After listening to the Pillars of the Earth and the Century Trilogy, I was expecting another wonderful Follett experience. Ugh. This one just didn't measure up. Not even close. The plot was something of a cliche...Every passenger about to take an epic journey has a background story. Who are they? Why are they going? What are they afraid of? What are they trying to escape? etc etc. At first I was unhappy with Casaletto's rapid cadence. (I had to check my player to see if it was on the wrong speed.) Later, I was grateful for it.
How fascinating and remarkable to meet these founding brothers (plus one sister...Abigail) as human beings with fragile egos, remarkable strengths, and human frailties. Jefferson came across as a bit of a bully, Adams as a stubborn egotist, and Franklin as a showman. Washington came through the best. He embodied the Revolutionary spirit that kept the show from closing early!
One can't resist comparing these loyalties to those that came after World War II. We had the unassailable Eisenhower and a period of bipartisan achievements. The question is, can we achieve the same as we move farther from that "finest hour" mentality?
The founders knew there were challenges down the road as the nation would finally confront the slavery issue. And yet they chose to dodge the bullet leaving it for the next generation.
I thought the prose and the reading was a bit tedious and pedantic. I think there are better story tellers, but the way the subject was researched and packaged was great.
I was ready to settle into a new series starring Lucas Davenport. I liked Rules of Prey a lot. But this one was a put-off on several levels. I felt like the author wrote about native Americans without knowing very much about them. (Contrast this with the Tony Hillerman books) However, he included all of the "no good" stereotypes. We had drunken, drugged, miserable Indian characters in this tale, not one of whom inspired any real interest or worth for the plot. But it was the Lucas character that left me disgusted....the way he uses women with no regret. He just goes on about how he loves women, can't help it, and...implied...."take it or leave it." He's now a father...but that changes nothing. I felt sympathy for the New York lady cop who fell into step with this character and cries and begs at the end. Not fun to read. I'm not easily put off by personality flaws. So many great characters in other action novels are deeply flawed....Like Jo Nesbo's Harry....but this Lucas guy just bugs me!!!
OK. Since I was troubled / puzzled by the ending, I should warn that my review might give too much away.
So, let me get this straight. Eight billion or so dollars were cleverly drained away from the evil Syrian regime (the heist!), potentially weakening its power to kill and torture its citizens. Great!
But, in order to save the book's appealing heroine from her hostage state, Allon negotiates her release, lets one of the evil doers slip back into his role, and releases the fortune back to the regime. In short....Allon negotiates with terrorists to save one life and, quite possibly, seals the miserable fate of thousands for years to come. Oh....but.....happy ending....he finds a lost painting.
I have either read or listened to every Daniel Silva book, and I'll probably continue to do so. But this one seemed strangely out of character.
Finally, George Guidall is an excellent reader.
The story had details of agony and misery that might not be something everyone would choose to experience. The book was recommended to me by a Dutch friend who lived through the German occupation. She wanted me to understand the circumstances surrounding her early years. For her sake, I was glad to read it. But...oh....the layers and layers of faith and prayer that served the main characters so well. Would the writer have survived had her Christian convictions not been so firm? I was both drawn and repelled by some of the simplistic views of Corrie and her sister Betsy. I am still mulling over how I would have responded to their ministry in the concentration camp. The reader has an air of missionary goodness in her tone. I'm sure it matches the intent of the writer.
This one has it all. The characters are well drawn with individual flaws and strengths. The son is at once a lethal threat, a just presence in an unjust world, a tender lover, and an abused and wounded child-man. One grieves for him at the same time one is appalled by the cruelty of his vengeance. The plot twist at the end of the novel simply amplifies the injustice under which he has suffered. And yet, the ending is a sweet reward for all endured.
Even without Harry Hole, Nesbo satisfies his devoted readers.
The reader is good, but I was a little put off by the female portrayals. They were a little too clipped and curt for my taste.
Once again, Jo Nesbo succeeds in delivering just the right amount of gritty suspense and mayhem without sacrificing the loyal reader's bond with our beloved Harry. I was kept in breathless anticipation for Harry to...yet again...screw up his personal life. Or, even worse, die!
I admire the way that the reader was led to suspect one after another character as the cop killer.....and then to be blind sided when the real murderer was revealed. Nice writing to pull that off! Nesbo at his best.
So, have we said goodbye to Harry as he rides off into a happy future with Rakel and Oleg? Somehow I both doubt it...and hope NOT!
Only negative on this book....I wasn't happy with the reader. I agree with other reviewers...bring back the previous series reader. I loved John Lee's reading of the Follett books for which a nice Welsh accent was a plus. But it just didn't work for this Norwegian cast of characters.
I am a retired science educator. As such, I easily remember most of the names dropped into this narrative....like old friends. But finding them in one sweeping overview of the natural sciences was like a thrilling journey. In the hands of master story teller Bryson, the history became a lively tale of what is known, what is probable, and what is left to be discovered. I loved the book, and I know that I will listen again. I can't stop thinking about the way the planet has and will continue to change.
I think I might have responded even better had it been read by someone with a less of a formal lecture style. But Richard Matthews gave a flawless performance.
As a girl, I tried...really tried...to like Little Women for my Mom's sake. I even received a set of dolls for Christmas, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth.I tried to treasure them like Mom did. Couldn't. The book was just too sweet and nicey nice.
March was almost 180 degrees in the opposite direction. There was nothing "nice" about this character. He was kind of pathetic in his never ending lapses. He came close to being human, but seemed to lack the ability to get out of his academic, hopelessly idealistic dream world. Not even the interesting character Grace or his beleaguered wife Marmee (what an awful name!!!) could penetrate his shell.
I thought the narrator adopted the perfect tone for March. While reciting the sometimes flowery phrases, he revealed the flaws that plagued him.
Not my favorite book, but I'm glad I persisted. I liked the author's afterwords. Turns out she shared my feelings about Little Women. I'm grateful to her for bringing us March to improve my reactions to the entire package.
At first I resisted. I almost decided not to read yet another account of the misery of the great war. So much suffering, so much injustice and cruelty! Did I really want to go through this again from the point of view of yet another afflicted human being? But I stayed with it, and I am not only happy that I did, I am transformed by the narrative. The girl, the Papa, the cantankerous but loving Mama (who can forget the scene when Rose storms into the school to tell of Max's recovery?) and the Jew hidden in the cellar who clings to life for Liesel's sake...the characters will live on in my heart.
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