As the final scenes began to unfold, I was, to my surprise, moved to hush all external life noises surrounding me; to lie down in a silent-dark place to fully experience that rarest of moments in a readers life when one suspects that something transcendent is about to happen and one wants the honor of being fully there with the characters and the events ~ mind, body and soul. I doubt that I will ever stop pondering the kaleidoscope of challenges so softly yet deftly proposed. This is a tightly crafted book without wasted words or scenes. The science fiction is hard and intriguing and some of the best written and worthy of the Hugo and Nebula. Throughout the story one is told of future events which keeps one going to see what happens. I hated the whiney, self-absorbed, jerk of a main character before the pivotal event (why did Pohl represent him thus?) and after ~ which would cripple any saint among us. I'll leave you with a question: Are you living with it, too?
While this book does not as deftly and brilliantly cause the reader to stop breathing, lie lower wherever they are to hide from that "heavy force" as they realize they have entered into a realm of bewildering darkness such as Nesbø revealed in The Snowman and The Leopard and his other books, The Redeemer still is brilliantly and intricately crafted and rates better than most of the "Scandinavian Noir" books IMHO. Actually this book was written earlier than both The Snowman and The Leopard so we in America haven't the pleasure of reading in order. If you are new to Jo Nesbø and Harry, and want to read the books in order, most of this series has finally been translated. Here is the actual order of the series:
The Devil's Star
However, this is the rare instance when I recommend one read The Snowman first then The Leopard as each are not just brilliantly crafted mysteries, but transcend the usual mind-read state to capture you - the essence of your being and take it elsewhere. Then start the series in order.
The Redeemer addresses more of a complex mix of everyday sicko murderer(s) and everyday corruption on many moral levels. Yet, personally I had to face why I felt less horrified than in his previous novels as murder is murder and corruption is corruption. Harry and others make interesting unlawful rationalizations which are tantalizingly easy to buy into...but should I? The ending in particular even though centered on a small thread of the multiple storylines in this book but add to a previous books conundrums then invites one to question "good/evil/justified/redemption" and reveals how easily one can start with high intentions then be blinded before realizing one has ended corrupt and evil on one level...then be faced with what one should do to atone or not; plus what should their peers do; how should they judge? It makes you think.
Enjoy your pondering!
As I entered the book, almost immediately I drew in my breath in a gasp at the beauty of the writing, the narration...knew that I was in the hands of a fine literary artist and was ready for a momentous ride. From the title one knows that the main character, Ursula, will die often so I was not emotionally harmed by her multiple sudden deaths but set my mind to watch how her life "repeats" related or built to the point where she "gets it right"...and what the author's vision of getting it right would be. Unfortunately after the flow and glow of her first 8 or so life repeats, to me, the book totally loses focus and gets tedious. Still, I plunged on trusting that no matter how boring, the author was leading to a point..any point that might be interesting and even hoped for a little moment of awe. The reader knows there will be a critical scene with Hitler from the get go. It takes forever to get back to that moment of choice...gets there then ends as though it never happened. Huh? Many of the characters know they are repeating their lives to varying degrees, yet nothing interesting is deduced after the reader knows this is happening. Did you think Ursula got it right in the end...the very strange, silly Hollywood ending? Did the end make any sense whatsoever? It is worth a read as it is great writing, you will meet people you like and there are vignettes of the bombing of London that are fabulous, but don't expect any awe and prepare to be disappointed.
I've read all of Coben's books and while I never expect too much, I hope for an enjoyable, light read dealing with normal people who are suddenly thrust in to intense, often bizarre situations full of twists and turns before culminating in a place unimagined at the beginning of the story...ergo fun to experience. In his previous books, even if I thought the overall story was a bit of a "miss", I always identified with the protagonist(s) and could imagine being there with them. I think only a love sick pre-teen could identify with the ludicrous actions and idiotic love-sick declarations with which the character implied justified as "rational motivators" for his insane, uber-selfish actions throughout the story. It was also odd that Coben foreshadowed...even spotlighted each upcoming "surprise twist" to the extent that the reader knows what is going to happen before it does. Why? Also, in this case, one of my favorite narrators, Scott Brick can't be accused of over-dramatizing his reading of this particular story. Surely, no human alive has ever really held internal dialogue with the silly pathos as this guy does over and over and over again in this story. It is so corny it is almost funny and SNL skit worthy. I'm not saying not to read this if you are a Coben fan. There are enough nuggets evocative to his good work to perhaps make it worth your credit. It's just akin with the adage, with friends like the main character, who needs enemies? He is as awful as the bad guys.
