The third book was a significant disappoint. The Strain began with a premise of a scientific explanation for vampires that was only enhanced by two of the heroes being scientists. The third book, however, departs from this and almost seems to be a separate story given the disparate explanation for the vampire's origins in this book. Quite frankly, the third book ruined the trilogy for me.
There were hints of some spiritual aspects in the second book, but they could be shrugged off as medieval people attempting to explain the unexplained. In the third book, the authors completely abandon the scientific explanation and go for some biblical nonsense about archangels.
Quite frankly, it seemed as if the authors didn't really know how to finish the story. They wanted to be different and attempted to write a Crichton-esque vampire story, but when it came to the ending, they weren't able to do so. Instead, they concoct a nonsensical origin story that then allows them to basically find a "Hand of God" ending.
Abercrombie's story is brilliant with a setting that harkens to our own world, but with enough changes to not allow for too many direct links. More important than the setting, however, are the characters. Abercrombie's characters are living individuals who grow with strengths and weaknesses. The characters grow throughout the work. The story has the potential of cliches with savage barbarians and the graying wizard ... Abercrombie, however, deftly avoids cliches and creates a rich world with deep characters.
Abercrombie writing skills are excellent. He paces the story well and describes settings, characters, and conflict with equal skill.
Pacey does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life.
Upon listening to this work, I immediately ordered the rest of the trilogy and plan to grab the rest of work. This is a MUST LISTEN for fantasy fans.
The narration for the book was fine and well done; therefore, no comment on that.
The story, however, was poor to say the least. Having reading previous work by Harris, I had expected better. For anyone who has ready any science fiction, the premise was predictable. Even so, it could have been done better. Unfortunately, and this is the second point, Harris does a poor job of characterizing the finance world. I am surprised critics have lauded his ability to describe Hedge Funds to the ordinary masses. The description of Hedge Funds, algorithm-based investing, and behavioral finance are done through tedious monologues that read like Harris did little more than read a wikipedia article.
None of the characters are particularly sympathetic and you don't really care about any of them. More importantly, they just aren't very interesting.
Child 44 is probably one of the best stories I've read/heard in a long time. The characters and setting were deep and rich. Smith draws you into their lives, the paranoia, despair, and frustration of living and working in Stalin's Soviet Union. Although the setting and characters are the strength of the story, Smith doesn't use them as a crutch. The plot and story telling is well done and make it worth it. Definitely a must listen! I plan to get the rest of Smith's works.
Having reading Thirteen and Altered Carbon, I had expected much from Morgan. Unfortunately, this story was a departure from his other works and not in a good way. The story rambled and lacked any real coherence. The book read like numerous short stories that the author attempted to weave together around the main character. There was, however, no attempt at creating an over-arching, unifying point. So many of these side stories could have been deleted from the main story. They didn't add to the character, the setting, or the plot.
Unlike other reviewers, I also didn't find the characters particular deep or compelling. Rather, I had the sense that Morgan was confused about who Chris (the main character) really was. On the one hand, one could say that that confusion was a reflection of Chris's own confusion of his sense of identity, but the confusion in terms of plot, pacing, and setting would suggest that the confusion was a reflection of poor development rather than thought.
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