That review title may make no sense unless you "read" this book. It's a story that starts and ends fantastically but in the middle, it's very repetitive. The first couple chapters really draw you in with high drama, suspense and mystery. However, in the middle it switches over to a sequence of events that goes round and round. Danger, saving, danger, saving...Repeat for about 3 hours. I'd say more about why how similar each event is but I don't wish to ruin the experience for anyone. The final chapters though, that's where the book really shines. I wonder the sequence the author actually wrote the chapters, as these final ones contain much more dramatic and vivid imagery then had used up to this point. The plot points that happen in the last hours really make you curious about what is going to happen next in the series. Though I may not have particularly relished the middle of the book, it seems like every part of the story was actually being built upon and not just added to artificially lengthen.
This was the first I've ever heard of Caitlin Davies as a narrator and I must say, I was quite happy with the end result. I could see how so people may not enjoy her rendition of the male lead but I actually felt like it fit the character after you get some more background about him. I really hope to see her return when the second book in the series comes out.
It may be listed as a teen series but don't fear that. I'm far from those old days but I still found it worth the credit.
Bit of a warning though: If you're easily offended by Biblical figures (particularly of Catholic theology), you may want to stay away. I'll just leave it at that.
I like to consider myself a manly-man, well atleast a manlier man, but even this book got to me. I've never felt so concerned with the health and happiness of a character in a book in ages. Hazel, the remarkable heroine of this story, is utterly dynamic. Every quote she says comes out as something to remember, to pause and think about. The ideological opposite Gus doesn't have the same punch but the best line of the whole book belongs to him. If I could describe this book in one sentence I would say "It's Romeo & Juliet told from Juliet's point of view but instead of warring families, they have a war within their own bodies" which is fitting considering how often Shakespeare is referenced within the novel itself and even in the title. The teenage years are a couple years back for me but the emotions felt still seem genuine and the pain and anger coming from the characters is close and cutting. If you've ever lost someone to cancer, you can't help but wonder if this the same way they felt during those painful episodes, particularly if it's someone younger.
The relative shortness of the book does disappoint alittle because I want to know more but listening to the author's Q&A at the end (last 15 minutes or so) you know he wanted it to be that way which means my hope for a sequel are relatively dashed out.
As for the performance, it's fantastic. I want to get it a 6/5 not because of the same cliched reasons you here otherwise but because the book is clearly a 5/5 but the performance elevates it well beyond just the words on the page. The fluid transitions between the shaking teary voices to the gasping for breathe sighs is quite potent.
*Mini-spoiler*: If you're like me, when you learn how the Hazel's favorite book ends and you start to worry that this book ends like that, I can assure you it doesn't.
So up front I bought this book before seeing the movie version so I could watch first then have a visual image of all the characters in the book as it progressed (I mean I could picture most people but definitely needed some help imaging the titular character). Sadly, I hated the movie; not so much that the movie was bad but that I would describe the movie as "A guy named Lincoln who is also a vampire hunter" but I decided that the book had to at least have some historical intertwined into the narrative so I still gave it a shot and glad I did because the book is clearly "A vampire hunter who happens to be President Lincoln". (if you don't get my two title analogies, read/watch them with the title in mind and it'll make sense).
Some reviews say that the themes of the slavery and vampirism intertwined is a bit overdone and stretched out but I find that even more enjoyable. It's easy to connect two points and show some sort of straw man argument but the more points you can connect, the more dynamic and easy to visualize picture can be created.
A few flaws do tend to appear within the audio recording and the more irritating of which is the randomness of numbers just being spilled out. If they're different chapters, why is it not broken up as such instead of weird orchestral transitions between the chapters? Another, the guy you meet at the beginning of the book who you spend the first hour or so getting to know? Waste of time, I thought maybe they'd come back to him later in the story - alas, no. As soon as you start into the Lincoln plot line, forget the beginning part. Lastly, without spoilers, I find the "epilogue" portion to be a bit contrived and honestly would have been better spent staying historically accurate.
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