Marietta, GA, United States | Member Since 2015
The story - it was good but it was sort of like 4 different adventures tied together by the main character, who could have been different in each one. Each of the adventures had a beginning, middle and an end. Each time it got to the end, I would check the spot in the recording, wondering if that was it. Not a bad thing exactly, but except for the main character and his cat (??) there were no other constants in the story.
The author did a good job of telling the story - not riveting compared to some other zombie stories, but maybe that was lost in the translation somehow.
Of course the narrator was great; I think I could listen to him read the menu at McDonalds.
Jump scares, horrible writing, cliche ending upon ending upon ending - I honestly expected Chewbacca to growl in triumph as the cast turned to the camera for the grand finale.
I stuck with it. So you don't get one star. The idea for the story was great, and I bet the story itself would be great if somebody helped clear out the clutter of cliches and abuse of adverbs, predictable moments, and two-dimensional, (can a character be one-dimensional?) characters. Oh, so very very disappointing.
I got the book for my son to listen to on the road with me. The first quarter was a good setup, but after that, it fell into such predictable beats that it was hard to stay interested. Characters are two-dimensional, reveals are revealed a mile away, and the writing was pretty heavy-handed.
There wasn't a great deal of "What happens next?" moments in the book, because they were broadcast long beforehand.
Which all leads me to the my review title. It's a lot like a Scooby Doo episode. So, for a 9 or 10 year old? I suppose this is all great. I would have liked more creepy stuff, less annoying Hardy Boys stuff.
First off - great story, and fantastic narration.
Second, it jumps. The storyline. I know that's a thing for McCarthy, and on a written page I bet it's (hopefully) a little more obvious. But in narration, there's spots that I doubled back, even tripled back, a few times, trying to understand what was going on. Once I got it, the story moved quickly and with such great detail and description, I knew exactly what was happening; but it was those odd scene changes that were jarring, all the way through the book.
This is not my first Cormac novel; (No Country For Old Men, which is amazing to read); so I knew what to expect with the graphic violence, (which didn't bother me at all) or sexual deviance, (also didn't bother me). His sense of timing was crazy. Sometimes, a scene goes so slow, detailing the tiniest bits, taking care to provide what's going on in the character's head, and then other times he's leaping forward in bounds.
I liked it. I enjoyed it; laughed, cringed, the whole thing. Like in No Country, he didn't really spend much time on the WHY something happened; it just happened and then the story unfolds.
I'd totally recommend it to somebody to listen to. I already have. I hope the movie nails the story.
Reading a book based on a movie that's already in my top-ten thrillers of all time; it just seemed like a great idea at the time.
But here's the problems. The book didn't just inspire the movie, it was the movie. The only parts missing were probably left out to keep the movie under 2 hours; in that, they weren't that vital to the story, and they only added little bits of insight to the already fantastic story.
So, if you've seen the movie? If you've seen the movie a lot of times, and watched the sequels, and the Vince Vaughan remake? The book will probably shine very little light onto what you already know about the tale.
The narrator did a good job, good enough. Lila, (Lily?) sounded like the biggest whiner in the world, which I initially thought was just the way this narrator thought women talked, but, after reading a few reviews on Goodreads as well, nope, it's not him, it's totally that the character is a whiny lady.
Also - if you're in search of as many cliches as possible, specifically in characters, dialog, and tropes, this is the book for you. (Of course, it's entirely possible that the book, written in 1960, quite possibly set the standard for a lot of those things.)
So - long story short, if you loved the movie so much that you became almost obsessive over it, this book will shed very little light on anything... and actually drags in some areas, even though it's a relatively short novel.
Last thing - the ending, or last chapter, or epilogue - wow it just goes on and on forever, like Bloch got tired of writing the story and just put together some bullet points to wrap the story up. I didn't make it all the way to the end.
Very few novels get a second read from me. (or a second listen).
Even fewer get a third, or a fourth. I'm on my fifth listen of this story.
I wish I could put into words the ways that this book exceeded any expectations I've got in a horror book, but I can't. The best thing I can tell you is that I wish I could find more books of this calibre; not only in terror and darkness, but in storytelling style. The pacing is perfect, the writing is perfectly balanced between description and action, enough backstory to fill you in, but not so much that you lose track. The scares are sometimes expected, and sometimes come out of the blue. Hill hints at things to come, but still leaves you worrying.
I can not praise this book, and this narration enough!
The narration is above and beyond anything else I've heard on Audible! I hope that Ms. Mulgrew does more horror stuff; she makes the bad guy so slitheringly vile, and creates a heroine who is empowered and broken at the same time.
If you're still reading this review - here's some qualifiers, (I always wonder if this reviewer has the same tastes?).
I love pop-horror. My other five-star books from Audible include authors like Christopher Moore, David Wong and Chuck Palahniuk. Quirky odd stuff that's contemporary. This novel is probably one of my all-time favorite books; up there with It and The Stand.
