The seemingly simple plot gets very complicated and when you think it is all over, there are still some loose ends that have to be tied up. Victor is a genius and thinks of everything, that's why he is still alive. He is brutal, gee he is an assassin after all, but he still has a few morals left.
The Gray Man series because of the subterfuge and that neither "hero" can manage to escape his life either because someone escaped or someone else reneged on a promise.
The final scene was great ( there were many) because Victor is so calm knowing he will die, and he is so knowledgeable about so many things, that no one can compete with him.
You can't marry Victor, heck, you shouldn't even be his friend, but he is attractive in his way.
I haven't read the print version. I didn't like the font of Cinder. I lover this narrator, so choose to listen.
I love the seamstress. She is genuinely good, sweet, considerate, and the innocent, unwitting cause of many problems. I cannot get over the feeling that the characters are a little flat. Soler's voice changes are there, but within a much narrower range than that of Thorn to the doctor to Cinder to Cress, which adds to my impression of flat characters. The characters don't have much character.
This book does not show off her talents the way the others do. There are not so many characters, and there is much less action. Yet, she does a good job with what she is given, grammatical errors and all.
After listening to it twice, looking back, I don't think so. I like the story, but it just doesn't grab the way Cinder and Cress do. It is valuable and enjoyable to know the back story, but Levana makes her evil choices and becomes who she will be. I think the best point made in the story refers to mirrors--lots of allegories there. Levana hates mirrors because they reflect what she isn't-- beautiful, capable, good enough. Although she is a capable ruler, she never feels sufficient. She is always trying to be someone else, and is very focused on her physical appearance. She hates the reality, and strives for the false.Cinder, on the other hand, begins to hate mirrors for fear of what she might become. Cinder is very confident in herself as a mechanic, and doesn't fret over her plain looks. She does feel inadequate to be a queen, but, as she proves, she CAN escape from prison and go to Africa, and she CAN lead a rebellion. These successes will help her develop into someone who CAN be queen. When she begins using her gift, she begins to distrust and dislike herself fearing that she might turn wicked. The mirrors show her the plain mechanic not her glamour. She focuses on her inner character not her outer appearance. She hates the falsity and not the illusion.
If you loved the Lunar books, you must read this. It is not my favorite, but still adds to the saga.
This story shows the importance of developing trust and love, usually from infancy, and the problems people face and cause for society if they don't grow up learning to trust and love. Levana has valid reasons for her insecurity and lack of self-esteem. She develops the twisted notions of and desperate yearning for love common to people who grew up without it. We can understand and feel sorry for her while deciding that she must be eliminated. These psychological causes and motivations ring true and form the basis of the best of the story.
Despite all the good here, there are a few things that don't jive. First of all are the glamours. Much is made of Levana's glamoured beauty, so striking that Prince Kai is mesmerized. When Cinder is captured at the ball and her net interface undoes Levana's glamour, the face revealed does not seem to be the face revealed to Everett, and to us. Cinder's remark, "You're NOT beautiful!" does not ring true if the face her cyborg interface indicated were the one revealed to Everett. Does she have a double layer of glamour, or something?
Both Prince Kaito and Dr. Erland made points of how stunning Cinder's glamour was. Kai said it was "painful", and the doctor said it was nearly identical to her mother's. So identical that Levana recognized Cinder because of it. Yet, NO mention is made of Chanery's glamours in Fairest except to say that she was good at it. Seems to me, it should have been a bigger deal.
Second, Winter is born the same ebony color as her father, then gets several shades lighter in Fairest, until in Cress she is merely warm brown. This loss of color confuses me, but not as much as choosing the opposite skin color for Snow White.
Third and fourth are more about format. There are no fairy tale chapter headings as there are in the other books. Parallelism and consistency and all that.
Finally, some of the grammar mistakes that plagued the first books continue here, but not so badly. Ms. Meyers does not know the usage of "may" versus "might", as well as several other details. At least there are no great gaffes like having the silk gloves melt as in Cinder. It is painful to me to have such wonderful stories contain errors that could and should have been easily fixed. Where are the editors?
Yes. Although it is a very short story, it has the action and characters of Steelheart. There is a new Epic, with his weaknesses as well. There is some contemplation about the nature of gods versus men, the reason Epics have they weaknesses they do, and the strength of humanity. All in one tiny little package! And the narrator is awesome.
