Okay, I accept that everything PKD is supposed to be weird. But I didn't find it particularly though-provoking, or illustrative of some greater theme of mankind, sentience, or humanity. I just found it to be odd.
I actually stop-started this one, something I rarely do, and even more rarely with something this short. I just lost interest not all that far in and wandered off to another book. Several books, I think. I finished this one during a brief credit drought when I was craving something 'new'. It wasn't bad, it was just average. Boiler plate. A shift worth of filler, but something I'm unlikely to ever actually download a second time for another listen.
I grabbed this one because the blurb said it was written for people who were new to Forgotten Realms and was showcasing Waterdeep. It fails utterly.
It constantly references things that you'd need to be quite familiar with Forgotten Realms to understand, and up to date with it's constantly evolving story line. It showcases WaterDeep in much the same way that a really great performance of one of Shakespeare's plays showcases the excellent carpentry of the stage being performed on.
The narrator does numerous voices, mostly intensely silly. They meld a bit later, as three characters seem to use the same "Big, dopey guy" voice.
The story really is great, but I'm in love with Stina Nielson's narration. She really brings Georgia to life, and reminds me of some of my favorite comedians from BBC Radio 4. I enjoyed the diary/journal format, as well. It kept things punchy and succinct, so Georgia never becomes as annoying and hate-able as a silly, self-obsessed teenager ought to be. As she as can manage to do something dreadful, you're into another entry where she's correcting her actions, or at least suffering for them.
I bought this book (and some others), to get a quick crash course on Eberron while stuck working. I was really after color, and setting, maybe some history, but actual plots were not high on my list of priorities. I actually decided to get this one when I found posts by the Author (aka Hellcow) discussing it in an RPG forum topic about Eberron novels. Common consensus was that the end of the trilogy sucked. The auther agreed (ok, he said he'd have done it differently if he'd..yadda yadda,)
I like Sharn. I like Lorac the disgruntled flying dwarf and the obnoxiously cute goblin girl far more than any of the actual protagonists, who I'd briefly encountered in Tales of the Last War (Get it first!).
I think I liked the book, but it wasn't a quick listen. Lots of starts and stops. It drags in places, and...
I'd like to fire the editor with unnatural speed, for the soul-crushing number of times someone or something is described with "unnatural speed". The author clearly inserted that same description with unnatural speed almost as often as he reminded us that Pierce is made of wood and metal. Oh, and they ate nothing but gruel for six months. Get used to hearing that. It's whipped out with unnatural speed, though Pierce doesn't mention it, since he's made of wood and metal.
I absolutely love this collection. It's a collection of bits done for the radio show when they were promoting Arguing With Idiots. I'd be annoyed by the repeated intro/bumper playing, but I'm too amused by a complaint in the recording from one of the stars about waking up at 4 in the morning with that intro stuck in his head. The only thing I don't really like is the long chunk of Van Jones audio when Glenn goes all ADD during one of the bits. Once I bookmarked it so I could skip around that part, it became perfect.
He's dead. Sorry. Now shut up, grab your towel, and listen to Simon Jones read the book.
If you've already read or listened to the first five, and the five radio plays, and possibly the television show, and the movie, and probably the Dirk Gently stuff and even DA's Dr Who stuff and you're still here looking at this book, you should get it.
Maybe you'll think it's a brilliant cap on the series, being the sixth book in the trilogy and being not just published, but written post-mortem, and then read by the guy who's been Arthur Dent for 35 years now.
Maybe you'll think it's a sad, macabre dance, like someone singing you lullaby's while wearing the skin of a dead friend as a mask.
Either way, If you've made it this far, you need to know.
(Oh, and grab Starship Titanic too! This is at least that good, whatever that backhanded recommendation is worth).
If you saw the Will Smith film of this same name, I'm sorry. But on the bright side this novel bears almost no relation to that film.
I first read this after the third or fourth time I heard a writer or director of modern vampire films reference it, as well as references, homages and out-right ripoffs of it in a dozen role-playing and video games.
It's a real classic, and this performance of it is excellent. It would be worth the credit and the time just to see what all the fuss is about, but honestly the ending still gets me. I've read it half a dozen times. I listened to this version and least twice, and the ending still gets me every time.
Martin Jarvis' performance is excellent. I mean, really great. I got several other Martin Jarvis performances just on the strength of his reading here. It's a strong as Gaiman's writing in "Neverwhere", but Pratchett's humor helps take the usual Gaiman "I want to throw myself of a bridge" edge off of it.
80% of the book is background info on numerous characters, mostly dead, and entirely unimportant and not involved in the actual story. Everything you ever wanted to know about fictional Swedish Nazi industrialists. Seriously. Character sketches of multiple generations.
The whole of the actual plot resolves in about 15 minutes of predictable. That's not the actual end, it carries on for quite a while.
While the Rincewind books are my favorite sub-series of Discworld, this is probably my least favorite of the Rincewind books. Still worth it if you like Rincewind.
It's actually quite a good book. The ending was just freaking brilliant though, and I'm still giggling about it. The individual stories of each traveler are spun out in-between the larger narrative of their journey. It wrecks the flow of the narrative, as you swing into the character histories, and then back out at roughly the same place you left off. This would be more forgivable, but not all of the stories are very good. And one of the travelers buggers off without explanation or telling his tale as if a heavy handed editor just tossed the whole history and the character with it, but didn't bother to have the author rewrite him out of the portions that were already written.
Of the six characters tales, two are quite good, two are kinda meh, and two were truely brilliant and easily convinced me that I should read more of what Dan Simmons has written.
Oh, and even though the ending makes me laugh like a school girl, it's a crap ending which does not resolve anything from the larger plot and leaves you reaching for the sequel. Again, this would be more forgivable, but by the time I finished Hyperion, I needed a break and couldn't go straight into Fall of Hyperion (I tried, and ended up listening to Terry Pratchett instead).
All in all, it's a worthwhile read. I'd have paid for just the Scholar and the Consul's tales.
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