If you're STILL reading this review, debating whether to get this book, why? Why are you waiting?
FUN story! Good laughs! Awkward writing?
Having the author narrate the story was an incredible plus. He brought it to life!
But -- and this is a very odd but -- as a student of writing, (trying to become a writer) he breaks so many rules of writing. And I am in awe of how well the story works despite these things, that I have to wonder, did he do this intentionally? A large theme of the story is irony, so, is it possible he (obsessively) overused adverbs (ironically)? Or he overused dialog hinting? -- (he inquired, questioningly.)
I'm going to research that. Because, if so, then wow I'd want to change my overall rating of the story. As it stands, the abuse of adverbs is only a minor distraction, and probably only because I've been reading so many how-to-write books that consider adverbs the illegitimate bastard of literature. I'd imagine most readers of apocalyptic comedies couldn't care about stuff like that.
Hopefully/probably those things are an ironic tip of the hat to English Lit students? Maybe this whole thing is like a parody in the way that "Spinal Tap" is a parody of heavy metal rockumentaries, and only other musicians get most of the jokes.
If so, I'm thrilled that I was in on that part. If that wasn't the goal, if I were the author, I would absolutely adjust the marketing to add that part in there.
Either way, it was a fun enough book, and my kids even enjoyed listening to it with me on occasion.
I'm so glad Joe Hill finally let go of riffing on his dad's writing. NOS4A2 is one of my favorite books, so I've gone back to check out his earlier books. They're good, but there's just way too much of his dad's style in them.
The story requires a lot of effort to stay engaged in. It does a lot of flashbacking, out of order. And I get it, it helps build up the story, but there's unannounced flips and I spent a lot of time backtracking to find out if I'd skipped a chapter or a tiny clue what was happening.
And there's a ton, a BIG GIANT ton of extra character development/exposition in there that just didn't contribute all that much to the story. This book could've been 1/3 shorter and would have been a tight, good novel.
As it stands, it's still a good book, but I'm not left wanting to know more; the times I put it down, I didn't spend my time reflecting on the story so far, nor worrying about what was coming up, (unlike NOS4A2, which pulled me in and kept me almost the entire time).
The first Grimnoir book won me over. The world building continues, the characters continue to grow, and Bronson's narration, wow, I can't say enough about how well he brings the story to life.
The descriptions were fantastic, the battles and fight scenes were very clearly detailed, the whole thing just blew my mind.
After the first book, I was hesitant to try the second one. How could he keep the quality of suspense and plot going in a sequel? I was mistaken, and so glad I checked out this one. I suppose it's time to check out the third one.
I couldn't get beyond the first hour or two. The book came highly recommended, but the story was so far into the head of a teenage girl that it was just uninteresting to me. If I was a teenage girl? Or a woman who experienced a lot of these things? I'd probably love it. And I tried bearing that in mind as I listened, "hey try to see things from someone else's perspective" but in the end, there was just so much mundane girly high school setup that it lost me.
Due to the extremely great reviews out there on the book, (and the upcoming movie) I'm positive this is a personal thing and hardly a reflection on the writing, the story, and the narration.
This book is to writing as The Karate Kid is to karate; a tale of one person's journey in pursuit of a passion; the challenges, the successes, and snippets of daily life thrown to give the main character more dimension.
This is not a how-to book. If you want to learn how to be a writer, there are plenty of books out there. This is a story about how, well, it's in the title: How one of the world's best authors fixed his book and changed his life.
Tony does a great job, really exposing his own ego in the process. And it's a huge ego. At one point, he spends about 20 or 30 minutes reading the latest version of his story, with cut-ins, congratulating himself and picking out the best suit for his appearance on the tonight show.
And the manuscript he's narrating isn't that great at the time, and makes a lot of common mistakes. At that point, I almost gave up on the book, thinking that the previous reviewer was correct; this book is nothing more than a companion piece to a half-rate novel.
But when he begins to narrate Grisham's critique, and describe how he feels like he's been drop-kicked in the face, I absolutely identified with him. I've spent a lot of nights spewing out what I thought would be the greatest thing since Carrie or the Shining, and my own mentor tore it to shreds. I felt the exact same way; denial, bargaining, surrender, and eventually acceptance, but only after deciding I'd never ever try to write again.
I can't think of another book about the writing process that details what Tony's put in here, specifically the parts outside of typing words on a keyboard; (building plot, revisions, taking criticism, more revisions, etc). The helpful points about writing are useful, but overall, it's just a great story about one person's journey through writing a novel.
IF the novel in question went on to become a million-seller, this would be a different book about someone who found the magic handshake to success. But the fact that (prior to the epilogue) he hadn't published his novel makes the story all the more interesting to me; makes it more accessible.
So I'll give this book 4 stars. The narration wasn't fantastic, it was a person who's better suited for non-fiction, which is probably another part that's confusing to listeners.
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