I really liked this, so please don't take the headline for my review as complete. That said, it's hard to believe this was conceived as entirely original, and not tacked on to book one. The Hunger Games was so perfect, it would be hard to follow, and harder still to get it correct for everyone's preferences.
An admirable stab at the job, but not quite there. In some senses, I'd kinda prefer it ended with the finale of THG, but then, I'd be wrong, because when compared with almost everything else that's out there, "Catching Fire," is a more than capable combatant.
I've read some folks don't enjoy Carolyn McCormick's rendition. Just go and sit in the corner, dunces hat on. Ms McCormick is perfect, ya heer? Now and again, you can hear how she's taken up with the emotion of the reading, and that comes across the microphone, speakers, thousands of miles.....and right into your heart. Most Audible readers are professional, so you rarely hear them about to blubber 'cos the action got to 'em.
Here you do. Listen to the part (in THG) where Katniss makes her first kill, then the scene with Rue and the flowers. McCormick isn't making that up, her voice is breaking. I found it admirable, a thing of wonder and delight to be reminded there's a human the other end.
You can hear every word clearly, the characters are identified without ridiculous accents and Ms McCormick isn't McCormick, she's the story-teller.
Really, if you like good stories, this can't be out of your library:)
The Killer by Tom Hinshelwood/Tom Wood
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS A SPOILER
I saw this on the front page of Audible one day, and for some unknown reason, I have a bit of a thing for assassin books. I don’t really know why, perhaps because of the left over sadness of years of investigating crime while a UK copper. Perhaps reading histories of the middle and far east whence the lore of hashashin and ninja began.
It’s the motivation for killing which always escapes me. Yeah, I get that you can get mad enough for revenge or anger purposes to put out someone’s lights. In self-defence, no question, him or me. Killing for money or ideological purpose? Dunno, less clear cut. I’m also pretty certain that it’s a difficult profession, rife with very high risk and there are many fewer hit-folk around than popular fiction would have us believe, thanks be.
The Killer, Tom Wood’s first novel comes highly recommended by its reviewers on Amazon and Audible. Well written and performed.
There is quite a lot of Gun-porn, the naming and delineation of qualities of various armaments is mentioned, if not labored over. Fair enough, they are the tools of those who work around guns.
The writing is good, and the plot and narrative works well for the first half of the book. Character development proceeds apace, although we are not told a single thing about the assassin’s background.
At about 2/3rds of the way in, a, “Hemingway Death,” occurs, which totally throws off the narrative and the plot. Up to this point, the twin fulcrum of the narrative was the softening of the assassin and a growing bond between him and another. A very humanizing and sweet element.
The writer, by this death is painted into a corner and any mystery that the book might have had is removed and the reader now knows that we are to be left with a cataclysmic hung-up ending, which will leave us breathless for the next episode in what will be a three part series.
There’s no question. For an assassin like this, you’ve either got to kill him, or turn his actions into reasonable ones. Otherwise he is utterly without remorse or morals, and writing THAT character is too anti-sympathetic, it won’t carry a book. Who wants to read a tale of endless murders for money? No, people don’t. There has to be a spec of humanity there, and in this book, the writer killed it with the, “Hemingway Death.”
While I found the book readable and good work up to that point, afterwards it became mundane and the series of men chopping and fighting in Africa were boring and formulaic, the conclusion over-wrought to ridiculousness. Faugh. The direction was wrong, and the second half of the book could have done with some serious editing. There were longeurs.
Up to 2/3rds of the way through, the book is compelling, vital and interesting. Afterwards, merely serviceable, somewhat boring fare you can read anywhere. For a writer with this talent, a poor outcome.
Writers, STOP killing your darlings for shock and plot movement! We readers invest in those characters, kill them at peril of losing our interest.
I note that some reviewers did not like the narrator, (for a lack of accents?) Astonishing. This was perfectly read. A gentle caress to the ear. Letting the story do the work, beautiful timbre, and every word delivered with clarity. A masterful definition of the art of narration. Laurel Lefkow, thank you, wonderful work.
