Elly Griffiths' 4th book in the Ruth Galloway series does not disappoint. Her characters continue to be interesting and the mysteries less than straightforward. Although many of her characters are less than conventional people and hold beliefs not likely to be accepted by the mainstream, Griffiths always manages to keep them from going overboard into an extreme that might alienate some readers. She also leaves much open to interpretation instead of simply telling you this is what you must believe happened. It's a bit along the lines of Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins, only as a archeologist Ruth Galloway is perhaps a bit more grounded in scientific belief. I'm making the comparison simply based on the fact that both authors are adept at leaving opinion up to the reader.
The plot of the novel is excellent with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting and leaving me feeling like the book was much too short and couldn't we have had more please. I'm amazed at how well Griffiths combines Ruth's life with the investigations without making her into a Scarpetta, or a protagonist who becomes the constant victim. She's there and she is definitely the focus, but the writing is much more subtle and you don't feel as if Ruth is being forced on you. I've loved the previous books in the series and this one was no different. Griffiths holds your interest from beginning to end without going overboard on the drama and I really like the way she even makes reality seem surprising. I don't want to have to wait for the next book to come out.
The only critique I have of this book is the quality of the recording. Jane McDowell did an excellent job at narration, as always, but the recording occasionally sounds quite tinny even though I downloaded the 4. Still, it's a great book and one I can recommend.
Although at first glance The Hunt just seems to be another teenage dystopia novel which incorporates many elements used by other writers in the genre during the last few years, the writing is excellent and the story keeps you tethered from the beginning to end. Fukuda creates interesting characters in an interesting world that make you care about what happens and hold your attention.
His use of contrast is excellent and helps him create more than just a story. His juxtapositions offer an interesting take on what would otherwise just be another fantastic novel. The world in which his protagonist lives seems so civilized and orderly from the outside, and perhaps it is, until you introduce the right, or wrong, stimulus at which point Pavlov comes to mind. It makes you wonder what would happen to that particular society should all humans be definitively removed. What would evolution come up with then? Another stimulus? Or would true civilization of the populous take over? Would they perhaps evolve into humans given enough time? All very interesting if you think about it. Not that Fukuda lets you root for them. He reveals enough about their characters that it's clear that you would really rather not find out what evolution would do.
The "hero" of the story also offers a bit of a conundrum. He is human and we should therefore like him, but his reaction to and rejection of his own race render him despicable. Despite this you find yourself liking him and hoping that he will finally make the right choices. And then there are the other humans. Fukuda doesn't actually go into their lives and world much, but that also offers up a lot of food for thought. What would it be like to be raised in that manner? How do they view their captors? To what information were they privy?
If you like YA dystopia and fantasy and books that offer you up a little more than just a story, then give this a try. It's a good read - and not too heavy on the teenage romance which is so often soppy.
The narration was excellent.
I like the fantasy genre. A lot. Unfortunately, much of the time fantasy=detailed, long, drawn out battle scenes that I usually wind up pretty much skimming (in the case of audio books, ignoring). That's why I was so pleased to find this series. I'm working on the last one right now and all the way through it's been about the story, not about the fighting. Leaving out the bits about who whacks whom with a sword when and which flank is being attacked by which of the enemies leaves Sullivan time to really develop the story and the characters. He gets the reader to become emotionally involved, or interested, in the characters and then puts them in situations which create all of the suspense and drama needed. It's a really good listen and I can recommend it to anyone who doesn't thrive on the violence. Not that there isn't any violence at all, but at least he doesn't go on and on and on and on about it like so many fantasy writers seem to do. I've loved every minute of the whole series.
The narrator is really good. Easy on the ear and well spoken. A good choice for these books.
The stories are brilliant, the narration is excellent, but the recording is poor. You can hear other voices and noise in the background which is disturbing and takes away from the book. It's a shame because otherwise it would merit 5 stars.
This is one of those books I picked up in an Audible sale and I'm glad I did. It's quite a good read. While certain of the elements are predictable (when you read as much as I do most books have predictable elements), Wells combines many different fantasy devices to create a refreshingly new and interesting world. Her characters are likeable and realistic and the plot takes enough twists and turns to keep the reader's interest without becoming too fantastic for it's own good. All in all I really enjoyed the book and will definitely be getting the next book in the series.
Narrator: The book is well narrated. I would definitely listen to more of Christopher Kipiniak.
This is not one for the faint of heart, especially if you have a good imagination. The imagery is gruesome and disturbing, the circumstances horrid. Personally, I can't really say I enjoyed this book, but that doesn't mean it's not worth a read. It's a little different than the usual YA distopian novels since the catastrophe preceding the events in the book was manufactured and the ensuing events had little to do with saving society at large. There were one or two places where the author went a little too far in my opinion and risked credibility, but the story didn't dwell on these things and the fact that it kept moving keeps the reader engaged.
Refreshingly for a YA novel, Baggott did not dwell on romance. Yes, there is some, but it's not the focus of the story. You get the feeling that Baggott wanted to spend more time focusing on what could happen if the wrong people have too much power and much too much knowledge. She does this without becoming preachy which is a huge plus. She's simply telling a story about what might be.
