I found this book hard to listen to, do you see what I'm saying? Maybe it was the translation, do you understand me? But it was just painful how repetitive certain phrases were, do you see what I mean?
ARGH. I hate to be so childish, and maybe it's a cultural thing that got 'lost in translation' but so many of the very long monologues ended each sentence with a confirmation that the they were being understood.
The plot itself is very odd. The main character has weird sex encounters throughout the book, and some suggestive stuff with a young girl. The character accepts without question a series of very strange events, so much so that it just misses out on being believable, even in a fantasy world. I did not enjoy the story, felt it moved very spasmodically and slowly. The very, very, very long monologues were frustrating... either not revealing the point of them, or repeating the point over and over. But the story was better than...
The narration... I have never wanted to claw my ears off before the long letters from May, the young girl. A valley girl accent for what should have been a Japanese girl, it just didn't fit at all. One of the other reviewers here hit the nail on the head when he said that he sounded like a drag queen for most of the female roles, or an out of breath prostitute. It took all dignity away from the female characters, and honestly was almost impossible to listen through. He was also awful with many of the male characters, making a poet out to sound like a dead beat surfer, or the wheezing-sucking sounds for Noboru Wataya's off sider... Again, literally had to stop listening at those parts. I have written a note and stuck it to my monitor with Rupert Degas's name on it so that I never accidentally purchase another book he has narrated.
I'm baffled by the popularity of this book. I regret spending my credit and feel foolish for listening to the end based on the belief that all the other good reviews must have been written for a reason.
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!
This book is not for those with a casual interest in the “survivalist fiction” category, but judging from other comments it doesn’t seem to be for the “true” preppers either.
If you’re after a good, fun, interesting read on a topic that you find intriguing but haven’t really looked into too much – keep searching, this book isn’t for you.
For me this book wallowed in detail and smacked of Mary-Sue narrative. I struggled through 10 hours of this book before giving up. In that time there was probably only1 hour, 2 max, of actual story, the reset is bogged down on painful details about equipment, drill instruction, gun descriptions and random preaching about God which had little to do with religion or faith really, but were just a clumsy narrative tool used to try to separate the “good guys” from the “bad guys” in the shortest possible way.
When he introduces a new character, be it a “baddy” or a “goody” he again takes a short cut to force them on the reader – instead of letting us discover the character he makes them go into a massive monologue explaining their entire life story and the history of how they ended up where they were and why they were prepared for the disaster. Call me sceptical, but if a group of people ambushed me and pointed guns at my face and asked “What are you doing here, don’t worry we’re good guys” I would not be giving them my life story, complete with whimsical quips on my childhood. I’d be keeping my answers short and trying to get away from the people with guns as soon as possible.
The characters themselves lacked any depth at all. Each character was essentially the same person with a different appearance. All the “good guys” had identical ideals, identical speech patterns, identical vocabulary, and any decision making was really just an excuse for the author to (again) use a cheap ploy to try to force depth onto a character and to show off about his own knowledge on the subject (which he seems to be very pleased with himself about). Sadly the conversations tend to go like this: “I think we should do this” “but this way is better” “Oh you’re right that makes much more sense you’re so smart let’s do it that way”. It’s more like verbal self-gratification than a discussion.
The bad guys are just your stock-standard “look how inhumane these people are they are cannibals and child abusers and rapists – they make me physically ill, I’m trebling with rage at them”. It’s another cheap way to definitively separate the good from the bad – there is no grey in this book, not bad guys with redeeming features, no good guys with stains against their honour or internal struggles. This post-apocalyptic landscape is populated with 2-dimensional characters strewn about in a highly constructed “narrative” which is really one man’s idea on what he would do if the world ends (and was surrounded by other versions of himself). The author has written this for people already absorbed in the “prepper” mentality hoping that they will project their own life onto the characters, saving the author from having to go into the nasty chore of giving characters any depth himself.
I’ve marked the narrator down also – if you’re still keen on this book, please listen to a sample before committing to your purchase. He garbles the words in a way that I can’t articulate. It’s like he’s having something painful happening to him while he’s speaking, and his pattern and pitch and rhythm is all wrong. Or like he’s holding in a burp and still trying to talk. Very distracting (especially his female voice!).
I wish I could get those 10 hours back!
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