Since starting this series late last year, I have been pacing myself. This book, however, was so captivating that I downloaded the next book as soon as I finished this one. The story lines are becoming quite rich and enjoyable. Of course, the readers are still doing a great job.
I enjoy books on history, but this one left me checking how much time was left. Having grown up during the cold war, it was interesting to hear the ideas people had of Russia during WWII. Some of the raw figures from the East vs. West were staggering. But most of what was interesting could have been said in about a third of the space. The rest felt like filler and might be better as a reference book. This was like trying to listen to a text book.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and this is the best book yet. The author pulls you into the story so that you feel the emotions of the events as they happen. I just finished and am already downloading the next book. During this series, I could not limit my listening time to my commute only.
This entire series has been one big page-turner. I usually listen to books during my commute. Since starting this series, however, I find myself finding time to listen.
Butcher has done an excellent job developing the characters. They are both internally consistent while still growing from book to book. A new facet is seen for most of the major characters in each subsequent book.
Kate is a masterful story-teller. I enjoyed her in the Wheel of Time series as well. With her, it is easy to discern who is speaking.
Butcher does a great job of mixing in political intrigue, individual and epic battles, new and unique races and romance. I especially enjoy his unique implementation of "magic".
The plot is still enjoyable and the readers do a great job. However, Jordan is starting to have so many threads of thought running at the same time, that you have to catch up a little every time he switches from from one thread to another. Also, this many independant threads are really slowing down the progression of the overall story.
At this point, though, I am still enjoying the adventures of these people enough to deal with the slow progress. But it is a little like reading three or four different books at the same time -- Even if the books are all about the same world and the same time period.
This is a very technical discussion about love. That, in and of itself, would not keep me from liking it. My rating of this book probably had more to do with my expectation.
I thought this was going to be a discussion about what the Bible says about love. Instead, it is more about what the intellectual elite would say about love. Lewis does make some interesting points and gives some good food for thought. And if that is all you want/expect, then you may enjoy the book. But I would warn against going into the book expecting a Biblical explanation of love. He uses the Bible some, but it is very clear that the Bible is not the basis of his conclusions. He does talk about how his conclusions affect love in relation to God. But it feels more like using man’s wisdom to try to explain God’s ways. However, if you are interested in a book about love by an intelligent man with a Christian world view, then this book might do quite well.
This brings me to a small annoyance of the book. Lewis comes across as quite arrogant in parts of the book. That may have turned me off to what he was saying.
First, the small negative: The reader was very slow. I got around this by turning up the speed on my iPod. If I would not have been able to do that, I am not so certain I could have stayed interested.
But now to the content. I am very glad I did stay interested. I love the way Yancey teaches us about grace. He uses many stories to make his point. At the same time, it is not as though he is simply stating his opinion and leaving the Bible out of it. He actually gives very good interpretation of and application from parables. He just simply has a masterful way of relating the concepts of grace to real life.
I like this book a lot and would recommend it to anyone. It impacted my life personally, as I was able to recognize the un-grace I practiced so readily. Through his stories, he shows us what grace looks like and gives us tangible examples to follow in an area where so few examples are obvious in my daily experience. For the first time, I feel as though I have at least a good idea how to start practicing grace without simply piling on more rules which lead instead to ungrace.
There was a long stretch in the early to middle part of this book that left me wanting to put it down. But it wasn't quite bad enough to simply walk away. Thankfully, it made a turn for the better after the start of the second part. By the end of the book, I was actually interested in the characters and rooting for them. Still, the ending was only decent and I would have a hard time recommending this book. Maybe it is simply not up to what I had come to expect from Dekker after reading Thr3e and the color trilogy.
The reader was only average, but much better than the reader for Thr3e.
There are three ways to rate this book. As with any audio book, the story and the reader are two major factors. As for the story, I loved it and kept finding extra time to listen because I could not put it down. Even to the end, there are questions that need answers. Once answered, everything makes a lot of sense. So the story itself is very satisfying.
I did not, however, enjoy the reader. In some dialogues, I had trouble telling who was saying what. I basically had to guess based on the context. Also, it did not sound as though the reader got into the book much. At one point, his disinterest was almost comical. At a time in the book where one character should have been yelling another's name in near hysteria, the reader sounded as though he were calling for someone who was just barely in the next room with nothing particularly interesting happening.
The story is good enough to overpower the poor reading. But there is a third aspect to this book. As a treatment of the natures of man, it is very interesting. This aspect raises the interest for me even higher than it otherwise would have been. Not to worry, the "doctrinal discussion" does not detract from the story nor does it dominate it. It is tightly woven in and paints a very interesting perspective.
So, if you enjoy a fast-moving, psychological thriller and can get by an uninteresting reader, then you should enjoy this book. If you also like a little doctrinal discussion, then you will enjoy it a little bit more.
This book is good in that it has a lot of information. It turns out that my understanding of the Middle Ages going into the book was fairly shallow. Part of the way through the book, my knowledge is certainly greater.
However, it is very hard to listen to this book. Dates, names and places come flying at you so fast that I doubt I am catching half of what is being said. The reader does a fine job, it is simply that the facts are packed in so densly as to be hard to follow. I feel as though I should listen to the book multiple times in order to get everything. The problem with that solution is that this is the first book to which I have listed that I put aside half way through to listen to something else. I have picked it back up, but doubt I will make it to the end before laying it aside again. I very much enjoy listening to historical books. But listening to this tells me that I do not enjoy listening to text books.
So if you simply want a bunch of history class-like facts, then this book can be great. It has an endless supply. But if you work better with books that tell history is a more-or-less chronilogical, story fashion, then you would probably struggle through this book as much as I have.
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