Brilliantly narrated, with a compelling story and rich characters. Absolutely fell in love with this book. I'm not much for romance or sappy love stories (Nicholas Sparks makes me cringe), but this book managed to weave a love story from a fantastical concept, mysterious plot line, and genuinely interesting characters. Gorgeous work by both the author and narrators.
I literally could not stop listening to this book. Great character development, plot twists, interesting premise... But then it felt like the author just got bored and decided, "well, I guess I better wrap this up..." and left us with THE most dissatisfying ending that I could ever have conceived. I don't recall ever feeling so "let down" by a book, especially one that I was raving about just hours before. As they say, it's better to have loved and lost... So I can't fault this book too much for the botched ending. The first 3/4 of the book were absolutely mesmerizing, and I don't regret purchasing it.
As an aside, the book is set in Ireland. The main character is supposed to have a British accent, but everyone else is supposed to speak with an IRISH accent. The narrator's version of an Irish accent is an unpleasant blend of Cockney and Wisconsin... IF, that is, he remembers to switch from his standard British at all. It definitely kept me from feeling fully immersed in the story.
... At least, that's what I did. What an uplifting, delicious book! By turn hilarious and heart wrenching. George Wilson *nailed* the narration. I can't imagine that reading this book in print form would be half as enjoyable as listening to his excellent narration. Thoroughly entertaining. Within 30 minutes of finishing this book, I recommended it to no less than 5 people. And one of them was a stranger in line behind me at the gas station.
This was the most riveting book I've "read" in a while. I turned on this audiobook to entertain myself on a solo drive from Raleigh NC to Miami FL (about 14 hours with no stops) and I found myself slowing down as I got closer to my destination in order to hear more of the story.
The story... Grisly, but not gratuitously so. Authentic characters, great narration, surreal plot twists with a satisfying ending. The characters in this story are so deftly described that I fell in love with each of them, despite their twisted, tragic flaws. This book literally left me reeling... but in a good way. It took me a good day to shake it off -- I found myself thinking about the story as I went through my day-to-day life. Not for the sensitive reader -- lots of cursing, sexual innuendos, and gore -- but well worth the money, in my opinion.
I wasn't particularly impressed with Carolyn McCormick's delivery of The Hunger Games. ... But, then again, I wasn't particularly impressed with the book itself. The Hunger Games is clearly written for the young adult crowd. The plot line is fairly predictable, the writing is elementary, and the book itself borrows a little too much from Orwell's "1984" to be considered an original contribution to dystopian fiction. The young adult audience wouldn't bother me so much if the premise of the book wasn't so... well, RAW, for lack of a better word. I mean, if 15 other kids were trying to kill me, I think I would let a few expletives fly. The nonchalance with which the heroine faces the Games is unrealistic. Overall, I'd recommend this book if you're on a car trip with the kiddos and don't want to listen to KidzBop for 18 hours. Otherwise, buy a book for grown-ups.
I've recommended this book to everyone I know... and even to random people in the check-out line. Even after 20+ hours of listening (and of driving the long way to and from work every day in order to listen longer), I still didn't want this book to end. As one might expect from Stephen King, this book was extremely suspenseful, but it was also beautifully descriptive and emotionally engaging. It's been a long, long time since a book made me cry, but this one did. I don't even know what to say -- I can't recommend this book highly enough, and I definitely don't want to give away any spoilers to the story so I'll end my review now ;) BUY THIS AUDIOBOOK!!!
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