I understand that there are to be 7 books in this series, but as of this writing there are only 5. I listened to them all, one right after the other, so it is difficult for me to review them separately. Besides, I think anyone new to the series should know what they're getting into right up front. However, there are no spoilers here.
I'm going to use the word "read" instead of "listen" because it's all the same to me and "read" is shorter.
My sons, both of them "men grown," have been nagging me for at least two years to read these books. Recently, they both accosted me about it from different parts of the country on my birthday, so I grudgingly agreed to try the first book. I have now read them all, as I said. My sons have been disinherited several times during the reading process. They had better hope that the last two books come out before I die.
I have read a number of reviews comparing Martin to Tolkien. This might be true if Tolkien had been a warped, sadistic bastard who enjoyed tormenting his readers. During the course of reading these books, I have called Martin everything but a good guy. Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Spawn of Satan top the list, along with accompanying adjectives. But I read all the books and am biting my nails waiting for the next one. True to his nature, however, Martin is making no promises about when that will be. Judging from the spacing of these first 5 books, I may have no fingers left by the time book 6 hits the presses. (This would help me relate better to some of his characters, I guess.)
So, for those of you who have not yet begun this series: If you are very squeamish, you'd better not start. There is a lot of torture, violence, explicit sex, and explicit violent sex. Even worse, there's some really bad language.
It is set in a world that seems to be based on Medieval England, but is not England nor any other place on this earth. The number of characters and story lines that are converging on each other seems daunting at first glance, but I was surprised at how easily I could keep the major ones straight in my head.
There are some characters that you will love and others that you will love to hate, and still others that you will hate to love. Some of them you will hate and then come to love or pity, and the other way around, too. Some of them, mostly Tyrion Lannister, are very witty and humorous no matter what the situation, so that provides a little relief sometimes. Some of them you will forget about entirely, as a whole book might go by before they pop up again.
If you like to feel safe and secure when reading a book, this series is not for you. Nothing is sacred, no one is safe. Bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. If I had been reading a paper book, I would have a lot of holes in my walls from repeatedly throwing the books against them. However, reading them has given me plenty of practice climbing the walls. (Unfortunately, as a woman, I would still not be able to become a Black Brother.) No one is happy in any of the seven kingdoms. The only joy comes from vengeance or, more rarely, justice. I hate books like that! But I read all the books and am biting my nails waiting for the next one.
I have given the series 5 stars because I could not stop reading once I had started, no matter how angry it made me. I would never have read these books if my sons had not hounded me into it. But wait--no--I have no sons. That was that other woman who lived before she embarked on the torturous journey that is Game of Thrones.
I've just finished listening to book 13, and I have absolutely loved every one so far! The recurring characters and the relationships between them are very entertaining and often hilarious. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys murder mysteries without all the stress.
The FYI part is this:
The first book in the series was published in 1981, and was contemporary fiction. Hard as it is for me to believe, 1981 was 33 years ago! I suspect, though, that the author never expected the series to take off and to still be writing the books all these years later. The main characters in the series are Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. I picture them in age as between 35-40. The thing is, I don't think they can ever get much older than that and have it all still work. However, time and technology continue to march on and, to keep the series contemporary, things like computers and cell phones have to come into play. Also, Jury having been a small child in WW2 was perfectly in line in 1981, but by now he would have to be elderly.
What I do is just mentally keep the characters in the same approximate age frame they started in, and ignore any references to the passage of time that the author inserts in the text. Just sort of let time and world events go by in the background, while the characters stay the same. There were enough comments in book 13 about the passage of time and people not changing after all these years, that I'm guessing the author was maybe poking a little fun at her predicament.
I'm awaiting the Audible release of the next book at the moment, but I hope that she hasn't done anything to blatantly age the characters in the rest of the books. I like things just the way they are. Once you know of and accept the time anomaly thing, it need not interfere with the enjoyment of the books. They are definitely worth a listen.
I've listened to all the Inspector Ian Rutledge books leading up to this one and several later ones before I realized it was a series. I enjoyed them very much. The problem is, this is the first one that ends on a cliffhanger, so I hopped on here to get the next one right away, only to find that Audible skips over the next 5 books. I'm so angry right now I could spit! Just be warned before you listen to this one. You're gonna be left hanging.
