This is one of the few Audible series I have listened to more than once. Philip Pullman is a master -- I particularly admire the way his characters evolve consciously on so many levels. I was both inspired and entertained.
After reading "The Crew" which was excellent in every way (not available on Audible, probably a licensing thing), this book was a terrible disappointment. The characters are not fleshed out in a pleasing way and by the end of the book I was disgusted with both main characters. If I could return this book, I would.
This book really starts off promising. The narrator is wonderful and thanks to Audrey's exceptional writing skills, you are quickly drawn into the story. As a matter of fact, like Time Traveler's Wife, it sets itself up to be a grand slam of a tale. It's hard to write this without giving away the plot, so I'll merely say that 2/3 into the book, one of the main characters makes a choice that isn't so illogical for her personally - it's the reaction of several of the other characters - that they actually would go along with it, that is completely and utterly **unlikely** as to ever be believable. I couldn't "suspend disbelief" over this moral quandry..for one character yes, but for both of them NO way.
However, by this point in the book you are hooked on hearing it out, no matter how unsavory. To her credit, the ending is superb, but I kept going back to this certain turn of events in my mind and how it hits you like a record skipping - painfully and obviously wrong. Audrey remains one of my favorite contemporary writers and her imagination is extraordinary. What I'm trying to say is, go ahead and read it, you'll love it in more ways than not. It's just, well, I'm disappointed on a certain level - and I didn't think I ever could be - but I'll get over it.
I've made it through about 4 hours and somehow I will try to soldier through the rest because there are nuggets of great material. However, the main thing is that you get a social commentary along with the book and some rambling, that I do not believe is actually *in* the book. She comes off as arrogant and bitchy sometimes. Read some of the most helpful critical reviews at Amazon.com and you'll get the drift...
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