Bronx, NY, United States | Member Since 2011
One thing I must say between books 1 and books 2 of the Hunger Games books is how seamless they seem to flow into each other. As most would agree, the first Hunger Games was excellently put together so a continuation was very much welcomed.
The narrator grew on me, she did a very good job voicing the different characters that are introduced (which were quite a few). She did very well to show the tortured nature of the characters in this book.
Catching Fire introduces a lot of very interesting new characters I must say. The tyranny of the Capital and of Snow becomes even more evident in the title. The story progresses very quickly I find and certain aspects of the book seems a bit rushed if you ask me, however much was not lost in this title and it was very much enjoyed.
I went through this title quickly (as in less than one day quickly) which simply means that it was good enough to keep me interested for the entire length of the book. I actually didn't expect it to be as good as it was (having just completed the let down that is Allegiant) but I was pleasantly surprised. It had interesting characters, awesome plot twists and even a seemingly well thought out storyline.
In this title the government seems to be at it again in yet another futuristic world. We have two genius kids who are pit against each other due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. The author doesn't shy away from death which I appreciate (I always find it way too coincidental when I read books like these and no one of somewhat importance dies in the book). The characters all seem to be rather interesting as they currently are and the book leaves a whole lot of room for growth in them which will be particularly interesting to see. Another nice thing about this title is the action. When it started to pick up... It really picked up.... Fast and furious action which was actually of the believable nature more often than not.
The only disconcerting thing I find is their love at first sight thing that seemed to permeate the fated meeting between Day and June. I get they would be automatically intrigued (at least) by each other if only for the mere fact that they both probably are of genius IQ proportions (like things such as those either have the effect of bonding or repulsing you), but they seemed to have fallen head over heels for each other pretty quickly.
I liked the narration when the Steven Kaplan (the male narrator) was doing it.... I had to get used to Mariel Stern (the female narrator) which I am pretty sure shouldn't be the case; midway through the book I really didn't mind her much. They did a credible job at getting the story across which I am pretty psyched about.
I must say, all in all I am interested and intend to blaze through all these books.... Yup..... I'm interested.
I have been experiencing Zombie Fallout withdrawal, I know that there are other Mark Tufo books and all of them scratches that itch of Tufo-ism I have needed but none compare to the epicness of Zombie Fallout with Mike, his family, BT + Tommy facing a Zombie Apocalypse and all that it entails.
I am a scientist at heart, a theoretical Chemist to be exact so I express myself well in the form of equation. I will use an equation to describe the narration:
Sean Runnette + Mark Tufo = Perfection!
That's just it.... Absolute PERFECTION. I don't know what fate put this author and this narrator together but to the powers that be... Thank you!
Now this book is just plain exciting... There are so many moments that you are at the edge of your seat... And if you are a true fan of the art of Tufo-ism then you find a couple references to other books in the Talbot Universe (Callis Rose reference the most obvious there) which is always a trip. You have that dry sarcasm teeming from Mike Talbot, the mismatched thought processes of Trip along with his poor wife who is just perpetually confused by her husband, the downright brutish nature of BT, the crafty and hard to kill Mrs. Denou.... With the death of Eliza, Mike has to find a new quest and the quest here is simply to find a cure for his son and his best friend. This book was the nice combination of action as well as plot development.
The book put me in a rather peculiar conundrum.... One where I couldn't help but make my way through this title, and also definitely not wanting it to end. It ended all too soon for me.... There will be more though. Thankfully there will be more! So my only problem with this title is..... I have to wait for book 8.
So this is one of those rare titles that you best listen to on a weekend when you have NOTHING better to do with your time. Why? The book is so exceptionally enthralling that you will find yourself immediately drawn into the story if you are even remotely a fan of literature of this kind. The narration was faultless and the story was tragic but honest and done so well. Absolutely superb.
I think this book has the potential to polarize an audience. I say this because the topics the book touches... topics such as high school, suicide and date rape... all these topics are highly sensitive. These also are topics that some are not comfortable talking about and are in general very 'heavy' emotions to deal with. The book comes off as that, heavy.... riddled with feelings and emotions... That being said the somewhat heavy tone lends to making each portion of this book seem meaningful in some way. You know a book is great when it feels organic in a sense and unforced which was exactly what this was.You knew the outcome of the novel, the tragic end of the girl who left the tapes, and yet you find yourself engrossed in the novel from beginning to end.
I agree that this book is tragic and if you are looking for a happy ending then you will miss out here. I mean yes, there is some amounts of closure and the main character here does find some sort of redemption in the end but there can be no true happy ending in a book where one of the main characters commits suicide. What appeals most me though in this book is the honesty.... it's tragic, it sucks but it's also true and it needs to be told. It also helps that the book is written so beautifully with the phrasing, the pauses, the choice of words being just plain immaculate.
It's the sort of book that makes you want to be a bit nicer to people for the mere reason that you never know what they are going through and you never know if maybe they are teetering at the edge of their breaking point. It makes you want to ask someone "how are you" and actually mean it.... Sharing a kind word with someone just for the mere fact that you can just in case.
