I love this book. I love the story, I think it's told perfectly, a wonderful balance between the life of Chris, his family, his friends, his rides, the people Chris was likened to, and Krakauer's own experiences. To the previous reviewer who questioned the need to include Krakauer's own experience: The story could easily be told without that section, but it would have suffered for the omission. Among other things, it helped bridge the gap between "what we think we know" and "what a near-death in the frozen wilderness is actually like".
So why three stars? Well, the title says it all. This book is all but ruined by the narrator. In the book there are quotes all over the place - from Chris, from people Krakauer spoke to, from Krakauer himself. And yet the narrator does not change his voice at all for each of the different parts. I found myself getting confused - is he still reading from Chris's journal or is he back to Krakauer's voice? It completely wrenches you out of the story, and stops the heart of the story coming across.
Add to that the audio-sin of dodgy recording... a repeated line or two due to someone not worrying about listening to the final product before releasing it (probably in too much of a rush to cash in on the movie success to worry) makes this an audio book I would not recommend.
As to the actual book - do yourself a favour, buy, beg, borrow - find a copy. Remember your young ideals. Remember the times you've done stupid things that could've ended very differently. Enjoy this book.
I grabbed this book after searching for David Tennant. While the narration was wonderful, I was amazed at how moving I found the story to be. There were plenty of times that I found myself smiling or laughing, and in one spot completely bawling.
David Tennant is also quite a talented narrator - I listened to this during a long distance drive, travelling at fast speeds on the open highway, in a car that doesn't have great sound proofing. I never had to fiddle with the volume. David Tennant was able to communicate the full range of the characters emotions with a clear, even tone, that many can't master.
This is a touching, well written story. I'll be looking for more from the author.
This was a good, fun tale, reminiscent of the Sooky Stackhouse series.
I would recommend this if you're looking for something engaging, but not demanding. The story line moves at a good pace, keeping the reader interested without overkill or never-ending cliff hangers.
The concept of zombies in this book is a lot of fun, and presented in a way I hadn't seen before. The lore development was clever, and the characters were quite likable. The narrator did a wonderful job.
Overall, a great book for when you're in the mood for a book, but don't want to concentrate too hard.
Looking for something light and easy, but still fun and engaging? Do yourself a favour and keep looking!
Even if you're able to put aside the idea of a character that rapes a woman, knowing full-well what he is doing and that she does not want it, this book is still not a good listen (the main character does this after living his life in an English village and understands what rape is, then pities himself for doing it).
I am not comfortable with a rapist as a main character (regardless of how "bad" he felt about it), but even in spite of that part (which didn't do anything to further the character development or plot) this book is not great. It's meant to be a light-hearted romp, with some semi-historical facts peppered in, but it's just a big load of dribble. I'm sure the author did do his research, as evidenced by the parts that read like a Wikipedia entry, but the story development was stale and sadly lacking. The author relied mostly on the reputation of vikings to sell his story, without actually contributing to it in any realistic or meaningful way, and without adequately explaining/exploring the motivation for his characters (except, hey they're vikings, they do that kind of stuff and they believe in funny Gods).
A lot (all?) of the situations in the book were quite preposterous. Almost all resolutions were due to eus ex machina, to the point that it became quite predictable. I was surprised, however, that no characters were literally struck with lightening while about to deal a death blow to the 'hero', as that's the sort of story this is.
Even if you're bored and looking for something light and easy, I would not recommend this.
*This review is by a 30-something female, from whom High School feels a long way away*
I like that this book exists. I hope it helps people to understand compassion, acceptance, tolerance, depression, 'love', 'like', and all the other good stuff that goes along with life (especially during those late teens). But for me, and maybe others like me, the revelations in this book are not so much ground breaking, but more like a reminder of what life was like back when a high school relationship was the totality of your world (you know, before bills, mortgages, bosses, and parenting comes into the picture).
This story is sweet in a lot of ways, and the characters are very likable. Having suffered from depression in the past (and when I was a teenager) I liked Will Grayson 2's perspective on Mental Health Days and his general frustrations with people who see "depression" as a adjective and not the all-encompassing thing that it is. Depression is a life and death battle that people do not "get over" but survive.
That said, I found myself to be a bit too old (and maybe too happy with my life these days) to get a lot out of this, aside from a fairly enjoyable way to spend 7 hours.
I'd recommend this for teens, which is the intended audience after all, but for those adult readers who enjoy a good teen fiction, it's not in the same league as Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or even Divergent, and you could do without adding this one to your collection.
I was hesitant to pick up this book for a long while, as I get a little squeamish at grisly descriptions. I’m very glad I did though – it was an enjoyable story and not at all graphic.
While I enjoy the TV show I’m not a hard-core fan by any means, and I’m seasons behind where it’s currently up to. I found the TV Dexter very likable and relatable – something which is quite disturbing when you think about it. In the book, however, the character is much more alien. There’s a clear distinction between “Dexter” and “People”, and although it doesn’t make the character any less compelling, it helps drive the book in a way where you feel safe as an observer, rather than feeling like a voyeuristic listener.
I enjoyed the books sparing use of alliteration, a literary tool that’s difficult to pull off. Another treat was the performance by the author himself. When an author narrates it is generally either great or awful – thankfully in this case it was the former! I really enjoyed hearing the book in the way the author intended it to be heard, with all the correct accents, emphases and inflections. Aside from this he has a fantastic speaking voice and plays each of the characters distinctly and enjoyably.
