The part I loved the best is also the part I loved the least. That is, the writing style is full of parenthetical, multi-phrased sentences bulging with allusions that, had David Colacci not been the excellent narrator he is, would have left me confused. At times, I marveled at the unique metaphorical descriptions that so vividly drew a picture. At other times, I either didn't get the reference or it was mentally taxing to listen to. If the listener doesn't have a solid broad grasp of culture, history, and literature, the writing is wasted. Overall, I ended up loving this book but there were times I wasn't sure.
Yes but it's too long to even attempt!
It is hard to categorize this book and is not something I normally would have purchased. I listened to everything else in my library before this one but the intelligent writing, characters and ultimately the story won me over.
I previously couldn't imagine why Audible had the ability to speed up the playback. Now, I know why! This narration was so ... very... very... slow. I almost gave up after about 10 minutes. Nothing if not determined, I upped the speed to 1.25. That still seemed a bit too slow at times so I even tried1.5. The latter was just a bit too fast and, not being able to set the speed to 1.4 - which probably would have been perfect - I went back to 1.25. Even with that, I wasn't able to finish the story.
Book narration is a mixed blessing in that it can really enhance a story or really detract from it. I'm going to give the story the benefit of the doubt and say I got bored because of the narration. On the other hand, the story didn't intrigue me enough to give it another shot in print form. I kept thinking it would get better so I ended up listening to over half, but eventually, I moved on.
This was the first of the Great Courses that I've listened too and I've started a second so overall I like the addition of the series to Audible. Having said that, this was a little disappointing. The professor obviously knows his stuff and was able relate the concepts to current life as much as possible. What was disappointing was all the context he provided. I absolutely agree that you need to understand the political, economic and cultural surroundings to properly place mystics, heretics and witches. Unfortunately, I often felt he spent more time on the context then the actual subject. I learned a great deal about the power of the religion-government partnership, about how the middle class developed and even the violence of the times. While interesting it wasn't what I expected.
My three-star rating is not about the quality of the lectures themselves but more about how the content did not fit the title as I expected. Perhaps that was my misunderstanding and others will feel the title matches perfectly.
The premise was a good one and I had high hopes but there was WAY too much foul language. Don't get me wrong, a well placed f-bomb can be just the thing, but the swearing in this was gratuitous, juvenile and perhaps worst of all, wasn't even funny. There was maybe one funny part during the Rumpelstiltskin story but even that was short lived.
Underneath all the babbling, I did get a sense these four could be funny and even, dare I say, intelligently funny. Every now and then I'd get a spark of something that hinted funnier stuff to come so I kept listening. Sorry to say the spark quickly dissipated and I ended up stopping before the end.
I usually don't listen to samples of books that get such high marks but I've learned my lesson and will do it more often.
The description of the book noted it wasn't for children but books with this much vulgar language should be more strongly noted. "Not for children" could mean anything from sex, to drugs to violence.
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