Sierra Foothills, Northern CA | Member Since 2007
Note: This is book two in a triology. To achieve maximum enjoyment and effect it's quite important to read them in sequence.
* Lots of action -- interesting and fast moving, but missing the jaw clenching action of the first book. Still great, just pales a little in comparison.
* All the essential murder-mystery archetypes are present: A brilliant and highly ethical hero; A sidekick who is fiercely loyal and brave; A beautiful damsel in very dire circumstances; and finally, A nemesis truly worthy of the main character -- worthy in intellect and mettle -- and as evil as our hero is good.
* And given that this is book 2 of a triology: a true, knuckle-biting, cliff-hanger ending.
I'm thoroughly hooked. I must read installment 3 immediately.
I read through the other reviews of this book and series a couple of times. The majority of them fall somewhere between very appreciate and rave reviews. In fact, somewhere in the middle of this book, when I considered just giving up, I went back and reread the reviews trying to get a grasp on what all the fuss was about. That was a helpful thing to do, I finished the book and I'm happy that I did.
* The narrator (once you get used to his growls and other inflections) is truly excellent and very engaging.
* The plot moves along with good pace and is never entirely predictable. There are several mini-cliffhangers throughout which are entertaining.
* Way too much gore for this listener's taste -- both to animals and humans. I did appreciate the fact that these scenes were neither prolonged nor sensationalized.
* Some of the political plotting (liberally mixed in with counter-plots) got a little tedious.
* The story gets off to a rather slow start, which is exacerbated by a long list of characters that need to be introduced (and then remembered by the listener).
Maybe if I were watching the HBO series I would feel more empathy and anticipation. But I'm not watching; and I'm just not empathizing. Bottomline: my weariness at some of the plain meanness overcame my curiosity at what would happen next. I won't read any further in this series.
As my header says: this book doesn't stand well as a single story. However as a continuation (or final chapter) of the series, it is quite satisfying.
I want to say upfront that the narration by H. Bower is consistently excellent across all three books. Major huzzahs to the narrator!!!
Previous reviewers for this final installment have had two major themes:
1) "the third book is the weakest of the three".
If judging this one book on its own, then I would agree. But as a completion of a three part story, it did its job admirably.
2) "the attention and time paid to the battle of Gallipoli was overdone".
Here I don't agree. First, and importantly, the author has said that this trilogy is his homage to his homeland of Australia. I think we should respect that and find his (rather disturbing and still brilliant) description of this historic battle as a heartfelt tribute to those who fought for their country and beliefs. Was it a major part of the book? ... yes. But it brought home pathos, courage and camaraderie in a very poignant way. There was humor and there was tragedy. Why we humans continue to wage war is very much at the forefront of this part of the book. I was tempted to speed forward through this part of the book, but I'm glad I didn't. It would have been disrespectful to the story the author wanted to tell and it would have left the final storyline hanging.
Overall, I can whole-heartedly recommend this triology. Read all 3 books in sequence and enjoy!!
A broad and fascinating array of characters is presented in this book. Most of them are wonderfully drawn caricatures that are almost perfectly placed into this story's plot. There is something very comfortable, yet exciting, about predictable characters who do very unpredictable things. That's a major theme in this story.
Just as the reader/listener gets comfortable in believing you know what will happen next, the story starts to twist and turn. It finally escalates into an entirely unexpected (and quite fast paced) ending sequence.
I enjoyed "14" enough that I searched for other Clines' books on Audible. Unfortunately, this appears to be the only interesting fiction book in his repertoire that is currently available. I'll be keeping an eye out for more works of fiction from him.
This is book 2 in the Australian Trilogy. The characters are equally well drawn in both books 1 and 2; and the stories are both quite compelling. However, book 2 has an aura of darkness that isn't as pervasive in the first book.
I greatly appreciate Courtenay's ability to present themes of brutality and horror without sensationalizing the scenes. You quickly get the picture of what is happening, but the scenes aren't dragged on with unnecessary exploitation. That alone would make me a Coutenay fan -- however he has many other gifts as an author ... besides the fascinating characters, he also gives the reader an action packed story with just the right amount of contemplation. It's a rare gift when an author can get those two in the right balance.
Other reviewers seemed to be bothered by the sex scenes. To start with, there were only a few of "those" scenes, and to be perfectly honest I found them more boring than upsetting. Overall, this is a masterful story of family loyalty, fierce determination and survival. My comment re "rather dark" is based on the underlying sadness in the development of the story. However, I whole-heartedly recommend it.
Now, on to book 3 in this wonderful trilogy.