The book had that ability to bring me back to some not so nice moments in my own life maybe not as bad as what Hannah went through but bad in its own right (I think everyone goes through something like this at one point or another) and it made me thankful for it not 'snowballing' as it did with Hannah because really, who knows how different I would have been now?
When I finished the book and told a certain someone about it, they told me I shouldn't 'gush' about it in my review.... Well.... I am gushing and I believe this book was absolutely worth every moment of gushing. I mean I went through this book cover to cover in one sitting.... For a usual busy body like me doing 1 million things at once that truly is a task for a book to accomplish.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a sobering and honest title. To break up the monotony of sci-fi or action or romance or fantasy or whatever you're accustomed to. To delve in the mind of someone who simply was pushed too much... Where a series of unfortunate occurrences snowballed into something tragic... Something, that if you take the time out to reflect on and really allow to marinate within you can actually make you a better person after you finish it....
I'm judging this book harshly based mostly on two facts: the potential it had and the actual story. Normally I give the performance a greater rating but the great performance could not wash the taste of disappointment from my mouth. Maybe it's because I set myself up with these huge expectations based on the potential I saw in the books prior to this one but then this one...
The narration was great as I stated above, makes it absolutely bearable to listen to the book... Both Emma (who spoke as Tris) and Aaron (the voice of Four) really did awesome jobs at truly giving these characters a voice and even a body in a sense. The pacing wasn't rushed; the tones were great.... there really isn't much that can be taken away from the narration here. A star is removed from narration because even though it's great, a 5 star narration can only be achieved by a combination of great narration WITH a great story... The story let this down.
Now on to the story..... *glares viciously* This book reminded me of another book I had high hopes for which just fizzled.... fizzled into annoyance. Let me start with the MAJOR bone I had to pick with this book.... CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.... Yes... The major characters grew but every single one of them (and yes I get they should be damaged and scarred or whatever) became way too absorbed in their past and way TOO damaged. I also found them hypocritical, just so amazing hypocritical. I don't want to ruin the story so I won't actually say what happened but you will know what I am talking about when you actually going through it. The author seemed to have been trying hard to NOT be like The Hunger Games and ended up just being completely unbelievable to me (the government would/could not let it go like that if you ask me). The writer wanted to end it bitter-sweet and a bit tragic but by the end of the novel I had gotten so annoyed with the characters I saw the ending downright fitting (albeit unbelievable in a sense, again... you don't mess with a government branch and the government just sits passively by after the fact). The major problem with the trilogy.... it lacked direction.... I came away from this book feeling that the author had no idea how to end this book, she started the trilogy not knowing how to end the trilogy and for the sake of ending it at the trilogy rushed it and butchered what could have been a great novel. I absolutely HATE when this happens.... The good about this book is that it had some really good writing, in terms of the use of words. It also had some really nice quote worthy moments, quotes mostly about human nature that even though a bit cliché but absolutely resounding.
The book had potential but completely failed in realizing its potential if you ask me. A strong first book, an exciting second book and this... this was just upsetting to me.
I was so disappointed about this book, so EPICALLY disappointed. I am a big fan of books in general and I am an even bigger fan of fantasy books. I love the George R. R. Martin (despite his sadistic way of killing off characters). Tolkien, Terry Goodkind, etc. and after reading book one and book two of the Eragon series despite seeing some gaps in his story I saw growth and I thought to myself "This guy really will be great...." but then.... the travesty of book 3 came and then to add fuel to the fire book 4 came which did not in any way shape or form redeem the book for me.
The narration wasn't bad and I actually gave him an extra star for keeping me engaged throughout the scope of this really long book. I almost was going to call it pointless as well but that would have been too harsh besides, I leave that particular description to the third book. He did his accents well and simply worked with what was handed to him to the best of his abilities. I tip my hat to this dude for doing such a good job.
Now the story.... *clenches jaw purposely* Here is my contention.... The main antagonist's death... for someone so incredibly evil.... his death was just downright anticlimactic if you ask me. And then the lead up to the death was just plain annoying. I still stand by the thought (even more so than ever) that the third book served no purpose whatsoever and if the author had combined the 3rd and 4th book (whilst cutting out the useless fodder) this series would not have been such a let down. In fact the main reason this book gets such a negative review from me is because the series on a whole had so much potential. The books went like this for me:
Book 1.... Good
Book 2.... Excellent
Book 3.... Ok... Completely Irrelevant
Book 4.... *Annoyed* I can't believe I invested time and energy in this series.
I have never been this dissatisfied with an antagonist's since I listened to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (I have yet to get the sour taste out of my mouth where that book is concerned). It didn't help that even after the story ended there was even more added fodder that don't get me wrong was great to know but was an OBVIOUS ploy to potentially add some more to this story in the future if the author so desires (I hope beyond hope he just lets this die unless he seriously improves his writing style). Oh by the way, I saw so many similarities to other things in other timeless fantasy works like Star Wars and LoTR that I found it a bit disturbing to be honest. I am however going to pretend that this was all a coincidence and not drop the rating down another star.
