I enjoyed "The Magicians," but this sequel truly blows the original out of the water. The characters seem to solidify and I connected with them more strongly than I did in the first book.
One of the things I enjoyed about this book is it gave a more realistic, grittier telling of a fantasy quest. This book took so many fantasy tropes and turned them on their heads. I also really enjoyed the flashbacks to Julia's life after she was rejected from Brakebills.
The ending blew me away. It wasn't at all what I was expecting and it left me completely satisfied and with a sense of hope for what the future holds for these characters.
The Doctor takes Rose to her first alien planet where they are immediately captured, separated, and imprisoned on different planets. As Rose fights to get back to the Doctor, the Doctor uncovers an alien plot to... oh, I don't want to spoil it. The idea is interesting and we see some familiar baddies, but the execution just didn't work for me. Because the Doctor and Rose are separated, what we essentially have are two different stories and almost no interaction between the two main characters. Another problem is the story drags on far too long. Three times I thought the story was wrapping up, only to see that I had several hours of book left to go. Normally, this would be a good thing, but not here. I should have loved this, but I didn't.
That said, I also didn't hate it. The author did a great job of keeping both the Doctor and Rose in-character. We see Rose cope and rebel in a hellish environment and we see glimpses of the Ninth Doctor's soft, compassionate side (always a nice juxtaposition with his normally prickly and hardened demeanor). I also enjoyed some of the original characters in this story. And, as always, Camille Coduri knocks it out of the ballpark as the narrator. I would recommend this story to fans of the Ninth Doctor and those who really enjoy Season 1 bad guys.
The Ninth Doctor is my favorite and I've relished the novels in which he is featured, but The Deviant Strain was the absolute worst way for me to wrap up Nine's stories. It broke my heart to rate this as low as I did.
Poor Stuart Milligan has been torn apart in the reviews, and unfortunately, I can't defend him. It was a gamble to have an American narrate something so quintessentially British, and that gamble was lost. Captain Jack is the only person in this book who is supposed to have an American accent, but Mr. Milligan failed to capture even Jack's voice. I'm no connoisseur of British accents, but even I can tell that the accent Mr. Milligan used for the Doctor in no way resembles the Northern accent of Christopher Eccleston. None of the characters sound like themselves and it really pulled me out of the story.
Speaking of the story, I didn't care for it, either. The setting is interesting, but the plot and motivations have left me cold (no pun intended). Full disclosure: I have not finished this story, and with 90 minutes left to go, I probably never will.
I would recommend this book only to people who feel compelled to have complete collections. It is not enjoyable in the least.
The world Blythe creates in this novel is completely believable and I found his original characters realistic. While this novel isn't particularly scary, I did find the depictions of the Autons actually horrific, something that was not possible to really convey in the live-action show. This book has a strong storyline, good characters, just a hint of timey-wimeyness, and Georgia Moffett nails the characters' voices. It is good, clean, Doctor Who fun!
I love watching Doctor Who, but I haven't enjoyed the Eleventh Doctor as much as I had hoped I would. I think part of the problem is the show isn't quite as character-driven as it once was. But I think that's why I enjoyed this book so much. It fills in a lot of the gaps I feel the show has left, character-wise. The Doctor and Amy banter with each other and you finally get the sense that they really are best friends. You can see their relationship grow within the book and I really enjoyed that.
The story is also a very good one. Little revelations are had throughout so you're never quite sure exactly what's happening until the very end. I also really enjoyed how the language shifts depending on the point of view the story is being told from. The language is old-fashioned when told from the Morphans' point of view and more casual when told from Amy's or Rory's. I especially enjoyed listening to Amy's inner monologue and counting the number of times the word "stupid" came up.
Michael Maloney's narration was also very good, although the voice he uses for the Doctor seems off to me and ended up sounding unintentionally silly.
This has quite possibly usurped "The Forever Trap" as my favorite Doctor Who novel. The story is solid, the characters are bang on, and Camille Coduri's narration is perfect. I was completely charmed by this book within the first ten minutes. It's as if Rayner knows these characters personally. You can easily envision them acting exactly as Rayner describes.
I don't normally relisten to audiobooks, but this one is definitely going into rotation.
If you're looking for a book that feels like The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter had a baby that grows up, goes to college, becomes a bitter, disaffected Millennial, then goes on an adventure, this is for you.
Despite that description, I really enjoyed this book. It took a while to get into, but when it finally started clicking, it held my interest for the remaining 16 hours. And that's saying quite a lot for a book in which the very loose plotline takes the majority of book to present itself. Most of the book feels like a series of events that have nothing to do with one another, but it builds beautifully to a climax that feels real, and scary, and significant.
The length of the book gives the author the opportunity to truly flesh out the characters. These characters feel real, and that's the highest praise I can give any author.
There were a few things that I didn't enjoy. Firstly, while the characters are fully-formed, they're deeply flawed and not particularly likable. I was engrossed in the story, but I didn't relate to any of the characters. This made it impossible to empathize with them in their darkest moments. Secondly, the author sometimes talks about one character's "Oregonian" accent, once even calling it "exaggerated." As someone who speaks with the same non-regional American dialect people from Oregon use, I can't even begin to imagine what this sounds like. These complaints didn't keep me from enjoying the book, but it is keeping me from giving it a five-star rating.
Mark Bramhall does a superb job with the narration. Each character has a distinct voice and Mr. Bramhall's dark delivery sets the appropriate tone for the story.
As I said in the first paragraph, this book evokes images from The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter, but this is not a children's book. The characters use foul language and there are depictions of sex, albeit none very graphic.
It's a story about a pole told as if to small children. The book itself is not particularly funny. However, the banter between Colbert and Hanks was hilarious and that alone was worth the price of admission. The thoughtful inclusion of a .pdf file with all the illustrations was gravy. I cannot regret spending $1.50 on this.
I only started reading thebloggess a few weeks ago, so while I am a little familiar with her style, I hadn't already heard most of the stories. I really enjoyed this book. Her stories are hilarious, but sometimes she throws a curveball and I found myself occasionally stunned by the heavy turns it takes. And I mean that in a good way. This book isn't just a bunch of fluff. There is some good, solid substance here.
She warns the readers in the beginning that they will be offended. I never found myself offended (perhaps I'm just as crass as the author), but I can see how other people might be. This book isn't for the prim or pretentious. But if you're cool with taxidermy and clinical (though not entirely accurate) words for the female anatomy, you should be just fine listening to this audio.
I only have two criticisms. First, I didn't care for the sung chapter headings. Penguin should've hired a band, because that would have been awesome. Second, Ms. Lawson is an incredible blogger, but she's not a particularly gifted narrator. She has a certain rhythm and many jokes are delivered exactly the same way and that became somewhat tedious.
This was a neat little treat to find when I signed up for Audible. I liked the story and the dry performance of the narrator (was that Steve Martin as well?). I'll be downloading the remainder of "Pure Drivel" so I can hear the rest.
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