The story was phenomenal. All kinds of plots and twists that were unexpected but, somehow, plausible. The reader was great -- making the main character as unlikeable and icy cold as I am sure Jo Nesbo meant him to be. I have listened to all the available Jo Nesbo books now and can't wait for the next one.
After reading a number of mediocre books where the plot went nowhere, "The Cairo Affair" was a breath of fresh air. The plot unveils in layers, each chapter revealing a new shade of meaning to what you knew before. The characters find out what is happening right along with you. Each one is holding his or her own piece of the puzzle...and in the end it all comes together seamlessly. It's hard to say much without spoilers, so I will simply recommend this for those of you who like spy thrillers and intrigue that is ultimately human.
I used to LOVE Jeffrey Archer's books. Sure, not literature, but FUN, FUN, FUN. Surprising twists that MADE SENSE. Interesting characters. Could not wait for his next novel...
That author is simply gone. Replaced by one who must be writing as fast as he can to make a quick million bucks. (I think I am done contributing to this particular fund.)
The previous one in this series was mediocre. This one is even worse. Absolutely meaningless plot twists (not just hard-to-believe...MEANINGLESS. The story doesn't go anywhere.) The reviewer who said, "Where is this series going?" is totally right.
There is also an annoying "love fest" with the upper class (save a handful of stereotypical Cruella Deville female characters that even the "upper class" knows to disdain). The narrator MIGHT be contributing to make their conversations DEADLY boring with his nasal inflections, but I don't think so--I think it is just ghaaastly writing.
I usually trust reviewers...and this book is certainly receiving the reviews it deserves (for the most part). So I can't imagine what made me download it! Was it a recommended audible book? It seems impossible...Alas, download I did. And it was terrible. At one point, I actually double-checked that I had not downloaded Book II by mistake (soooooo much time had gone by with no clear clue as to what the 'mystery' was about or what was really going on...or what could remotely connect all these widely disparate characters and events). I guess the 'promise' of that mystery must have been tempting (so the author gets one star for that), but after an hour or so on the SECOND downloaded half, I just stopped caring. Wish one of the other reviewers had a 'spoiler' and would tell me what (if anything) ended up happening. Did they all die? Did the world end? Meh. Will attempt to get my credit back on this one.
While not quite as fun as "The Expats," I have to say that I can't wait until Chris Pavone's next novel. When "The Accident" starts, you think you know it all -- an anonymous book has been written telling a Big Fat Secret from a media mogul's past life; people will do anything to make sure the book never gets published. OK, you say, how can this story go on for X-number of hours?...Then the plot twists and turns. Connections are made and broken. While I agree with the reviewer who said that the characters were mostly unlikable (and some way too superficial), "The Accident" kept me entertained from beginning to end. The anonymous book in the novel, "The Accident," is supposed to be a book the reader can't put down...and Chris Pavone's "The Accident" comes close to being that as well.
The story leaves several questions open ended, leading me to believe that there might be a sequel. If there isn't one, I would still rate this one four-stars. Yes, it's far-fetched, but who cares? I was hooked from the beginning. The narrator helps -- he is perfect as the voice of the numbers genius who reluctantly finds himself heading an army stealth operation. (If there IS a sequel, I will be buying it.)
(Note to audible: PLEASE let us review with half stars! Hate when giving a book four is too much but giving it three is not enough!)
I think the problem some of the other reviewers are having is that this book was compared to Gone Girl. Not fair. It's like Gone Girl in the sense that it's about a bad relationship that's careening towards disaster -- and in that the story is dark and full of psychological tension. It's not like Gone Girl in mostly everything else.
Take the main female character. In Gone Girl she is narcissistic and self-absorbed (and that was almost the root of her problem) . In The Silent Wife, as the title implies, the self-effacing wife is willing to take what little love she can get…until, of course, it appears that she might lose it all (her character flaw is her weakness). In fact, I think that the announcer that so many reviewers hate plays her quite well.