So as not to venture into spoiler area, let me just say that humans coming together can accomplish great things.
He gets the humor of the metaphors, and the youth of David. He does voices well without falsetto. He rarely gets emphases wrong. All good.
Easier to be a hero than an administrator
Don't freak out that this is so short. Authors like to try different things; they don't have to make everything epic (intended). Just know that this is a short story going in and enjoy it. I understand that this will be mentioned in the next book.
Better characters, better plot, tighter writing, narration with differentiation.
The premise is fine. The last chapter gives a history of the universe leading up to this story. It is almost more interesting than the story. The battles are not engaging, and I didn't care about the people. They were not distinct or well-rounded, and they did not include the interesting characters in the first prequel.
Mark Boyett, Jeff Gurner, Jeffrey Kafer, Nick Sullivan.
Sci-fi needs to do a bit more cleanup on their recordings. As has been mentioned in another review, there are at least 5 repeats in the audio (the last line or two is inexplicably repeated). Then the readings of the chapter numbers comes so closely on the heels of the last words of the paragraph that you think it really reads: "...and the ship blew up chapter seven." That is an editing/production flaw that seems very amateur. Aren't there industry standards or something about how many seconds to allow between ending a chapter and introducing the next?
Doesn't matter. None were distinct or care-worthy. I am sorry for the deaths but I was never involved so I couldn't get worked up about what's-his-name's grief.
Jay Allan has a good idea. Perhaps some courses on story writing, or some good work with a great editor would help. Any of my Master's Thesis chair people could help.
The very real truth that perceptions are not necessarily accurate, that people's motivations may not be what seems obvious, that genuine strength of character can win out over dishonesty and maliciousness.
Yes, definitely. There was tension throughout once the main event occurred. So many people had motivations to have done something really bad. As all cops know, everyone has things to hide, and the cop's job is to discover which secrets are relevant to the case. I couldn't guess who the culprit was till near the end. Very well crafted. Very real people with real flaws.
Frankly, two of the narrators sounded the same, and I thought they were the same, and I kept trying to figure out why the third one was there. I was confused about who was who, who was married to whom, sleeping with whom, and addicted to what. It took a good several chapters to sort it out. Other than that, I enjoyed the narrators's readings; the presentations were outstanding, inflections were spot on. I don't know how the different voices appeared in print, but the fact that they had the 3 ladies reading makes me think the book may have different fonts for each girl.
I appreciated that I was led to sympathise with each character as her motivations became clear, even if I didn't like her to start with. That is a fine lesson for life: that getting to know someone can lead to understanding and even love.
This was so well put together, details coming out gradually but completely naturally, that I was astounded and impressed. People are both simple and complex, and not all events are important. Excellent book, real people.
Yes, the author has set up a character I can relate to, and who certainly is not and angel. The reading is good.
Yes. It is good to have the back story, but I don't think this is a keeper for the price.
He does well, has different voices, keeps track of them, and has great inflection.
No, it is too short. The excitement comes after this story.
This is an interesting beginning to the series. It will be interesting to see what happens, but frankly, I have forgotten most of it already.
Anything read by George Guidall is worth listening to. The first book took a while to connect all the people and plots, but by now we know who's who and what's happening, and in this book all the threads are coming together. I don't think print or audio is intrinsically better, just what you prefer. I like to listen to George and I don't have 17 hours to sit and read.
The aliens are not just like humans. Social structures are varying and believable. There is treachery and heroism. In the first book, I only cared about a few people. Now I care about many. I can't wait for one good guy to gather followers and do in the really, really bad guy. I can't wait to see how mixing human DNA with alien changes another of the good guys, and will those two separated lovers ever be able to get together? Will the other separated lovers find each other again, and how will that be given the changes that have occurred? And where the heck is Margaret?
Just as good. He gets the emphases right. He gets the inflections right. He gets the voices right. He adds tension and excitement, or tenderness as needed.
Sorry, I do have work and family, so this is not a possibility. Nevertheless, I resented having to turn it off to sleep.
This really is a saga of worlds and species, all with histories and cultural behaviors different from human (as if humans all had a common history and culture). Is there really a race or species that should be annihilated?
There was a lot of action, and both the bad guys and the good guys had several more plots or tricks up their sleeves.
