I am a L.R.King fan and before joining Audible had read all of her books save this one. Since I have read all those books silently it was a real novelty to be able to hear the voices of the by-now very familiar characters and remarkable how well they matched the ones I have heard in my head.
I had no problem with the scarcity of Holmes; to me this whole series has really been about Mary Russell all along, Holmes being more of a prop. And since his was about the only voice I didn't care for every much I minded it even less. Well, his and Estelle's and the American pilot's....but none were irritatingly bad; in the plethora of voices the reader did that's a pretty good success rate.
The reader was excellent; I am hoping when the second part of this book comes out she reads it as well; am looking forward to it.
I loved The Passage; have already listened to it three times. I've been anticipating part II. I wish I could say I liked it as much as the first part, but I must admit to being somewhat underwhelmed. It's just not as tight and doesn't have the same mounting suspense of the first as all story threads gradually wove into a climax.
But don't get me wrong. I don't hesitate to recommend it, as it does expand our understanding of not only the origin of the entire cataclysm, but the new threats as it's effect ripples out and evolves. I will read it again before I read the third part of trilogy and perhaps it will hang together a bit better. We get introduced to new characters and watch old ones figure out their place in what is now clearly a very long haul.
I have faith that even if this middle part is a bit weaker, anyone who could do what Cronin did in first book has an excellent chance at pulling it all together in the last one with the same skill and success; I'm counting on that and look forward to part III.
This was a long, well written ramble through a time in history as seen through the eyes of our young man. I hate to compare it to Cold Mountain as they are very different, but It lacked any real plot or the poetic suspense of Inman's journey, Ada's yearning and her lessons in survival.
It was like reading a day by day journal. No real high points. The book meandered along in Frazier's excellent prose, yet it did not stir me. I never felt like I got to know the main character, and after the intense feelings generated in Cold Mountain, Thirteen Moons felt rather bland. I hate to use that word with such an accomplished writer, but there it is.
I have read and enjoyed Butcher's Dresden Files. While they had the same editing problems that this one did, Dresden developed into a familiar main character one could care about.
In the first book of this series, there really is no main character. A number of different characters are sketchily drawn through the use of alternating scenes. All move the plot along, but no matter how often we are with them, most characters remain shallow and without distinction. At this point one can't tell who or what is going to be the common thread throughout the series.
Regarding editing. Butcher is improving as a writer. But please, someone get him a good editor. I am tired of hearing words and phrases like "oriented to" over and over, "shambled", "more easy" rather than "easier". Phrases like "She ran for the staircase and went up it (or down it)." are always used instead of "She ran up the staircase."
The narrator was quite good. But the producers of this audiobook for some mysterious reason placed a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad brass fanfare at arbitrary points in the book. At least it woke me up if I started to wander.
I realize Butcher is no Updike, McEwan or even a Charlie Huston, but If the next one doesn't stir up a little more interest it may be the last.
After I finished all the Charlie Huston books, I was looking for something that compelling (despite the gore) and well-written. Well I didn't find that, but these have been entertaining just the same.
I got the first couple of Dresden Files books on sale and while I wasn't terribly impressed by the writing (puh-leeze try some synonyms for 'oriented on'), I found myself having fun. Partly because Butcher's Wizard is a very fallible, likeable smarta$$, partly because Marsters has been doing such a great job of acting out the characters, and partly because Butcher has a pretty good imagination.
So now I'm on the last one, but not sure if I'm ready to listen to Harry with a different voice after 11 books with Marsters. (where did he go?)
Oh, and BTW, I've watched the Canadian-produced Dresden Files (1 season only) and it just doesn't do the books justice.
For most of the book the writing was quite adequate, the narration was very good--more like a performance than a reading--the plot gradually built suspense, the main character was fairly well developed, and then it just went off the rails. It spent most of the time being a thriller about a crime and a pending act of terrorism, plus an interesting, if slightly paranoid, look at the convoluted redundancies and insular natures of the Dept. of Homeland Security, FBI, Secret Service, and CIA, Then out-of-the-blue it dove south into a politically bizarre and scary "solution".
If that ends up being an indication about the POV from which this author writes, it may be both my first and last of his books.
The writing and story should have a 3.5. Three just isn't enough.
What do you do when you've exhausted all the Charlie Huston, Justin Cronin, John Grisham, and Stieg Larsson books on Audible, but have yet to find a mystery/thriller writer with enough skill, edginess and intensity to really pull off what I like in that genre?
