This story is very well-written, and the narraration is excellent. It is full of beautiful little passages that are poetic and poignant - profound thoughts that describe the human experience masterfuly. These are the things that kept my interest.
However, for me, the long story was difficult to love. The characters were not especially charismatic; they didn't really win my heart. And there are a lot of graphic descriptions of surgeries and illnesses, some of which were difficult to listen to.
I did appreciate the inside look from points of view and different worlds that I never would have otherwise seen - Ethiopia, the struggling hospital in the Bronx, the perspective of an immigrant medical intern... All of these things were fascinating, but in the end, the book left me feeling kind of sad. I guess I am an escapist who is better suited to fantasy and more entralling types of tales.
I see that the price has gone up to 2 credits since I bought it - I don't know that it would have been worth that for me.
I just loved it this book, as well as the next one. I'm anxiously awaiting the third one.
First off, I was hesitant to get this title because both the description and audio sample sounded boring and formulaic. I'm so glad I ignored them in favor of the positve reviews.
I am an escapist and I really enjoy a good fantasy; it's really a bonus if it's a series. This saga has a marvelous balance of humor, suspense, uniqueness, and fascination. The characters are likeable and interesting. The writing style was just perfect for me. Although some descriptions were verging on corny at times, I can forgive that because it had so many other good points. It was just a fabulous story all around.
I wasn't sure about the narrarator at first. He's a good reader but he has a young contemporary sounding voice that just doesn't have the weight that I'm used to for this genre. However, I really came to appreciate him. His different character voices are distinctive, he is consistent, and he reads "between" the lines very well - he seems to put appropriate inflection or emotion into things. After listening to many books I've learned not to take these qualities for granted in a narrarator.
It was a wonderful tale that really swept me away. I didn't want it to end and I still carry the characters in my imagination. Thank goodness there's another book after this, and there should be at least one more released in the future.
It's true - the change in narrarators is extremely bothersome. This one also does feel like a segue / in-between book, with a lot of back story and side characters when we'd all really like to get back into the juicy plotlines of the books before. Patience (hopefully) will pay off! In my humble opinion, being that this is part of one of the best fantasy series I've ever had the privelege to experience, it's still a must-read.
Funny story about this narrarator thing: At first, I was incredibly upset about the absence of Roy Dotrice. John Lee's unemotional, yet overly-dramatic style, reminds me of a British William Shatner (love you Shats, but I'd never pick you to read these books). Anyhow, we were at the Random House Audio booth at Comic Con and the gal who worked there overheard us talking about the switch-up. She said that YES the whole audiobook universe freaked out on them about it. She claimed it had been just a matter of scheduling, that Mr. Dotrice was out of the country at the time so they booked Lee. Anyhow, they DID bring Dotrice back for the fifth book, so don't despair!
Bottom line: I miss Dotrice, naturally, but now that I'm almost done with this one I have gotten used to Lee. Poor guy! Big shoes to fill. If you can get past the first few hours you'll be ok! OR buy the printed book if you have time for that sort of thing - I just find those printed books so hard to read while I'm driving.
ASOIAF for life!!
You know it's bad when you're trying to listen but instead find your mind drifting and all of a sudden you're composing a negative review.
The story itself is pointless, the plot is disjointed and questionable, and narrarator makes it absolutely insufferable. The way he delivers the lines seems to warp the meaning of them. Numerous times I tried to imagine reading the words on a page instead of listening to this goofball. The main voice he uses is halting, petulant, and almost snobby. His female voices are downright awful. I read some previous reviews (too late, unfortunately) and I had to laugh -- he really does make them sound like bad imitations of inbred drag queens. And that DOES matter because there are lots of female characters in this book. It's impossible to take it seriously. The author must like him though because he's used him for several books. Go figure. Clearly Murakami and I are not soul mates.
I don't know why I bothered to finish it. It was like a twitsted form of self-torture. I guess I just had to know if there was a point. There wasn't. Deep down, I think I knew this from the beginning. Why? Why?
I hate to be negative; I have a great appreciation for all that goes into writing a book and producing an audio recording, but I would only recommend this audiobook to my worst enemy. Better luck next time!
I've listened to dozens of audiobooks and this is the first one that I've ever given up on. I'm a very patient listener. I liked the first part, but I felt it went downhill in the second part. As the characters I had started to enjoy moved into their adult lives, they became hard to believe and relate to. I found that I just didn't care what happened to them any more - a very rare thing for me! I usually enjoy a good character drama. Apparently some folks did enjoy it, but this one just wasn't for me.
This was a great listen - mainly due to the absolutely wonderful narraration. I wish Roger Allam had more titles on Audible.
I also loved the characters. Overall I enjoyed this book and it kept my attention. I found it exciting and suspenseful, especially at first, but towards the end it seemed a little contrived.
I would recommend it as a fun listen, but it is by no means a literary masterpiece. At times I felt the author was a bit arrogant - underestimating the reader's intelligence with repetitive descriptions and melodramatic plot twists.
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