It is very hard to write a concise review of this book, as there is so much one could say about its strengths and weaknesses. Vast sections were extremely tedious, yet other, longer, sections were riveting and deeply engaging. I agree with an earlier reviewer's opinion that the novel could have done with a bit more editing. Some of the exposition is difficult to get through, and can be confusing at times. I say this as a reader who is not easily bored, and tends to enjoy the sorts of long realist novels most people find boring. Ultimately, once I got into the guts of this novel, I found it hard to put aside. I'd say the first hour or two, and the last couple hours of the audio version were not all that engaging, but I think there are a number of reasons for this, mostly personal. Others may find the Venestrom strain of the novel more interesting than I did.
The novel contains a good deal of fairly graphic sexual violence, and isn't for those who might be sensitive to this sort of thing. It is also very devoted to detail, so you will always know what the characters make themselves for lunch, for example. But I found this aspect of the novel interesting, and I think it enhanced the atmosphere and character development.
A very worthwhile audiobook. The narrator is phenomenal, and I appreciated that he captured the characters' voices and emotions without exaggeration or affectation. His narration increased the tension where appropriate, without being overwrought. Easily among the best audiobook narrators I've ever encountered.
I can't completely explain why, but I found this novel captivating. The characters were well-drawn and realistic, the settings exotic, unexpected and interesting. The plot moves softly along, to a conclusion that is expected, but deeply poignant. This novel felt so refreshing to me in an age of irony and novels full of overwrought characters suffering existential crises. The quiet dignity of every character in this novel is deeply moving, though each suffers deeply in some way, at some point. True, there is, as another reviewer said, "casual racism," but it is authentic, and to take a novel such as this out of the context of its time would be a mistake. Though such language sounds harsh to modern ears, it is worth enduring for all of the beauty that abounds in this novel.
This was another great listen. I enjoyed it more than the first in the trilogy, but that is purely personal preference. The tone of this one is not quite as dark as the first, and as a result lacks some of the tension, but I thought the overall plot was more interesting. This may be because we learn more about Lisbeth, and she's more present in this novel than in the first.
Again, Larsson is devoted to a lot of minute detail. Easily bored readers may find that parts of this novel seem sort of out of place, especially as there are a number of episodes that aren't related to the overall mystery. I personally enjoyed all of the threads that weave through this novel, because they are so expertly character driven. Sadly, it appears the audio version of the third book in the trilogy will be abridged.
If I have one complaint, it's that the translator makes a few mistakes in his choice of certain English words, with slightly amusing results, e.g. "noisome."
Saul Reichlin is excellent again as the narrator. This is exactly the sort of narration I look for in an audiobook, rather than a dramatization of the work. As I said in my review of the first book, I think he captures the characters' voices perfectly, without affectation or awkwardness.
I've decided to read this book, rather than listen to it, as I couldn't get more than two hours into the audio version. The narration is unbearably annoying. The accents are completely over the top, rendering many of the people Theroux encounters as mere caricatures, and bad ones at that.
I also found that the narration made Theroux seem like an obnoxious, pretentious snob. I can't decide if I'd have the same reaction to Theroux himself if I were reading the book, instead of the listening to the narrator's whining delivery.
This is the worst audio version of any book I've ever encountered, I'm sorry to say. Others might enjoy it and get some laughs out of the crude accents, but it just didn't work for me. Glad I only used a "gift" credit from Audible to purchase this one.
I very much enjoyed this audio book. The first three quarters are phenomenal. It begins to feel slightly tedious and repetitive for the last quarter, but that may have had more to do with the fact that I was listening to it for long stretches, and may have felt some fatigue as a result.
I thought the narration was fantastic, and I thought the narrator captured the different characters' personalities in a very skilled and subtle way. I especially enjoyed her versions of Adah and Rachel.
There are things about this book that might work better in print, such as Adah's palindromes and other word play. But I so enjoyed this audio version that I didn't regret for a moment that I wasn't actually reading it.
I found this book entertaining, and the narrator was great. I felt it dragged on a bit too long, and at points I got rather bored. I wanted something silly and entertaining to listen to while lying down with/rocking my young toddler to sleep, and this fit the bill. I kind of wish I'd gotten it from the library instead of wasting an Audible credit on it, though.
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