The author is intelligent, imaginative and tells a compelling story. She sets you up for a real scholarly mystery that spans the ages. And she was doing great for the first 1/4 of the book and then she introduced us to "Matthew" who is the protagonist's Night in Shining Armor and after that the story got mired down into something I would describe as a Smacked up Twilight. Every once in a while the story would start getting back on track for mystery and intrigue and as soon as she gave me some hope she went back to dwelling on his Broad Shoulders and dreamy eyes (Ugh).
This is probably a good story for women but it should come with a warning for men (which is why I'm writing this review) that says "Girly Book - Stay away".
Oh before I close this out - Kudos to the Narator - She did a great job as well.
Before I get Slammed by other readers as being misogynistic or worse - please not that I rated this a 4 because I think Ms. Harkness is a brilliant author. I just wish I had been warned that it was a Romance novel and not a mystery novel.
I have always enjoyed end of the world scenarios and this was a good story. It does a nice job of fleshing out the heros and the villains and creates a believable landscape. Though it leaves a good deal up in the air the story could stand alone.
Mr. Fontaine has a good speaking voice and does a great job of creating recognizable character voices. I marked it a little low because he jumps between characters in his narrator voice and it isn't obvious to the listener that we have switched venues.
I recommend this one.
Ken Follett always tells a great story but he seemed more interested in character quantity then quality. He ended up with too many threads and seemed in a hurry to deliver the gotcha or point without spending enough time getting us to the same emotional or intellectual point. I said it was overedited because Mr. Follett has always patiently delivered the goods in the past so I am convinced there was a Stalinist editor hovering over this production with the Red Pen from hell and pompously declaring that the public needs this book to be under 1000 pages. It seems like the book needed about 300 more.
Examples: (Here Be Spoilers)
He didn't spend enough time developing Chuck D. for me to feel sad when he was killled.
Commisar Macke seemed due for a Poetic justice end and then he was just ingloriously murdered.
He races through the last part of the book (post war) where a lot happens very quickly. Which is, of course, setting us up for the next book but leaves a lot of holes and seems like it could have been fleshed out more.
Ordinarily Mr. Follett has characters that are morally indifferent - Complex characters that are generally good but occasionaly do something evil. In this book the characters were either good or evil. The most morally complex character in the book was Greg Peshkov and he wasn't exactly multifaceted.
Apparently all Social Democrats (Liberals) are smart and good and all Facists (Conservatives) are stupid and evil.
Look - It's still a good story and I would recommend it to all of my friends; Hell, I have. But Mr. Follett can do better and he has done better many times: Fall of Giants, Jackdaws, Pillars of the Earth, World without End.
Please Mr. Follett, Flesh out your Characters, Scenes, and Plots. Be patient in your delivery and it will be worth the wait.
The audio production does skip - That needs to be fixed.
I will give the author credit for coming up with a new way for society to be abruptly terminated. But after that the story went down hill fast.
1. Apparently the author can't think of any way for people to hunt game except with a gun. He's never heard of Slingshots, bows, snares, pit traps, etc. His characters go so far as to use ammo as currency because it is so important to them.
2. The dialog is terribly written. His characters spend far too much time worrying about where they can get their next cigarette and very little time trying to restore the infrastructure that they seem so lost without. Like they couldn't find one engineer to get some of the lights back on?
3. It really is uncomfortably full of right wing Fundamentalist Christian propaganda. The fact that Gingerich the Newt did the foreward should have been my heads up warning that I was treading into a Second Amendment love fest.
All in All I found this to be an entirely disappointing read.
Reading this story felt like watching a sitcom that has decided to rework a classic. Terry Goodkind has adapted his characters and their philosophies to Ayan Rand's masterpiece. It's a good story but read Atlas Shrugged first.
Much like Ayan Rand he constantly bludgeons the reader with the mantra of objectivism. As the D'Harans chant: "Master Rahl protect us, Master Rahl Guide us..." This book chants: "The capable and the achievers should never be shackled by the incapable and the slothful"
I honestly hope he doesn't keep reworking classics to his own needs.
Mr. Goodkind is an imaginative author and the overall series weaves a compelling story. But this book, in particular, showcased some of his shortcomings. While he has always been miserly in his treatment of the disposition of secondary characters he dispatched them with even more rapidity and abruptness in this book. He also had the least impressive end game in this book compared to the previous 4. Like an earlier critique, I was left with the impression that he had come up against a deadline and had to finish the book quickly rather then well. I'm already into the next book and it is better writing but I hope that as he matures as an author he will give more thought and time to the ends of his books.
Unfortunately, you can't really skip this book without losing track of several story arcs so you'll have to suffer through it as I but you have my empathy.
Press on fellow readers, the overall storylines are good and your disappointment will pass.
This is an ok story. The concept is interesting but the characters are underdeveloped and the science is shaky at best.
I'm not sorry I bought the book but He's written better.
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