I'm a big fan of Heinlein, but this production really didn't do his work justice. Obviously any radio production has to shorten and eliminate things but I just felt that the stories had become flattened to the point where they were little more than pulp. I also think that the quality of the production is very poor. Yes, they were all obviously produced a long, long time ago (I'm guessing 50s or 60s) but it should have been possible to clean the audio up so that it's more easily understandable.
I really liked the idea of this book: an almost mythical character from the past turns up again in times of need but it turns out he is just as human and fallible as everyone else. That's a really nice idea. I also really liked that Campbell cares about physics and manages to integrate the difficulties that would potentially occur in space battles into the book quite neatly, for example that it would take time to see and hear about events that are a couple of light minutes away because communication cannot travel fast than light.
What I didn't like is that he belabours these points a bit too much. I don't need him to explain the laws of physics to me every three minutes. I also though the whole "we are better than this"-mantra intertwined with the "I'm just human like you"-theme was way to repetitive.
I really liked how the book started out, the two mysteries (one in the past, one in the present) and particularly how the characters of the two detectives and their relationship to each other was developed. However, towards the middle of the book, the story just turns depressing. Not thrilling or scary, but depressing and that is not the kind of thing I'm looking for in this kind of book. In addition there are some lose ends which are never picked up so that you are left wondering: "What was the point of that whole strand?"
This is probably one of the nerdiest books I have ever read. But that is ok, because I am a nerd. To enjoy this book you should have played Dungeons and Dragons as a child and languished in the very special teenage limbo where you dreamt of good looking, cool girls who liked you for your brains and were into computers. And then you grew up to become a successful media or communications manager, web designer or SEO specialists. Sounds familiar? Then you will love this book. Else, you will probably be a bit bewildered and confused because most of the references won't make sense to you. So much for the story.
As for the delivery: I think Ari Fliakos does a great job reading this book and bringing the different characters to life.
The problem with history books and history lessons is that they are almost always focussing on dates, statistics and major events rather than giving us an impression what this era was like for ordinary people living through it. Of course, in a lot of cases there is only very little source material, but in "Winter of the World" Follett takes advantage of the fact that the events he is describing have happened in recent history and that some of the people who lived through that time are still alive or have described their experience.
Of course, it is more than a little contrived that the handfull of families to whom he has introduced us in "Fall of Giants" are also miraculously present at all the pivotal events of this era - from the fire at the Reichstag to the first Soviet nuclear bomb - but to me this did not diminish the joy of reading (or listening).
"Winter of the World" creates a vivid picture of the years between 1933 and 1949, showing how ordinary people in almost all countries have suffered and struggled to survive. It's neither a depressing, nor uplifting book in that it shows there are heroes and villains in all countries.
I really enjoyed listening to the book, particularly since I live in Berlin at the moment and walked through the city while listening to events that had taken place more than 60 years ago, but which I could still very well imagine unfolding around me.
John Lee also does a superb job as a narrator and manages to give the countless different characters their own personalities and inflections.
The books starts to be enjoyable as soon as the bullets are flying - but that only happens roughly 30 hours into the story. The rest I found pretty horrible and frequently reads like a right-wing pamphlet that would even make the tea party blush. In addition, there logical holes big enough to fly an Apache through.
The one positive thing is the narrator. I think Prichard is superb and if it wasn't for him I might never have finished the book.
I like historical fiction and "Gods of Gotham" is a great example of the genre. The characters are well written, the period felt very well research. This is a period I pretty much know nothing about so I can't really judge the accuracy but to me it felt like I could see, hear and smell New York in 1845.
However, the really outstanding thing about this audiobook is the narrator Steven Boyer. The way he is able to change his inflection and accent really makes you feel like you are standing in a room full of Irish and American's, doctors and prostitutes. This was the first book I heard narrated by Boyer but I will definitely see whether there are others that I might be interested in.
I haven't listened to book five yet, but so far this Jane part f the series I liked least. Martin has a tendency to take 2/3 of the book to build something up before a grand finale, but this book is only build up and no climax. Besides it's almost exclusively about the secondary characters who I honestly don't care that much about.
My only issue with this book is that in my opinion the end was *way* to easy to guess, which took out the suspense a little bit. Nevertheless I enjoyed the book and James Marsters performance as always.
I simply don't think that this book works very well as an audiobook. There are a lot of internet-addresses, check-lists and other elements in the book that simply don't work very well when listening to it. Who will ever go back to a part where the presenter laboriously reads:
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