I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is perfect for audio - strong and memorable imagery, fast-paced, enjoyable characters and a satisfying ending.
This is the worst book I have ever listened to (or read) in my entire life! It is amoral, it revels in violence and sleaze and the writer's poor grammar sets it off in its own dark corner as a book to avoid at all costs.
If you're into improbable situations where a lone and rugged individual with right on his side, an increasing range of nasty injuries and an occasional touch of deus ex machina, wins through and saves the plucky children, then this is the One, The Book, where it all happens. If you're like me, uncertain as to whether a glock is a gun or a cuckoo clock, then it's not the book for you.
Despite the narrator's sing-song reading through much of the story, the story carried itself fairly well until the critical moment of The Big Fight, where there was a major part of the action missing from the recording! (Part 2, 4:14:36). Were there pages missing from the book itself or did the person overseeing the recording nod off?
The narrative is intermittent and entangled with big slabs of maths-speak. I tried rewinding to listen to the same part several times to try to understand the maths (I'm not a maths person) or the more detailed elements of the encryption systems, but soon grew tired of this exercise and let those (tedious) sections roll over me. There was still plenty there to capture my attention and keep me listening through the lectures. This is a perfect book for your programmer friend.
It's very hard to follow an audiotext where there are jumps from one part of the story to another without some sort of vocal clue. The narrator doesn't even pause between story sections. Apart from that, the story is quite boring and the narrator gives far too much dramatic emphasis to unimportant details so you become immune to any written drama in the story. Unless you are a collector of Larry Niven's work, well ...
Good old Cadfael does it again - a touch of forensic observation, a dose of kindness and a plateful of tolerance for the folly of girls in love. The only down-side of this audiobook was the occasional recording or production fault that left some words out or allowed a nasty electronic signal to overlay the narrator. This detracted a little from the performance and made the product seem a little shoddy. Better 'proof-reading' by editorial staff could pick up these faults before release.
This book might be a good one to read, but as audio it is difficult - the constant interspersed notes, the references to other books are difficult enough, but the narrator's soporific and slow reading makes it really hard to concentrate on the text. 30 minutes of listening nearly put me to sleep. Miette's bedtime stories podcast are wonderful, but her style of reading seems out of keeping with this book. If you want to listen to a book in order to overcome insomnia, this is the one!
What I love about Mankell's characters is their depth. I never wonder why someone behaves the way they do - their actions arise from the sense of real personality that Mankell endows them with.
I think this story promised well at the beginning but relied too much on stereotypical characters - all the women were innocent and seen by the men as vulnerable, all the men were naughty boys in one way or another. The final shoot-out was predictable and quite boring really. There were some unresolved but important plot details lost in a bloodfest in the mountains. Overall, it kept me engaged, but I was disappointed by the denouement.
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