Although "Wonder" is written for a younger audience with a child narrator's point of view, the story is compelling for any age listener as it hits home on the issues of image and acceptance and the prejudice against people who are not physically perfect. The author does a nice job of telling the story without preaching, and the characters mature along with the story. The use of several different points of view is excellent, and each individual narrator adds depth to the overall plot. It's not the type of book I normally read but I'm glad I picked it up and would recommend it as a good listen.
First - I'll say that this is an adequate mystery, not great, but ok. I liked the main character but the supporting characters were weak. The overall story was fine - interesting enough but not brilliant. Unfortunately, what really killed this story for me was truly dreadful narration. I've been able to tolerate a wide range of narrators and get used to voices that are less than ideal. If this narrator had simply read the story it would have been acceptable. However, she tried to do different voices for the characters and her attempts to do so were painfully bad. She tried to use accents that fell far short of authentic. Several of the character voices were like grating fingernails on a chalkboard they were so bad. The story itself would sound fine and then she would switch to one of the phony accents and my irritation would rise immediately. I had to listen to the book in bits and pieces because I couldn't tolerate the narrator for very long. I've listened to a lot of audio books and never found a narrator that I would avoid before now - but I won't listen to anything read by this narrator again!
I used to put the Lynley novels at the top of my wish list, and couldn't wait to grab the latest book as soon as it was out. Not any more! The book prior to "Just One Evil Act" - "Believing the Lie" - was such a disappointment that I returned it and got my credit back (Thank you Audible!) as soon as I was done. "Believing the Lie" was full of "unbelievable" subplots and distractions, Lynley's behavior was totally out of character, and Barbara Havers was barely in the story at all. I thought "Believing the Lie" would be my last Lynley, but when I saw that "Just One Evil Act" featured Barbara Havers and sounded much more like the familiar solid plots of the earlier books in the series - I took a chance, hoping to be rewarded with the excellent story-telling that Elizabeth George is capable of. Nope. Anyone who knows the series knows that Lynley's wife was killed off in a senseless murder several books ago. Now it seems that George is equally determined to kill off (figuratively speaking) the rest of her main characters by having them behave in ways that completely contradict their personalities that developed as the series progressed. Barbara Havers had never been portrayed as stupid, yet in this book she does one unbelievably stupid thing after another. Emotional attachment is a fine motive for poor decisions, but Havers' behavior in this book makes her seem like a complete idiot. Lynley has been a deeply troubled soul, but also not stupid. His brains, like Havers, have gone by the wayside in the past two books and he, too, behaves like a cardboard caricature of his former self. Add to this the fact that "Just One Evil Act" is about twice as long as it needs to be, and George arrogantly inserts entire conversations in Italian that are not translated for the reader who expects the book to be in English - and I was left with the distinct impression that the author no longer cares what her readers think. I'm sure her books will continue to sell based on hype and past reputation, but for anyone who read the series when it was truly good, this descent into mediocrity is painful. I can easily overlook a book or two in a series that aren't quite as good as some - anyone can have a slump - but the last few books in this series have been a downward plummet as opposed to a temporary slump. If this had been the first book in the series I read - I would never have read another one. If you read the reviews on Amazon you'll see lots of 1 and 2 star reviews from former fans of the series - I wish I'd read them before I wasted my time on this lengthy slog. I'm done with this series. There are so many better books out there.
I admit I bought the book because it was written by J.K. Rowling - but that's the end of anything Potter-ish in this delightful new mystery. I love a good British mystery because they tend to be less violent and more intellectual than many of the standard American mysteries. The Cuckoo's Calling has everything in it that makes a mystery worth reading - an interesting main character who is neither perfect nor pathetic, a smart sidekick who thank god does NOT need to be rescued in the final scenes, a lot of clues but no dead give away to the final resolution, and supporting characters who are not simply two dimensional backdrops. No dramatic chase scenes or gun battles - just solid detecting and some intriguing plot twists along the way.
The narration was perfect and captured the voices in a way that was believable and engrossing. I had a hard time putting the book down to get any work done, and when the story ended I could only hope that Rowling/Galbraith is working on the next Comorant Strike mystery. Whether you're a J.K. Rowling fan or not really doesn't matter - if you like a good mystery, this is the best one to come along in a long time!
As a long time Rebus fan, I was happy to see a "post-retirement" Rebus return. This latest entry is probably my favorite Rebus - a solid performance with all the right characters, an excellent mystery, and some nice twists along the way. Listening to this book was better than reading it as James Macpherson's voice was a pleasure - all the accents were exactly as they should have been, neither forced nor exaggerated. Five stars all around, a great listen and another hit from Ian Rankin.
