I loved the first two books in the series, and the actual storyline of this book was to an extent good. I also didn't have any real problems with the various accents used in narration either; there are many characters and storylines so distinct accents are helpful in keeping the story in context.
However, the author took side trips to nowhere that were really self indulgent for the author and pointless to the reader, and seemed more to want to convince the reader of his own view of the creation of the universe than to tell the continuing story of Ender and the circumstances in his life. In the end, I felt like I was listening to a recorded internal debate, not a fictional story. The author's personal ramblings went on and on until I literally found myself groaning out loud and begging for the diatribe to end.
If the author had simply stuck to the story telling and less to the lecturing on his own personal view of what "life is" this would have been an enjoyable listen, as it stands...it can only be described as good in places, painfully boring at times, and grating on the nerves at other times.
If it helps, Children of the Mind (the next in the series) has the same ramblings but not quite as bad.
The story of a family going on "vacation" to an 1890's Frontier Camp is both funny and engaging and I was absolutely hooked on this story from the start all the way through to the end!
Basically, as with a lot of family vacations, the teenagers are none too happy about being forced into the experience and the parents aren't quite so sure if they understood what they were getting themselves into. The experience provides lessons to be learned of course; but the author writes in such a way that you can both understand what they are going through, while also laughing a bit at the situations they find themselves in. The narrator also did an excellent job of making the characters in the story come to life just with the tone of her voice. This is really a good story for the entire family - children, teens, and adults!
I was hooked from the first chapter! The reader adds a fabulous reality to the characters, and the story itself kept me listening to the exclusion of all the other things I was supposed to be doing. The story is listed as a childrens book but it is not intended for young children. Amazon states the recommended age as "young adult" but I would think anyone about 14 or up would love it.
This is a wonderful, funny, and uplifting story - but what makes it all the better is the narrator! The humorous way he tells the story allowed me to feel the frustration of this husband and wife as they simply try to take a year off from the hustle of Christmas and are met with disbelief from their friends and neighbors.
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