At the end of our trip, the seven year olds asked if we could stay in the car in the driveway to hear more.... the best praise for an audiobook I can possibly imagine.
Sanford builds great stories with great characters and Richard Ferrone is a masterful reader. This is the only series of this length that I have listen to all the way through and I've listen to each book at least two times.
Loved the idea and was really looking forward to this one, but then . . yeeesh. Way, way too much navel gazing during what was supposed to be the most terrifying and stressful situation possible, and way, way, way, way too repetitive, "must get to my family. Are they still alive? They couldn't be. Must not give up. Death would be a relief, but must get to my family. Gosh, I really love my family. Must find my family." Not kidding, first 30 minutes of this dog is pretty much that mixed with internal dialogue that doesn't reflect panic nor determined struggle or any other reasonable reaction. The story had potential but needed a decent writer, i.e. one not determined to use as many analogies as possible or show off his descriptive prose abilities. Perhaps it got dramatically better, but I quit after an hour . . . an hour whose loss I mourn.
As with books 3 and 4, book 5 of the Dresden files suffering from ads for Coca Cola and Walmart. These references are frequent, obvious and irritating. When meeting at a hotel Butcher writes "it was a national chain" and describes the room, but if there is a carbonated beverage it is "a coke." Similarly, products are purchased from Walmart and scenes are compared to "an open air Walmart." In the past, some authors were paid by the word and their work suffered as a result. Today, product placement in novels threatens to drag down an already teetering art-form. Ads break the spell of fantasy and drag the reader back to a mundane world. If authors and publishers need to sell ads, perhaps they should simply put commercials at the beginning and the end of audio books and some extra pages in the printed versions. This novel has a compelling story, but suffers as a consequence of heavy handed hocking.
Authors have to pay bills, but just as the Star Wars films declined in quality as the desire for merchandising revenues began to influence the stories, the Dresden files are suffering from ads for Coca Cola and Walmart. The story is compelling and even though all of these books are a bit repetitious, they are great "reads" but frequent uses of "reached for a coke," "cans of coca cola," "an empty can of coke" are obvious and irritating. The Walmart ads are quite as frequent, but still noticeable. Yes, in past, authors were paid by the word and their work suffered as a result, but product placement in novels spoils the escapism they should be, and, for me, calls into question the integrity of the author. If authors need to sell ads, perhaps simply put commercials at the beginning and the end.
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