I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did.
While the story certainly has some worthy aspects, I found the pace to be plodding and the narrative, overall, to be rather self-indulgent.
I feel that the same book could have been condensed into a much shorter length while still conveying all the crucial thematic elements. As it stands, it suffers from a great deal of bloat, in my opinion.
The premise is gripping, and the author does an excellent job of getting across to the reader the idea that this bleak future, or one like it, is all too plausible. It did make me stop and think about the many things that we take for granted every day that are nearly so securely entrenched in our lives as we tend to think they are.
However, the tendency of the POV character to describe a scene, then stop and inform the reader that it "didn't really happen like that" or that the scene was a "reconstruction", was jarring. Each time this happened I found myself pulled out of the story in a very unpleasant manner.
I found myself fidgeting and waiting for the actual meat of the story (some kind of actual plot) to begin. Eventually I realized that there wasn't any meat to be had, and sort of resigned myself to suffering through the rest of the book in hopes that there would be some redeeming quality in the ending, especially since this seems to be an extremely well-reviewed book. In the end I was disappointed.
The narration was good, but nothing out of the ordinary as far as I am concerned.
(I am half cringing as I write this, as I nearly worship the ground Mr. King walks on, but...)
To me this book is like a square of unsweetened baking chocolate. It looks like chocolate, it smells like chocolate, and so you just can't resist taking a bite, but it's just so bitter as to be inedible.
You have to add at least a little sweetness to chocolate before it can be considered to be edible. For me at least, the same holds true with fiction.
This book was so dark and unrelievedly depressing that it really has no redeeming qualities for me.
The first half or three quarters of the book seemed to basically be filler that was only very loosely connected to the denouement.
I feel this would have made a much better short story than a novel.
This book reads like a first novel written by a high school student, and the narration appears to be done by an amateur. Very disappointed after seeing the suspiciously high ratings.
I am disappointed that Audible would feature this mess as something "recommended". The story is cookie-cutter and the narration is some of the worst I have ever heard. I was forced to stop after I found myself "rewinding" constantly because my mind just couldn't focus on it. Two thumbs down. I feel that the initial 5 star reviews that made me try this are more than a little misleading...
I simply cannot fathom why one of my favourite audio series has been ruined by substituting a terrible narrator for the brilliant version narrated by Dick Hill. I'll get my copy of Die Trying with the original narration elsewhere.
If you are interested in this book, be aware that it is in fact the third book in a series, though there is no indication of this until you start reading it and realize you're hearing a recap of previous books (MAJOR spoilers). By the time you realize you're starting with the wrong book, you've already been given all the essential plot points of Infected and Contagious, thus ruining the series before you even get started. Just a heads-up...
I'm a little surprised to see so many lukewarm reviews of this book. I found it to be an enjoyable read, though I'd characterize it more as a "solid" read than an exciting one. If you are looking for a book jam-packed with action, this is probably not for you. However, I found it to be absorbing enough that I'll be watching for the next book in the series. The book did seem to end rather abruptly, since there is no clear "climax" scene. My biggest complaint would be that there seems to be perhaps a little too much of the craft of writing here, and not enough of the art. There is a slight scent of "middle-book-info-dump" in the air.
I would have loved to have heard this narrated by Micheal Kramer or Dick Hill or really, almost anyone else. I'm really having a hard time understanding why anyone would go to the trouble of creating a whole new recording and not put in the effort to find a competent reader. The pace is jerky, and comes off almost as an advanced automatic reader program. The dialogue is better than the narration, but this only makes the entire performance more jarring as it switches between dialogue and narration. Another reviewer used "Shattner-esque" to describe the delivery, and I thought that was absolutely spot-on.
This book is a classic favorite for a lot of people, so it is very disappointing that a competent voice actor could not have been assigned to do the reading.
I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys following the unfolding of a deeper storyline. The story is fully absorbing, but one caveat is that if you prefer a fast-paced book peppered with exciting battles, this one may not be for you.
The complex relationships between the characters is what really shines in this book.
The Dark Mirror contains some of the most memorable characters that I have encountered among the hundreds of audiobooks that I have consumed, and Michael Page gives a flawless performance.
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