ZF5 contains several flashbacks of IMMENSE length, showing Michael & his Good Buddy Joel and the Good Times they had. Maybe it's just me, but I found these interludes excruciating: long, long, lonnnggg tales of drunk, stoner pranks and partying. I found myself wondering how good friends they'd be if they actually remembered half of what they did.
Most of what goes for the rest of the Zombie Fallout series goes for #5 as well: 2-D characters, repetitious occurrences, supposedly experienced (by book 5) survivors making stupid mistakes, going off alone (AFTER having a discussion about how stupid horror movie characters are to get separated)...As the series went along, I got the distinct impression that Tufo was taking one or two books & s-s-t-r-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g them out to maximise his bucks for [lack of] our bang. With me, that strategy boomeranged; I won't be wasting my money on him again. Whatever he's gotten from me is already too much.
Michael, the wise-cracking, snarky hero. But, he's considerably over the top with the snarky cracks and deficient in the wise.
Tracy, the wife, who mainly is Mondo Witch (she seems serious when, in ZF1, she's ticked off at Michael because he's ruining the resale value of their house as he's trying to zombie-proof it). Occasionally she slips into icky-sweet "Oh darling, I love you forever and ever and ever and I'm always behind you etc etc etc" gag.
BT: the Big Black Dude Sidekick. I actually liked BT, and really, really wished he was given something interesting to do in addition to just being the BBDS. (Interestingly, he seems to be the only African American to survive the apocalypse in any of the books. Hispanics do only slightly better, with one small family. Asians & other groups apparently are right out). BT had no existence & evidently no interests whatsoever outside Michael & his little group.
Henry the dog: He farts. He sleeps. That's basically it. We get lots of paeans to bulldogs & how wonderful they are but no evidence to support this claim. (Hey, now I'm just DYING to get a dog who does nothing but release toxic farts & sleep!!). On more than one occasion Michael has to carry the dog -not up ladders, but just across flat terrain. I wondered if the dog was ancient, but nothing about that was said. Bulldogs are too lazy to walk?! This is news to me.
Basically, I can see someone who really gets off on say, Adam Sandler movies or TV shows like "Workaholics" really liking this series. Unfortunately, I loathe both and wish I'd stopped at ZF1. Why did I keep listening to them? Partly because good zombie/horror books are fairly thin upon the ground & some tiny hopeful part of me kept hoping Tufo would improve (plus, there was a sort of horrified fascination in seeing what words he'd mangle next -see below), partly because I'm laid up a lot & even irritating boredom gives some distraction from pain at times.
I can't decide whether I'm more depressed or alarmed by all the 5 star, frothingly enthusiastic reviews here.
And now, a side issue with writing style/vocabulary: what IS it with Tufo & words?! And has an editor ever looked at his manuscripts, an editor with a good vocabulary that is; as in someone who not only knows big words, but knows the actual MEANINGS of the big words? Tufo or whomever (both?) continually, repeatedly, come up with words that sound close to what they actually mean but really aren't at all correct. This drives me crazy enough in an audiobook; in print my head would explode.
Bizarrely enough, Tufo actually used "clowder" correctly in ZF5 (the actual term for a group of cats, like "murder" is the delightful term for a group of crows. But almost nobody knows "clowder"). Yet Tufo comes out with "sometimes fate "intercedes" (mediates, or interposes on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble) instead of "intervenes" (gets in the way) -fate intervenes, it never, ever intercedes...that's what novenas are for.
As always, people nod their heads "in ascension" ("climb, soar, or rise") instead of (presumably) "in assent" (agreement). This nodding in ascension business goes on repeatedly in every ZF book. Maybe when Tufo's people nod, their heads go down, then up, up, and away.
In ZF3.5 the scientist speaks of identifying something to "species and genome" (genus). In another (I lost track of book #s) someone takes a "controlling" breath before they shoot a gun...perhaps if they took a powerful enough controlling breath they wouldn't have to take a controlled breath in order to accurately shoot. Elsewhere more party crashers arrive than are "interested," not "anticipated." (In my experience people who throw parties --whether pleasant ones, or when the term is used ironically, they aren't interested in any crashers.)