I, for one, enjoyed the darkness. The seeming inevitability of what's coming. Hope the author writes a second.
Isabel Allende's first mystery novel. Not surprisingly, the mystery itself is secondary to the many magical characters Allende brings to life. And yet, the puzzle the teenage members of the role-playing game (Ripper) are trying to solve grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let you go. Yes, some of the plot is far-fetched…but it wouldn't be Allende if there were no elements that were a tad fantastical. Edoardo Ballerini is the perfect reader for this. I have said before that he could read a phone book and I would listen. It was sheer pleasure to have him read Allende's novel. Definitely recommend.
I read Rowling's other non-Potter book (the one she wrote under a pseudonym) and found it entertaining but mediocre. I expected the same reaction to this one and had therefore put off listening to it. When I did, I was totally surprised by how much I liked it. So much so that I laid in bed until well past two in the morning listening to the end (something I rarely do)--ergo the five stars even though this is not 'high' literature.
The Casual Vacancy is a story about the dark hidden lives of the inhabitants of a small country town. (Yes, not a very original theme but so very well done by Rowling.) The characters are dark, Very dark. Sometimes their meanness astounds you. In fact, they are all mean, except in varying degrees -- the only 'solid' good guy appears to be the character who dies in the first few pages of the book, leaving "the casual vacancy" in the town's council. (Had he lived, no doubt we would have found he had his secrets as well. Nobody is blameless here.)
The things that happen as a result of the characters inner flaws and demons are catastrophic, but easy to believe. In fact, Rowling makes them seem inevitable. A train without brakes going downhill.
I hope she writes more novels like this. And I hope Tom Hollander reads them. I will be sure to listen.
Perhaps if it had been written by someone else I would have liked it better. While "OK," it simply did not live up to Michael Connelly. Certainly not to The Lincoln Lawyer.
The story does not have as many surprising twists and turns. And the character development is nowhere near as good.
Some of it has to do with the fact that this is part of a series--and that Connelly feels obliged to explain some of the characters' absences (Like the fact that the daughter is not talking to our hero at this stage of this life…If this were a stand-alone novel, she would not have even been mentioned. Here, her absence is a recurring theme, but the main character is not given enough depth to make his 'anguish' believable). There are also a lot of "fast forwards," where relationships have been established two seconds after you first read about the characters meeting. Obviously, as another reviewer mentioned, this is more the basis for a screenplay than a novel. As such, The Gods of Guilt will probably be more satisfying as a movie.
I had read another review where the reviewer had absolutely loved the book until the end, where she felt the author started to "pontificate." I couldn't agree more.
The story is absolutely amazing -- at times charming, at times sad, at times hilariously funny, at times heartbreaking.The plot moves in crazy directions, making it sound like almost different novels put together (from a very intimate portrayal of a kid going through loss…to a mad caper through the back alleys of Amsterdam)…and yet it works. You don't mind accompanying Theo on his road trip through life. I LOVED it from the very beginning and simply could not put it down.
AND THEN come the last couple of hours, where the narrator seems to lose confidence in her amazing skill and she has the main character ramble on and on and on and on (and on) about 'the meaning of life.' No! No! No! That was totally unnecessary (and condescending and pedantic), Donna. We GOT IT! You did a great job getting us to GET IT. There was no need for the sudden (and boring) style change. (Where was the editor???)
As I was reading the book, I kept thinking, "HOW could you not give this book five stars, no matter if that reviewer is right and it fails a bit at the end?" And yet, as it turns out, I could not give it five stars because of that excruciating two-hour homily towards the end (perhaps it was just an hour, but it felt longer).
Still, I recommend The Goldfinch. The other 28 hours were absolutely great.
The narrator is excellent. Loved him so much that I went to see what else he had done (to my dismay, he has done a lot of kid books…and I had actually listened to most of his few adult books already).
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