This is not your usual vampire novel. It's really social commentary and the characters just happen to be vampires. Mostly, abstaining vampires. Folk trying to fit in.
Problems which have simmered under the surface for years are brought to light when Clara, the teenage daughter, commits a gruesome murder when defending herself from an attack by a boy she knows. Events which follow bring Peter's (the father's) brother onto the scene and things really start to unravel.
The writing is good, the story is entertaining, the narration is excellent.
This is the most important thing I have to say about this book. Having loved Olive Kitteridge, I had anticipated also enjoying The Burgess Boys. Alas, the reader's "Maine accent" was painful to listen to, which is ironic as, early on in the book, mention is made of how difficult it is to fake a Maine accent. This is one book I would have doubtless enjoyed more in print.
The characters were mostly unlikeable from beginning to end, which made it difficult to become interested in their fates. Also, I find the exploitation of current events tiresome but that may not be the case for all readers as evidenced by the popularity of authors such as Jodi Picoult.
My advice is to always listen to the Audible sample before buying an audiobook, although, in this case, the offending "accent" wasn't evident from the sample.
Uninteresting story written for what would seem to be a high school age audience. Narrator makes it even worse.
An interesting compendium of personality traits and personal characteristics that tend to promote the perception of charisma, the book misleads, in the end, because imitation is not sustainable in the long term. Either you have it or you don't.
Still, it can't hurt to be aware of some of the pitfalls mentioned. The knowledge can come in handy in certain situations, if you can remember them at the time. It's also amusing to later watch charismatic people and try to determine which of the devices mentioned in the book are at the root of their appeal.
Although the reader has a pleasant enough voice, her delivery is one of the most soporific I have ever encountered. Don't listen to this at bedtime unless you want to use it in lieu of counting sheep.
As others have mentioned, if you want to take full advantage of the exercises in the book, you need to have printed material in front of you. For this reason, and because of the poor reader, I suggest anyone still interested in using the book read it in print, not in audio.
I was prepared to sit down and enjoy a somewhat fluffy mystery but not prepared to endure every cliche and stereotype about the South imaginable. What was probably intended to be humorous was instead only tiring. Enough, already!
Almost nothing happens for the first two-thirds of the book, at which point the action starts to pick up. Still, it's pretty slow until the last hour or so of listening.
I will say that by the end I started to develop a fondness for the characters in spite of myself. I draw the line at the awful Pug, though.
As luck would have it, I bought this and the second two novels in this series on an audible sale so, one down, two to go. They will be walking companions for a while.
I thought the first three books in the series were good but this fourth one is the best yet.
Montalbano's character is developing nicely with each new story. The plots get better and faster paced.
The only criticism I can offer is that the voice of Catarella is strangely (New) Jersey accented, I suppose for the benefit of the American audience (of which I am one). It does get the idea across but is a bit discordant. A small annoyance. I hope it changes in future installments.
Interesting story overall but the narrator did embarrassingly bad male voices, especially Maurice. Female voices were quite good.
The focus on the supernatural was unexpected and not a positive, although I'm told that subsequent books in this series are not as bad in that respect.
Also, since I had expected a cozier mystery story, the prevailing sense of sadness was a downer. Still, it was well-constructed and with an interesting plot.
This was a great series to listen to even if was written for the youth market. Paul Boehmer, reader for books three through six, did a wonderful job.
Almost every word kept my attention, but I do think the battle scenes were overdrawn and overlong. And, not wanting to reveal any details that might spoil the book for readers, I must complain that the ending left a great deal to be desired. Some of this may be my own poor ability to process the time travel, but some was just the somewhat sloppy or hurried conclusion. The epilogue finally tied in some loose ends, such as what happened to Scatach, but there was no detail to satisfy.
Another strange thing I must note is that the identity of The Enchantress didn't seem to fit as that character didn't do much enchanting in the book. In fact, another major character seemed more appropriate, but I may have missed something and be way off the mark.
In spite of its shortcomings, I do believe you must read this if you have read the rest of the series. Now we can wait for the movie to be made!
If you are interested in the private Jobs, you will find plenty of information here and get insights into his personality and how that affected Apple philosophy and products but really, the majority of the book is about the development of the company over the years. It can get pretty tedious.
Isaacson did a good job with compiling all the material he must have gathered and the reader really did bring it all to life. I doubt I could have slogged through the whole thing without his skills.
The depressing culture of a small Nova Scotia village is just one more quirky character in this short novel. All are interesting, although some more opaque than others.
Written as a letter from the main character to the daughter he hardly ever knew, it seems also an attempt to make some sense of a life lived mainly as a series of reactions to outside events, beginning with the suicides of his parents from different bridges on the same day and continuing through various other personal losses and disappointments, with a background of WWII activity and the quite interesting history of German U-boat presence in Canadian waters. It's a story of ordinary people, ordinary places but extraordinary events.
My main complaint concerning the writing was the irritating inclusion in the dialogue of so many "I said," "She said," "He saids." Probably the written word wouldn't have struck me so strongly. I felt at least 75% of these could have been edited out.
The narrator does a great job with the male roles but his female voices are awkward and distracting. I do believe this detracted from appreciation of the characters. Otherwise, his demeanor seemed quite appropriate for the character he was portraying.
In the end, the way I evaluate a book is to consider whether or not I was eager to keep reading. Yes, this story drew me in and was worth the time spent.
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