What is the Power of this book, of the Dog?...With 2,722 books currently in my Audible library, thousands of ratings, but only 18 written reviews...why am I taking the time to write about this particular book? Applying simply surface thinking , this book transcends genres, and should thoroughly satisfy and engage the mind and the emotions of most readers (even Sci-Fi lovers, as while based totally in this current world, it does transcend time and unfolds as do the deepest and most complex of our eternal/internal operas). At its root, this book reveals the darkest Use and/or Abuse of Power and Greed via Political, Religious, Class, "Good Intentions" and Economical means and the resulting consequences in this particular story and to all of us today and throughout time. Yet, have you ever read a such book that most people would proclaim exposed the Real Raw Truth...people across all political and religious strata...the most politically passionate left-wing collectivist, the nuttiest on the farthest right wing, the most pious religious believer, the most stringent atheist, the richest class elitist, the poorest and most dispossessed, people of any race would agree as the sober truth thinly veiled as a fictional story? I think this author achieved this without a shrill agenda. Of course what these people would define as proper Use or Abuse of the Power exposed will be vastly opposed. I imagine that few will have a sure solution, and most will define the DOG differently, but we all are still being savaged by its bite in different guises. This book should make us all face the reality we know exists but prefer to bury; but as one line in the books ponders this book will probably make you wonder, "What is the best you can do in this world?" It's a really good story and enjoyable on the lightest or deepest of levels. What is the Dog to you?
When I am in the mood to be challenged by a crime/mystery novel, I expect/hope to be drawn into a well defined world steeped with atmosphere one can feel and smell; experience how the events and vivid characters twist and unfold...you know, the usual. In my experience, to create an iconic or even just good book in this genre requires super intelligent, great writing skills, but fine, deft literate prose is usually not a required component, but thrilling when found. In this novel Flynn treats readers to an extraordinarily fascinating 'Best in Class' story in and of itself but the wonderfully powerful yet deft writing, the fine prose, hauntingly amplifies its impact and force...the entire experience. Flynn's writing is not the snooty, sesquipedalian kind of fine literature but the best kind that is so well crafted it does not get in the way of the experience. I suggest you first just experience the story then parse out prose in later contemplations.
Seriously, I must have considered purchasing this book over ten times but looked at its' cover and did not even go on to the reviews. Thankfully I finally read some reviews and bought it. Surpassed even my most hopeful expectations! Super fun, LOL funny at times, superbly written, even super plausible-ish. Just read a little...then swoosh ~ you'll quickly be drawn in for a wild ride. Enjoy it in a place where you won't be judged if you stand around quietly, concentrating intensely only to break out in loud laughter now and then.
The Life of Pi said it would make you believe in God...These stories will emind you of your belief in your love for all the people aorund you whose voices you rerely hear, even among families. Like Studs Terkel says...where is the human voice? It's here. Let's look up from our phones and gadgets and listen better, ask someone every day for a story from their life.
Hopefully this review will make up for my rather negative review of Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" which I know many love, but I found lacking a bit. (I'm sorry!) I won't repeat that review's discussion about which elements I think are necessary to create great dystopian/utopian tales, but I will say that this book surpasses most of my beloved books in this (my favorite) genre exponentially. It adds a new factor to the oft pondered conundrum as to whether or not a perfect utopian society could flourish or even survive long considering the oft dystopian-ish behavior/nature of homo sapien sapiens and/or if the good in people can long survive dystopian type tyrants/governmental systems. Can splicing in and out selective genes, behavior patterns, sexually based actions and consequences, etc. create a utopian people who can survive in a spliced/un-spliced world? However, this is only one of many awe-inspiring concepts to consider as Atwood deftly builds and unveils the mind-bending world of Oryx and Crake and the complex characters, corporate powers; the humming, shattered yet effervescent environment, the multi-level societal structures and situations, the resulting decision conundrums and so on. She draws you in and you can go there, live among the characters, loving some hating others...ponder and wonder accept or try to reject the consequences of actions. I've read this over five times now and it just gets better. Be sure to read this before "The Year of the Flood" which takes place in the same world at the same time but from other fascinating viewpoints and treats the reader with some awesome revelations, my favorite characters ever almost, all the while adding new ways and things to ponder.
