As I get farther away from being a young adult, I find myself drawn more towards that time in my life to understand how I feel now. And John Green is my favorite author to stir up the emotions and perspectives that time in our lives holds. These characters brought joy and pain into my life as a person who has watched a loved one die from cancer, as a parent trying to shield their kids from pain, and as a flawed adult worried about the legacy I'll leave behind. Mr. Green does this without taking shortcuts or using the mystical or seeking easy answers. As reported by others, I could listen to Kate Rudd read a phone book and be happy. Fortunately this is quite far from that and only serves to make the best book I've heard in a long time even better. I think I owe Audible an extra "credit" for this one.
Such a smart and entertaining book and series. The characters in this case are fully developed: in other words you swing between loving and hating them, just like in real life. And our heroes remain to true to themselves throughout. Good plot, good writing, and really great narration. My favorite summer read so far.
I always think that with "thrillers" you should have at least a couple of times when you go, "Ohhhh," because the author introduces something you aren't expecting. Not a single Ohhhh (okay, maybe one small one) in this book. The strange part is you can, however, see the POTENTIAL for a really good story that is lying just beneath the writing. You know someday it will get there. Just not yet. I'll look forward to seeing something else written by this author ...... someday. Narrator is quite good.
Well, he didn't top the last book. He kind of wrote around it. The problem with this one, and with all sequels is that it's near on impossible to add the element of surprise. You know the characters, you know the parameters of the story, and you're nestled in waiting to be amused at the same level of the previous book. On top of that, the last Thursday Next book wrapped everything up into a tidy bow so that you're really not looking for more. This book not only beats "sequel-itis", it also manages to uphold the cute and clever that mark the previous efforts. Yep, it's the same character just done in a different way - - and yes, I realize I'm not explaining this well - - that's because I don't want to give it away. Bottom line: if you like the previous books you'll like this one too. If you haven't read the previous books then what the heck are you waiting for?
Christopher Moore is no fool. He's one of the funniest and (only in the best way) sickest writers who ever penned a Shakespeare spoof. To get the most of this one I think one needs a passing recollection of a couple of Shakespeare plays (Merchant of Venice, Othello) throw in some Poe (Cask of Amontillado), a 1950's monster flick, and the willingness to listen to some junior high school humor spoken in a British accent and you've got the perfect way to giggle through an afternoon. Careful not to drink anything while you're listening - - I almost coughed up a lung full of coffee onto my iPad. Oh, and if you want to go in order, pick up Fool by Christopher Moore first, then go here. Great fun.
The second in the Next series is good fun - - and more British than the Queens bloomers. I'm certain I'm missing some of the jokes and many of the asides because I wasn't born in London, but it really doesn't matter. There's more than enough humor left for us upstarts to still have a giggle or two. But, there are more deep concerns and less tidy plot fixes in this book than the last, but knowing you're reading a series helps quell the concerns.
Narrator is great!
The thing I really like about Daniel Suarez is it makes me feel like all the science classes actually stuck instead of simply drifting out of my head once I graduated. I have NO CLUE if even a speck of what he calls science is true, but I don't care - - I feel scientific just listening to him.
The good parts are that this book has a really smart premise, and the ability to make the far fetched seem plausible. The science part is brilliant. The plot is okay, again, simple but clever and executed well. The problem is that his characters are not what you would call multi-dimensional, truthfully they're rather stereotypical. But even with that the story does move along, but it isn't a page turner...it's a good yarn. And it's almost too easy to see the movie adaption of this one coming to a theater near you. Maybe I'm getting cynical, but if you've had the opportunity to read Daemon -- a great but complex book that I can't see ever being filmed -- this will seem much more straight forward almost as if to make it more easily adaptable (and yes, I hear the curmudgeon in my voice....). Even with the flaws, it's worth spending the credit if only to encourage the producers to get good actors to take on the roles.
I didn't think I liked this book so much, until it was over. I missed it terribly! Like you would miss the day-old cake you ate that was dry around the edges or the watered down drink that was quenching your thirst. Simply, there was much to like and much I didn't quite get. The likes were the narrators, and the mothers of the two sets of sisters who were complicated yet true to their natures. Some wonderful subtleties about the nature of the time and that abolition and equality were very distant from one another. The physical and mental punishmensts heaped out were described brilliantly and made me wince more than once.
But, I had a more difficult time with many of the sub-plots that just felt like they were thrown in for historical accuracy. The entire Denmark/Charlotte/insurrection part just didn't seem to fit, the details of the Quaker life was interesting but unimportant and the strange bond supposedly shared by Sarah and brother Thomas just didn't seem true to life.
I'm very pleased that the author based it on historical fact, but felt like doing so interfered with the flow of the story. In any case, even with such criticisms, this book is worth the credit and serves as a reminder of how this country came to be. And as a reminder that compromising our principles for expediency is truly the coward's way out.
This book takes a long time to finish, a long time to care about, and is slow to build. But even after all of that criticism, I must say I liked it. I confess that much of the reason was sharing a common youth and adulthood enables a shortcut for getting to relatable emotions. I remember many of the anxiety provoking things these characters go through so it felt as if we were going through it together.
While I avoided the "artsy" people in high school almost as much as I avoided the stoners and the preppies, it was fun to see how that small group might have turned out had they actually had talent and a leader. The characters are really complete, multi-dimensional, and with a few exceptions, not stereotypes. My only real criticism was the rather thrown together ending that you knew had to come. But, nostalgia is fun, so if you're over fifty, enjoy. Much younger than that and you may want to keep on truckin' (and if you have no idea what the heck that means, you should DEFINITELY find another book!).
We all know Grisham: a definitive plot, at least one protagonist that we can relate to, and a couple of colorful sidekicks. This sequel (we're reminded again and again of the book we all read a decade ago) is elevated by an absolutely wonderful narration that is never condescending and characters that are ridiculously easy to identify. I'm not sure if it because of familiarity with the material or just plain talent, but Michael Beck is pitch perfect in delivering the over the top characters and amazingly restrained with the more shy and less flamboyant. Just really well done. Oh yeah, and the book is pretty good, too.
I don't always have to have happy endings and triumphs, but I do need to have characters I care about (whether good or bad). This was just gruesomeness from three areas: a meandering unfocused plot, really poor narration (that was probably intended to follow the dour nature of the story), and savage assaults on women and children. I am an Amy Tan fan and stuck with this far longer than I would had it been any other author, but ultimately this had very little redemption. I cannot justify recommending this to someone other than people with a strong stomach and a desperate need to say they've read all of Tan's works. Very disappointing.
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