I had higher expectations for the author of Bel Canto and Truth and Beauty. I hesitated to buy her latest novel, but after listening to the Audible interview, I was intrigued. It was an ok story, but not my favorite. It was a bit slow, and I never really got attached to any of the characters. Patchett's gift for description was less apparent in this novel. It was a decent read, but not of the quality I expected from Ann Patchett.
Let me start by saying I am not strongly religious, but I do consider myself a Christian. I have read Harry Potter, and many other vampire novels and series and enjoyed them thoroughly (Sookie Stackhouse, Christopher Moore, Twilight, and others), but this book made me squirm with discomfort. I listened to it through the end,though -- I'm not really sure why. I the story line had me hooked in enough to want to know how it ended, which was why I gave it 2 stars instead of 1. The goddess worshop and pagan rituals made me uncomfortable. I guess vampire lore doesn't bother me if it's in good fun, but when it becomes religious in nature I find it offensive. The author also made intentional digs at Christianity, although she specifically targeted fundamental Christians (which I am not).
On a totally different note, the narrator was either a poor reader with a limited vocabulary, or a non-native speaker of English without an accent but just didn't know how to pronounce some words. She mispronounced words that are quite common (like drama) and it got really annoying.
Just thought I'd share some things that I would have liked to have known before I chose this title.
I really wanted to like this book -- I had heard such good things about it, and heard it was being made into a film. I gave it the obligatory 50 pages, and just couldn't get into it. (I alternate listening and reading.) But If the story hasn't started by then, I can't get into it. I realize the author was doing extensive character development, but something needs to happen to hook me early on, and I didn't find the characters enough to keep me interested. So I did something I rarely do... I put it down.
I've waited years for another epic novel from Ken Follett. And I was rewarded with a follow up on The Pillars of the Earth. I admit that I have forgotten the details of the plot and characters of Pillars, I always remember it as one of my favorite reads, and have meant to go back and re-read it. I decided to go ahead and listen to (and read -- I like to alternate) World Without End first. It really doesn't matter which one you read first, the connection between the two novels is loose. The characters and story lines in W.W.E. will not disappoint. I fell in love with all of them, and could hardly put down my iPod throughout. There's something for everyone -- I learned more about day-to-day medieval life than I ever could have from a textbook; there's plenty of love, sex, violence, war, and politics to make over 44 hours fly by. Don't cheat yourself by getting the abridged version. I cherished every detail. Now I can't wait to go back and listen to The Pillars of the Earth.
I bought this book after watching the movie - I am a fan of Peter Mayle and have read all his previous works of fiction. I hadn't even heard of this one, though. When I watched the movie I knew right away it was based on a Peter Mayle book, and that somehow I had missed one. I was sure the movie had left out significant character development, characteristic of Mayle's writing. And throughout the movie I kept feeling like we weren't getting to know the characters -- the plot moved quickly without much explanation for their actions. I bought the book and downloaded the audio shortly after. I like to alternate between audio and paper, depending on what I'm doing.
I guess the movie didn't cut out much after all. The characters in this story aren't developed in the typical Mayle style. It was still a nice, light read - just not what I expect from Peter Mayle.
I am a French speaker and have lived in Provence - I love hearing descriptions and names of familiar places. These, too, were fewer and farther between than in the author's previous novels.
Finally, the accent of the narrator was BEYOND irritating. His consistent mispronunciation of the French vowel combination "ai" as a long /i/ sound instead of a short /e/ sound finally drove me to turn off the audio and read my paperback.
Oh well - I guess there's a reason I hadn't heard about this one sooner. I'm baffled that of all his excellent novels, Hollywood chose this one to make into a film.
This is the most beautifully written novel I have read in a long time. Descriptive, original, historical, and moving only begin to describe it. I fell in love with the characters early on, and they did not disappoint. If you are put off by the length, fear not. You will finish this book quickly, as it's near impossible to put down. The author reads his work as no one else could, moving back and forth effortlessly between English, Spanish, and the native language. I had this book in print as well, but I especially enjoy the audio version when there are a great many foreign words I would not know how to pronounce.
Treat yourself to this extraordinary novel. It is worth every moment of your time.
I enjoyed the story. I can honestly say I couldn't put it down until the end. Like most Stephen King novels, you can picture it as a movie as you read the book. The premise of cell-phone induced zombies and humans as computers who need to "reboot" their brains and get computer worms... well, it was a little far-fetched but entertaining. I was a little disappointed in the end... I felt like I was left hanging.
What I found terribly distracting was very poor quality voiceover editing, which sounded like it was done by a completely different narrator. I enjoyed the main narrator, Campbell Scott. His voice has a husky, Clint Eastwood sort of sound to it. But the very frequent voiceovers, often mid-sentence, by some other narrator really distracted me from the story.
I have read a few Stephen King books (The Stand, Pet Semetary, Misery) and seen a few of his movies. If you don't mind the gore and the poor voiceover editing, you'll find that the premise, the character development, and the action will keep you hooked until the end.
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