The novel, well, it does wander a bit. It addresses questions of science, some of the theories of which were at the point of writing, the shores of the unknown. Putting those questions of existence up against love and faith, an interesting and confusing basket.
I really liked it, but I admit, 60% of that was because of the beauty of Lefkow's voice. She could read the telephone directory for me.
This is supposed to be for young adults. All I can tell you is that after a lifetime of dealing with the muck, blood, pus and goo of society, I don't need my nightmares added to by a book supposedly for young teenagers. I understand that some folks are just fine with gore, and I don't mind it quite so much in the flesh. Perhaps the pictures are more vivid on audio.
The first third of this book contains a LOT of egregious and disgusting gore. Be warned.
I was first drawn to the book by the subject matter. Apocalypse via EMP is always interesting. The cause, reasoning and final outcome of the EMP is left without exposition. The gore and violence lingered on lovingly.
I missed, don't ask me how, that there were Zombies in this, and sorry, but I am sick to the back teeth of Zombies and Vampires. Authors, GET OFF THE TREADMILL and write something else. Readers, buy something else, or the writers will continue!
Whole lot of reviews mention Katherine Kellgren's excitable and perhaps shouty delivery. I prefer audiobooks where the reader is completely invisible. Kellgren is no dope and has done plenty of work with Audible. As an amateur reader, I know that she read the book and made a choice to pump up the volume and allow the voice to add drama to the text.
Some listeners like that form of delivery. I'm not sure it works with YA, which is already drenched with pace. I'm not about to knock it, because I know how hard it can be to get this kind of thing just right for everyone. It didn't work for me, the voice was shrill at times and I could have done without that. Bottom line, the story wasn't good enough to support the reading.
The book, too violent for me. Too much wandering about while it told its story. The opening was fresh and very interesting, by the end I was frustrated with all the jumping about, re-threading, and the cliff hanging waiting to be hung. Not so great story telling of a great idea.
Will I read the following instalments? Dunno, unlikely.
This was a really interesting premise. What would happen as society unbundles during an inevitable, visible and completely relentless apocalypse.
There are a lot of pre and post-apocalypse stories running around. Few are credible, whereas this scenario is only too frighteningly real. We get hit by objects from space all the time, most are small and do little damage. We don't spend much money researching them or how to deal with 'em if they do home in.
The murder mystery was yer standard fare. I didn't find that more than mildly diverting. The characters were fairly cookie cutter, good guy, bad guy, girl. What was interesting was the way the society itself wobbled. Cell phones not working, bucket listers, and how the brave, insane and merely resigned attempted to deal with the big rock arrival.
Beautiful read by Peter Berkrot.
This was a strange tale. It started out a bit of a feminist rant, which was going to get boring even if true. I don't come to Audible to be morally improved, but entertained. It failed almost utterly to entertain me, apart from the final encounter, which was diverting for a few moments.
The rest is pretty sordid, as references to prostitution, "the life," tend to be. It is a nasty, brutal, usually short life. Men are pigs, yes they are.
The book was factually incorrect in that it plays out that there is a lot of money to be made in prostitution. There is, but nowhere near the figures that Heloise seems able to extract from it. The working girls almost _never_ earn what they work.
Weirdly enough, hearing Linda Emond's wonderful narration use the few cuss words within the text rather sounded like effluvium in a cathedral. Even Emond's talent could not bring the tale to life for me.
While I agree with the conclusions that Lippman makes overall in the book, and her post book notes, the book wasn't worth the time it took to listen to it.
I know some will be disappointed in that review, especially Lippman fans, but it was a 2, no more.
Who would have thought that this 62 year old geezah could enjoy YA novels? Turns out, I do. I ripped right through The Hunger Games and bought this one on a whim and the numerous good reviews.
