I read a number of very positive reviews, and that was the only reason I saw this one through to the end. The story was tedious and uninteresting. Aside from mentioning that the characters had ties to masons and illuminati, there was really no insight into either. The narration is what ultimately did me in; at no point did the narrator attempt to to give voice to any of the characters. I've heard more enthusiasm in a Librivox recording, and that is saying a lot. It ended abruptly in a very aggravating way, and there was nothing about this book that made me interested in moving on to book two.
More depth to the secret organizations was needed, not just depth in characters.
Paul Michael may have assisted in making the story more audibly appealing. He has a great voice and I believe could accomplish the period speak much more successfully, and he definitely would have given the characters their own personalities, which this book needed.
The story was well-written, and fairly fast-paced. No aspects of the story were left hanging--they got to the meat of the action in each scenario without you feeling as though you'd have to wait until the end of the book for the resolution. And the narration was superb. Michael David Axtell really understood the author's voice, and read accordingly. I'll definitely be looking for more narrations by Axtell.
Certain aspects of the story, however, seemed to fall a bit short of reality in regards to how certain characters dealt with and moved beyond the pivotal events. There was a bit of a laissez faire attitude by a female character towards a major event that took place; it clearly bothered her, though she got past it and made to move on a little too smoothly for my taste.
Beyond that, it was a good listen and I would certainly recommend this particular book to others. I'll definitely seek out other books by Tom Lowe (this was the first of his books I've read--I may have to look into books 1 and 2 in his Sean O'Brien series, this current title being book 3).
I was first introduced to Mathew Pearl through The Dante Club, and absolutely loved it. I've listened to two more of his books since then, The Poe Shadow included, and while I felt the concept had merit, as other reviewers have indicated, the story was way too long. So many of the details could have been omitted without any harm coming to the story, and ultimately, I had a hard time caring about what was taking place. I kept waiting for a wow moment that would pull it all together and make it worth the length, but it never happened. The protagonist spent the entire length of the book fighting to uncover the mystery behind Poe's death, but the reason behind his obsession was never fully validated, in my mind. I won't give up on Pearl, but I won't blindly follow, either.
I wasn't even really looking for a book about wizards, though Jim Butcher writes the world of wizardry quite well. I was more interested in the werewolf aspect of the book, and I love the depth and diversity that he gave to the werewolves. Lots of legends accommodated. I really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed the story and the narration (one of my favorite narrators). My only complaint is I was left wanting more.
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