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B. Manowski

Bay Area, Ca | Member Since 2005

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 38 ratings
  • 440 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • Mister Monday: The Keys to the Kingdom, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Garth Nix
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (383)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (95)

    Arthur Penhaligon is not supposed to be a hero. He is, in fact, supposed to die an early death. But then his life is saved by a key shaped like the minute hand of a clock.

    Brooke says: "For 9-12 year olds, excellent"
    "Another Great Book by Nix"
    Overall

    I bought this book based on my previous reads of the the excellent Sabriel/Abhorsen/Lirael books.(In fact if you like Nix's style but are put off by the 9-12 age of these books, proceed directly to Sabriel which I found to be a better book, if for no other reason than its more mature content.) But on to Mister Monday. I'll skip the summary as you can read that above. The first thing I liked about this book was Corduner's voice. The range of different characters portrayed and the deep throaty tone and timbre of his voice adds quite a lot to the atmosphere of the book. I also really enjoyed the originality of the setting. In a genre dominated by derivative rehashes, a truly original world is refreshing to see when it does come along.(Which isn't nearly as often as I'd like.) The world is for me the most compelling part of the book because of its originality and character. The story kept me listening although my fascination with the world Nix has created will make me buy the next book. I would have given the book 5 stars if it contained more adult themes and content. But all in all a completely entertaining, but light book. Highly recommended

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • A Fine Balance

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Rohinton Mistry
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (521)
    Performance
    (224)
    Story
    (225)

    In the India of the mid-1970s, Indira Gandhi's government has just come to power. It institutionalizes corruption and arbitrary force, most oppressive to the poorest and weakest people under its sway. Against this backdrop, in an unnamed city by the sea, four people struggle to survive. Dina, Maneck, and two tailors, the Untouchables Om and Ishvar, who are sewing in Dina's service, undergo a series of reversals.

    Karen says: "Praise for the Narrator as much as the Writer"
    "A Fine Imbalance"
    Overall

    Mistry's novel is slow to start, and the characters at first seem kind of boring. But the genuine humanity of both Dina and Ishvar is hard to ignore and after a while sucks the reader into their lives. And one could say these two characters are the foundation of the book. Mistry has drawn such compelling figures, that it's hard not to be drawn into the story of their all too brief happiness and their all too great hardship. And this is where the "Balance" or imbalance comes in. The book is built around semi-alternating episodes of happiness and hardship, and the title refers to the balance they create in life. They each reinforce and justify the other. But the balance is hardly fine in this book. Even though it is a great story, which brings to mind the oft-referred to Dickens in its scope and subject, it is not a happy one. The abject poverty of the country comes alive. Indeed some of the most compelling characters of the novel are background characters who at times upstage the central ones in their vivid portrayals. But it seems for every vivid character we are shown an equally vivid harship. And these hardships, one might say, upset the balance and outweigh the happiness. But then maybe that's the point. The bright parts of the book, however small, must carry the characters(and the reader) through the dark parts because that's all they have and they must make do with it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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