I enjoyed Connolly's "The Gates", which had an energetic protagonist and a reasonable premise, and fell for the good reviews for this book. After 2+ hours of hearing about the problems of a depressed and depressing young boy, the action finally started. Some of it was inventive; much was ugly; some was related to fairy tales but other bits seemed like just an opportunity to bring in grotesques. There was an almost complete lack of humor, and what there was was heavy-handed and soon over. Since it was set in WWII, I kept looking for parallels, but, trust me, Tolkein did it a lot better. But obviously, given the reviews, a lot of people have like it. Go take a look at a hard copy before you decide this one is for you.
...and then it got its grips in me. If you are a fan of Robert Goddard (many of whose books have mysteriously gone missing from the Audible web site), Charles Todd, Jeffrey Archer, or any of the other, mainly British, writers who feature somewhat flawed and frequently clueless-at-times protagonists; suspension-of-disbelieve-requiring coincidences; and great descriptive writing, give Suspect a chance. A good mystery has you looking over your shoulder.... a great one has you looking over your life.
With so many fine British readers available, including Ian Carmichael who has read several of the LPW books as well as portrayed Lord Peter on BBC radio and BBC/PBS TV, why was a woman ever chosen as the reader? Maybe the $2.95 Kindle price deal had something to do with it? Nadia May is a fine reader, but try as she might, she really was out of her depth in a book with predominantly male characters, and try as I might, it was a struggle to continue to listen all the way to the end.
In spite of Lord Peter's affected manner and the at times jarringly dated attitudes reflected in the books, there is a reason why people are still reading Sayers. If you have never read the LPW books and enjoy Christie, Tey or Marsh, or if you last read them years ago, I recommend you read this one in print only and start your audible experience with a male reader, preferably Carmichael.
I'm really good at making analogies - at times very far-fetched ones - check my other reviews if you don't believe me. And this book, although nicely written with some vaguely interesting characters and just a whiff of south Florida atmosphere, Is NOT A BIT LIKE even the dullest Hiaasen, and even less like Dorsey's inspired madness. I got it in a really cheap Whispersync deal, and I got what I paid for, Be warned.
First, I agree with another reviewer that maybe this just isn't my sort of book. It had a lot in common with Distant Hours and Secret Keeper in that it was beautifully written and obviously a labor of love for the author, but like them it was far too long, and the majority of the characters a depressing and unhappy bunch, with largely self-inflicted unhappy lives.
The performances were very good, except that at times Kirby Horne as Kel sounded very much like Kirby Horne as Nick in Gone Girl - another depressing character. He should be careful not to get typecast.
Having said all this, I did finish it - mainly hoping it would get better - had to put it on 2x speed and 4th level of multitasking to do so.
it suddenly hit me that the fact I'm enjoying the book is that in spite of the many differences of time, space, and age, Jacky is in many ways a great deal like Stephanie Plum. In trouble, in love, doing the right things while not always doing the correct things, and just generally making you read on to see what calamity will befall her next. This wasn't apparent in BJ1 and although I enjoyed parts of it I wasn't sure I would continue on with the series, but I'm glad I did.
Although I read and enjoy YA books, I don't have a feel for the YA market - and am not really sure that if I had a YA at home I would want her to take up Jacky as a model. But I do recommend the books, or at least this one, to Evanovich fans.
Although I enjoyed some of the concepts in the prequel, Avogadro, there was far too much amateurish chat about the West Coast computer tech lifestyle - at times it sounded like a coffee shop commercial - and not really a lot of A.I. concepts that haven't been covered before. if A.I.A. had not been priced at $1.99, I would not have bought it.
What a great surprise! Started the book on a Friday night and walked around with the earphones glued to my ears for a day '"watching" a great movie. The plot is contrived, the characters derivative (although it was fun to "cast" them), many of the situations are improbable, and there is a great deal of destruction (duh, is does have "apocalypse" in the title). Not one of the great futuristic novels, but a great deal of fun.
Ok, it was only $4.95, but the few good parts are highly derivative; the bad parts (for example all the parts where the main character is confused; having flashbacks; or getting punched out or otherwise physically assaulted) are too long, repetitive, and just basically not very interesting. Kind of like in one of those movies that never really make it to a theater. I really tried, but after three hours I don't care about the cardboard main character or what may or may not be going on. So I'm returning it, but writing this review first because the last time I returned a book before writing a review I wasn't able to write the review because the book was no longer in my library.
...should go to Nick and Amy. But maybe that is the whole point of the book? It is hard to stick with a book when you find the characters to be so unlikeable, but soon after it began I moved into "thank god I don't have anyone like this in my life" space and stuck around to see how low they would go. Stupid (Nick) and Unlikeable (Amy) as they are, the readers capture them perfectly. And Gillian Flynn is certainly on top of current popular culture. There is a great part about 3 hours in where Nick compares reality to TV - this book compares TV to reality.
I have noticed that a some point after writing one, or generally two, very serious and critically acclaimed books, very good writers tend to turn out a movie script - I'm hoping this is Ms. Flynn's and that she has gotten it out of her system. I'm waiting for winter SAD season to pass before listening to Sharp Objects, but Dark Places - yes VERY VERY DARK - was very very good - Gone Girl simply doesn't compare with its depth and characterization, so if you didn't like it, don't dismiss Ms. Flynn, but you may want to wait for next spring.
This book has everything: espionage; economic ruthlessness; social scandals; pre-WWI national power plays; anarchists; hidden identities; great use of language; great narrators - and completely wastes it all as its increasingly unlikeable characters tediously wind their way to an improbable conclusion. My rule is that if I finish a book, however boring, I do not return it, but you could save yourself the trouble by not buying it.
There are audiobooks that make you laugh out loud in public but this one had me in tears on the subway more than once. Fortunately, the reader had an academic style, which kept the book from being even more difficult to bear. The book is also academic in nature with distinct chapters devoted to various populations. In addition to actually learning a lot of history, what I got from the book was a sense that I (and a lot of other people who grew up in the '50s) had been effectively brainwashed - the book contrasts press presentations such as those of The Allies entering Paris with the lack of information on the misery and devastation on the Normandy front, the starvation of Holland, and a number of other situations in which 'the little people' felt the pain of the efforts underway to free them from Nazi rule ranging from actual bombing to misplaced political and military decisions. Not an easy read, but a must read for anyone attempting to understand WWII and the years that followed (up to the future for that matter).
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