I liked the technical aspects of the story, but it seemed more aimed at a teen or pre-teen audience as the characters were shallow and the plot points were too obvious and overstated for an adult sci-fi fan to enjoy.
The ending was all-too predictable and simply set the stage for the series to continue.
The performances were fine and it was relatively easy to discern the characters as individuals.
It's a series and was designed as such, so this is a moot question.
I was generally disappointed at the level of writing, specifically in the dialogue. The premise was promising, but the bland and stereotypical characters combined with the unrealistic conversations became grating by the end of the book. As an example, I have never heard the word "glaring" or "glared" used so many times in one story. Overuse of a single adjective shows a lack of sophistication in the writing and should really have been intercepted by the editor.
Readers like to figure things out for themselves instead of being spoon-fed every detail of the plot to make sure they don't miss anything. Which is why I believe this book is best suited to teens and preteens. But well-read sci-fi fans will be frustrated by the lack of depth and dimension of the characters and dialogue. It's a real shame, because I like the story and would continue to listen to the rest of the series, but I found it's faults so, um, "glaring" that I can't ignore them long enough to get through it all. I just hope the author will move to writing stories for adults.
It's wildly creative with everything from gene-splicing to telekinetics and mind-control.
While there are lots of stories about secret organizations of monster-hunters, this one is still quite unique.
All fiction is dependent upon the principle of 'suspension of disbelief.' In order for us to enjoy the story, we must suspend our disbelief that the events are actually happening or even possible. Anything that distracts us from the story can break that illusion and make it less enjoyable, or make us lose interest entirely.
In a book, it's bad writing; in a movie, it can be bad writing, acting, audio, or video; and with audiobooks it's either bad writing or bad reading by the narrator. In "The Rook," Susan Duerden proves to be a talented voice-actor, with a singular exception - tonality.
Most Americans speak within a small range of tones, and sentences ending with a question tend to go up in tone at the end, while simple statements tend to end on a lower tone. Ms. Duerden has the maddening habit of ending statements on the same tone as the rest of the sentence, right in the middle. While she does the various voices admirably, her inclination to end sentences on the middle tone can be so distracting that it pulls you completely away from the story and ends your 'suspension of disbelief.' I did manage to finish the book, but it was a relief to begin another book read 'normally.'
I'm a screenwriter, I don't do tag lines for free :)
As far as the story, it was enjoyable and imaginative. The only negative elements were the occasional slapstick scenes of Mepheny being clumsy. I found most of these wince-worthy as they were unnecessary and un-funny.
My advice is to listen closely to the sample audio, because she reads the entire book this way. I've been to England many times and know that this is somewhat of a Brit characteristic, but I've never heard it done to this degree. If it doesn't bother you, then it's worth the listen.
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