I usually love reading SciFi technothriller-type books, but this one left me cold. I had so little visual impression, there was no "Wow!" factor, and what should have been fantastical, "Abyss"-like, descriptions were as flat and shallow as a mud puddle. As well, the characters had no sparkle, and even the lead character was uninteresting. Everybody (save the whacko bad guy) seemed to have zero personal motivation for being where they were. A couple of characters were thrown in for spice, but they wound up being jarring anachronisms, rather than sly commentators on the scene. A major disappointment.
When the focus is on the bad guy, Asad Khalil, this is a darned good read ... suspenseful and well plotted. And when John Corey is actually working, it maintains its high level of intrigue. But I got so tired of John Corey the smartass ... if I had to hear one more intro word "anyway ..." after some (what probably was meant as pithy but usually was self-serving, ignorant and lame) aside, I was going to pack it in. Towards the final third of the book, the action really kicks in and it does get interesting. Scott Brick, usually not my favourite narrator, does a good job with this story. He seems to suit DeMille well.
Yes, I would, for the simple reason that I like my friends, and I like to talk with them, and I want them to share their reactions to this read with me.
Stu Redman is my hero ... he reminds me a great deal of my father - not flashy or glib, just a good, solid man, ready to do the right thing because it is the right thing.
Again, Stu ... although Grover Gardner didn't capture the laconic sexiness of Gary Sinese in the TV version, he did get to the decency of the guy. Overall however, I would have preferred Stephen Weber as the narrator ... he blew me away with his narration of "It", and I think he has the "King" cadence down better than Gardner. But I'll take what I can get!
Extreme? Laugh? Cry? Is that the point? I did laugh (Glen's reaction to his attempt at painting), and maybe cried a bit (poor Nick!), but mostly I just experienced this book. My first expectation, as when I first read the book back in the 80s, was one of "c'mon, impress me". And I was impressed.To give a sense of the beauty of The Stand, its last section, with Stu and Tom making their way back from the apolcalypse to Boulder, is one of the finest "road" stories I've ever read. Truly stirring and evocative ... I've never forgotten it, and have gone back to read it over and over again.THIS IS THE BEAUTY OF STEPHEN KING. He's not extreme except in concept. He doesn't pounce, he sneaks up on you. He's like the frog in the water ... no throwing into the boil, just a slow warm up until you're completely accepting! He truly is a genius.
A little story about The Stand ... this was my first King book. A dear friend was raving about it, but I had always pooh-poohed King ... the schlockmeister, the popular scaremonger. I was above it all. But he talked me into it. So I went to the bookstore, stood in front of the "K" section in fiction, picked up "The Stand", and started to read the introduction. And the first words of Stephen King that I ever read were to the effect of "Now gentle reader, I know that you're standing before the Ks in the fiction section of your bookstore, wondering if you should shell out your money ...". From that day to this, I have read every single word he has ever published. Essentially, he had me at hello.
Bravo to the two Stephens, King and Weber. Stephen Weber is, in my mind, now the official "Voice of King".
Despite my ongoing love affair with Stephen King's writings, I have never been a big fan of his audio books because the narration has always been a bit off. Even when King reads his own stuff, it's obviously a reader reading.
But Weber is simply fantastic narrating "It"! He doesn't so much read the text as he tells the story ... I feel like we're all sitting around a camp fire and he's telling this really engrossing (albeit long!) ghost story that more than succeeds in scaring us all to quivering lumps of jelly!
Now if he would just sit down with a copy of "The Stand", and let us hear it the way we have always read it for ourselves ... clasping the covers in a death grip, turning each page with trepidation, and getting to know the intimate workings of terrific cast of characters in an out-of-this-world world.
I'm no Japanese scholar, and I don't speak a foreign language, so I didn't have the same criticisms of this reading as several of the other reviewers. I'll admit, I groaned when I first heard David Chase's narration, because he reminded me of so many university professors I had had, who, in trying to sound cool, sounded merely flat and dry. But I'd paid big bucks for this book, so I persevered, and I'm glad I did. This reader if he doesn't grow on you, at least doesn't get worse as he goes on.
And the book ... well the book is nothing short of fabulous! The characters, the setting, the action ... this was the shortest long book I've ever listened to. I listen to my iPod when I'm out for my daily walk, and I wound up walking for miles because I couldn't "put it down".
I would be interested to hear if anyone who has read Clavell's other historical works (with the exception of King Rat which I read many years ago) could compare them to Shogun. Are they worth another 25 hours of my time?
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