I liked the history about the Dockland area of London in the mid-20th century and how the people lived. It did much to bring the area and its people to life. I did not like the narrator.
Sister Monica Joan was great fun and had the most depth of character.
Oy. Ms. Barber clearly has a good range of voices, so her decision - and the director's decision to allow her- to read the main character in the tiny, near-whisper, sometimes whiny, nasally voice is beyond my understanding. It was extremely distracting as the voice would get so soft I'd have to turn up the volume and so nasally and whispery that I'd have to strain to hear. And then, suddenly, she'd do a different louder voice, and I'm backing down the volume in exasperation. By the time the book was ending (and the last chapter was, without question, the most annoying of all) I was so distracted by the affectation that I could barely concentrate on the story.
It was OK, but could have been SO much better!
Listen carefully to the sample before you buy it and realize that, for much of the story, she modulates this voice down to even more of a nasal whisper. .
...I'm a little bit in love with Walt Longmire. I just want to make this clear up front.
The Serpent's Tooth is the latest (9th) in the Longmire series and it is excellent. I really enjoy Johnson's imagination and his wry sense of humor and he is a skilled storyteller. He also does a wonderful job of presenting both characters and places so that the reader feels "present" for both. Sheriff Walt Longmire is, of course, the heart of the story which has Walt trying to deal with a fundamentalist Mormon cult which has invaded his county and is causing a variety of serious difficulties. Johnson has written a great plot in this one.
The story begins with Walt in an interview with an old woman who has angels in her house and ends with a hard tug at the readers heart, but in between Johnson pulls in murder and mayhem, love and loss and laughter and the usual cast of Craig Johnson's brilliant characters and ties them together with "can't stop reading" intensity. It may be my favorite of this series so far.
George Guidall does an outstanding job of narration giving depth and individuality to each character. Even when I am reading a Longmire book (rather than listening) I can still "hear" Walt, Henry, Vic, Double-tough and all the other characters of Absaroka County, Wyoming in Guidall's voices.
You don't need to have read any of the others in the series to enjoy this book (although you may be briefly confused when Walt refers to other characters by odd nicknames such as referring to his best friend Henry as "The Cheyenne Nation.") You will also not understand what he's talking about when he refers to events from previous books, but I don't think that will hinder your enjoyment. And if you like this novel, you're lucky, because there are eight more and I predict you'll be anxious to start at the beginning.
I had no idea what to expect with this book and was most pleasantly surprised. The concept is certainly new to me - a British aristocrat in Melbourne in the 1920s who apparently "collects people" and solves mysteries. There is a lot of potential in the premise and Greenwood takes full advantage of it. The plot of this particular novel involves disappearing women and the solution offers us, among other things, a visit to the Magdalene Laundries which were quite real in the 19th and 20th century (and mostly quite horrible.) It's a high compliment when a novel sends me off to research something just because it's so interesting. I was fascinated to learn about the laundries and spent a few hours on the internet researching them.
The plot involved the genuinely awful but also provided a nice balance of humor and detail. It was clever, complex and interesting and, while there was not much chance for the reader to solve the mystery, I didn't mind just letting the story unfold as Greenwood is an excellent storyteller.
Stephanie Daniel does a good job with the performance and I had little difficulty keep the characters sorted out.
I have every intention of revisiting the world of Phryne Fisher and her minions in Melbourne.
Sandra Burr does a pretty good job with very little. The characters are self-absorbed and mostly one-dimensional - especially the men. There is no appreciable plot that I can detect and what little content there is to this story unfolds with painful slowness. I'm giving this one back to Audible half finished. I can't risk listening to it while driving for fear I'll nod off.
I like this character and I love the setting. I am also enjoying the development of the characters in Aurora and on the reservations. I especially appreciate that these are complex characters, full of strengths and flaws and good and bad.
In this story, the wilderness plays as big a role as the human characters and I think the author did a brilliant job of "taking us along" as the various characters dealt with the wild lands in which they found themselves.
It's a "rip-snorter" of a story full of complex characters and interesting plot lines and Corcoran is, of course, right in the middle of it.
Just purely good story-telling.
The book started SO strong! The characters were well drawn and the setting was vividly made real. I cared what was happening to Lavinia and the people in the plantation kitchen house who raised the lonely little orphan. The author gave us living, breathing people, both good and bad, in a highly believable setting. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this book... until Lavinia, the main character was taken to Williamsburg.
Then it all started to fall apart and I thought it got rather "romance novel" banal and predictable. That second part wasn't a complete loss, but it sure did lose something!