A credit well spent.
I really wanted to like this book, but only managed to get half way through before being unable to continue. The story moves very slowly, with what seems to be a lot (a LOT) of irrelevant back story. Perhaps I am wrong and it would have ended up being vital info, but the first third of the book seemed pointless to me.
I was hoping to find a good insight into the US Navy, WWII and to look at life from a military point of view, but I did not get that. There was much too much character analysis and self-searching for my taste, and not enough action. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy solid character development, but I didn't feel it from this book. After 18 hours I felt like I hadn't learnt anything more about Willy than I had after the first 2 hours.
If you're even remotely contemplating listening to this you should! If you are a fan of the show and worried about knowing the story already, there’s no need to – it won’t ruin any of your enjoyment of the book. George RR Martin packs so much into his characters, plot, and even the landscapes, that you will be guaranteed to still find the novel just as gripping as someone who has never seen the show.
This is the second time I've listened to this audio book and found it just as engaging as the first time (having also seen the show in between readings). The characters are so rich, and the plots so in depth and unpredictable that the ending caught me by surprise – it came so quickly despite the run length of 30 hours. There wasn’t a single moment that I checked the time remaining because I was impatient for the book to “hurry up and get on with it”, like so many other novels.
**Brian and Jeffery are part of the reason I’m marking down the narrator, Roy Dotrice. He does have a great voice for the book, it matches well with the period and feel of the novel, and generally he does well with such a mammoth amount of text. But he is just so lazy and inconsistent I can’t help but mark him down – especially knowing how far off the rails he goes in later books. He mispronounces names often – some seem to be him misreading the names - Bran/Brian and Joffrey/Jeffery for example (both happen quite close to the beginning of the book, though it happens with others throughout) – but with a few it’s as though he just didn’t worry about remembering how he pronounced them last time – even if it was in the same paragraph. Hodor, for example, is by turns “Ho-door”, “Ho-deer”, “Ho-duh”, “Ho-daar” (all of these happen in the narration, so it is not merely character accents). It’s a minor annoyance, though, and not too distracting – unlike the way he holds character’s voices after they stop talking. By this I mean he will be using Robb’s voice to say something, but keep using it to say “Robb said to his mother”. It’s not as noticeable/distracting with the characters he’s voiced similar to his narration style, but for crones or heavily accented characters, like our favourite Imp, it can be quite distracting. It takes me out of the story for a moment once I realise that the character has stopped talking and it is now narration. He also has a habit of slipping into acting during the narration, grunting or laughing or groaning while reading a description of the character doing these things – but he will only do it randomly. The inconsistency of the technique blurs the distinction between characters and narration further, and removes the listener for the story a little.
Overall these are minor distractions, though, and Roy Dotrice has given voice to Westeros well.
Game of Thrones is a fantastic read, and a bargain for 1 credit! Do yourself a favour and give it a shot. You’ll be amazed at how often you start making time to listen.
I think the trouble with this book is the huge leap of faith we need to take in order to accept that any adult would ask children (or even untrained adult civilians) to go into such a heavily contested military zone. I had trouble swallowing this, and so the rest of the book also felt a little more "make believe" than the previous books had.
Even with that aside, however, I didn't find this book as compelling as the first three. I have purchased the next in the series, but feel a bit wary. It is difficult to put my finger on the problem exactly (it is still a good listen), but this installment felt a little forced. I got the impression that there were meant to be only 3 in the series, but the publishers made such a great offer Marsden dusted the characters off for number 4.
I have marked the narrator lower on this recording than the first 3 - this is simply because she has so much trouble with the New Zealand accents! She does a fabulous job otherwise and captures the personalities of the main characters well.
I first read this series as a teenager, and now as an adult I found Tomorrow When the War Began just as compelling.
The narrator does a great job, I forget how fast Aussies talk! She handles the different voices well, but with subtlety. I can see how someone who is unfamiliar with the Australian accent might not hear the distinctions between characters. So if you thought Taggart from A Town Called Eureka sounded authentic you'll probably struggle with this recording.
The performance may have ruined this book for me... I am not sure the story does deserve 3 stars - my sister in law raves about this book - but I can't bring myself to rate higher.
Problems with the narration... let me count the ways!
1) Unusual pauses
There are many, many pauses in this book, for no good reason, and then when a dramatic pause would be perfect the narrator ploughs through with barely a gap between words.
2) Inconsistent pace
Some sentences are rushed, some are drawled out.
3) Character tone
It's just way off. She will say a line in a way that is completely inconsistent with the character's actions or thoughts. For instance the major is meant to be a strong character, but she speaks in a passive and uncertain tone that would never win an elected position, let alone be the voice of a well-loved public figure head.
4) The voices
Oh the voices. This narrator cannot do male voices at all, it's too difficult to even describe how bad it is. They sounded a lot like cartoon voices, circa Rocky and Bullwinkle's era, or Yogi Bear. The females were not as bad, for the most part, but still cringeworthy. One of the reviewers said she sounded like Glinda the good witch, and it's a very accurate call.
If this story appeals to you, and it was an interesting story, skip the audio version, go visit the book shop!
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