I downloaded this right after enjoying the DaVinci Code because I liked that one so much. The problem with this story is that it is basically the same story as the DaVinci Code in Rome instead of Paris. I did find the story more interesting and extremely suspenseful, only to be let down by a ridiculous ending. After dwelling on this, I found that it was the same formula, Langdon goes to Europe, finds there is a great problem. His knowledge of history leads him from one statue to the next, looking for clues to solve ancient riddles to stop a series of crimes, figures them out and then gets the girl. Hmmm. I would write the exact same synopsis of the DaVinci Code. Don't get me wrong, I would've given this five stars if he changed just two things from the hokey ending....listen, enjoy the suspense, and then laugh at the ridiculous ending (OK, the scene just before the ending!). By the way, this reader is much better than the DaVinci Code, but he swallows (drinking water?) just a couple times too many!
I cannot believe the forsight this author had. I mean, a book this old where he forsaw infrared goggles and heads-up displays? Incredible calls on his part. Great action but, like all good Sci-Fi, the meat of this book focuses on society. This book takes a lot of pokes at 20th century America (from a conservative slant) through "history" from the far future. He explains a lot about the troopers' life in the future "Mobile Infantry". If you expect anything from the movie, you will not see it. Verhoeven made a satire of the future conservative world from a liberal viewpoint while this book goes to great lengths to show the author's conservative slant. The names are the same in the movie and some of the ideas of the war against the bugs are there as well, but that's about it. I really enjoyed this book, although the 1950's phrases such as "no foolin'?" and "golly" cracked me up a bit.
I'm not sure if it was the content or the author's voice that had me rewinding, realizing that I had just missed the last 10 minutes that I listened to. I did this through many parts of the book, as the author's voice continued to drone and drone and drone. Some of his points are repeated over and over and others are broken away from tangentially until I forgot what his original point was. I did come away with some lasting impressions from this book, however. There is valuable content in here if you want to understand some fundamental differences between the Middle East and the US and of some Islamic's hate of the US. Only get this if this topic really interests you as this listen does nothing to draw you in. You have to have a deep interest to begin with or you will fall asleep. Overall, I feel enriched by this book, but it was not listened to without some work on my part.
Very slow start...found myself bored. But then, things happen and the story becomes interesting. The first third, I simply perservered because I didn't want to miss anything from this series, but it held its own the last two. Of the four stories that chronicle Ender, this was my least favorite...not bad, by any means, but a total departure from the first book, pacing and theme-wise. Critical read, however, if you want to read Xenocide and Children of the Mind (which I recommend) as this one lays it all out for those two. To simplify, Ender's Game stands on its own. Speaker, Xenocide, and Children are basically one long story across three books.
Al the stories were interesting, although, the background on Ender's father was a little incongruous with the book, Ender's Game. If you liked Ender's Game, this is worth listening to.
What can be said that isn't said? I'm a little upset that the stuff I'd read before hearing this gives away a major plot twist, but that doesn't mean that this wasn't one of the most enjoyable audiobooks I
've listened too. Interesting use of different voices for different perspectives...except that one female voice (Val) that kept trying to do a deep man's voice. Sounded ridiculous. Well read, overall. Gripping, sad, poignant, all wrapped up with an ending that I really enjoyed. Emotions are very well written; engaging you with the characters and making it impossible not to empathize.
Overall, I enjoyed this. Through Screwtape's letters, Lewis makes interesting observations about humanity. I found myself seeing a lot of myself and people I knew in the observations. I also found myself bored several times as he droned on. John Cleese is an excellent actor to read this. His acting is superb. Enjoyed more of the book than the parts that bored me.
The writer puts enough factual basis into the story that you can figure out the riddles before the story actually gives you the answer. The premise is good and the twists and turns are fun, if a bit formulaic in a Hollywood kind of way. I got the distinct impression that he was writing this book with the full intent that this be a summer action/thriller movie, even referring to Robert Langston as an Ivy League version of Harrison Ford (he's even doing the casting!). The reader sounds like the voice-over guy for the Superfriends (Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice!) sounding totally corny and over the top. The first time I heard him do a French female, I laughed out loud at what sounded like a Benny Hill drag skit. After an hour of this, I got used to it and was gripped by what was a well paced race for the Holy Grail. Some of the character twists (who's bad, who's good) felt like they came straight out of a movie and felt forced. It was still great fun, though, and inspired me to download Angels and Demons.
The author has an obvious disdain for religion in general, but gives an effort to sound objective. The book jumps back and forth between the 1984 murders of a woman and child and the History of the founding leaders of the Mormon church. Much of this is very detailed and obviously heavily researched; however, he inserts conjecture where the trail of facts end to paint a picture that goes along with his theme. This occurs throughout, but he does acknowledge this with phrases like, "there is evidence to suggest" and "it would seem that..."
The author sprinkles in some sarcasm after horrific stories with little phrases like, "thus sayeth the Lord, Amen" after explaining a murder or some such crime.
The author reads this story in first person much of the time, recounting some murders and setting the scene to put you back at the crime scene in 1984, or in Missouri in the 1830's, and it is very effective at entertaining. WARNING: some of the descriptions are pretty graphic and explicit, told in the murderer's first person.
This was one of the most entertaining non-fictions I have heard or read. He keeps it well paced and it is as fun as a crime story work of fiction. Is it a hit-piece on the Mormon church? I'd say so. Is it a good book? Definitely.
Obviously, this book is as much editorial as a research work. He even manages to take a jab or two at George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq, but, unless you are Mormon, this should easily entertain.
Oh, how I enjoyed this book! I was incredibly surprised that the well-known liberal version of Al Franken was not really in this book. The intellectual comedian Al Franken takes center stage here. Very little on politics. The book is styled as a life advice book that will guide you through life from college to death. The book is chock full of invaluable advice like: don't tell the crowd at Hartford Tech that they are losers because your commencement speech was written for Harvard because your maid wrote down the wrong school, making you angry; keep a list of religions handy in your wallet in case you have a last minute need to pick one in the event of impending death or some other trauma; that he's read all the other advice books and can tell you that they all suck except for his! The book had me laughing out loud right at the beginning and then kept me going for a while. It is non-stop poking fun at just about every part of American life. It did slow down toward the end and the laughs were spreading a bit in the last 1/3, but I laughed so hard at the beginning that I would recommend it to anyone who needs a little comic relief....even conservatives!
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