Take the mind of Miss Marple (Agatha Christie), add in a pinch of Sherlock Holmes' penchant for the laboratory, and put it all into the body of an almost-eleven-yr-old, precocious & independent spirit of an English girl, and you've got Flavia de Luce! What a trip! Then, have it all narrated by the incredibly talented voicing of Jayne Entwistle, and you have the makings of a truly enjoyable read/listen!
Having listened to many diverse audio books for many years, returning to a Laurie R. King novel is always a reward & pleasure... a real treat!
And, while one certainly does not need to be a Sherlock Holmes fan, nor have listened to the previous story, "The Language of Bees" (which is much darker than previous novels), "God of the Hive" stands alone quite nicely.
Several aspects of "God of the Hive" make this an exceptional story & superb listen:
1. King's language skills: After listening to this (or any of her other novels), and absorbing her considerable skill with the English language & writing style, you will find many other mystery/suspense stories shallow & trite. Writing as her character, Mary Russell, her breadth & depth of verbal skills are like a breath of fresh air!
2. Characterization: In the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes stories, the characters are so well-realized and created, that you really hate to see the story come to a close; much like leaving old friends. In this novel, Robert Goodman stands out as a truly unique & unpredictable character, one whose depths still leave much to plum!
3. The Narrator--Jenny Sterlin: In the world of female narrators, there are few who come close to the quality & abilty of Ms. Sterlin. Not only is she an extremely capable narrator; in the King novels, she IS Mary Russell. She is quite at home in a variety of lnaguages & dialects. Simply put, she is a pleasure to listen to.
If you have never listened to a Laurie King novel, especially in the Mary Russell series, this is a superb collection of stories to acquire. I eagerly await the next volume!
This is my first Hamilton book & in spite of the number of negative reviews, I found the story line fairly easy to follow, the characters well created for their roles. I will probably purchase the sequel to finish the story.
I have 2 primary complaints:
1. Considering the time frame of the story (mid-3rd millenium) and the obvious evolvement of the "humans," I found that the language, especially the gross profanity at times, really belonged more inthe late 20th & early 21st centuries. The language is simply not needed for the story to be successful. And the scene with Melanie searching for a new role in life & resulting in porno, is way over the edge--totally unnecessary--the F--- word grossly abused & tough on the listener!
2. As for narrator, Lohn Lee: John does an admirable job; and since the suthor is Britsh, his abuse of American names & words is understandable, not offensive. He handles large complicated terms & names well. My main complaint, which no one seems to have picked up on, is that his voice levels are really annoying. He has a bad habit of beginning a sentence very emphatically & almost immediately letting his voice intensity drop almost to speaking under his breath. So you have a choice of turning up your volume & getting blasted each time, or keeping it moderate & missing half the conversations! What is even more puzzling is that recording techniques could have easily resolved this issue, using sound suppressors, etc.
In spite of all this, it is a story worth listening to; I just wish the author would have used more discretion in the overuse of gratutitous profanity.
Even tho' a Sci-Fi fan, I had found METAtropolis disjointed, difficult to follow, and had to listen to the story 2x to establish a foothold on what Jay Lake was trying to accomplish. NOT SO with Cascadia.
I found Cascadia entertaining, easy to follow (with the exception of Bull Dancers), most of the narration well done, even tho' for some of the narrators this is not a primary occupation, but most of all, the characters thoroughly engaging, realistic, so much so that I sort of hated to see some of the short stories stop. There was good interplay between the stories, but not so obvious that it felt like one long novel. It seemed clear that the authors had worked well together, with Jay Lake accomplishing some good coordination. It also takes place primarily in the geographic area where I live. .
I heartily recommend the book to any Sci-Fi fan; it will probably appeal to most people interested in our country's future.
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