The narrator just about took my breath away, what a wonderful talent. I don't know how old the reader is, but she sure sounds to my addled old head like a teenager ought.
There are sections in the second half, where the two lovers are recognizing the pace and power of their passion and melted me right away. Never heard Browning or Cummings quite like that, beautiful.
The pace tears along a bout de souffle.
I purchased the second part of what I believe to be a trilogy immediately upon finishing the first.
A cracking read, and a wonderful narrator.
I passed exams in History at school, how I don't know. I found it boring to the max.
A couple of years ago, I started to read the fabulously bitchy history of England by Baron Macaulay for Librivox audio. It was an absolute hoot, which made me realise that history can be interesting and fun.
The more I read, the more I realise how good *this* work of Winston Churchills really is. David Hume's is probably the more complete, but this definitely puts meat on dry bones. The late Winston was an opinionated old scoot, and without doubt, definitely a snob. He unquestionably considered the aristocracy, of which he was a member, rather better than yer average citizen.
Strangely enough, while that does come through, it doesn't annoy.
I particularly enjoyed his take on the middle ages, where it had the definite ring of veracity.
Every history of Britain suffers from lack of detail from Caesars time through about AD800 or so. The documents are patchy, and mostly compiled from monks drawing the history of their church, rather than the times. Churchill runs through this time lightly, offering his opinion as best as can be gained from the documents available, and better than most, Hume included.
Very well read, very well written and consistently interesting. A surprise and a constant delight.
I'm an Irisher, lived in England most of my life, now resident in Atlanta. This type of foreigner abroad will always have an interest for me. The grandaddy of them all is Bill Bryson's, "Notes from a Small Country." A witty, wide-eyed and underneath the sharp-eyed observation, a loving portrait of the UK.
This is sharp, in places justifiable, but is too filled with bitterness to be very enjoyable. I am a cricketer, so the laughably asinine reflections on a day at Lords and cricket in general were funny, but for the wrong reasons. The observer attempts to compare cricket with baseball. Comparisons are odious, Ms Lyall, and in this case, witlessly so.
There was a deal of accurate criticism, deserved. Food, service, bathroom facilities and the cost of everything in the UK is horrible. Underlying the portrait was a sense of irritation. That irritation won't work anywhere in the world, will it?
I can imagine quite a few folks, having read this, would have told Ms Lyall to,"bog off back to America, ya miserable Yank!"
While the narrator had a lovely voice, really lovely, there are some unforgivable mispronunciations. Quite a few errors on simple words which should really have been picked up by the producer. (They are supposed to listen, right?)
Living in Atlanta, I find a regular hoot of differences, cultural and practical, which are a constant entertainment. Ms Lyall could take note and try and be a bit more leavened with kindness. Britain is a mad place, like everywhere else.
An irritable American writing about it with savage misunderstanding ain't going to fix it anytime soon. A cold hearted curates egg of a book, not my favourite.
The Hunger Games has been a huge surprise to me, (a 62 yr old male.) On hearing the kids on twitter go nutz for it, I got bored, turned off and would have nothing to do with it. I loathe hype. I figured it had to be more of that ordure Potter.
On reading the plot summary, I thought this'll be some political messaging only just hidden in the story. Y'all know how much I hate that.
Well, I wuz wrong..completely.
The Hunger Games is a rattling good story. Gore knocked down a tad, 'cos its fer kids, right? Doesn't hurt the tale, which belts along at a terrific pace. The only crit I could make was the lack of exposition in favour of action, which is non-stop. There are several brilliant scenes, which are wonderfully burnished by Carolyn McCormick's excellent reading.
I've listened to it twice now, and will do so again. Book has to make a pretty strong impression for that to happen. I've now read the ebook, listened to the audible, and seen the film. The movie is an excellent rendition of the book. If you like this tale, go see.
Please note, this review refers only to Book One, I will have different things to say about Books two and three.
Great book, enjoy! You will need hankies at some points.
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