I have the book and love it and love this audio version even more. John Curless did a good job bringing the characters to life.
As the book finished, I thought about all the roads I had traveled between when I began listening to the series to now as it was finished. This story and journey has truly been exquisite. Thank you to Mr. Sanderson and for finishing the work and to Harriet McDougal for allowing it and of course to audible for making it available through their service. Even though I had seen the Wheel of Time books in the various bookstores I have perused through the years, it wasn't until I found them on audible that I started listening.
As always Michael Kramer and Kate Reading brought the characters to life and did an excellent job.
The story itself...what can be said? It wraps up the series touching on all the characters we were introduced to through the years and wrapping up their stories in an intensely satisfying way as they finally fight the last battle.
Hours after Obama's speech that Osama had been killed his administration started leaking details of the operation from the fact that we had recovered intel from the compound, rendering much of that intel useless, to revealing that the our best seal force was responsible for the raid thus endangering their lives and their family's lives. Despite that most of the details of the mission that have been leaked were dead wrong. Mr. Owen sets the record straight in this book giving us insight not only into the mission, but also gives us insight and contrast into how the war that has spanned two presidencys has been fought by the best of the best.
If you aren't familiar with Dan Abnett's work for the Warhammer series of books you should check them out. Mr. Abnett has a gift for characters and story telling. This one is no different. Eric Dove does a great narrating job as well.
I read the first book of the series and was excited to find audio versions on Audible. I read the reviews on the first book, but I couldn't disagree more with most of them. These books are nothing like the Game of Thrones series. They stand on their own merit and thankfully Mr. Keyes knows how to end a story.
Like most of Mr. King's works, this novel is a great story. Mr. King's ability to bring a story and its character's to life is well showcased and I enjoyed it for the most part. Craig Wasson does a good job as narrator, however towards the end of the novel I think he ran out of character voices and lapses into an impression of James Stewart.
However, as much as I liked the book there are a few areas where Mr. King's politics show through and mar the story somewhat. He glosses over the strong feelings against JFK in his time as bigoted while pumping up the late president as the second coming. Also, he passes over the fact that the civil rights act was supported by a much higher percentage of republicans than democrats. If you can get passed that, the novel is a great listen. The alternate future where George Wallace and Hillary Clinton eventually are elected president is truly horrifying.
Mr. King narrates his own afterward, which I enjoyed, however I have to take exception to one comment. Regarding Dallas as a terrible place, being from the area, it's hard to disagree. I work on Greenville avenue and even live off of Highway 77. I commute, because Dallas is a disagreeable place, but probably not for the same reason's as Mr. King seems to believe. The illustration Mr. King uses to point out the bad in modern day Dallas (and by inference all of Texas) is regarding a sign he saw at a local bar banning the carrying of guns inside. Guns in a bar is a bad thing. I'm sure what Mr. King really means is the very fact that guns are allowed to be carried by everyday citizens is a bad thing. However, he has no problem with his own characters carrying and using guns. Apparently, equality only goes so far.
This massive novel is slow and plodding and resolves no major plot lines. If you're a fan of the series, I won't ruin the end, but be aware a major character of the series and the book is killed off for no apparent reason other than the author wanting a zinger for the end.
Also, I found this book to be even more profane and pornographic than the earlier books. There is more action in bedrooms than in battlefields.
My advice, if you just want to follow the plot line, find a synopsis online and skip this tortuous book, or better yet consider the series over and move on.
I'm a big fan of the Harrington series up to this one. There's not much here for a Harrington fan. It's 90 percent boring politics surrounding unlikeable characters. The plot leads up to what could be a dramatic ending where these unlikeable characters get their just deserts, but instead ends with just a paragraph or two. Even the ending battle scene is cut short. If you just have to listen to this one for continuity I recommend listening to it at double speed.
Beware this is not a book written by Tom Clancy. That fact may not be too bad if the book at least stood up to the shadow of prior Clancy novels, but it does not. I advise skipping this one.
I really enjoyed the first 3 Tales of the Otori from the characters, their circumstances, and how they dealt with them. I grew to love the characters and I was left satisfied with the ending never dreaming there would be a fourth book. Imagine my surprise and elation when I discovered 'Harsh Cry of the Heron."
As the title suggests, the book is not a cheery one. In fact I'll go so far as to say it's thoroughly depressing from beginning to end. There are a few shining moments, but the ending completely negates them. I found myself trying to rationalize the story as it unfolded. The story of Camelot and Shakespeare's tragedies came to mind. However the ending seemed to contrived, too artificial, the character's actions too unreal as if the author had an end in mind, but no clear path to reach it.
As for the narrators, I didn't find them disagreeable.
If you enjoyed the first three Tales, my advice is to steer clear of this one.
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