Love the series. Characters are real and fully embodied. Villains are bad and heroes are people faced with hard choices. Story line is not repetitive. This book is no exception.
I believe, HOWEVER, that language is everything. The books are set in the late 1600s and early 1700s. What began for me as a bit eccentric became very irritating. Many of the idioms for example, did not exist at this time. Surely, there is a happy medium between using the antiquated language of the Bronte sisters, to the extreme modern expressions like “are you an item?” or “are you together?” and many others I can no longer remember.
And there are modern conveniences that were not available at the time – like “chocolate chips”, baking soda for toothpaste or a tooth powder flavored with peppermint. Although there were cultures using various things as dentifrice from ancient times, it was not widespread in England, nor in the colonies until the late 18th century -- certainly not in 1702. This lack of dental hygiene was notorious in this period and many people were toothless.
While I understand it is impossible to research absolutely everything for an historical novel, it is nice when a writer tries to think outside our modern world box.
I loved the first two books. And the third, until I felt like the author tossed the dice to determine the outcome of the characters. Evens, this one lives; odds, they die. To say I am disappointed in Roth's handling of the characters and particularly in the ending of an otherwise great series, is an understatement.
It is a gift to create characters that are people we can relate to and embrace. To kill one off with so little thought or finesse that there is no emotional response in the reader, and particularly a character that made the series, is just proof of a lack of skills or a lack of emotional depth. The death of a major character is not something that should be done lightly or in this case, as I opined above, at the toss of the dice.
I like to reread good stories and I am always recommending good reads to friends. This one will not make my list on either count.
Matthew's character grows and new players are added. They make him a better man. Add to that the great island of Manhattan and some new puzzles to solve. I enjoyed the many layers McCammon added with this book.
I have to admit the villain of this piece is horrifying. The descriptions of his sprees while Matthew searched him out, were beyond my imagination of evil. I truly had a hard time waiting for this book to resolve which kept me listening long into the night.
The characters were again so vivid that I was attached to many that were merely passing through. Walker and Lark were particular favorites that stayed with me. This is a true gift to create people you wished you knew personally.
I am amazed by the beginning of this series. McCammon creates fabulous characters and the narrator performs each with such a gift for voices. It is a bit distracting to hear modern idiomatic expressions come out of these characters in 1699; I only wish now I had saved a list. Somehow I don't think they would have been said something like "she's not all that!" Regardless, the dialogue is engaging and in this particular tale, the puzzle's solution was worth the wait.
He has created a great small town world, and the plot keeps it interesting but the characters are what make this book. The relationship between the boys and their father, and the world seen from Frank's eyes is what kept me reading.
I think Carlos Ruiz Zafon is one of the best writers. I have been relistening to the first two books of the series. Once again, I was enthralled to be in the world of Barcelona and the mystery Zafon weaves into his stories. Because this was a second read, I was astonished to realize the story was inconsistent in the death of a major character from Shadow of the Wind, who actually survives to old age as written in Shadow. There were also minor differences from the first book to the second book in the treatment of what happens to characters there. I suppose this happens, but it is disconcerting especially when the stories are read closely together.
The reason for the review is the narrator. Why oh why does Mr. Stevens choose do do a less than successful imitation of Cary Grant. His other voices are nice, but this faux Cary is just so distracting I was pulled from the story each time. I remember this was the same reaction I had to this voice the last time I listened. With a great narrator in Davies, I cannot understand why anyone else would be used for this series.
I was reluctant to read the series having heard all the hype. I started on Friday evening and but for the forced periods of not listening, I have had my IPOD attached to my ear. I haven't read anything else recently that kept my attention so well. The characters are interesting and have the sense of real people behind them. How wonderful to breathe life into characters you have created. Ms. Collins does this very well. The story maintained my interest from start to finish. The plot twists were amazing.
The narrator performs quite well, although her mature voice is difficult at first to embrace for a mere 16 year old. Regardless, her voice choices were well done, and she continued to maintain my interest through the series.
Interesting tale of how the canal was built.
Well read except for the many French phrases. I cannot imagine not choosing a narrator with a French background or at the very list someone working in the creation of the audio book, who is familiar with French pronunciation.
The funniest part of the book was the phrase "annees horribles" which was so butchered it made me laugh for days. "A-NESS hor-RIB-ble-less" moved the focus from the narrative, to the narrator and surprise over the choice of this one versus other people who could have handled the language changes. A simple consultation and phonetic aides would have made the French entirely possible. This was very distracting considering how much French the author included.
I just relistened to this book thanks to the addition of the unabridged version with Porter. My first impression three years ago remains the same -- it is just everything I would want a book to be. The reader brings life to the characters who are already larger than life. I could listen to it repeatedly. Why listen to the abridged version and lose anything of Claire and Jamie's time together?
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