As someone who teaches graduate students how to create well-designed instructional materials, and who has had to learn 2 foreign languages over 20 years (no, high school French and Spanish don't count) I always approach language "tapes" with a bit of trepidation. However, I found this audio lesson reasonably well constructed. For the most part, I found the music engaging and it helped maintain my interest in the lessons. The only drawback I experienced was that on 3 or 4 occasions, the music made it difficult for my ear to pick out the exact consonants used in a few words. A quick flip to my old German texts resolved the issue but some may not have that option. In any case, I believe this is a worthwhile introduction (or review) but having a reference nearby would be handy.
I tend to like long epic length novels so I started this with high hopes given the ratings people have give it. It has an interesting premise, as apocalyptic sagas go. It felt it had a good mix of realism and fantasy built into the plot. And the plot moved along pretty well. There were really few places where I was bored.Pulling off a long intricate novel like this and making all the threads come together in a semi-satisfying ending is a HUGE feat. And it's not one that I could ever pull off. So just taking on that task and completing it as successfully as he did here gets a tip of the hat from me. And, I'll admit that I did manage to make it through all 30+ some hours. So, there's is enough here to avoid abandoning it all together.
SPOILER ALERT: The picture the author paints of this nuclear armageddon is so devastatingly complete that I was convinced that NOTHING would have survived. He was, if anything, too successful in making me wince at the all out horror of it. Given what we know of fallout drift, interdependent life systems, and human biology, I was shocked that any characters could survive the first year. Which brings me to... There were just too many instances where I had to put my credulity on hold. Plants growing in the middle of a years long nuclear winter (even supposing supernatural or divine aid, as occurs in the story)? With no pollinators? Canned food still being around (and edible) after that kind of catastrophe (even canned food has a shelf life before becoming dangerous 2-5 years even in "good" conditions). Car batteries still working after seven long years of cold and no charging, not to mention car tires remaining inflated despite the absence of airpumps. A horse that manages to survive despite no forage for that length of time? There was just too much that I found distractingly implausible. The second aspect that I found less than enjoyable was the one dimensionality of the main characters. The bad characters were flawlessly bad. The good characters flawlessly good (with very minor exceptions). They were stereotypes, not pictures of realistic people.As I said, I completed listening to the entire story. Cudos to the author. But, after the first six hours or so, it started to feel a bit too much like an obligation (or a self-made challenge) rather than an enjoyable passtime.
Josh, the ex-pro footballer turned pro-wrestler.
Yes, but it would definitely be a grade B movie. Not sure who I would subject to the roles in a story like this. Again, I know there is a market for this kind of stuff but since I'm not it, I'd be hard pressed to make recommendations.
I know I come across as critical here and don't mean to be overly harsh. The book really isn't terrible, but I found it just barely above average. Compared to other similar books, like Stephen King's "The Stand," or "On the Beach" by Neville Shute, "The Last Ship" William Brinkley, or "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank, this book just comes across as somewhat amateurish for my own personal taste. It's not a book I'll recommend or go back to a second time.
There are a few too many predictable plot mechanisms that feel contrived. Would I still buy this to hear a continuation of an extended story that I've come to like? Sure. But it feels quite a bit more formulaic than the previous three.
Performance is pretty good though I tend to prefer Jefferson Mays, the reader from the previous three books.
The performance was fine, but writing started to feel both predictable and a bit on the hokey side for my taste. There were a few too many times when I had to hold my inner skeptic in check. For instance, there were several times when some sort of emotional upheaval was used as an excuse for ghastly (no pun intended) and unbelievably poor decisions on the part of the characters. For me, that started to become difficult to swallow. Also, the authors could also have avoided placing yet another chase in the basement of the museum. That's getting old, at least for me.
I might listen to it again at some point, but probably not soon. There may be a point in time when I'll go back and listen to all the Pendergast books in order. If, or when, I do then I'll probably listen to this one again. But I'll still probably roll my eyes at some parts of it.
Depends on their age. Most of my friends, even the ones who still read Sci-fi and fantasy, are in their 50's now and, for them, I probably would tell them to pass it for better books unless they were looking for pure "mental chewing gum." It some ways this series reminds me of the old Lin Carter books from the early 1970s; mildly enjoyable and easy to read, just as easy to put down and move on to something else.
The most interesting aspect of the story was the premise; a beat up WWII destroyer going into a (somewhat) parallel universe where it is far more powerful in the grand scheme of world affairs.The least interesting aspect of the story for me was the stereotypical depictions of the characters and their dialogue. Characters are mostly one dimensional, have predictable behavior, and rarely break out of stereotyped decisions. This can be pretty annoying if you're expecting something deeper.
No, I doubt it. I wasn't a big fan of the 1980 film, "The Final Countdown."
If what you you're looking for is an entirely light story you can listen to, miss parts of, and come back to without feeling like you're out of the loop, then this might fill that bill. It's easy, predictable, non-strenuous fare. If you're looking for something that will engage you in the characters and the plot on a deeper level, then you might want to look elsewhere.
Engaging Clever Young
She captures the mercurial and sometimes shallow emotional responses of the young main character very well.
A clever and engaging story that is well performed. However, for more mature listeners, enduring hour after hour of teenage emotional responses and angst can be bit of a challenge. I'm not saying the story is poorly written, or performed; quite the contrary. In fact, the story stays reasonably true to the young female character. And, that's the problem for me, I find it somewhat difficult to relate to the main character's young immature and sometimes histrionic responses. Overall, it was still a good listen, but mature listeners might want to view it as an enjoyable but over sweet dessert rather than a satisfying main course. My daughter will probably love it.
I've been a Stephen King fan for years, to the extent that I've bought a copy of each and every one of his books and any audio book I could get my hands on. That said, I found myself distinctly luke warm to this collection of stories. While it does tie in - marginally - with the Dark Tower series, that tie is loose. Did I listen to it? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Sorta, kinda, maybe. Will I listen to it again? Well, perhaps, but not for quite a long while.
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