My ultimate belief is that this book should have been a trilogy and nothing more. The really wished and believed this book would have been great but in the word of another reviewer it was simply 'sizzle... sputter... *poof*'.
Now this is a book that is just being drawn out WAY too long if you ask me. This particular title in the book I found almost irrelevant and listening to the final one in the series before writing this review basically confirms to me that the author was simply bidding for time or had no idea how to continue with the book. I truly think that this book in particular was the author's desire to either stall for time to think of what else to do with the book or simply milk it for all it's worth. My take on it.... It was a combination of both and this was absolutely positively no worth it....
The narration in this book which normally for me is pretty good but seeing that the story for me was just a whole bunch of useless fodder got downright annoying to me after a while. He did the best he could do considering of course, but irrespective of his wonderful inflections and great tone if the story itself is annoying you chances are some of that will seep over to the narration.
As for the story itself, normally I would say that this book sets up well for the final book in the series however there wasn't much added to this book for me to say "Yes! This was completely and utterly necessary", instead I kept hoping they would get on with the story. Yes there were some interesting battles and whatnot but hardly impressive or noteworthy enough in the grand scheme of things to think that it required a book for itself. I found myself, at the end of the book, feeling unfulfilled.
I am still trying to figure out how or why this book was as long as it was and (in my mind) so irrelevant. I can hardly remember most of the happenings in this book and were you to ask me to give you a play by play of this particular book I couldn't (which is just plain sad if you ask anyone who knows me).
I found myself actually enjoying this one more than the first one in the series. I was by no means floored by the epicness of the story but this one went down much better than the first.
They returned the narrator which to me was an EXCELLENT choice seeing that he was more or less the star of the first one in my opinion and the story line was just a bit stronger. There are a number of very interesting twists that occurred in this story especially with the minor characters in the book. I actually found myself gravitating more to some of the other characters than the main ones because of the more 'flawed' nature of said main characters themselves. I found myself having the same problem with the two main characters in this book as I did in the last albeit to a lesser extent. They both seemed flawed in atypical ways and despite me actually enjoy reading about flawed characters I am not seeing growth in these characters (the main ones) in any meaningful fashion.
Still an interesting read though which has the potential to be an amazing story if only the authors will aim for more than creating a novel designed for love sick teen scene....
If I could sum up Callis Rose into one sentence I would say: The Mean Girl's WORST Nightmare.
Callis Rose is a complete social outcast who is stunningly beautiful, who genuinely has an endearing personal and a captivating personality combined with a background, being utterly adored by one of the star athletes of the school (and every other guy with a pulse) with some kick ass psychic power that could have you doing anything she wants you to do... Amazing girl with amazing gift but truly doomed. From age 11, onward the girl's life just became a serious of not unfortunate but downright traumatic events. I was endeared to the young girl from the get go and from then out I was thinking "Please have a happy ending"... If you're expecting a happy ending then that will be a downright no.
All in all though, despite the tragic fate of Miss Callis Rose, the book was written damn well! This love affair between Sean Runnette and Mark Tufo needs to stay solidly intact because he does the man's writing justice.
I really thought I would enjoy this book more. I like the comedian herself, she is one of those innately funny ones that really needs to do very little to have your laughing in fits. Maybe I should listen to the book again (following her two times a charm trick) to see if it would work and I'll catch more of the humor the second time around.
The title itself wasn't 'unfunny', it will give you more laughs than the typical novel however I expected far more laughs. To use an analogy, you sign up for a full body massage and only get a neck and shoulder massage.... missing the back, thighs, legs, etc. It is pretty short though and it answers a lot of questions about the writer/narrator's life which fans of her will be satisfied hearing.
All in all, there are a number laugh out loud moments, just not as much as I would like. It was an ok listen though, not particularly hating it but not loving it either just kinda 'meh'.
This was one of those books I heard about some time ago, in fact a couple years ago, by a friend but never got around to reading it. It continued to be in the back of my mind that I should really read it but I (for whatever reason) simply never got around to doing it. I finally was able to get around to it.... And I must say.... This is one of those titles that makes you re-evaluate and seriously rethink some things.
I love titles that are self narrated. I always believe books that are self narrated by the author generally comes from a genial place and leaves a more lasting impact on the listener. You can be rest assured that the feeling that the author is trying to get, the emphasis on key terms and portions of the title will not be list due to someone's sometimes misguided interpretation of their work. It can be a clear and direct view of what the author themself was trying to express. And in such a highly personable title such as this, Ayaan Hirsi Ali did herself a great service by taking on this title herself.
The story was one that after you finished going through it, you thought that it was a story that needed to be told. Her life was extraordinary yes but so many parts of it is simply typical in the lives of women in the Middle East that it simply is a very sad and sobering truth. You understand where she is coming from with the title of Infidel and you can't help but root for her after seeing the triumph she experienced at various parts of the book. Obviously though the scars of certain situations will never be erased but that can't be helped when you have lived the life she has.
The book speaks such truth, of the sobering kind that I left this book reeling from all that I had to absorb. Truly a great title! I would recommend this to anyone.
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