I have many other examples, but unfortunately jotted them down while listening to the books at night by the light of my ipod, & I can't suss them out. However, there are a very many examples of this kind of demi-illiteracy in all 6 of the Zombie Fallout books, and it is maddening. I have no delusions of being omniscient when it comes to vocabulary but that's why God made dictionaries: LOOK IT UP, for zombie's sake!!
One final note on ZF5
*SPOILER ALERT!**SPOILER ALERT!**SPOILER ALERT!**SPOILER ALERT!**SPOILER ALERT!**SPOILER ALERT!**SPOILER ALERT!**SPOILER ALERT!*
I mean it, I'm about to reveal something about the end. Stop reading NOW if you don't want to know about an end part.
And then there's Joel. I think I was supposed to feel fond of the schlub, particularly since Tufo kept him around a while despite his being woefully incapable....I mean, it's sort of surprising he managed to make it to the grocery store & back even before the apocalypse. The way the guy is taken out is just gratuitously horrible even for someone in a zombie apocalypse. I found it a bit startling, as if Tufo was nursing some deep personal hatred for the mope (and for cats) & was as vicious as possible to them. That was actually the most disturbing part of the whole series for me. I mean, gruesome killings are all very fine in a zombie book --heck, they're required-- but sheesh....
Yeesh, I see there are other books in this universe. I hope Benny grows a brain, because I found him utterly, intolerably obnoxious in this book. Perhaps I haven't spent enough time around teenagers; maybe they are this bad. However, even if that is so, I don't want to read about a guy who's this much of a jerk, utterly condemning his older brother based upon "memories" from a horrific night that happened when he was 18 months old, treating Tom with contempt despite the fact that Benny would be dead many times over without him --died that night, died since from hunger or lack of care.
I don't actually believe anyone remembers things from that young anyway, beyond perhaps hazy impressions of emotional states --comfort, fear, drastic hunger. 18 month old brains just don't work in such a fashion that they could pass along memories like that, not the way adult brains do. One of the people that I respect & admire most in all the worlds & time, Ray Bradbury, said that he remembered some things from when he was three. I believe him, but he was one of the most brilliant people that ever lived & had one of the finest minds that ever cogitated.
Benny Imura does not fit any of those descriptions. He's not too bright, he's not too perceptive, he's not too thoughtful, he's not too nice. He's lazy. He can be pretty schmucky to his friends. He sits listening avidly to self-aggrandizing, obviously false stories told by two reprobate zombie hunter/killers, guys who any idiot with half a brain would immediately see are BAD guys, serious bad news, liars, cheats, & probably murders. But Benny doesn't have half a brain.
I kept forcing myself to listen further; all that kept me going was pretending that Benny would be eaten by a "zom"...it's not a good sign when a reader is praying the protagonist gets devoured.
Tom is also fairly unrealistic as a character, being far too saintly in dealing with his jackass younger bro. Most of the characters are cardboard.
There are other things that bother me about the book; the people in the town behave all alike in too many ways; NO ONE will talk about First Night (come on, some old boor would sit around blathering about how heroic they were), NO ONE will even consider trying to get electrical power going again. Even if a sort of religious taboo had grown up against electricity, after 14 years NO ONE has decided they're sick of washing clothes by hand? Puh-lease; after 14 DAYS, SOMEBODY woulda been out there trying to get things going again, no matter how loudly the zealots screamed. People just don't behave in lock-step like that. The entire remaining population of America is not going to just meekly abandon their mod cons, no matter what the provocation or how few are left.
Another peeve --& I know this is strictly a personal, idiosyncratic gripe-- but the term "zom" instead of "zombie" absolutely drove me up the wall.
Even if this is a 'YA' book, which I'm not entirely sure is the case, there are just too many things about it that are too simplistic, starting with the characters.
The reader, Brian Hutchinson, does a serviceable job with the material.
I consider these books to be the literary equivalent of mac 'n' cheese made with velveeta; absolutely yummy & absolutely trashy. "Brain rot reading" at its rottiest.
Eve seems to have undergone a condensing process for this book though: she's herself only much more so. Her characteristics seem exaggerated --something you don't necessarily want when the character is a caricature in the first place.
