When I started my first Flavia de Luce book, my thought on hearing the voice of Flavia was, oh no, it's Veruca Salt, can I listen to this for hours? Well, as it turns out, Flavia is a sort of a Veruca Salt who keeps that dark side in check. I admire the author's masterful way of allowing this brilliant mini-chemist/crime solver to outwit the police one minute yet return to being a little girl the next, trying to understand her older sisters' ascent into adulthood and her father dealing with the travails of adult life. She is actually a lonely little girl who misses the dead mother she never knew, gets little attention from her withdrawn father, and whose only friend seems to be her bike, which she has named Gladys. That no one pays particular attention to Flavia allows her to roam around the town poking her nose into the latest scandal or death. For one thinking they are interested in following the series, may I recommend starting at the beginning - though it certainly is not necessary. It's just that I found the actual mystery in this book to take a back seat to small revelations about Flavia as a character. It was nice to have gotten to know her in the previous books to appreciate these details. This series is just great entertainment for any anglophile. Jayne Entwistle is simply astounding in her narration, 5+ starts in my book.
The author starts off the story with an event, introduces characters, actions, and circumstances. Carefully, she then tells the background story of the characters and circumstances, leading you to understand what created the personalities and their actions. The times are extraordinary. The characters are engulfed in the distopia of wartime London and are forced to be stripped down to their basic character, for better or worse. So the going is slow; the audiobook is quite long, not really picking up momentum until about halfway through. But the payoff if there, leaving the reader understanding who these people are, and why they act the way they do. For any anglophile, the description of wartime London is truly absorbing. The author seems have have meticulously researched this period, and the setting she creates for the story is very satisfying. Ultimately, this book is a human drama, not so much a mystery; a few moments of intense action and a lot of more quiet examination. 4 stars overall due to the pace. Narration is excellent, she does an excellent job subtly differentiating the voices for the various characters.
This left me flat. I love to pick up something in this genre from time to time as a motivation, but this story just left me feeling like this guy was saying, "I did it, so can you". He does a great service by emphasizing a healthy diet in the way he does, but doesn't give any reference to emotional eating or the science of sugar's effect on the body. He actually did not do any outside research with scientists or nutritionists. I know, there are zillions of books out there that cover that. But it is always good to be reminded of how your body is going to respond to that cookie or piece of bread. Some of the advise offered, finding a weight-loss buddy or sharing your goals with others, are gems we have all heard before. Ugh. The author is an absolute master of healthy eating and willpower, but despite taking this quite dramatic journey to understand what it feels like to be overweight, he does not address the problem most of us have completely eliminating bad foods from our diets as he does. It would have been interesting for him to experiment with his weight loss by incorporating cheat days and seeing what happens. The ever-present debate over whether it is about the goal or the journey? Do I swear off wine and scones forever? What do you say to your host when they serve lasagna and garlic bread at their dinner party? This story could have been so much more had the author expanded the story beyond his own narrow view. If you check out the author's website, you can probably find out if this book is for you. The mindset is 110% dedication and micro-managing of your diet and exercise. For those who are willing to be dedicated, but whose brains go hyper-focused on food when on this type of plan, this book doesn't give any answers.
Not knowing a thing about dog training or service dogs, I can't comment on the accuracy of the author's portrayal of K9 in this book. But I do love and (I think ) know dogs, including one of my current dogs that had some kind of unknown trauma before living with me. In my opinion the descriptions of the dog's behavior in this story are believable, and enjoyable for anyone who spends a lot of time talking to their dog. The crime that sets the scene for this story is pretty convoluted, and you have to be OK with suspending your belief a bit. Personally, when reading crime fiction, I no longer put too much effort into making sure all the pieces fit together seamlessly. This story works fine if you just let your eyes go a little blurry and enjoy the ride. Narrator is a good choice.
I was born in 1967, and grew up with the super-famous Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. After this listen, I completely get why so many are in love with Patti Smith. And I totally get what it is to be a true artist. What a well written, beautifully narrated and exciting vision of their lives and what it was like to live in NY in the 70's.
As someone who loves a good mystery or thriller to mix it up, this is a very satisfying listen. Well written, well read. No cheese, no unbelievable accents or annoying voices. I am certainly going to look for this narrator in the future, he is really good. The only thing I find hard to accept is that this tiny village has a bistro that not only serves seemingly delicious food but has customers that actually patronize the business. Good fiction!
I so wish we could give half stars, or break down the reveiws! I would give this listen a 4.5. The resolution to the story left me a litle flat, however the bulk of it was very engrossing. I've been glued to my iPod for the last three days, if that tells you anything. The narration and production is just through the roof, definitely a 5 plus. These women's voices are just phenomenal. Just couldn't bring myself to give it a 5.
I don't know why this narration is introduced as an Audible Kids production, I don't believe that it is actually written for juveniles. Perhaps other listeners have also been disappointed because of the mention of the story as being a mystery; it really isn't. The story is sort of sci-fi, a parallel modern world with a big medical ethics question. The bizarre condition of the characters' lives unfolds throughout the novel. It's definitely not exciting in an action/mystery sense, it's more of an intense character examination under these unusual circumstances. Heartbreaking and thought-provoking. Definitely one of the best books I've ever "read". Also wonderfully narrated.
Of the many stories I've enjoyed from Audible, this one has really stuck with me. It's a great story, though not easy to hear at times due to the subject matter. But you should really check out the truly astounding narration; it is a child reading in the first person as Carrie. When I first heard the young voice, I couldn't believe she could carry me through the entire book. Wow, I found it to be a great listening experience. Highly recommended.
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