1. Book/Plot: I'm generally not a romance/bodice ripper kind of girl. There is a limit to how much "quivering","aching","wanting",or "yearning" I can tolerate. The romance part, to me, is boring. I found the historical pieces about Scotland far more interesting. Much is left to be explained (how did she time travel, why did the stones work for her, is it only one way, etc...) but seeing as how many other books there are in the series, I figure that we will get there. Rape is a very common theme in this book, as is violence against women, but it seems to be explained away as "it's part of what is expected in this period". While I understand there are certain cultural expectations that have changed in major ways, I am disappointed that these acts of violence are treated as sexy, desirable acts, and that they are somehow wanted or appreciated.
2. Voice Work: If I wasn't listening to these books, I probably wouldn't bother beyond this one, however Porter is an amazing actor. She is makes it worth listening to the other books. Since the content of the books is romance, which isn't high on my personal tastes, I use these for listening at work since I can zone in and out, but not miss much for plot. Porter not only captures the world, but she really nails each of the characters beautifully. Even though I may disagree with some of the authors choices concerning violence, I am really impressed with how clearly Porter captures the narrative and tone. She is able to create dynamic flow in the story, and finds the turns, even sentences apart.
Story: I really enjoyed this tidbit of media history. Growing up in an era that idolizes reality tv stars, looks to perez hilton as a sooth sayer, instant everything via the internet, and gives more credit to people who are interested in being famous than being interesting/talented/smart....etc... its a phenomenon i consider very new, and part of the identity of this generation. murder of the century makes a point to do away with that notion. that the frustrations i have with the media now, have been there for over a century. some of the most interesting and vivid moments were in the conflict between hearst and pulitzer, as well as the moments of "normal" life.
Narrator: i'm not desperate to hear Dufris' voice again, it's not stuck in my head the way other narrators have been. but the pace moved smoothly enough and i didn't get that annoying "girl" or "child" voice that some narrators are prone to use. however i do feel that it could have been more dynamic.
1. Plot: I am a huge Neal Stephenson fan. And this is Neal Stephenson at his best. All elements of this story take place in the here and now, which makes this story incredibly thrilling. Hackers? Check. Fully developed MMORPG? Check. Terrorists? Check. Right wing self described crazies? Check. Kidnapping, M6, and Russian Mercenaries, check, check, check. Neal Stephenson is an excellent writer, one of the few who can carry complex story lines involving all these elements in harmony, moving in and out of the individual moments quietly and in perfect tune with each other. It's like a symphony of stories that all come inevitably crashing together in the end in a beautiful and insane climax. Stephenson also captures things like the subtle notes of the now though references of Wikipedia, Facebook, etc...
2. Narrator: Hillgartner captures the narrator in third person beautifully, and paces this book extremely well. Especially considering it's length. He clearly took time to pace appropriately. What is left to be a little desired is dealing with his interpretation of women. As women are some of the primary characters in this book, there are times that the narration has felt forced.
1. Story/Plot: This is one of the most stunning, beautiful, moving pieces of literature I have ever read. This writing is beautiful. I have never been in the military, in combat, nor anything close to what Marlantes describes in this novel. However the details are so vivid, so clear that you feel in the thick of it with Bravo company. Some authors get lost in the minutia of a story. Marlantes doesn't, he envelopes you within them, and wraps you up in them, making each detail matter, each detail count. It layers in a sound, a sight, a smell, the palpitation of a heart beat at that moment as you move through this journey with these men. Furthermore Marlantes gives each character depth, real depth. They aren't just characters, they are people. They have humanity, the choices they aren't motivated by cliche, Marlantes gives them perspective, rational, reason, and drive. You never feel as if anyone is an antagonist, each person has made good choices, each person has made bad choices, and each of those choices has deeply affected the men around them, for better or worse.
2. Acting/Voice Work: Pinchot was amazing, utterly exquisite. He gave incredible life to this novel, and the pairing was pitch perfect. This novel does not shy away from complex and accurate descriptions (especially concerning weaponry and military rank) which lends to it's authenticity in story telling, but it risks being confusing. Instead of being confusing, Pinchot seems to have such a clear visual of who and what he's talking about, that everything becomes vivid and clear for the listener as well. Pinchot also does a brilliant job with the accent and dialect work. Marlantes clearly describes geographic location for his characters, it comes up in the small talk of waiting between soldiers, and Marlantes writes certain rhythms and quite regionalisms into the characters. Pinchot captures these pieces, without making them exaggerated or cartoonish. Pinchot sculpts each character beautifully, distinguishing each from the other with subtly and detail.
1. Plot and Characters: The plot it's self at this point is well known, and most people approaching the book will have either seen the movie or have absorbed it through reviews, wikipedia, etc... Overall, it's entertaining enough to keep adults engaged, it has strong female characters who fight for themselves, and the world is well created. It's easy to step into this version of our world, and there are some moments in particular that stick out to me because of how vividly written they are, Collins taps into something there, like when Katniss describes the burnt bread she receives from Peeta. It's very nicely done, but that level of writing does not appear across the board. It's disappointing that nearly all the adult figures in the novel are lacking substance. In some ways they all seem broken, not just slightly flawed but really quite cracked. That does leave plenty of room for better role models to come up in the future, and hopefully they will. 2. Voice Work: I'm not entirely sure that McCormick was the right pick for this book. What she did capture for me the tone of the world. Novels naturally move up and down in pace- McCormick clipped along when we at a critical point, and slowing when something was being mulled over, she was delivering what felt like a natural speech and thought process. But to me, she struggled in capturing the nuances of Katniss. What worked for me was the confidence McCormick gave to Katniss, but she was never quite able to get her hands around the vulnerability needed make this truly authentic. Katniss is after all, still a teenager, and those moments of self doubt, or frustration are really critical to the character.
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