The character of the hero. I fully accept the possibility/probability of cabals in our government, and that some people feel they are smarter than the rest of us and therefore have the right to make major decisions for us. I also liked that some people sometimes realize that some orders need to be disobeyed.
Taken the microphone away from him. Please, never let him narrate again. This one was not so bad as when he reads his own books, but still, "not bad" does not mean good.
Snakes on the plane! Snakes in the White House! Snakes in the Pentagon!
Usually when someone takes a bullet for someone else, the savior pushes the intended victim. He doesn't usually pull the person and get shot himself. I can see how that might work anyway, but it didn't read right to me.
Sooooo much repetition, and he said the same things over and over again. The first looong 8 chapters established ad nauseum the fact that there are some sleazy corporatel types who are not first and foremost interested in the passengers' safety. The last bit of the book could have been rewritten more tightly, and therefore less distressing.
And,oh, the narration is painful.
The plot of the last third of the book is actually quite good and would make an exciting movie.
STOP SAYING "cotpit"!!! You are making me crazy!" Aaarrrgghh.
Note to self: "Never read you own work."
The author is sitting at the breakfast table in his home on Long Island. There are two cups of tepid coffee and some whole wheat toast crumbs on the red and white tablecloth. Mr. Block, with grey stubble on his chin is wearing sweats with a smear of fried egg yolk on the chest, and Mrs. Block is in her chenille bathrobe as Mr. Block reads her his opus pecked out with two fingers on his grandfather's Royal typewriter.
The sound is hollow because he is recording it on the tape recorder his daughter left behind when she went off to college. (She now has an 8 track player.)
A crumpled cigarette pack (his second this morning) lies forlornly next to Mr. Block's left hand which drifts mindlessly from it to his absent breast pocket (sweatshirts don't have pockets) looking for the third. Mr. Block's narration takes three forms: 80-year-old male smoker's screech, 80-year-old female smoker's screech (slightly more breathy than the male version), and deep plodding Neanderthal, which is actually refreshing since there's no screech. Conversations are all held in these voices despite lines being described as "hesitant," "murmured," or "whispered." Anyone who finishes listening to this audio deserved a medal-- a Purple Heart.
Disclaimer: Any cliches noticed here are inspired by the novel itself.
Frustration, resignation as I walk to the lethal injection room, stuff like that.
Nevertheless, I always sympathize with the washed-up retiree who has the experience to save the day. You figure this out very early on and spend a long time for the story to get there.
I try to be nice to people who actually manage to put 2 fingers to the keyboard and actually finish a story. I commend anyone who does this even if they should really keep that Starbuck's job.
And I have heard that Mr. Block has written many other well-received books. If this is the case, may I suggest that Mr. Block could stop self-publishing, get himself an agent, and let the publisher foot the bill for a professional narrator to do the reading in a real recording booth.
It ranks to the upper side of middling only because it took me more than half the book to begin to remember who was who and what they were doing and what was important about them. Kind of like War and Peace with Aliens, Russian phone directory and all. The story ended up being quite enjoyable, and piqued my interest in the sequel.
Although I had a hard time following all the dozens of people and places at the beginning, they did come together and I am amazed at the complexity of the plot and world. Aliens are, well, alien, and human hubris has been humbled. That said, there are only a couple of the characters that I really care about, so it will be interesting to follow them in the sequel and see who dies and who saves the day. (They will save the day, won't they?)
George is my first love in audio performance. He does different voices well, even women's. His style makes even ordinary sentences a little more interesting, if not suggestive (as in suspenseful). He is easy to follow and to listen to. I want to invite him to dinner.
The very end. I knew part of what was going to happen--it was inevitable, but it didn't play out as I would have preferred. New places to go, new people to meet-- where? who? Can you say, "sequel?" Oh, and Asimov? Not everyone follows your rules!
NO, it needs to be read and annotated and jotted about.
I didn't really like it. A little breathy. But mainly, this book needs to be read. There is no reason to listen to it while taking notes, just buy the book!
I like the activities, and the organization she presents. Anyone wanting to learn a language needs more, new, and effective activities to keep up the pace. This should be used as a reference book; it is boring and ineffectual to try to listen to it as a story or documentary.
Buy the hard copy, mark it up, use the principles and activities, skip the parts you don't care about or already understand, flip through it again and again, and use it as a reference book. This book contains lots of good, clear ideas to help you learn any language. Teachers and students can benefit from these ideas.
Report Inappropriate Content