I started listening to "Red Rabbit" right after I finished Robert Littell's "The Company", so I have to admit there was a threshold to trip over before I got into the book. It seemed to start _very_ slowly, and took about 6 hours before you got past setting up the plot, identifying the characters, and moving into the story. It felt longer.
Once the plot got moving, the book was enjoyable, and getting a prequel look into Ryan made for a good story with some interesting references. What I didn't like was how deep Clancy went into the thoughts of the characters, especially at the beginning of the book. Setting a character up is one thing, but following a character's mind-trip as he thinks about 50 different concepts gets real old, real fast. Scott Brick, the narrator, is one of my favorites - but even he couldn't help me wade through that stuff any faster. Maybe this is the kind of junk they skip over in the abridged versions. If so, I understand why.
This was a fun book to listen to, and caught my interest for quite a while. The book isn't consistently gripping - the beginning plodded along for me, but by the time Eragon hit the road, it was more fun to keep up with. From the minute they introduced it as "Inheritance, Book 1", I figured there would be a sequel, but I was still a little surprised at how quickly the book ended. The Hollywood-style setup for the next book seemed like a quick fix to end it.
I've read a lot of comments regarding how much was lifted from other books in the genre. I'll grant that there are some strong similarities to what's out there: a variant of dragonriding (McCaffrey), blue rock-like things that mark your palm (Eddings), but then I think the comparisons get a little unfair. Yes, there are dwarves, elves and dragons, and yes, Tolkien has them in his books. But so do a lot of other people who have written about them, and you see many similar traits regardless of the author - dwarves hacking stone underground, elves being thin, quiet, strong, and longlived. Some features are just elements of other stories that you'll find anywhere else - a bond between the main character and an animal, the older mentor with a similar past. Paolini has put many of these features together in a way that makes for an interesting story, and is set in an interesting world that I'm looking forward to reading more about.
The writing style _is_ simpler than other authors. Paolini _is_ a teenager, and soon enough, he'll be older, continue to age, and no doubt become a more complex writer as he learns more. I think this is an interesting station at which to hop on the train, and see where he ends up. I'd recommend it as a good fun audiobook, keeping in mind that it won't necessarily be complex and that the descriptions get a little overdone, especially in the beginning. Looking forward to book 2 and the improvements to his writing style he'll likely bring.
I had heard good things about the book, so I picked it up to see what I thought of it. My gauge for enjoyment is how quickly I turn my iPod back on when I get into the car to pick up the story, and the first third or half of the book did that. At the turning point, however, the story started to become less of an interesting collection of new facts, explanations, and ideas about symbology and art history, and more of a fantasy novel that stretched way too much.
I finished the book because I was interested enough in finding out what happened, but I can't help but think I would have enjoyed the book far more if it the plot didn't wend its way into the unbelievable coincidences and paths that crossed. Suspension of disbelief can only go so far.
So I gave it 3 stars. I'd have given it 4 if realism governed the latter half instead of the quick barrage of amazing incidents, and I'd have given it a 5 if I had twice as many interesting factoids to walk away with. Now, how many of those are true, and how many were created to fit into the story of the book....
This was my first Nelson DeMille book, although I had seen "The General's Daughter" in the theaters. It started a little slow for me, but it quickly got to the point where I couldn't wait to get back into the car to listen to some more of the story. The narrator helps a lot - I've heard Scott Brick's work before, and his portrayal of Paul's sarcasm and the various accents he throws in (even the subtle accent for Bill Stanley) helped it a lot. Had some good laugh out loud moments.
That's not to say that it was perfect. I get the feeling this book could have been 44 hours instead of 28 if half of the conversations didn't have a, "I didn't reply" or "She didn't reply" bit in there. That irked me enough to be noticeable. Plus, there were a few plot points that I won't spoil that had me and my wife thinking, "How the heck didn't he notice THAT?"
All in all, quite enjoyable. I'll be looking into more of DeMille's stuff for the writing, and for other books that Brick narrated.
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