From the very beginning I fell in love with the quirky characters. Set in early 19th century London it was easy to pick up on the Dickens-like portrayals. At the point when one of the street urchins (one of the smartest students in the Light Fingers Academy) was questioned outside a London courthouse by a reporter who identified himself as Charles Dickens (his only appearance in the book) I became intrigued with the connections. The urchin gave the reporter a made-up name of "Artful Dodger". It was a pretty quick step to realize from there that one of the main characters, Ikey Solomon, was a real life London thief. Dickens used Solomon as his model for Fagin in Oliver Twist -- where the Artful Dodger also appears.
Yes, it's a long book. But I never once wanted it to speed up. The story is action-packed with fascinating characters and much intrigue. Since it's a triology, do not expect all story lines to be resolved. There is much more grist here for future mills!
This is most definitely fiction but based on real history: places, characters and legal systems. It moves from London to the Australian penal colony where it picks up a very McMurtry-like tone (think Lonesome Dove). This book has given me the gift of a new favorite author and a new wonderful narrator. I bought it based on the recommendation of a reviewer I follow. What a tremendous discovery. And, thank you, fellow reviewer.
As much as I love the ease of listening to audio books, there is one drawback: you can't easily skim forward through brutal violence or excruciating boredom in the way you can in print. This book has some violence and lots of the boredom parts.
True to Clancy's pattern, the storyline and interest picks up significantly at the 1/2 way point. However, even after that mid-pt there still are long periods where Clancy indulges his love of detailing all things military: strategy, hardware and history.
So why 4 stars? Because this series is extraordinary. It brings out feelings of patriotism, family, and hardiness of spirit. The story arc is mesmerizing, the characters are memorable, and it always leaves the listener (at least this one) wanting to know what happens next.
One final note: with a more dynamic narrator, this book would move better. I've listened to a couple of the next books in this series and can attest to the talent of Lou Diamond Phillips and the incredible difference he makes as the narrator.
Having a sociopath as the main character of a book is a new experience for me. However the idea really did grow on me -- in very large part due to the wonderful narration of Kevin Kenerly. This book has a definite plot, but it is there mostly as a supporting structure to enable the complex character development of Tom Ripley. There is a rather dark fascination in getting to know this disturbing character.
Kenerly provides an excellent portrayal of a psychopathic psyche through his pacing and tone. The combination of Highsmith's prose and this excellent narration is almost musical.
My 4 stars for the story is strictly based on the fact that in real life I would not want to live next door to the main character -- and my suspicion that if I did, he would probably be able to fool me. That's a little chilling.
Other reviewers have already said it: this narrator was a lifeless automaton. Book deserved much better.
As always, Clancy falls in love with and spends incredible amounts of time on technical details. The first half of this book was filled with loooong stretches of dullness and tedium. At almost mid-point the book picks up speed and maintains a constant level of very exciting and enjoyable tension.
Disclaimer: I'm a patriot who tears up at fly-overs during the national anthem. The end of this book is not only a cliff-hanger, but it is also quite a grabber for someone like me. Yes, I dozed during the first part of the book, but I finished it with tears in my eyes.
This is a hard book to review. I love this series -- this is most definitely not the best book, story or narrator of the series. I'm convinced that Clancy needed to create some background stories for several of his major characters and that this book filled that need. Therefore it took on a slightly hodgepodge texture with all kinds of quick context shifts that left this reader struggling to keep up with all the various threads.
Storyline: Almost nothing uplifting or happy happens -- vast majority of the story is based on brutality, drugs and betrayal. However there are good people who try hard to do very good things. I kept listening because I just had to know how things came out.
Narrator: Prichard is not much of a dramatist as a narrator. His voice (while rich and very easy to listen to) can become semi-monotone periodically; there are very few signals that something major has changed. Given all the abrupt shifts in the story line, it is easy to miss that you're now on a new continent, or that you're now listening to completely different characters, or that you're suddenly in the middle of a very different sub-plot. Disconcerting to say the least; I hit rewind more times than I care to think about.
Overall: this is a necessary part of the progression of the large story -- and key to understanding the backgrounds, psyches and primary motivations of characters that are part of the entire series. With a few definite caveats, I do recommend this book.
Toward the end of this book, the heroine, a budding author, says her aim is to write stories with "just the right chords of funny and touching". After hearing that statement, I realized that that was exactly what Weisberger was trying to do with this book. Attempt acknowledged, but the effort failed.
At first, I asked myself what I had had in mind in selecting/downloading this book. Of course the answer was I wanted some whimsical, satirical, funny story lines. I completely forgot that I also need a certain amount of depth in characters in order to love/hate/enjoy them. So I made a note to self: "just what was I expecting?' I think the answer is I wanted fun -- but I got insipid.
The narrator was pretty good, particularly with female voices and accents. She tried a little too hard with the male voices and missed.
I did finish the book and didn't find it a complete miss. Some of the scenes and stories were entertaining. But all in all there was a pervasive sense of meanness that took over the book.
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