I enjoy books with imagination and fantasy, and I was willing to give a zombie book at try. The idea of a book from a zombie's perspective seemed intriguing. After forcing myself to listen to the whole book, I can only hope that I bought it on sale because it was a big disappointment. The plot was very uneven. At times it was so boring I almost quit listening for good. At other times I felt myself drawn in and anxious to keep listening. The feeling of boredom was far more frequent. The fact that I was occasionally drawn into the story was the biggest frustration, since it kept me listening intstead of just stopping for good. Now that I've finished the book I can't say that I'm glad I did - I wish I hadn't been intrigued enough to buy it in the first place. Ultimately it left me thinking that the author could have made the entire book more compelling instead of a book with long stretches of dullness with an occasional spark. The switch in time and perspective was not very effective and ultimately added to the frustration. Some of the author's comments were just plain irritating - points where he stopped telling the story, and just lectured the reader on the reader's expectations. I can't fault the narrator for the story he was reading, and I would say he did a fine job with what he had to work with. It's not the worst thing I've ever read or listened to, but I won't be looking for anything else by this author, and if asked for a recommendation, I would never recommend this book to anyone else.
I have never played a video game in my life - but I fell in love with this story of a future video game geek and couldn't stop listening. In fact, I enjoyed the whole tale so much (and Wil Wheaton is the perfect narrator -) that having just finished listening, I'm going to listen to it again to really reveal in the details. It's like Slumdog Millionaire or Willy Wonka - the poor kid from the ghetto wins an unbelievable lottery against all odds - but the journey of how he gets there is as much fun as I've ever had listening to a book. Set in a depressingly believable future where the energy crisis has done its worst, the majority of the population escapes to an alternate reality on the internet. Cline does a great job of mixing 80's nostalgia with a not-too distant future reality, and the result is both entertaining and thought provoking - there's some harsh truths if you want to see more than just the fun of the game. And if you want pure entertainment - Ready Player One is at the top of the charts! It's on top of my list of favorites for sure - I'm already sucked into the story for the second time around.
Another reviewer said exactly what I was thinking - this book is a downward spiral of the Lynley series and nothing compared to the earlier books in the series. Lynley himself was quite two-dimensional throughout, with none of the interesting interactions with his "team" that made earlier books in the series so compelling. His main focus in this book was an affair that seemed both unbelievable and out of character. Lynley's affair was just plain boring and trite with nothing to recommend it. The plot was really a tangle of tangents with so many "sub-plots" it was hard to care about any of them. Instead of having one or two - or even three - subplots with good character development - George had at least seven different subplots with a heavy hand on sexual/gender issues that didn't improve the story overall. More is not better. Deborah St. James came across like an idiot and deserves better. Simon St. James got the barest whisper of a part and didn't fair well, either. The only long term character that seemed true to herself in this story was Barbara Havers, and since she was only tangentially involved in any of the miriad subplots she wasn't enough to carry the story. I used to wait with great anticipation for the next installment in the Lynley series. Not anymore. If the downward spiral continues I won't be reading the next one. A once good series is being slowly tortured to death.
Although Garment of Shadows is a great relief after the silly pirate story, it's not one of the best of the series. I agree with the other reviewers who long to see the series go back to England - and more interaction between Russell and Holmes. I didn't think having a separate male narrator for Holmes was a good addition, more of a distraction. It seemed like Holmes and Russell had two separate stories with not much time together, and it's really the interaction between them that adds spice to the series. Russell's memory loss made a great start to the adventure. I thought the Holmes part of the story much weaker and less compelling. Still, it was a good listen overall. I'd put it somewhere in the middle of the pack for this series. Worthy - but not outstanding.
I rated this book a "3" because I am on the fence about it. I've read several other YA dystopian series and this seems to be just one of a trend and not the best of the trend by any means. While some of the ideas in Pure were fresh and original, I thought the story really dragged in places and didn't always do justice to the ideas behind the story. I almost stopped listening several times because I just didn't feel compelled to find out what happened to the characters - and that is quite a contrast to other books in this genre where I can't stop listening because I want to know what happens next. It was a bumpy ride for me to get to the end of the book. I found the constant switch between different characters and narrators disruptive at times. Even though I knew it was only the first of a series when I started it, I don't know if I'll get the second book or not. I just didn't care that much about the characters or what happens to them. Yawn.
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