This book is so many things -- a science-gone-wrong story, a whodunit, a thriller, a personal drama. It starts off being a story about a doctor who violates his own ethics in an attempt to find his daughter's killer in the future...As such, it's not bad. The characters and their dilemmas are real and compelling. Still, you wonder -- how is he going to keep this going for the entire book? But THEN! The plot twists and turns and gets better and better and better. With all the pieces coming together perfectly -- and totally unexpectedly. I don't always like Scott Brick as a reader, but he is pitch perfect here. Giving it drama without being melodramatic.
The only reason I took one star off in the "overall" rating was because the first fourth or so of the book, while good, was not up to the last three quarters. Still, if you're looking for roller coaster entertainment, I most definitely recommend this novel.
I had just finished reading "The Last Anniversary" and at first thought "Big Little Lies" gave away too much, too early...Duped, of course, by Ms. Moriarty. There are twists and turns and surprises all the way along. At the bottom, of course, are the author's incredible character depictions. Her knowledge of the best and worst human nature has to offer. These people are REAL. You have met them (or perhaps you ARE them). And she will make you laugh and cry at the smallness (and largeness) of day-to-day life. Towards the end, you are glued to the story--told expertly, by the way, from many points of view in a way that is particularly suited for an audiobook in the hands (voice?) of Caroline Lee.
I was looking forward to this novel because of the great reviews it seemed to be getting everywhere. Someone (I think in People magazine) compared it to "Gone Girl" (clearly, someone who had not read Gone Girl).
There is very, very little here except one witty, cutting remark after another from the protagonist. And it gets old very, very quickly--particularly because there is absolutely nothing to back it up: no character development (the main character herself is totally unbelievable and it only gets worse with the slew of secondary people...most never progress past the stereotype); no verisimilitude (The plot is based on this girl's quest for her mother's killer. She's released from prison after serving 10 years for the murder...and immediately follows the most implausible of leads EVER -- and I mean EVER -- and, of course, because this book is awful, the lead pans off); no resolution (you keep waiting for some twist to happen...but, no...it's just one runaway train of a plot); no talent (sorry, Ms. Little).
Perhaps if I had not been expecting so much (or if I was a 16-year-old looking for a very light 'mystery' to read on the beach), I would have given it three stars. As it was, I had to force myself to finish it.
The narrator compounds the issue. I found her voice grating and her never-changing inflection (perhaps unavoidable because she had nothing to work on) makes the lines seem even triter than they are.
I wondered about this book because it was written in 2005 and not turned into an audiobook until 2014 (timed with the release of the author's new novel). Thought perhaps audiobooks had ignored it because it was not a very good example of the author's work...and almost ignored it myself. So glad I did not! Like in every Moriarty novel, the story is populated with everyday people who have to deal with highly unusual circumstances (two sisters find an abandoned baby and raise it as their own; an old lady leaves her island house to her grandson's ex-girlfriend...). Moriarty uses her unbelievable knowledge of human nature to make all the characters come to life with wit and compassion--and you feel like you know each and every one. The ending of all her novels are always a little sad simply because you have to say good-bye to the 'people' in them.
The narrator does not do the story any favors. His voice is too monotonous, his pauses too long.
The story itself is not great. A tad too unbelievable. A tad too predictable. A tad too "convenient" in terms of events happening right when they had to.
AND YET, I give it four stars. It kept me entertained to the end. Sometimes, that's exactly what you want.
This is my first Margolin book and I might give another a try.
When I started listening to this story, I realized it was the wrong novel for me at this particular time. I needed something lighter. I kept telling myself I'd stop listening and go back to it at another time...but the writing kept me hooked. Something was going on here that went beyond the two children whose day-to-day lives Doerr was describing.
I am so glad I kept listening. The story builds and builds. The two children's lives connect in magical ways...and towards the last third of the novel, you find yourself holding your breath.
I don't want to give anything away. Does it have a happy ending? Does it have a sad ending? You'll have to listen for yourselves. I highly recommend the experience. It couldn't be more real, or human.
Can't wait for Mr. Doerr's next novel.
It takes a while for the story to get going because, for a very long time, it seems like you're reading two books. There's a brutal homicide and a woman who wakes up from a seven-year coma...and for almost a third of the novel, the two stories are only connected by the investigator. Then the two stories come together and the book becomes a lot more interesting. Could have been shorter, but it was still entertaining. So much so that I was hooked by the preview of the second in the series and am in the process of downloading it as I write this review.
A dark and painful tale of misery and lives-gone-horribly-wrong, told exquisitely by an author in full control of his audience (and narrated by the perfect voice). I loved it!
The tragic events of a day long ago when the two protagonists were 11 years old are revealed chronologically, and interspersed with what's happening in the present day, when a dreadful coincidence brings the two women together as adults. It's hard to say what's more hypnotic: the dreadful events that are unfolding, or to see the paths their two lives took as a result of that one day in their childhood. I could not tear my eyes (ears?) away. And can't wait for more novels by this author.
To call this is one of the best 'zombie' books I have ever read (I do like zombie books) would be to make it much smaller than it is. Sure, there are zombies, but this book is about human interactions--about humanity. Without giving any of the great turns and twists away, I have to say that the character development is absolutely brilliant. I can't recall a single instance in the book where a character went off-course in an unexpected way--those who changed (and many did) changed because they were reacting to something outside themselves (and the changes were powerful and moving); those who didn't change didn't change because nothing could have made them do so. You come to know each one of them well, especially Madeleine--the little girl at the center of the story. And what a story it is! M.R. Carey has crafted a tightly knit plot that will keep you at the edge or your seat (or wherever you happen to be while you listen) from start to finish. This was one of those audiobooks that I couldn't wait to get back to. Finty Williams is PERFECT for the narrator. Her rendition of little Madeleine's voice is particularly great (conveying innocence without ever being saccharine). Loved it! Can't wait for this author's next novel.
I plodded through 5 hours of the first-person 'narrative,' thinking that any minute the story would 'start,' but simply couldn't take it anymore. Zero character development. Zero originality (I like these sorts of fantasies so the plot seemed to have promise when I read the publisher's summary, but the characters behave along extremely stereotypical lines). The combination made for a very boring listen. I am planning to get my credit back.
Skip this one and read "Enchantment" by Orson Scott Card.
The book is really two stories (a terrorist's plot and a murder mystery) that are force-fitted into one novel through a very implausible connection. That said, both stories are actually quite clever so it keeps your interest from beginning to end--a feat given the length of the book. In fact, I would say Hayes' ability as a storyteller is both the book's salvation and it's biggest problem. He keeps digressing into sub-plots (his childhood, the cop's past bravery, etc., etc....A problem (it seems that he can't help himself), but since all the stories are told well you almost don't mind. The excellent narration by Christophre Ragland helps.
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