I respectfully request the authors and their targeted Corporate Strategic Planners and Grand Positioning Gurus read the above then consider carefully the concept of the MULE. I will do my best to "Just stick to the facts, M'am..." This is a well written description of common attributes and the prime factors influencing the behavior of the six generations currently living/inhabiting our nation (GI, Silent, Boomer, Gen-X, Millennial and Homeland). The paper focuses on these six generations out of the 19 generations who have inhabited the US since the landing of the Mayflower in 1620. The paper contends that each generation is distinct due to how they were raised as children, public events witnessed in adolescence and social missions taken on as young adults. The authors contend that generations developed by similar life experiences develop similar personae and that historical precedent proves their actions can be measured thus predicted for decades in the future. To me the unique and interesting (even brilliant) analysis begins as the authors define four major kinds of generations: Prophet, Nomad, Hero and Artist...and place each of our six current generations into a slot. So far so good. But then they start predicting the future 20 years to help the corporate planners but they totally miss the defining horror, the elephant in the room the media, and our leaders want us to ignore: In 1974 our national debt was $484 billion…it is now approaching an unprecedented $16 trillion! One might say each of the current six generations suffered MULE event but that is not true. These generations endured The Great Depression, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War – but accrued only $484 billion debt, only to have it skyrocket to 16 trillion in less than a decade. (The national debt is the sum of all the money the government has borrowed plus the interest it must pay to the lenders. The 'national deficit' is the shortfall for one year only). With Global GDP's hovering around 1.6% or less for the past five years or so, these poor Homeland kids will not be able to even pay the interest on the US debt even if they took in many multiples the entire Global GDP. It isn't rocket science, just arithmetic. It is true that our country is and will continue to be unable to repay its debt and no magic pill or solution can save the day and while we can keep printing $$ and kick the can down the road and keep eternally bailing out the investment bankers and banks, there will reset of sorts which in my opinion will impact not only the Homeland generation and their predecessors, but as far ahead as I am able to I do the math, certainly the remaining generations of the century. Yet, also in my opinion, this reset while hugely painful will reveal undreamed of possibilities to these same generations...just not those surmised by this paper. Also, a Prophet could show up...I hope sooner than later.
In my life I have attempted to read every book I could find in fiction and philosophical treatises which speak specifically to ideas and concepts on social utopias and/or dystopias. My quest began in the early 1970's after I took a great University class titled "Social Utopias and Dystopias". To cite just a few of the 70 books we discussed...Plato's "The Republic", Bellamy's "Looking Backward", Huxley's "Island" and "Brave New World", the harsh and biting satires of Swift's Gulliver's Travels, and "A Modest Proposal", Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and "Animal Farm", Bradbury's peerless "Fahrenheit 451", almost all of Heinlein's work from the 50's, Vonnegut's Player Piano a.k.a. Utopia 14, and on and on... Then read all the nature verses nurture discussions by Hesse et al. If you are like me you will feel the passion and the power of these books and the courage of their authors to attempt to define/explore ways that humans can achieve a better social order, to expose horrible tyrannies or uplifting acts of courage, ergo to educate then encourage and/or warn the individual to join others in hope to rise up and change for the better or to stop ignoring the atrocities... ok, ok...I'll stop my little digression now by saying that I think the dystopian books have the power to change our world one revelation at a time.
To further preface my review of this book, I entered the job market as a woman before even one bra had been burned. At the time I graduated I was the only woman at a major university who majored in Economics and planned to go into international banking. I was granted an interview with the second largest bank in the world (now defunct-ha!) only to hear...and I am not making this up..." Well, you know cupcake, this position requires three years of training...and you know that you will probably get married soon, then before you know it you'll have babies...you know your husband would be embarrassed if people thought his wife had to work and of course you would certainly quit to raise your babies..." and I had to agree with him at that time. I lived through the profound and in retrospect sometimes dystopian societal changes which occurred as most adult women initially thought it ideal then found it necessary to enter the work force, be super-woman ~ the great wife, housekeeper, mother of over-scheduled children and stellar employee and citizen volunteer ~ all at the same time. Whew!
I have read and admired everything I know of written by Margaret Atwood. As referenced above, I especially am intrigued by dystopian tales, had lived through the experiences the protagonist reflects upon as occurring in a not so distant past and I expected to love this book. A good dystopian story usually contains a credible premise/warning of a possible horrible future which could occur if should a society not heed a looming possibility. Atwood totally fails to credibly explain why and how women got into the protagonists' situation. She briefly but barely mentions what caused such horrific societal changes to happen so quickly. I found the entire situation to be laughable and briefly thought it might be intended as a funny satire where I missed the entire point; as to take the story as remotely plausible is absurd. I even tried to search out ways that it could happen in any plausible future...an alternate universe...no...an alien cultural structure described to warn us in some way to stop some actions happening in society or to hope for other interactions...no...perhaps Bobby gets out of the shower and it was all just a dream or...What? Why? I think she tried explain this farce of a tale with no end (yet failed horribly) in the epilogue where a distant society tries to explain what happened. Doesn't this scholarly presentation at a meeting by a far future society about this odd, mysterious era in history discussed in the book take away from the books description of how a society handled the situation where few women can get pregnant and only one in four babies are normal? The presenter ends with "Do you have any questions?" Well, I do.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.