I really enjoy Hickam's folksy, sharp toned story telling. His characterizations are well formed and plausible and these believable characters, far-fetched as they sometimes are, dew you in to 'know' and relate to them. This story tweaks history in a meaningful way and this reader brings them vividly to life. The problem with war stories is many times they push our sensitivities to the raw end of reality and Homer takes this brutality at times a bit too far. Gratuitous, even. Some of these scenes are sprinkled then culminated with heads rolling (literally) and human flesh finding its way onto the menu. But it is not so prevalent as to ruin the story's momentum.
This is neither my first Hickam tome, nor will it be my last. But the ending here is badly conceived and very clumsy. Admittedly, this tale would require a masterly conclusion considering the lengths to which we are taken. But Hickam falls very short of pulling it off. I was physically uncomfortable as I cringed and squirmed in my seat as he fumbled his way through it, but it did not completely detract from my enjoyment of this odd tale.
I am also pleased to discover that Stephen Hoye rivals Michael Kramer whom I consider the very best at droll, ironic humor. Kramer as the narrator is damn near enough to convince me to try a book, Fantasy excursions excluded, of course.
I wanted to be fair. I wanted to not think that an ex-TV guy that landed (all too briefly) on a great series idea/character, would not let his resultant villa in the South of France dilute his ability to write. So I waited a few months and read/listened to it again, and it just gets worse. Child (or whatever his real name is) likely pays someone to write this melba toast blather. And poor old Dick Hill, who was ill-fitted from the start, is sounding older than ever and decidedly unlike a middle-aged butt-kicker/philosopher.
The simple formula of happening across a wrong to right, then mowing his way through the obstacles like a rototiller after cleverly discerning the 'clues', has seen far better days. And it happened several books ago. I am astonished that late-comers even stuck around. I'm afraid Lee Child (or whatever his name is) has sunk his hooks into the 'dumbing down of the American gray matter' and the teeming masses just do not know any better.
I think those of us with any integrity left and understand what good writing can be, will reject this sub-par formulaic tripe and head for greened pastures.
Spent too much time sorting out the players in a muddled opening and it did not get better. I guess this has something to do with the genetics of identical twins, but frankly, who cares. Just because Turow tries to spice it up with politicians and billionaires, does not an interesting novel make. More evidence of a one-hit wonder!
A somewhat weak ending could not detract from this masterly portrait of the South. A rich diorama of small town life, full of real people wrapped in spot on dialogue, this guy is such a pleasure to read when compared to most other "best selling" authors.
These stories of spooks, hit men and their janitors need at least an inkling of plausibility that tethers them to reality to be entertaining. And the writing must be average, at least. This slow-moving train to know-where has the most preposterous conclusion I may have ever read.
The characters are thin and poorly developed. Cliche after cliche fills this droning mess and stultified, repetitive dialogue wears one down. Realizing he has written us into the proverbial corner, Battles concocts the most convoluted, nonsensical conclusion on record. I told myself it was a parody of a parody of a parody in order to justify the time I wasted, but, alas, there is no rhyme or reason for it.
The generation of video game players and other techno-beasts is aging. Whether they are becoming adults, as in reality-based productive citizens remains to be seen. Corporate-based cults like Google-ites tend to scare me as the charm and super-reality presumed by the cultist of this religion-like fervor, can lead it's minion down a rosy path to nowhere. Meanwhile, Google and their ilk are soaking up information on all of us, from our buying patterns to our political affiliations, and using them to who knows what end. The characters that control this data (and its eventual impact on our lives) are controlled by whom exactly? They are rich beyond having normal tethers to reality, and powerful enough to effect QOL issues for EVERYONE!
And that makes me more than a bit uncomfortable. The General Motors and General Electrics of the past simply wanted to monopolize their markets and control the political decision makers via Lobbyi$t$, while making ungodly amounts of cash. But at least they made some helpful things along the way. Now the world is controlled by a class of wealthy game players, that discussed their thievery as 'investment vehicles' that benefit a small few, while making exactly nothing useful.
Now we have the notion of 'belonging' to something as meaningless as a cult or religion, that pays us very well to do who knows what for who knows whom. All this brainpower would be better exploited in science and medicine, aimed at improving the quality of our lives without disturbing the natural environment in which we survive.
Penumbra's tale is an old one, but the setting here is not a creepy little bookstore. It is a masterful manipulation of many of our brightest young minds, a story from which we get very little, if anything.
Perhaps it is the monotone drone of the narration. Perhaps it is the convoluted, nonsensical plot. Or the contrived, implausible dialogue.
The protagonist, a dim-witted, spineless moron is buffeted about by a cast of room-tempeture IQed dupes and a band of psychopathic, murderous gypsies in the mysterious beach town at the end of the road by the the fabulous real estate parcel, all engage in the end game. Only no one knows what the winner gets.
Sound exciting? Get some help.
It had to be one of the main characters, and it does not take long to figure out who's up to no good. The main character (all of them, but he in particular) is underdeveloped and not very attractive as the protagonist. Everyone in this thing is a nutcase or a wimp.
This guy needs to learn how to create attractive characters, even if they are evil. This plot has some promise, but the weak writing and poor editing make it more potent than Ambien.
I may try one more book by Hamilton, but I am not optimistic.
As an avid reader, I have worked my way through the real talent and now roam the periphery of the second (or lower) tier in search of quality writing. Suggestions welcome.
Cute premise that had neither characters or plot sufficient to carry an entire novel. There is a decided evenness, a lack of peaks and valleys of tension and relief with a main story driving the thing forward. Even the gimmick of the (obviously) traumatized kid unable to speak was not used to full advantage.
Mischaracterized as a 'novel', it is a short story of moderate interest.
The reader is among the worst I have experienced. His phrasing and tempo were amateurish and he mispronounced some very common words. He came across as someone that was trying this for the first time and with poor reading skills to boot.
I had to reconstruct the sentences occasionally to keep the meaning of the text apparent.
The book is gimmick-laden and the characters trite and poorly developed. I kept telling myself that the poor reading performance was degrading the story, but came to realize they deserved one another.
Good writing and characters pull the reader in with interesting and credible situations and plot construction. This book was formulaic and a waste of my time. I read too far into it, hoping it would save itself, to ask for my money back. I suppose it is worth a few bucks to warn others.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.