Her "tough cop with a heart of gold beneath" act is overblown here, to the point where she's just an obnoxious b*tch who comes off as selfish, self-centered, and barely human around Nixie--she responds with snappy nastiness (when forced to respond at all) to the poor 9-year-old girl who's entire family has just been slaughtered. She brings the kid into her home ...well, Roarke's magnificent castle-- because the bad guys are still out to get the girl, then Eve avoids her whenever possible & treats the girl fairly crappily when she can't avoid her.
I got real tired of Eve in this one, getting distracted often by the desire to reach into the book & slap her silly, or ditto the author. I suppose i'm supposed to feel sympathetic, that Eve is reacting to her own childhood horrors which are brought vividly back by the young girl's dreadful experience, but Dallas just lost my sympathy completely by allowing her own (old) pain to trump the traumatized Nixie's (brand new, fresh) agony & horror. Dallas needs badly to grow the heck up here, step on her me-me-me-poor-me thing & act like a grown up instead of a tantrum-y brat. These books are already unrealistic & ridiculous (they're romances, after all, they're supposed to be, but this one crosses the line.
I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone new to the "In Death" books or to a confirmed fan. Give this one a miss unless you enjoy gritting your teeth at obnoxious protagonists.
I found this addition to the LJ pantheon a disappointment. I listened to it several times --& had to restart it multiple times every time I tried it. I'd start the book & then a while later I'd realize there was a voice in my head but I had no idea what he was talking about; I'd gotten so bored with the story that I zoned out again. So I'd go back & start over, & within a few minutes I was thinking about my next grocery list or whatever.
It's not Woodman's fault; he's an excellent narrator, just a boring short book.
I didn't find any extremes in this book...nothing awful, nothing great. The performance came closest to awful, but wasn't quite that bad, just not very good. I don't like Glover's voice, don't think his characterizations are particularly good, am not terribly impressed with his pacing and emphasis.
Since I'm not thrilled with the reader, it's hard to say whether the book would've seemed better with a better reader. I definitely did not pick up much i the way of humor, and definitely didn't find it "wickedly funny." It's not that I lack a sense of humor or don't like dark, sarcastic, or satirical humor --I particularly love all 3. I just didn't think they existed much in this book. The MoD sounded like a number of the people I've worked with...the worst ones, who spend all their time griping & sniping, pithing & moaning, just being generally annoying. I've been forced to spend too much time around people like that in life, I certainly don't find listening to them to be entertainment.
This one's a "SIBI" --Sorry I Bought It.
Butcher continues the excellent Dresden Files, & Marsters continues to improve as a reader, with fewer mispronunciations in this one & not too many strange timings & (thank heavens) only one or two long-suffering, heavy sighs, a frequent & startling feature of previous readings which did nothing to add to the story & made me want to write him & say "If reading books is so deadly dull, please stop it."
But I'm being maybe too critical. This is not one of my faves in the series, largely because it repeatedly red-lines on the Angst Meter with Harry wallowing in (undeserved) guilt about Susan's condition (he TRIED to get her to stay away; what should he have done, locked her in a closet?) & way too much sighing over The Great Lost Love Elaine (come on; they were hormonally saturated adolescents who spent their pubescent years boinking each other at every opportunity up til age 16; he's now in his 30s & still pining over her? I don't think so.)
Every time I listen to it I end up with headaches brought about by excessive eye-rolling. But I keep listening to it periodically, so it does have a lot to offer. As with all the books in this series (up to Dead Beat, far as I've listened so far) Marsters is at his best when voicing oddball characters --his pixies are hilarious & other non-normals are equally brilliant. His presentation of regulars settled down by the second or third book, & he's definitely the Voice of Harry. Tho his voice changes dramatically between Summer Knight & Death Masks: I wonder if they got new production equipment, or what.
On a side note, I first learned about Harry from the extremely short-lived TV series of The Dresden Files, which I really, really liked. I will forever see the actor as the face of Harry. & I much preferred the actress who played Murphy to the relentlessly cutesie character of the book. If you've got a little over 4 hours to sit in front of the 6 episodes, ya might want to check it out.
