I discovered Tamora Pierce when my daughter was a tween and found her "sheroes" and story lines fresh and engaging. I especially appreciate the world she's created in such detail -- the language, geography, cultures, magic and its rules -- and how she's woven the various stories together over time. I had forgotten until the Epilogue of Mastiff how this series connects to her very first. Made me smile and made me want to go back to re-read Alanna.
Gaiman's trademark creativity -- a delightful mixture of fantasy and myth, humor and pathos, and a little horror (but of the mildest sort) all read beautifully by the author. Such endearing characters! I thoroughly enjoyed the story and listened to it twice. The musical interludes were just right, too.
Neil Gaiman's glowing review attracted me to this title. What a mistake. No wit, flat characters, and annoying voices. As a Jane Austen fan, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that this story has none of Austen's wit or depth of human understanding. I am baffled by the comparison. Really disappointing.
Having enjoyed Gaiman's audio recording of "Stardust," I was looking forward to another Gaiman fantasy narrated by him. This was even better. Loved the story -- a wonderful marriage of reality and fantasy, fun characters including hysterically evil "Mutt and Jeff" villains, plus lots of satirical references to popular culture and London, contemporary and historical. Gaiman is a masterful narrator. I could listen to his voice all day! This book made a long drive fly by.
I rarely give up on a book or a series and, on the basis of book 2, really wanted to see this one through. Book 2 had introduced many wonderful characters and plot lines which were mostly abandoned in book 3. Book 4 started off really well -- some great new characters, a return to the central mystery introduced in book 2, some new settings (aboard ship and on an island in Bermuda). But Matthew is a bore by this point -- helpless in almost every situation (he's always being saved by others or by circumstances beyond his control) and hardly the smart "problem solver" of books 1 & 2. The stereotypes come thick and fast -- the giant ex-slave who's always there to save the white folks' hides, the noble "savage", the silky but deadly Indian, the drunken and rowdy Irishmen, etc. etc. The ending was truly galling. Unfortunately, the author felt the need to repeat information from the other books numerous times, which slowed the pace further. And those tortured metaphors! This is the worst-written of the 4, by far. Such a disappointment after a decent start and a very strong 2nd book. I won't be looking for any more in the series or by this author.
I gave the performance a 4 because this narrator is very good. I will look for other books that he's narrated.
I stuck with the series on the basis of my enjoyment of book 2, but this book was a disappointment. Too much repetition of grisly scenes, too much rain (how this author loves bleak, rainy weather), too few characters, too many tortured metaphors. I downloaded book 4 hoping that the author would wrap things up in book 4 with more of the style of book 2. It was not to be. I enjoy historical fiction, and the settings for these books are wonderful, but the author really needs a good editor.
I just finished the 4th book in the series and found #2, The Queen of Bedlam, to be by far the best of the lot. I think the author must have had a good editor for this book -- brisk pace, fewer tortured metaphors and over-use of adjectives, more humor, lots of enjoyable characters and changes of scene. I read books 3 & 4 on the basis of my enjoyment of book 2, but enjoyed them less and less, I'm afraid. If he's written more books in the series, I won't be reading them. Too repetitive, slow-paced, and mediocre writing after #2.
A beautifully-written book, very well read. I love the balance of interior monologue (like poetry - every word counts) with occasional bursts of action. So much to think about -- love, loss, friendship, how would I act if the world as I knew it ended? When are we truly alive and when just putting one foot in front of the other? I look forward to this author's next book.
I was hoping for a fun re-working of the Jane Eyre story but found a dull tale that hews too closely to the original story yet lacks the sensational gothic plot twist that justifies Jane's (Gemma's) decision to leave the love of her life. Read Jane Eyre and skip this wanna-be.
Confusing at first, with so many characters not always identified clearly, but the author has brought the era and people to life brilliantly. Narrator is excellent. Can't wait to listen to Bringing Up the Bodies.
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