This is a complex and beautifully narrated mystery that is unique in quality of story and characterization. This is the first book of the Millenium Trilogy by the late author Stieg Larsson. This novel has won a number of awards and the trilogy has been compared to War and Peace for its epic scope and depth of characterization. It is a bit hard to keep track of the Swedish characters, so here is a list of them which the listener might wish to print out for reference. This list is carefully constructed to avoid giving any elements of the mystery away.
Mikael Blomkvist, journalist, publisher of Millennium magazine, and amateur sleuth.
Lisbeth Salander, antisocial but highly talented computer hacker (the girl with the dragon tattoo),
Henrik Vanger, aged CEO of Vanger Corporation.
Hans-Erik Wennerstrom, corrupt Swedish industrialist and Blomkvist's nemesis.
Harriet Vanger, great-niece of Henrik.
Martin Vanger, brother of Harriet and President of the Vanger Corporation.
Nils Bjurman, the lawyer to whom Lisbeth's must report because she is an emancipated minor,
Cecilia Vanger, Harald's banished daughter.
There are many other characters of importance, but keeping track of these is critical to enjoying the book. And if one is not used to Swedish names, keeping track is not trivial. However, rest assured the exercise is worth it. This is a mystery of such high quality that the listener will quickly be pulled into the story and find it nearly impossible to stop listening. When it is over, you will go into a brief depression because the characters become part of you, and their interesting behavior is so well described that it becomes a persistent and compelling memory.
What the world does not need is yet another vampire story, and while these vampires have a unique origin, they are less interesting than most. This is a long and dreary story with one-dimensional characters and few surprises. I was glad when it was over, and particularly relieved that I had only wasted one credit on it. No way is this story worth two credits. I gave it three stars for Scott Brick's superb conversion of this into something almost worth listening to.
This is the first in a series of three novels, and one of the finest science fiction books ever written. The story is unique, and unlike most science fiction books, the characters, both human and mechanical, are deep and multidimensional. The Shrike may well be the most interesting of all the characters. Why does this creature exist? Is the Shrike evil or a savior of humanity? Hyperion explores some fundamental issues of the human condition from a unique perspective that spans the full evolution of humans. Not to be missed by any fan of hard science fiction.
This volume contains three short novels in the Women's Murder Club series (Books 4,5 and 6). The first novel in this group (#4) is good and books five and six are pretty bad. Nevertheless, all three keep you interested and for a long drive, these books are worth considering.
This story takes a while to get going, but stick with it, as it is the best audible book I have listened to with only one exception (The Company). But this story has better characters and is recommended for both Science Fiction fans as well as those who enjoy history. Indeed, this story has the same historical depth and feeling as Ken Follett's The Pillars of Earth. The reader is great and adds much to the quality of the experience. This is Connie Willis' best book. After the first third, you will not be able to put it down, and skipping work to listen to it is compulsory.
This is an enjoyable book to listen to and it keeps your interest for the most part. However, all the characters are one-dimensional and simplistic. There are no suprises- people do exactly what you would expect them to do, and so the plot is limited to following the action. The action is good, although it makes up only a small part of the entirety. For reasons beyond my comprehension, the author thinks the reader will be interested in the details of changing a diaper. This description was quite detailed and accurate, and suggests the author had direct experience. How nice. Pity he didnt put the same effort into his characters.
This book was written by a woman for women. About 15% of this book is graphic romance from the woman's perspective. Men listening to these sections will find the discussion extremely boring if not nausiating. These sections are not pornography, but by being graphic and explicit, come close enough to be annoying. During these sessions, the book becomes a Harlequin Romance, and the main character becomes Fabio-like. This greatly distracts from the story-line and will drive many males away from the book.
So why did I give this book a 4 star rating? Because the rest of the story is compelling, the reader is excellent, and the characters have depth and realism during the non-Fabio moments. The author takes pains to be historically accurate, and if one has visiting Scotland, the descriptions are enjoyable and vivid.
Be warned, however, that this is not science fiction. Time travel is a mechanism, not a concept in this book. As the author herself admitted at her website, this happened by accident, and she simply went along with it. So dont get this book if the goal is to explore the ramifications and paradoxes of time travel. Such topics are explored superficially in the second book, and ignored here.
If one wants a great time travel story, I recommend To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.
I love this book. The characters are memorable and presented in depth. The mystery and suspense is maintained throughout and the ending superb. The author's style and substance is a mixture of Ken Follett and Harper Lee, and in many respects, the best of both. This is a classic and should not be missed.
I loved the first book (Odd Thomas) and the last book (Brother Odd), but this one (Forever Odd) is unworthy of the author or the character. Most important, it can be skipped without missing anything. Skip it!
Those of us who mourn the loss of Arthur C. Clarke and fondly remember the style and substance of his stories will enjoy Spin. It has great characters and an interesting story that evolves in stages. The many questions are all answered, but only in good time so the reader can enjoy the process as much as the revelations. This book is both fun and thought-provoking, and has enough realistic hard science to keep a scientist or engineer entertained. If you enjoy science fiction, this book is a must read. If you like an interesting mystery, this book is also an excellent choice. I was very sorry when it was over.
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