I can usually listen to anything, if the performance is at all tolerable. The performance certainly is not the problem here; I love Grover Gardner --his voice & his reading style-- & have commented that I'd listen to him read the phone book.
Well, even GG & his magic voice couldn't get me into this one. I wasn't sure about writing a review at all, since I never could get thru the book despite multiple attempts. Just in case there's anyone out there like me who's not a serious jazz afficionado and does love GG, I'd say you might want to save your cash or credits. Just seemed like absolutely nothing was happening, nothing was going anywhere, & even the dialogue wasn't interesting enough to hang on for.
As I've mentioned a few times, this was not even good enough to put me to sleep; a book has to grab some attention or I just end up worrying about life anyway. if it's too boring, I can't get out of reality. This one couldn't take me from reality for more than about a minute & a half at a time.
I don't think this was worth a credit...even if the credit had cost 50 cents.
Probably anyone who's gotten this far in the Outlander series is doing it as a labor of love (& they're definitely best done in order), so overall it gets 5 stars, even if 4/4 doesn't seem to lead to 5. My minor gripes with this entry in this wonderful, absurdly bloated epic (& they said Stephen King was too wordy!) don't keep me from basically thinking it's great; terrific story, great characters, great history, great performance.
1. With the story itself; we see more of Bree in this one, & it ain't all pretty. The tantrums & snits she comes up with are not at all surprising, considering what her mother said & did at times (but she grew out of it), but they're even scarier coming from an Amazon like 6-foot tall Brianna. She tends to punch when someone --usually tho not always, poor ole, good ole Roger-- gets her mad (which is not difficult). The girl is in serious need of anger management. It makes her considerably less of a sympathetic character to me. Granted, she has some major things to deal with, but it doesn't justify her beating up her man....& then she turns around & hesitates be mean to someone who really deserves it (like S Bonnet).
2. The narration: Davina Porter does a truly awesome job yet again, but...at times in this entry she slides just over the line & becomes a bit overwrought. She still is spot on with the characters' voices & dialogue, but this time she has a tendency to over-dramatize text --the 'stage directions,' as it were. Such as when the thunder crashes, she really bears down on the CRASHED. Sorta like; ...the..night..passed...slowly... and then thedaypassedquickly. Rather as one reads a bedtime story to a young child, with LOTS of emphasis & acting out of words. It's not drastic, just somewhat short of the very-near perfect touch of her performances of the earlier books.
My one last gripe is that Claire & Brianna both tend to totally ignore the fact that they are in a completely different world than that of the 20th century. They just stomp around as if it's 1968 America, like huge loud, quintessential "ugly" Americans crashing a formal tea ceremony & demanding some dang burgers & a beer & Honey get me a real chair, I ain't gonna sit on the floor & where's the TV! Claire & Bree are basically on an alien planet... & then they get mad at the 'natives' when some huge communication gap yawns because they've completely steamrolled social custom & the mores of the time. They repeatedly forget that people ended up dead a lot in the 18th century for far less provocation than they offer at times; just chatting someone of the opposite sex at a party could lead to guys dead at dawn, but neither of them really pays much attention to what comes out of their mouths.
I have a deep tendency to want to say something bad about huge, epic, romantic-based opuses (opi?), but both the audio & print versions of Gabaldon/Porter's Oultander series continues to stand out as really...well, outstanding books.
Admittedly, I do want to strangle Claire several times in the first few books when she gets into her snit fit/tantrum mode, but those (thank heavens) diminish over time, & besides, every great heroine needs a major flaw, right?
Good, three-dimensional characters, good history (as far as I can determine from my own readings & a side trip thru an American History major), with literally times that you laugh, times you cry, times you get goose bumps, these are great books in both forms.
Davina Porter delivers --every time!*-- one of those rare performances where every character's voice is distinctive & consistent, her pacing & inflection support the text perfectly, & her voice is pure honey in the ears & mind (rare praise from me, because, despite being one, the horrific truth is I don't generally like female readers. NOW will now send a hit squad after me, I suspect).
I've finally broken down & just gotten the whole, immense wodge on my ipod, rather than trying to wrestle with great piles of CDs from the library, because this series is good enough that I'll be listening to them for good.
