Although I couldn't wait to get back in my car to continue listening to this book, I couldn't figure out why I didn't feel any satisfaction each time the characters solved a piece of the puzzle. Now I look back and realize that too many of those solutions were simply "flashes of insight" or "revelations" coming out of nowhere, but of course only at really opportune times. I had placed Dan Brown's earlier book, Digital Fortress, on my Audible wishlist but now I think I'll pass....
If you don't like/understand science, this book may only be a 4.5-star read for you since it provides enough science background to appreciate the technological hurdles facing Marc Watney and NASA/JPL. But if you DO like/understand science, this book is absolutely fantastic! My review title says it all.
Several reviewers complain that there's not a single admirable or likeable character in the entire book. I agree.
But likeable characters is not a requirement for me to enjoy a book! After all, I'm not looking for a new friend, I'm looking for an engaging story. This one definitely kept me engaged and even succeeded in making me feel more sympathetic towards the characters by the end.
Read this only if you also don't feel like you have to be able to be friends with the characters.
There's nothing more feel good than a well told true story about good things coming to good people as a result of their heart and hard work. This book was certainly that!
Tighter editing to cut it by at least 30%!
Confusing when characters were sometimes referred to by their first name and sometimes by their last name.
Daydreaming while listening to the endless sections of Emma's innermost thoughts. And I'm not even a guy.
This is comparable to a chick flick ... appealing to some, but not to me.
This series is perfect light entertainment! It's the only one where I've immediately downloaded the next book in the series rather than alternating with other genres or, heaven forbid, a more "literary" book. I've rated all of them 5-stars except this one for several reasons --
1) In several places, Katherine Kellgren makes Georgie sound like Belinda ... for the first time in the series, which only serves to accentuate how good she normally is at breathing different personalities into each character.
2) I lost some respect for Georgie, who is such an independent and grounded young woman, when she starts to seriously consider the existence of vampires and werewolves.
3) Why would such a no-nonsense young woman as Georgie suffer as incompetent a maid as Queenie, no matter what her other character strengths? Not very believable, but I'll read on to see what Rhys Bowen plans for Queenie.
Despite these compalints, I highly recommend the entire series! (BTW, I find listening at 1.25x via the Audible app to be perfect.)
I fell in love with Jim Dale after hearing his absolutely amazing narration of the Harry Potter novels where each of the 20 or 30 characters had a distinct and identifiable voice. (No, not available through Audible.) Night Circus was a very enjoyable listen, both in plot and reading, but I was terribly disappointed that there was so little dialog for Jim Dale to work with. Way too much exposition ... not a good fit for Mr. Dale's remarkable voice talents.
Half an hour into the book, I thought "how can there be enough material for an entire book?" Twelve hours later, I was disappointed there wasn't more.
I totally agree with Garrison Keillor in his NY Times Book Review (12/19/10) -- it's a "dreary meander of a memoir." I wonder how many people who put this book so high on the bestseller list actually read more than a few chapters....
Several years ago, I discovered The Beekeeper's Apprentice and voraciously listened to the first 8 Mary Russell books in quick succession, but gradually lost interest with the increasing theological ruminations and weird religious sects. Still, I felt that I had to finish the entire series and soldiered on. After a break of a few years, I picked up again with The Language of Bees and I have to say that I am SO disappointed and can barely remember why I enjoyed the first few in the series so much. In The Language of Bees, both the writing AND the reading of is unbearably slow and I find my mind continually wandering. Thank goodness my car player has a Fast setting so I can listen to it at a near-normal conversational tempo!
This book tries to be both a mystery and a commentary on a barbarous wartime atrocity and, to me, it succeeds on neither score. (If you're interested in the latter, I highly recommend Iris Chang's "Rape of Nanking" instead.) The primary female character is an interesting person, but in a clinical, curious way, never evoking any real empathy for her or her quest. The back story involving the primary male character simply dragged.
As for the narrators, I appreciated their dramatic readings but was appalled at their total mispronunciations of Chinese, which detracted from their credibility and authenticity. Surely the producers could have provided an hour of coaching! One basic example -- "chi" (or perhaps it was spelled "qi," which isn't clear in an audiobook, of course) should be pronounced "chee" but the female reader pronounced it "key." When I think of how a native-speaking reader can transform an audiobook with the nuance, rhythm and intonation of even sparsely scattered foreign words -- just think of "Life of Pi" or "Kite Runner" -- I was sad to think of how rich this audiobook experience COULD have been.
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