Really puzzled at the 1-star reviews - except for that of the first-time Gabaldon reader - no wonder you didn't like it, my dear! You MUST start with "Outlander"! One of the deep pleasures of this wonderful series is developing a depth of knowledge both of the individual characters and their complex relationships to each other. Do note that each book is 30-40 hours - there's a HUGE amount of background to the 6th book. 30 full and eventful years have passed since Claire and Jamie first met! It could not possibly make any sense to you. These are not meant as independent reads, and you simply cannot start with the 6th book. As for the ending - yes, a lot happened quickly, but it didn't feel a bit manipulated to me - quite legitimately thrilling cliffhangers IMHO. Left me wanting to start over with Outlander so I can spend more time with the characters until the next book in the series comes out. I am SO glad I was not put off by the negative reviews. This was a delicious read!
I saw that this book had over 4 stars, but after reading a succession of reviews by readers who felt this book was a complete waste of time - boring, slow, nothing but backstory on minor characters, all new characters, John Lee's terrible narration - I almost decided to skip this book, as a number of reviewers suggested.
But when I saw Book # 5 was out, I realized I just couldn't bring myself to miss out on what had happened in Book #4, so I gritted my teeth and prepared for a tedious slog-through.
My experience was very different from that of the readers who gave it such poor reviews though - from the first few minutes, I was gripped. Much as I loved Dotrice's narration, I had loved John Lee in Pillars of the Earth, and I instantly forgot Dotrice's voice as I was carried on Lee's voice through this wonderful story. (Yes, it was a bit disconcerting when Lee pronounced Pe-tahr as Peter ("who is Peter?") - but once I figured out who Peter was, I soon got used to it.) I'm puzzled at the number of listeners who felt Lee was overdramatic. A couple of times I could sort of get what they meant, but I probably only noticed those instances because so many people had complained. For my part, I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator.
There were a couple of new characters introduced, but they are closely tied to the main story arc, and the continuing stories of the familiar characters are very rich. Aria's story is particularly mysterious and full of intriguing surprises. (Of course, few of the surprises in this series are straightforwardly good!)
For me, the great arc of the story carries on with great momentum. I'm about a quarter way through the fourth download at this point, and can hardly stop reading! I'll be sorry to finish, and at the same time can't wait to see where this goes - which continues to be COMPLETELY unpredictable!
I kept waiting for something to happen. No themes were really developed. He's The Best, Most Talented Imager for some reason. (Actually, he does have to work really, really hard for at least two or three months before his astounding talent finally matures and he clearly emerges as The Best Imager ever.) People try to kill him and other people sometimes, but he is The Best Imager, so it is always easy for him to foil their plots. There is much explication of imagering and local and international politics singularly lacking in originality or complexity or interest. There are many "wise" sayings that are singularly flat and simple-minded.
And it doesn't help that the fantasy world the author constructs never coheres.
I chose this book because there seemed to be many people who liked it, and I love a good fantasy novel. This was not, in my opinion, a good fantasy novel.
This book was good, although it went a bit overboard in the the moral self-satisfaction department, and too much of the book seemed to be about methodically tying up loose ends. There are several spots in it with real suspense, but in most of it, it is much too clear that the good guys are way smarter than the bad guys. Also, I would have liked a lot more of Salander.
The best of the three - and the one with the most of Salander - was the second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire. The first was a great, genuinely quirky page-turner as well.
It would, however, be impossible to get to the end of the second book and not go onto the third! So go to it. You may be a bit disappointed, but you will nonetheless be entertained by our old friends Salander and Bloomquist.
From reading both the positive and negative reviews, I thought I would love this book.
It seemed that those who did not like it wanted more "cut to the chase" action and explicit horror. I, on the other hand, love it when King's books are sprawling with background, local color, character and relationships.
However, after plodding through the first two downloads, I could not force myself to continue.
There were far too many "somehow he knews" - that is, there seemed little attempt to have a compelling underlying backstory.
The primary evil force just felt patched together and never took on real life for me.
This book was sprawling in a bad way - as if the author just kept writing in hopes that the shape of a compelling story would finally emerge. For me, it never did.
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