*And in this series, we're talking a lot of LONG times; the woman must be an absolute reading machine!
I've been trying, on & off for several weeks & consistently for the last 2 days, to listen to this brief audiobook. I haven't read anything else by the author & on the basis of this am not likely to do so.
The reader, David Colacci, isn't my favorite but he's not awful; to my mind there are 2 main categories of 'good' readers: those who do a straightforward job of simply reading, an audio version of a print book. Then there are those who perform it, who make it come to life to the extent that it actually may be better than just reading it (something VERY rare); some examples of this are Martin Jarvis's rendition of Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett's "Good Omens," Oliver Wyman delivering all 4 of the "Monster Hunter International" books (may there be another VERY SOON) by Larry Correia, and Susan Bennett's performance of "You Suck" by Christopher Moore.
David Colacci falls into the first category; he reads smoothly, with good pacing & emphasis, and you can tell which character is which --though without cues by the author you'd be lost most of the time. With the performances above, you know exactly who's who at all times because each character has his/her own voice, & the voice IS the character*.
So it's not the reader's fault that I started the book 5 or 6 times & kept re-starting because the book was so uninteresting that my attention would just wander off. Eventually I just powered on & kept going. It stayed boring. Oh, there were occasional flashes of interestingness, & then there was one plot point that was just mindboggling & appalling, of which which I suppose I'll express my outrage in a moment, as it could be taken as a spoiler.
i'm not sure I can offer a lot to bolster my contention that it's boring; the characters on the generation ship repeatedly blaming their captain for their problems was aggravating but ultimately believable if one has a suitably low opinion of people. Otherwise, the characters were flat, unengaging. I never was able to get much of an image of the aliens, tho whether that's due to my missing details or lack of description on the author's part I'm not sure. I just could not get involved in the book.
*In Martin Jarvis's very entertaining biography, he tells of going to work at a radio program that he'd listened to for a long time & being astonished when the actor who plays one particular part walking in wearing jeans; he'd never imagined that character in anything but a suit. As he put it perfectly, "the voice was wearing the suit." That's how you know a performance is good; when it gives you a vivid portrait of a character in your mind, & the portrait is so clear, so PERFECT, that nothing else will work & if any other reader were to do it, it'd sound just wrong.
ok, here 'tis: *SPOILER ALERT*
*SPOILER ALERT!!* *SPOILER ALERT!!* *SPOILER ALERT!!*
the appalling incident with the double standard was the captain sentencing the mutineer to multiple, repeated gang rapes by the female aliens. If we reverse genders in the situation, I would think there'd be enormous outrage. Let us say there was a male captain, and a woman was one of the ring-leaders of a mob which imprisoned him & threatened to kill him. The captain eventually regains his post. A while afterward, he rounds up a couple of big, burly alien males and tells them to forcibly rape the woman & keep raping her until she gets pregnant.
Does anyone else have a problem with that? I'll never be accused of being a rabid feminist but that sounds quite horrible to me & I'd be fairly outraged if I read it in a work of fiction. I suppose it could be viewed as the first in a series of episodes which show us how truly alien & awful the aliens are, but still think it would garner much outrage if published that way.
Just wrong, wronger, wrongest either way, but I felt like I was supposed to be okay with it, view as just another plot point, because of the gender distribution.
Phil Gigante give his usual excellent reading, but he's not enough to really save this one. And truth to tell, I can't remember what Ms Ross's reading was like, tho it hasn't been that long since I listened; must not have been too memorable, neither too awful nor wonderful.
Which sorta describes the book: It's not egregiously bad, but isn't all that good, either. It's billed as an erotic thriller, but I didn't find it particularly erotic or very thrilling (neither in a sensual sense nor an 'edge of your seat' sense). It's sort of....silly. The characters aren't completely cardboard, nor do they feel straight out of a can ("tough detective, white, youngish middle-aged, one"). On the other hand, they're not particularly rich or believable. The dialogue sort of sounds like actual people are talking, most of the time.
I find I am completely incapable of coming up with any extreme descriptions or adjectives; it's just kind of...aggressively average. Not a bad time-user for commutes or such, if bought at a discount, but I think paying full price rather chafes a bit.
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