You find Gregg Hurwitz. I've read three unabridged Hurwitz books starting with "You're Next" and was not disappointed. His writing is above average, the plots seem more complicated due to Hurwitz's style of writing the books both chronologically and inside out at the same time--it's a writing device used to great effect by Hurwitz.
His characters are, on the surface, regular guys which get caught up in a web of intrigue. The more the plot unfolds the less normal the protagonists become, though never unsympathetic. If you want intensity (surprisingly so considering the level of "action" is not high), fun and enjoyable writing, then Hurwitz should not disappoint.
Scott Brick, in my opinion, is perfect for this kind of book and ups the level of intensity already in the story.
And to think this book has been sitting in libraries since I was born. If I had read it before when I was young, these last couple of political decades would have seen me reading it again.
What amazing prose and to be able to enjoy it for 21 hours. I'm in literary heaven. Warren's prose and plot holds up today as well as the decade it was written. The book is plain spoken when Willie Stark opens his mouth, but the story behind his rise to power is as subtle and complex as any character study I've ever read.
To see through young naïve idealist Jack Burden's eyes as he first falls in love with Stark's vision and integrity and then stays by his side out of love even while Stark's priorities change with the passage of the years and the accumulation of power, is a beautiful, humorous, painful and powerful experience.
This is the kind of writing, the kind of plot that happens rarely; it is what serious writers strive for. A work that is true beyond it's time and so well wrought that most wordsmiths pale in comparison.
And the narration! I didn't think I would like Emerson at first. But after a while I realized that his voice was perfect. I don't know how far into it that happened; but it did. Someone knew what they were doing when they chose him to read.
But, just don't read it after something like "All The King's Men" like I did. What a bad idea. There is no comparison regarding plot or writing.
But assuming you transition to Interface more wisely than I did, it could be very entertaining for you, especially if you are a Neal Stephenson fan. This is my first Stephenson book. I don't know how much J. Frederick George collaborated, nor have I read any books by him.
I am not sure I will read another Stephenson. The plot of this book undermined itself. I am not sure if the author really kept control over where this book was going. Between the editor's review and the first of the book I really thought it was going to be a lot more intense and and more...oh, maybe a bit more Manchurian Candidate-like. It was nothing of the kind. But I am not sure the book knew it was not going there when it started.
Maybe the collaboration of the two authors contributed to the slightly schizophrenic feel to the plot. If I try another Stephenson book it will be just him and I will remain open-minded til then.
In the meantime take the recommendation of other Stephenson fans and be aware while Wyman was not the best narrator, he is not a deal-breaker.
I am certainly no teen nor young adult, yet I still enjoyed the entire series. But unlike Watership Down and the Flavia DeLuce novels, I was always aware while reading them that they were meant for younger readers. However, that's not a criticism; just be aware that this Triology is not written with uhm, "sophisticated" adults in mind. And remember that it is a Trilogy--one picks up where the last left off.
They would be a wonderfully entertaining way to pull a younger reader into the events which led up to WWI, even though in this series those events happen in a parallel universe.
But importantly, the fertile imagination of Scott Westerfield with his "beasties" and "clankers" combined with the narrative skills of Alan Cumming (don't miss his version of "Macbeth" on Audible) make this series a rich word-picture feast for the young mind.
The Way We Live Now is an excellent introduction to the writings of Trollope. It's long, but never boring, and the characters are well-developed.
Some might call Anthony Trollope the male equivalent of Jane Austen and I can see why. But to me his stories had such a different flavor. I liked that not everything always comes out perfectly in his endings. I also liked that some of the books got into the workings of Parliament as it was then. He is very good at portraying his female characters, many of whom are very feisty and colorful.
I started with this stand alone book, became utterly fascinated, then listened to all the Barsetshire Chronicles, followed by all the Palliser series. I have spent the last couple of months in Trollope's world and hated to leave it. There are some other novels left, but I loved each of the two series and having familiar characters come in and out of the various books. Even more so than Austen I became so frustrated with problems caused by the lack of communication (due to cultural restraints of the time) that I wanted to grab the particular character out of the book and shake some sense into them.
And what can I say of Timothy West? I love Simon Vance, but after hearing the samples I went with the West narrations and am so glad I did. He was pitch perfect and his accents were marvelous. He was a large part of how much I enjoyed this entire journey. I became so absorbed into this world that I am not at all sure what to read now.
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