The story itself was good - if predictable at several points. Not great literature, but a diverting read for a few summer afternoons. I enjoy young adult literatire, and while this doesn't compare to classics like Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy, or recent greats like Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, the story was entertaining enough.
However, I had a hard time not being completely irritated by the narrator. Generally I give myself over to the story, but I found myself thinking over and over that I wished someone else - anyone else - were narrating instead. Everything he reads is delivered in an over-earnest voice, like a child actor trying too hard to be super cute and precocious. His female voices are grating. And the worst offense was that in an attempt to give the male characters different voices, one of them - who could have been an interesting, complex character, instead sounds just like Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure; like a dim-witted surfer with a script in front of him.
To be fair, the reader's delivery may appeal more to children than adults. I mean, there must be some reason kids like Barney but adults can't stand him, right? And if it is appealing enough to children that it encourages them to love literature, then I suppose that's what really matters.
This book is stellar, poetic, intense, magical, engrossing, perceptive, original, imaginative, bizzare, touching, and epic in scale.
Defies classification: Part thriller, part mystery, part fantasy, part road trip, part horror, part history, part comedy and just damn fine storytelling.
I'll admit to not having listened to the audio version yet (it's still downloading), but I INHALED the book. It immediately grabbed my attention and I was whisked away to a different world. The story is by turns funny, disturbing, poignant, uplifing, and always entertaining. Full of powerful imagery, months after finishing it I still find that certain scenes or vingettes come back to me out of the blue.
This is a book that will pleasantly haunt you long after you finish it ... lingering in the recesses of your mind to reappearwhen you least expect it.
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