If you aren't looking for a book that requires a great amount of thinking or any background knowledge in the genre of fantasy, this is a good book to get. It's nice an long, if that's what you're looking for and all unknown information is spoon-fed to you all the way through the book. It's got your typical Romeo and Juliet-esque love story, and you can't help but root for them. There is not a lot of ambiguity is characters' good/evil alignments, except for a couple of characters, because that's really the basis of the plot.
All in all, I eat up this type of story, but that doesn't keep me from getting frustrated. I thought the voice acting was great. The southern accent annoyed me, but that has more to do with the book's setting. The plot is great. It's a new spin on something a little overdone. But I did get frustrated with the two main characters, because at times they seemed so thick-headed. I would have something figured out long before either of them did, and I wanted to yell at them for being dense. I didn't feel like the male protagonist was *totally* realistic. As I was Ethan's age about 8 years ago, I don't recall being that emotionally intelligent as a 16-year-old, so that is was stood out to me the most, as far as flaws go. Like I said, overall I liked the book. The characters weren't under or overdeveloped for the span of time it took to listen to the book. But I felt like the end was a big middle finger, and a ploy to make me buy the next book (which I did).
The song 16 Moons throughout the book is what really made the audiobook for me. It was a great touch, and it made my hair stand on end.
While I would not have been pleased with the series ending as it did in Beautiful Chaos, I found this book to be the worst in the series. I will not go as far as saying that it was a bad book, but the only word that I can think of to adequately describe this book is "severed." You may understand what I mean if you read it. If you have read the other three books, by all mean, complete the series, there's no reason not to.
It took me months to get through part one of this audiobook. I thought the story before Shiz was painfully slow and boring. The rest of the novel was bearable if I listened to it at x2 speed. I've thought about it independently and relative to the musical. I'll start with the independent book. I was expecting something far more interesting based on the subject of the novel. Maguire could have done so much with the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, but I thought it fell very very flat. It was really not to my taste. Parts of it were good, and I thought it had a lot of potential, maybe put into the hands of a good fantasy author, but I do not think that is Maguire (based on reading a couple of his other novels). The story was excruciatingly slow most of the time and the content was very dry. It had the feel of the older novels I had to read in high school when it was paining to read each chapter. I think there are very overt political statements throughout the novel, but I was looking for a fantasy novel, not a political allegory.
For those of you only reading this because you liked the musical: There are very few similarities between this book and the musical. All of the characters is the musical are in this book, but none of them remotely resemble the characters of the Broadway show. G(a)linda is a very insignificant character after the first half of the book. Madame Morrible is only an antagonist in Elphaba's youth (Elphie just holds grudges forever). I thought the musical took a much better route with Elphaba's past and the idea of "wickedness." Maguire spent the good part of a chapter toying with "what is evil?" but it's late in the book and seems thrown in haphazardly. Long story short: If you want the musical, go see the musical, you will find nothing of the sort in this book.
No matter how I look at it, independently or not from the musical, I did not like this book and I would not recommend it to others unless they are seeking a highly political drama set clumsily in a fairly fanciful world.
The narration was merely acceptable, but arguably the most appealing part of the book.
I liked the story, but it was not exceptional. I liked the narrator, but I did not find his performance particularly exceptional.
Overall, I'll remember that I read it and the general plot, but I found it to be a pretty unmemorable book.
Generally, I enjoy it when authors read their own books, but this is the exception. He just spoke too slowly. I had to put the speed to x2.5 to get it to a speed that I found tolerable. It could just be me.
The overall subject is very interesting. I especially liked the chapter on vision. If you find cognitive science interesting and do not have a strong background in it, you'll find this a very good read. If you already know quite a bit about cognitive science, I don't know how much of this will be new to you. I have a pretty rudimentary knowledge of it, and the majority of the information was new to me or explained in a way I had never thought about it.
I liked The Lost Gate, but did not love it. The Gate Thief satisfied all the qualities I thought the former lacked. Gate Thief was interesting and had very few parts that moved too slowly. In Lost Gate, I found the chapters about Wad boring and sometimes difficult to finish, but this book made their relevance clear. I especially liked the development of Danny in his social relationships, especially who he can and cannot trust.
Until the last chapter of the book, I found Wad's acknowledgment of Danny's superiority in power and character to be promising as an opportunity for development in his character. The last chapter showed me!
The biggest thing that this book had that the first lacked was a definite enemy, rather than a vague notion of families that may or may not kill Danny.
Details about gate magery and man magery were especially fun.
I had to read this for an Adolescent Literature class, and I fell in love with the book. The audiobook is even better than reading the book. The book has elements that could appeal to both the young and old. I would say a kid should be able to read it at about age nine or ten, sheerly because there are about three instances that may be just a little bit too creepy for a little kid. All of Gaiman's books are distinctly different. If you read and did not like Stardust, that does not mean you will dislike this book, but it does not mean that liking Stardust will make you dislike this one. They are just totally different and written in completely different styles. The Graveyard Book is much less dense than Stardust, but it has so much more to say. Gaiman's performance was superb, which is exactly what I expected.
I would not recommend this book to anyone who has trouble dealing with death or the concept of suicide. That being said, I think it is important that people read/listen to a book of this sort, just to reemphasize that everyone has their own story, and something you may think is trivial could just be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I thought the narration was excellently done. I'm glad there were two narrators, because that gave it the ability to sound more like a dialogue than someone just reading pages from a book.
I really enjoyed the book in both audio format and book form. I'm not sure which way I preferred, but I liked the audiobook well enough. The narrator sounded a little younger than I would have anticipated, so it was a little weird when very adult topics were covered, but that's really not enough to give it anything less than four stars. It was a quality audiobook that I would recommend to anyone that grew up in middle class suburbia.
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