I was so happy to see another ZF book. It had been a while since I listened to the previous books, so sometimes I had to really think to remember people and events it was referring to. (This might have been partly due to the fact that in the interim I had listened to the Indian Hills books, which share some characters, but seemed to be an alternate universe from this series.) Anyway, I enjoyed it very much. I laughed out loud frequently and really thought I knew what was going on most of the time. I felt certain that it was leading up to a continuation of the series. An abrupt and unresolved ending was what I expected and received.
Then came the prologues. Now I am confused, hoping there will be another book to tell me what the heck that was all about, but not at all sure it wasn't meant to be a final ending. There's a nagging feeling that if I was just a little more tuned in, these prologues would tie up all the loose ends for me. (I almost think he might have snuck a little Indian Hills in here.)
So right now I'm hoping for either an epiphany or a next book in the series.
I've read every Wodehouse book I could get my hands on, and he's definitely one of my top ten authors of all time. It must have been a scary proposition for someone to attempt to continue his work, but I'm very glad that Mr. Faulks did so.
I think it would be hard to get any closer than this to the "real thing." It's obvious this author knows his Wodehouse. The humor, mannerisms, and style of speech are definitely faithful to the Wodehouse tradition. I hope that he will continue the series, as I'd like to see what happens with this new direction he's taken with Bertie and Jeeves. (I'd also like to see the author tackle another of my favorite Wodehouse characters--Psmith.)
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I think P.G.W. would be very flattered by this novel.
I hear or see Dexter mentioned occasionally in discussions or reviews about Serge. I love both series, but I don't think they're the same at all. Since I just listened to the most recent Dexter book in between Serge marathons, I decided to start making a list of comparisons to show why they're different. Here's what I have so far:
Dexter has a legitimate job. Serge lives on the proceeds of crime.
Dexter feels a deep need to kill. Serge would just as soon not, but...
Dexter's victims must meet certain eligibility requirements, defined by "Harry's Code." Serge's victims just have to really piss him off.
Dexter has a routine and a ritual way of killing. Serge doesn't use the same method more than once.
Dexter stays to the end. Serge usually goes away while they're still alive, and leaves them with a slim (practically non-existent) possibility of escape.
Dexter thoroughly cleans up afterward. Serge leaves bodies and parts strewn all over Florida for others to find and deal with.
Dexter keeps a box of slides with blood samples of all his victims. Serge keeps a box of historical Florida souvenirs.
Dexter talks to his playmates for maximum terror and mental anguish while he works on them. Serge entertains his victims with pleasant banter while setting up his devices, which practically amounts to the same thing.
Both rely heavily on duct tape.
I say this, even though the events in this book obviously take place during the time frame of Florida Roadkill--sometime between when Serge and Coleman meet Sharon, and when they go to the World Series. Actually, the chronology is a bit dodgy in all the books and, at least once, Serge mentions that sort of thing as one of his pet peeves, so you know it's intentional. (My researches tell me that the author intends the books to be read in the order published.)
Serge is in all of the books, including the first three, although some people apparently had trouble recognizing him in Orange Crush. (They must not have been paying attention. Admittedly, that one is different, though.) One of the later audiobooks includes an interview with Tim Dorsey and he says that when he wrote Florida Roadkill, he didn't have it in mind to make a Serge series, but then things just sort of headed in that direction. Now that I've read all 16 books and am starting through them again, I feel like this is the one where the "Serge Storms Series" really hits its stride. (But I recommend reading them all.)
Just FYI: My mental image of Serge is a sort of morphing of Mike Myers/Jimmy Fallon/Johnny Depp, but I definitely think Depp should play him in the movies.
We find out more about his past, and his "professional" rivalry with a police officer named Mahoney. His obsessive passion for Florida history is well established. After this, you can just go ahead and start laughing whenever someone says something along the lines of, "Nothing can possibly go wrong now." Most importantly, from here on, we begin to know which events will likely cause Serge to get out the duct tape and head for Home Depot. (That thumping you hear from the trunk of his car will be one of his new "friends.")
This is possibly the most hilarious book I have ever read! I laughed so hard and so often that I was afraid the neighbors would call the guys with the butterfly nets.
