I don't know where to begin here, as I am not normally the kind of guy who takes time to review his audiobook purchases, mostly because I haven't personally found much correllation between the reviews that have been posted and my own likes and dislikes. Nonetheless, this book is such a singularly extraordinary listen that I feel almost compelled to offer my $0.02 worth.
This book is absolutely magical, and I am not trying to be clever by referring to one of the book's most prevalent elements. I mean magical in the sense that it is astonishing and exciting, and that it is read so beautifully by the narrator that it transcends the spoken word and envelopes you with its lyrical and literary genius. The narrator is so brilliantly cast that I cannot imagine it being read by anyone else. So good is the narrator that I have gone to great lengths to identify his other work in the vain hope that I might find another story which so thoroughly captivated me as this one did.
I don't want to offer perspicacious commentary which might spoil the spellbinding quality of the book, but suffice it say that this awesome talent named Erin Morgenstern has started her career by writing a book that very easily qualifies as the finest book I have ever read. Just last week, I might have listed Oscar Wilde, Tana French, or John Hart as my favorite. Each of them, however, is put to shame by Ms. Morgenstern, the peerless wonder who appeared out of thin air.
The book is absolutely breathtaking....it is timeless, engaging, and so effective at creating the world it describes that I feel I have actually been there. I have to remind myself that it is only a story, and that the circus does not exist.... Erin Morgenstern is a prodiguous writer who is destined for greatness, if only from the sales of this book alone. This is, for me, the PERFECT book. Erin Morgenstern is AWESOME.
The talents which enable a good writer to develop a book are not, necessarily, at all tied to a similar talent at narration. Having finished listening to the first book, I decided to download the rest of the series and wasted no time beginning the second book in the series. So here it is: MY OWN OPINION on what a stinking, horrible idea it is for publishers to use a different narrator on the second book than they did on the first. It serves ONLY to insure an utter disconnect in continuity, and insure that the listener is utterly incapable of tying characters together from one book to the next because the voice changes. It is ridiculous, particularly considering that they changed narrators on the third and fourth books back to the same that they started with. MY SECOND OPINION? With a few very notable exceptions, like Garrison Keillor or David Sedaris, writers should stick with writing, particularly when they have a voice like Gregory Maguire. His narration seemed even worse than it may have otherwise because of the shock of hearing such a gifted narrator voice on the first book dovetailing abruptly with the soft-voiced, monotonic, emotionless voice of the second book. Although I do have to give the author credit for trying, ultimately the novelty of hearing the "actual" voice of the writer quickly wears off, and the agony quickly ensues of listening to the remainder of the book in a flat, strangely effeminate voice attempt to connote the range of characters by applying the subtlest of odd affectations to his voice, which sounded less like a different character than they did the same character with a slightly different personality. I couldn't ever shake the feeling that I was listening to a disturbed, trandgendered individual with a propensity for pedantic, repetitious descriptions of uninspired drab.
I am sorry to sound so harsh, but I just cannot imagine the publisher even permitting the wild success of the first book to be followed-up in such a disconnected, incohesive manner. Strange to the nth degree, is all I can say. Thankfully I see that the last two books in the series are narrated by the same professional narrator, leaving at least a possibility that I will continue the series. This, in spite of the undeniable fact that the second book in the series makes the first look like an exercise in brevity and focus, which is ridiculous to the point of being paradoxical.
Wow. I am not sure what to say except that, having read through many pages of 5-star reviews, I am suddenly beginning to get an inkling as to why I have had so much difficulty using audible customer reviews as the basis for screening books. I am about the furthest thing from being a prude that you will find, and yet, although this book wasn't offensive to me whatsoever, it was insultingly simple, mundane, predictable, inane, and simple minded. I am actually pleased to have listened to it and, more importantly, to have read through the many customer reviews written for it. If nothing else, it provided me with a real understanding of why I can't ever seem to find a correlation between my own likes and dislikes and those of other reviewers. At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, I will say that the average customer review being an almost perfect 5 stars seems to say alot about what I see as a deterioration in the overall level of substance (or lack thereof) in the entertainment industry as a whole these days. When a narration can earn a perfect 5 stars with nothing more than completely predicable Dr Seuss style rhymes, punctuated with the F bomb ever 4 stanzas, it is no wonder that I am findind it ever increasingly difficult to find a good read.
Horrible, horrible, narration. The kind of narration you might expect from a first time reader, who was given absolutely no direction whatever, and who was in a real hurry to finish the recording....and who didn't understand that the voices of the 7 or eight main characters should be distinct from one another, or understand that the female voices don't have to sound as though they are mentally challenged, and who understands that there should be dynamics in the volume of his voice, or any of the things that a director should have coached him on. The voice was a meager attempt, at best, and fittingly, the last name of the narrator is "Meagher"... I hate being so mean, but I can't even rate the book itself, because I can't bring myself to finish listening. I just can't stand it.
I am not sure what planet two of the previous reviewers come from, but they must not have been listening to the same book I was. This book was splendiferous. I laughed out loud with many of the sequences between Jocko and Erica. The descriptions and narration created such a vivid image in my mind's eye that I simply could not listen to the book while driving, for fear of having a wreck. I got so tickled hearing the voice of Jocko talk about his urge to juggle, and twirl that I would rewind certain sections to hear them again. The narrator did such an incredible job through vocal dynamics of adding dimension and character to the voices. I loved this book, and the only thing I regret is that it is apparently the last in the series.
Wow, was I ever surprised that I liked this book. I normally don't go for the cozy style mystery, but this series is an exception. Louise Penny writes in such a thoughtful way, and describes everyday life in such familiar, endearing terms....Gamache is a great DCI, and his perspective and kindness made me take a hard look at myself. I really love these books. Hopefully, you will as well.
I am not the type to rate my reads, and this rating represents my first ever.
I happened to run across A Killing Frost, and was hesitant to download something written by an author from whom no other titles were available. Before this title, I had been reading the Douglas PReston and Lincoln Child's "Pendergast" series of books and, having run out of them, browsed for something new. Boy am I glad I went ahead with this download. I cannot remember ever enjoying a book as much as this one.
This book is suspenseful, while at the same time riotously funny. I laughed so hard at times that I had to pull the car over, pause my Ipod, and enjoy the laugh before I could continue to drive my car and listen some more. If I were going to make a criticism, it would relate to the overusage of some of the vernacular used in the book within the dialog. The words "flaming", "sod", and other colloquialisms are used time and again, but since I am American, perhaps this is simply the way the locals speak there.
Regardless, this book is absolutely incredible. It has a great storyline, and as I have said, it is simply gaffaw-ingly funny. The combination of textures from the grim plot juxtaposed against the sarcasm and wit of the detective is simply brilliant. I cannot find the right words to try and encourage everyone to give this book a try. I think you will love it.
I am disappointed, having done an Amazon.com search, to find that there are in fact half a dozen other books written by this author which are apparently available to European customers, but alas are NOT available for sale to U.S. customers. I wish that would change.
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