Someone else's review mentioned that it was a little heavy on the sci fi side and that's fairly accurate. It's just that other side of the line between fantasy and science fiction since there's a lot of science and medically based plot motivators.
All in all, I won't personally be listening to the sequels because the plot didn't grab me enough to override my aversion to the imagery, but that's not to say that it was a bad book, simply that it wasn't really my thing. If you like dystopian YA and have the stomach for it, you might love this book.
Narration: All of the characters were well narrated and well matched to the book.
When reading this review, please keep in mind that I am an adult and this book was written for young adults/teenagers. I bought the book knowing that the story would probably be a little young and a little too fixated on the love story angle for my taste, and yet the idea of a society without love intrigued me. I was right about the story and as an adult I often found myself rolling my eyes at the drama and exaggerated emotions. It wasn???t as bad as it could have been though and for that I???m glad. The rest of the story and description of a society of dampened emotions, and the consequences thereof, was enough to keep me interested and attentive to the end.
The author sets up a world where people have decided that eschewing strong emotions, especially love, is the way to create a world of peace. Love is often the cause of war and death, ergo without love, there will be no war or death. The Cure takes care of this for them. After the Cure, everyone is calm and well behaved and no one wants to disturb the peace. Indeed, even if they did desire to, they have a good idea that the consequences would not be pleasant and most choose not to rock the boat in favour of their own well-being. As the author takes you deeper into this society, the rough edges become jagged and the nasty side starts to rear its ugly head. This is a side of the society that the majority never see, principally because they choose not to. The dampening of emotions alone is not enough to control the populace and the government has come up with ways of checking malcontent that most would find utterly reprehensible and physically sickening.
I liked the ideas Oliver presented in the story. It???s not as fast-paced or exciting as other YA dystopian novels, but there???s much more to think about. It seems impossible that a society could allow itself to be treated like a flock of sheep herded along without questioning, not attending to the consequences of their easy life until it is too late. Yet it has happened before and this is a good reminder that it could happen again.
Having said that, I do wish there had been a little bit more action in the plot, but that might come in the follow up novel. All in all I thought it was a good set up for a trilogy and will probably read the next instalments, although they won???t be first on my list of to be read books. Again, I think a younger audience would be more enthusiastic about the book, so don???t let me dissuade you from trying it. Even if you don???t care for teenage romance, there???s a lot more the book has to offer if you???re willing put up with a little eye rolling.
Narration: Well read if a little overly dramatic (for my taste) on occasion. I would listen to another book read by Sarah Drew without hesitation.
Harry Hole is another detective full of flaws. He hides in drink and drugs, is asocial and ignores the rules, but he gets away with it because he gets the job done. Despite his flaws, or perhaps because of them, he is a good man and is likeable. He's the sort of man you would like to have as a friend, but would hope he doesn't show up to too many of your parties because you're never sure what he's going to do. So far, he's a fairly typical detective of the grittier sort of crime/mystery genre and doesn't particularly stand out from the crowd.
What makes The Leopard such a great book is the plot. This one is full of twists and turns, clues that help as well as hinder and characters who make you think they are something they are not. Although all the clues are there, it's difficult to see where the plot is headed. You just have to hang in and wait for the story to develop, which is fantastic in my book. Nesbo keeps you guessing. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you aren't, but that just adds to the interest.
The only warning I would issue is that the details are graphic and gory. If you've got a good imagination and have difficulty getting pictures out of your mind, you might want to give this one a miss, or at least avoid listening before bed. It's not a cosy sort of mystery; it's one that will make you wonder about the depth human beings can sink to in their desire to cause others pain. This, however, is what keeps the violence from being gratuitous. Nesbo isn't writing about violence just to draw in a crowd; he's just showcasing what many of us never think about living in a fairly safe and sane world as most Westerners do.
All in all an excellent read that I can recommend to anyone with a strong stomach.
The narration was also excellent. Robin Sachs does a great job and I would listen to more of him any time.
I suppose if you are familiar with the characters, this story might make a bit more sense. Not having any idea of what it was about or knowing the characters left me feeling like I was having flashbacks to things that never happened to me. There was no sense of reality and I struggled to even begin to understand what was going on. The story itself felt stilted and disjointed as if the author were only using the setting and characters to expound on philosophical ideas that interested him more than his own creation. I'm afraid this left me not caring enough about the characters to want to continue reading more about them. The only reason I finished this one was because it was so short. I won't be continuing with the series.
Narrator: Robin Sachs did an excellent job with what he had to work with.
The stories in this book are clever and well written, but I would recommend reading them instead of listening to this version. The narrator (the author herself) is unfortunately a little monotonous and doesn???t put much effort, if any, into differentiating between the characters as a good narrator would. As her enunciation is lacking and there is so little enthusiasm in the narration, the whole thing comes off like a teenager reading something in class that they don???t find very interesting. The effect is soporific and dull. It???s a shame as the stories would otherwise be a treat. Well written, poor execution.
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