I expected to like this book, having enjoyed 'Possession' many years ago. Moreover, as an artist, and a fan of Arts and Crafts, the setting appealed to me. I usually devour my audio books, but I find that I am grinding my way through this one - after several months I am still only half way through. I've been struggling to work out why. There's a big cast and potentially some great characters although most of them at this stage are not too well developed. It isn't the kind of story where you itch to know what happens next - I don't really care enough about anyone and their relationships with each other are mostly quite remote. But I have come to the the conclusion that, for me at least, that the narration is, well, a bit tedious. It sounds like a lecture rather than a narration. I've tried imagining other treatments and I think it might have been done differently. I'll get to the end eventually, but won't be recommending it to my friends.
Only 4 stars, which feels a bit mean, but it's not Wolf Hall (which must be read first for this book to make any sense at all). Wolf Hall was truly exceptional, and any book would be hard pressed to stand up to comparison. The same comment goes for the narrators - which isn't to say that Simon Vance wasn't excellent. I really enjoyed Bring Up the Bodies. Not a lot happens but the cut and thrust of court politics and interpersonal conflicts are utterly intriguing. It is refreshing to read something so intelligent, original and really well written. I hope the final book in the trilogy will be as good as Bring Up the Bodies and don't mind waiting.
I really enjoyed this read. Didn't expect the narration to be through a child's eyes, but I quickly got over that and came to enjoy it. GREAT performance. I felt at times that the author was being a little too instructive, but appreciated his desire to share some fascinating information. The single perspective was limiting at times - as indicated by the author needing to justify how the narrator could possibly be privy to some of the incidents he relates. I think this story might have had the potential to be a future classic if the internal voices of the individual characters had been present - allowing for greater complexity and sophistication in thinking and feeling than could be offered through the boy narrator's eyes. I loved the characters and had no trouble empathising with them and caring about their stories. I thought a couple of the characters were a bit too stereotypical, almost to the extent of parody, but on the other hand the complex portrayal of Tommy (and his relationships) was exquisitely handled. LOVED the descriptions of the Australian man-made and natural landscapes. Altogether a highly recommended read.
These short stories were competent but they weren't outstanding. The performance was good but the stories weren't that interesting to me - all a bit too superficial.
I thought my son might like this. I had a sneaky listen to check it out and couldn't stop listening! While there are some traditional themes (no spoilers, but think graveyard), they are handled in a light, original and very sympathetic way. Very well produced. Well written, witty, perfectly narrated, great music and a raft of rich characters that are easy to relate to - this quirky story has something for everyone.
This is a mild erotic fantasy novel, thinly veiled as an historical/sci-fi adventure. The relationship between the two protagonists, and the sex scenes, are preposterously syrupy and cliched. Numerous rape and attempted rape scenes are presented in a facile manner. I suspect its not too far removed from Mills and Boon. Not for me, but if you like this kind of thing then you'll probably love this.
The book was fine, but completely spoiled by the awful narrator. I don't think I'm especially picky, but this was an exceptionally bad job. Her interpretation of sentences was often wrong (emphasis misplaced so that the sentence had the wrong meaning), pronunciation was often way off even allowing for an American accent (eg Brisbayne? i don't think so.) The narrator's Italian and Australian accents were so bad at times i was close to turning it off. This is one of the rare times when I didn't listen to a sample before purchasing - I won't be making that mistake again.
I like the trilogy very much - very strong story, intelligent, politically insightful, plenty of twists and turns, and interesting characters. The version I downloaded didn't ask me to change tapes (as mentioned by other reviewers) so that problem appears to have been addressed. I think that the book(s) could have been edited in a way that pruned out some of the extraneous detail, which was most conspicuous in the frequent irrelevant lists - what someone bought, what they did when they got home, what clothes they put on and in what order... These struck me as clunky and the kinds of things that might be noted in the margin if you were directing a movie, but I just kept thinking 'yeah, yeah, get on with the story'. I always purchase unabridged books because I want to hear the story as the writer intended, but in this instance I'd be curious to hear the abridged version - perhaps it preserves the detail required to tell the story in full but without all the padding?
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