or I Am Lengend. The author is a famous American litterary writer, and everything about the book screams "intellectual" and gives food for thought on everything from writing style to deeper meaning to a debatable ending that would give a literature class several hours of discussion. That is not a bad thing, but important to know. It is a work of prose-art. The reason I gave it only 3 stars is that I only loved it after I went and read more about the author and combed the internet for the questions I had. The narrator was superb in getting the tone just right, having different voices for different characters (there aren't many) and getting the emotion across. He sounded a bit too old for the part of a father with a kid of about 8 years old though, which was mildly distracting to me.
I enjoyed listening to this book but gave it a low rating because, while it carried some gems of insight, it wasn't very exciting. It's really a "journey into the wilderness with a metaphysical guide that changes one's perspective on everything" story. It's like Jonathan Livingston Seagull (hey, man, there is so much more to life than you know) meets Zen and the Art of Motorcycles (the world can be seen like this or like this and boy do we need to discuss it) meets The Matrix (when you are ready you will be able to know what to do) with a southwestern native american flare. You have to be able to suspend your beleifs and understandings in order to take in what the book wants to tell you. The story is not boring, but it is at times a bit plodding. The narroator is at times a bit dry, detached and monotone and at others, when the story's excitement level called for it, right on with the emotional tone. This was actually a good fit for the story itself, so it works. Again, there were many gems of wisdom or idea that resonated with me and provoked me to see things in new ways and for that it was worth it. But if you want a good story, with plot and characters, well-described setting and lots of action, this is not a story for you. I also would suggest you google the author and find out where this book fits in his real life story (as this book proports to be a chronicle of his real experience) but whether you do this before or after listening will affect how you percieve the story, so it's up to you.
The story is obvious and predictable but that doesn't matter because, well, most of this type of story are boy meets girl, they have great sex, they have misunderstanding, it all works out in the end with more sex. The writing is decent and the performance is terrific except that all the males sound the same way and she' not that great at male voices to start with. But she gets all inflection and emotion right for the woman. It's very short and has only 2 or 3 sex scenes that weren't really all that hot but were not poorly written. Fresh and sweet and short is what I'd say overall.
I have to preface this by saying I am a sci/fi reader more than a fantasy reader, but the write-up intreqgued me. I liked it much better than most fantasy novels because it wasn't filled with gnomes and fairies. The stories main charachter makes for a great hero-type, which my kind of thing. He is young and brilliant and finds himsleft reluctant hero due to everyone else's incompetency. It's mildly a love story, but the character in this first book is too young for anything to be fulfilled, emotionally or physically. The story is a collection of adventures, really, which are interesting but, ultimately, only moderately evocative of wanting to read on. It is extremely detailed, also, which at times adds to the impact of the writing and at other times makes the story seem to go on and on. I would like to listen to the rest of the tirlogy but I'm not following up on it right away. The narrator is excellent in every way and really helped me want to keep listening.
The narrator reads too fast in a monotone, same-pace voice, making it extremely difficult to tell when one character is speaking vs. another, let alone when someone is feeling something emotional, thus ruining the sensual/emotional moments. When one of the characters is supposed to be sighing/screaming in rapture, probably written as "Character's Name!," the narrator reads it as a statement with an exclamation point, as if telling him, mildly, to not step out into the street before looking both ways. I finally had to stop listening, not only because it was tough to listen to, but also because I was so angry that it was a good story that could have been so much better. My ratings for the story is 3 stars only because it was the middle choice, I technically can't comment because I didn't finish listening. The story was getting interesting though, and I thought the writing was good.
I listen to/read a lot of paranormal romance and this one was one of the better ones. It had moments of brilliance, where the sexual tension was written just right, but didn't keep me interested all the time. The paranormal abilities and "world" created here felt too made up for me. Not that all these type of stories aren't make believe, but this one drew from so many different similar stories, piling one ability or limitation on top of another, that it just didn't come together for me as a whole. For example, these warewolves are literally confused with vampires myth by the characters that didn't realize warewolves walked among them. The warewolf replies that there are no such thing as vampires but the myth gives the warewolves good cover. They seemed more like the vampires of other books to me, except when they turned into wolves. The author has a great reading voice but altered his British accent to Southern (US) because that's where the story takes place. He narrates in British and speaks for the characters in Southern and doesn't sound convincing as a Southern female. He is, however, farily convincing as a sexy male. There is little in the way of actual sex, but a lot of sexual tension -- those parts are well-written. If you are looking for a good but not enthralling listen, which I sometimes am, or a paranormal romance that isn't hot and bothered on every other page, this would be a good pick.
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