It gets right into the heart of the political system (specifically Florida politics, but these days we can all relate.) It shines a bright light on all the dirty, hidden political tricks that we know are happening, but can't do anything about. If you've ever wanted to get a politician, lobbyist, news anchor, or rich person by the throat and shake them until their teeth rattle, you will love this book.
While it's basically shooting at politics, it also takes pot shots at a lot of other pet peeves we all have. For example, there is a scene with a guy trying to make an important phone call and getting stuck in the phone menu nightmare that is purely classic! I had to keep rewinding because I laughed so hard I would miss stuff.
If laughter is the best medicine, this should cure anything that ails you. This book, while part of a series, could be read without reading the others first, although some minor things will make more sense if you have.
I completed making a purchase, and the Surprise $4.95 Sale popped up. The only book on the list that looked at all interesting to me was "The Stingray Shuffle" by Tim Dorsey. I bought it and then found out it was the 5th book in a series. You'd think I'd be on to this trick by now, but it gets me all the time. However, I frequently find gems this way that I would otherwise not have known about. Anyway, I never even tried to listen to it, I just went ahead and purchased book one, "Florida Roadkill."
Several reviewers had compared this series to books by Carl Hiaasen, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. I have read several Hiaasen books, but I never found them as funny as I'd hoped they would be. I was pleasantly surprised. It actually reminded me more of the humor of Dave Barry than any other author I've ever read. (Dave even makes a cameo appearance at the World Series later on in the book.)
This first book is a little chaotic, since it introduces most, if not all, of the recurring characters that will appear in later books, and I felt like I was being jerked around a lot from one storyline to another. Even so, I found it laugh-out-loud funny very often. Pay attention to a guy named Serge. He's the most loveable criminally insane person you're ever likely to meet, and he's been in every one of the four books I've read so far.
So, while I didn't quite find it to be a 5-star book, I still highly recommend it. I am now getting ready to start listening to book 5 and I have been laughing myself senseless at all the books in between. This book is a good listen in its own right, but important, I think, as an introduction to the series.
The date is August 19, 2013 and less than a week ago I knew less about the Twilight series than just about anyone alive. This was deliberate on my part. I imagine I accidentally caught part of a movie preview somewhere and thought, "Teenage vampire love story. No way." And from that moment I tuned out just about every mention of it.
I have nothing against vampires, in the proper setting, but I don't like romances and I'm not a teenager. So, absolutely ALL I knew was: Vampires, teenagers, love, and some guy named Robert Pattinson that all the young girls were raving about. It had never even occurred to me that it was a book, although movies like this frequently are based on novels.
Last week I was chatting with my nephew's wife and I asked her if she liked to read. She mentioned that she had read all of the Twilight books. I was polite but I secretly scoffed and changed the subject before she could say any more about it. A few days later I was talking on the phone with a friend of mine and she seemed to be certain that I would have read the Twilight books because they were "just exactly my thing." I scoffed openly. She assured me that I had the wrong idea about the story.
Since I was nearing the end of the book I was listening to at the time, I decided to read customer reviews about Twilight on Audible. Almost all the ones I read stated that the reviewer had avoided these books for the same reasons I had, but were happy that they finally tried it. So I bought this first book and began listening with no enthusiasm and very low expectations.
About a half hour or so into this book, I just went ahead and downloaded the rest of the series because it was very clear that I was gonna need them and I wanted as little delay as possible. I've had the headphones glued to my head every waking moment since then, and could hardly even bring myself to stop listening so that I could get some sleep.
I just finished the last book and I'm so sorry that it's over. However, I'm very glad that I listened. I'm not discussing the plot here because either you know what it's about already, or you are ignorant of it as I was. I had the best possible experience, I think, because I did not know anything that was gonna happen. There were many surprises for me and many opportunities to wonder about some things and guess at others before they were finally revealed to me. I'm even thinking about recommending this series to my mother, even though she's not really into vampires so much.
There was quite a lot of humor, which I was pleased about, and also mystery, suspense, action, and a new kind of vampire lore. And, yes, there was also a love story, but very different from any I'd ever read before. The story and the narrator were both excellent and I highly recommend that you try this series, even if it doesn't seem like your cup of tea. You will probably be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
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