I have tried to figure out what bothered me and I think I know ... coincidences and similar devices used to force the plot along a predictable path. I don't want to offer any spoilers, but there were just enough misunderstandings and misdirections perpetrated upon the characters as to make me feel simply manipulated. In other words, I think the author could have effectively gotten her characters into the difficult situations she wanted them in without the use of so many misdirections.
I was also disappointed when, about halfway through Lavinia's stay in Williamsburg, she lost her soft Irish brogue and the narrator gave her the voice of an over-wrought not-even-very-Southern matron. She was no longer Lavinia and I found it terribly distracting.
It's a pretty good novel, but I did not love it.
I loved the development of the personality of the dog and the relationship between her and her new master. I also liked Scott, whose personality was such that the relationship between him and the dog, and the resulting decisions he made, seem highly believable.
I can't decide if I preferred Scott or the dog! Maggie had real character and a genuine personality, albeit very doglike (the author only marginally anthropomorphized her.) I felt like the author really knows dogs.
No, but I enjoyed my listening sessions and looked forward to having time to tune it in.
The narrator did a very nice job of conveying the dog's thinking (of all things!) I also appreciated that his character development was such that I had no trouble keeping them sorted out.
It's Cork O'Connor and the author is staying true to his characters. Nobody is all good or all bad or all heroic. Even the hero has flaws, which means his triumphs are those of a human being and not "given to him" like a superman. The other characters, including the location, have dimensions and depth. The setting in Aurora, Minnesota and its environs are very well "drawn" and I like the way the author draws us into the the lives of the inhabitants. I agree with the reviewer who said this series puts him in mind of the Longmire series, but assure you that it stands on its own. I am enjoying this series and will definitely move on to the next one.
Turow had a great idea for a story and then... phoned it in. Gone was the courtroom drama Turow is so good at. It is replaced by lots of bickering and blathering by the characters. While I appreciate the attempt to give each character "depth," it really didn't seem to work.
I don't think it's helped by the narrator at all. He really only has one "voice" and, while he can give that voice an accent if need be, and he does know how to give a passage "emphasis," his characters all sound pretty much the same so, even after several hours into it, you will still be unable to tell who is speaking by listening. That means that you can get lost easily if you're not listening carefully to be told who has spoken. He doesn't perform the book as much as he just reads it.
I really enjoyed this book. It delivered everything I want from a work of non-fiction that I've purchased to engage and entertain me (rather than "elevate" or "challenge".)
The characters had depth, genuine humanity and complexity sufficient to make you give a darn about what's happening. The plot is interesting and sufficiently dense to keep the reader from getting bored. But it's not so complex and dense that it's exhausting to follow. While not exactly light-hearted, the story also has humor, which I appreciate. Books with no sense of humor can be tough to take.
I consider it a high compliment to say that, when the book was done, I wished I could find out what happens to the characters.
The performance was well done. The narrator had a distinct voice for each character and was able to read emotion into the words very well, without over-acting (which I find annoying and distracting.) Other readers could take a lesson from Julia Whelan.
This is only my second Nora Roberts and I didn't like the first one, but this book has persuaded me to go in search of more of her work when I'm in the mood for a good story. I'd sure like to find more like "The Witness."
* The narration: It's way "over the top." No one speaks "normally." Why do some narrators feel that they can't just let the characters speak like humans when they are in human situations? They must ee-nun-seee-ayt like no actual human being ever does. And they emote! I am also finding her range not up to the task (so sort of wish she'd stop trying.) She has mean, hoarse-voiced man; child; adult woman and craggy old-person. I have been listening for six hours and would expect to be able to easily "hear" the various voices by now. Not this time. Because of her overblown, over-pronounced over-acting, I just can't get the rhythm of the narration.
*The plot: So far, there doesn't appear to be one. The story involves (so far; I'm 6 hours into it) several white people kidnapped by Indians. This provides a vehicle for discussing Indian cultures. And that's fine as those parts are somewhat interesting, but I can't help wonder why the story is told from the POV of white people. But even then, there really is no plot to speak of. At least, not so far. Occasionally, something happens. That usually involves some really gruesome, highly detailed violence involving Indians doing horrible things to white people or to one another.
Then they become all "Dances With Wolves" strong and noble, or lovely and romantic and dreamy again.
*The characters are, so far, fairly one-dimensional, but I'm only (only!?) 6 hours into it, so maybe they will take on some depth at some point. Unfortunately, I won't be there to see it as I can't really stand it any more and I'm returning the book.
Or, as the narrator might say, I can't (gasp) reeeeeleee STAND it (sob) any more. AND I (sob) AM re turn ing (voice quavering with tears) THE BOOK!!!
Learned some interesting things about how the Indians lived on the Plains. Tanning hides was HARD!!
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