Very high. It has been a long time since a book ending surprised me, but this one did, with multiple plot twists at the end that answered every question.
As a non lawyer, I was led through the legal process with just enough information to make things make sense, but not so much as to be "preachy".
Good differentiation between voices and just the right emotional inflections when needed
The ending was awesome
Mr. Mitzner is a great craftsman. Well done.
Not really, due to the reader
ANY man with an American accent. She probably is perfect for European listeners, but in America we need a Scott Brick.
Perhaps its me, but my American ears have trouble following a pronounced British accent. The only way I can follow the narration is to concentrate absolutely, to the exclusion of anything else. Since I normally do my work (I'm a bookbinder) while listening, I often lose the story and have to back track. In addition, her different voices are so close that I lose track of who is talking. Finally is my admitedly prejudiced opinion that women can't do men's voices (women, feel free to boo). Men have no trouble doing women's voices, but women seem to either growl or as in this case, don't even bother to make it distinct. Miss Thomas is probably charming and competent, but she has a limited range of distinct voices and all come out sounding the same.
No. Hard to follow due to narrator not being able to differentiate between characters.
Slow. Soooo slooow. Exposition is necessary. We need to know how the characters got the situation in the book. The author takes exdposition to the extreme. Halfway through the first part I realized that absolutely no action had taken place. It was all background information on the characters. In fact action only picked up in the latter part of the second part. I never cared for the characters and neither the author no the indifferent narrator make me care. On several ocassions I considered turning it off.
Have you ever wondered why Tom Clancy novels are so long? It is because he insists on describing every scene in detail, down to the most minor. In this book he describes the training of a Navy Seal for at least 30 minutes. Every weapon is described down to the last screw. Every plane and helicopter takes minutes of description. I figure that he is either trying to dazzle the reader with his intimate knowledge or he is being paid by the word. Another annoying characteristic is his habit of introducing new characters and sub-plots in each sequential chapter so that by the time he goes back to an existing one, you can't remember what was going on. The main plot is ok, but takes too long to develop.
If it's a Tom Clancy book, you can be sure of several things:
Mr. Clancy has done his technical research to the last detail and spends page after page explaining it to us. In a previous book, he literally described a nuclear explosion millisecond by millisecond. He does similar things here. Sometimes, you find yourself tuning the narrator off because you don't particularly care how a bullet acts after striking. This is one reason for the extraordinary length of his books.
He also introduces so many characters and sub-plots so quickly that it is difficult to remember what the main plot is. It's easy to lose interest in what a character does when he or she only appears every five chapters.
In short, he kills us with insignificant details and smothers us with new sub-plots and characters.
I was hoping that time had mellowed his fondness for verbosity. It hasn't.
Mr. Doescht isnot a very good writer and as such, he depends heavily on cliches to advance his plot. The most over-used is the oldest, otherwise known as the cowboy movie cliche. "Drop your gun, or I will kill her!" At this point, 100 ten year olds in the theater are screaming: "Don't drop the gun! If you do, he will kill both of you." Of course, this is obvious to the most mentally adled, but not to the hero. He drops the gun, and incredibly, the villain feels a need to express himself before shooting them, allowing the hero and heroine to escape. Mr. Doescht uses this tired cliche at least 5 times. He also uses the variation where the hero gets the drop on the villain, but instead of shooting him, he also feels the need to express himself, giving the heroine a chance to walk in to be captured and used as a hostage again. There are many other flaws including the man who finds the most evil place on earth and warns his friend: "Don't ever let anybody come here and open the door to this unspeakable evil. By the way, enclosed are the key to the door and a detailed map. Don't let anybody get them." PLEASEEEE! What ever happenned to "?? destroyed the key and burned the map." I realize that without these contrived situations, there would be no plot, but a better writer would have found a more credible premise. Get this book only if you are willing to suspend all brain activity and enjoy a yarn without thinking.
Christopher Moore is by far my favorite author and I have enjoyed every one of his books. In the case of "Bite Me", I find myself stuck by a narrator that thinks she is on the Broadway stage. Narration is a specialized type of performance, whose main purpose should be to convey the author's words clearly, so the reader understands what is going on. The narrator should never sacrifice clarity for acting. Ms. Bennett gets so wrapped up in acting the role of Abby that I have to copnstantly rewind to try to understand what she is saying. She assumes that Abby speaks very fast and so does she. She may be right, but it requires a great deal of concentration to keep up with her. If she underplayed the character a little bit, it could be better. At this point, this may be the first Christopher Moore book I won't be able to finish. My solution is to obtain the written version.
As usual, Dan Brown promises more than he can deliver. His hype about the item being hunted grows and grows to the point where he paints himself into a corner. By the end of the book, anything short of God's personal cell phone number is bound to be a dissapointment. When he finally gets to it, after an interminable amount of exposition, it is laughable and almost as ridiculous as the threat to national security. No doubt that Brown will make a ton of money out of this book, mostly based on his previous best sellers, but readers don't have an unlimited amount of gullibilty. Unless he follows this with a good piece of fiction, his reign as a best seller author will likely end. It is my last Dan Brown book.
I know I'll make some enemies when I say this, but the sad fact is that women readers have a great deal of difficulty in doing men's voices. This is a case in point. The narrator's idea of doing a man's voice is to sound loud and fast. This makes me miss a lot of what is being said, which is a shame, bacause when doing straight narration, she has a great, even paced voice. Most narrators use loud, fast voices during action filled scenes, which is ok. She uses it so much that sometimes when the character orders coffee, it comes out: GET ME COFFEE!!!! and I get the impression that something meaningful happenned or is about to happen. I am struggling to finish this book and I keep loosing the story line, forcing me to back up. A very dissapointing performance by Ms. Pawk.
Great characters, great plot, great action, but I'm afraid that technically Mr. Child is not a very good writer.I have a problem with his propensity for over description. One thing I know is that if the scene starts with entering a room, I have at least five minutes to step out because I know that the author will describe every item in the room, including the ashtrays. It's a bit annoying. One other fault is his use of repetition. At one point I thought I would get sick if I heard "I am not allowed to volunteer information" one more time, then he did it three more times. Finally, I kind of like a clean end. Not wanting to spoil it for others, I won't be specific, but suuffice it to say that there was one very big thread left unexplained at the end. I still like the book, but as a writer, Mr. Child leaves a lot to be desired.
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