This is the fourth Tana French/Dublin Murder Squad I have listened to (on my commute). I liked the most recent one, Faithful Place, well enough, so I downloaded this without reading what it was about. Getting through this book was a bit like torture. The main character's crazy sister kept showing up and she was terribly annoying (a lot of that was the fault of the narrator -- the voice and intonation for that character were awful!), as was the failure of the main character and his other sister to do something about her. The case dragged on and on only to reach a conclusion that was inane; waiting that long for such an implausible motive was really frustrating.
I read the description of this book and it sounded too light and fluffy for me, so I didn't download it ... until a friend of mine whose taste in books is like mine highly recommended it. It was an enjoyable listen. It's a fast-paced, entertaining story about a likable sociopath, the people who fall for her, and the unusually clever and twisted way she toys with the life of her husband. Nineteen hours is a pretty long book, but it is written and organized in such a way that it doesn't seem long. The narrators are excellent because they really bring the characters to life. Not my favorite book, but I liked it more than I thought I would, so you might too!
I wanted to like the main character, Harry Dresden, and the story, especially given that this book was highly rated when I came across it, and the concept of a modern-day wizard detective (as Dresden is) holds good entertainment potential for me.
However, from his heavy sighs to sharp intakes of breath to sounds of his mouth opening and closing to mumbling, the narrator made listening to this story a torturous experience for me. I struggled to finish and was relieved when the book was over. (I could have stopped midway and returned it, but I really wanted to give the story a chance despite the flaws in the delivery.)
I chose this book because I was hoping to get wrapped up in a new mystery series and this is the first book. Maybe I'd consider another if there is a different narrator; however, at this point, I'm planning to try my luck elsewhere.
I loved this. The story is great, the characters are charming, and I could listen to the narrator all day long.
I came across this book because I have read all of the Bartimaeus books by Mr Stroud and enjoyed those, and Goodreads sent me an email telling me about "new releases by authors I've read", including this one.
I liked this even better than the Bartimaeus books because it seems more universally appealing. As with those, there's still some magic involved here, but it's fairly subtle, and you get more of the "human side" of things. Plus, it's a mystery with enough plot twists that you spend good time on the edge of your seat.
This is likely intended for a young-ish audience as the protagonists are teenagers. Yet, I'm a 37-year-old whose children are far too young for books of this ilk, and I absolutely loved it. To enjoy it, you don't have to believe in magic, but you do need to like hearing stories in which the characters display some degree of supernatural power.
The narrator makes it incredibly enjoyable to listen to, capably bringing the characters to life.
Mr Stroud, please hurry up and write another; and Ms Raison, please insist upon narrating it.
The main character, Dave Robicheaux, is a really tough guy who also has a heart, flaws, and brains. In his capacity as a detective with the New Orleans PD, he throws himself into danger and comes out with just scratches. This mystery, involving corrupt cops, mafiosi, and Dave's family, maintains a nice pace (there are a few exceptions, where you zone out because there's some sort of meaningless musing about, for example, a landscape) and has some great New Orleans flavor. The narrator does a nice job with various accents, making it easy to keep the characters straight and reinforcing the fact that it takes place down South (at least for me, who has never been to New Orleans and so my impression comes from TV).
I chose this because I was hoping to find another cannot-put-it-down series, and it seemed highly rated on Audible. While I may read another one at some point, I didn't find the characters and/or story compelling enough to want to dive into the next one right away (as I have done with other mystery series, such as the Longmire series by Craig Johnson). A good listen, but not a great one.
Kudos to Ms Penny for an excellent book. From the dual mystery to the intrigue in the life of the main character, the detective Inspector Gamache, the story builds and builds, making it very hard to put down. I usually listen only on my commute, but with this book, I found myself pulling out my headphones and "reading" before going to sleep as well.
It's worth noting that I came to this book because I have read all of the other books in this series, which is based on the charming, yet flawed, Gamache, as well as the villagers living in Three Pines (a place Gamache visits both for business and pleasure). However, this story stands on its own and could be a place for readers unfamiliar with Ms Penny to begin. The primary downside of starting with this one is that you learn the conclusion of a storyline that provides a cliffhanger in a few of the other books earlier in the series.
After eight other books giving voice to these characters, the narrator is flawless, delivering a convincing performance and doing the accents besides (it takes place in Montreal and other parts of Quebec, so there is a nice blend of French and English).
I'll admit it -- I didn't hear about this book until it came out that it was by J.K. Rowling. While there were aspects of the writing that evoked the voice of the author of the awesome Harry Potter books, it is otherwise a completely clean break from what she did in those (there is no magic). This is an entertaining, gripping, nicely paced mystery, with endearing, well-developed characters who find themselves rubbing elbows with unlikely others. By the end of the book, I felt like I had just gotten to know the cast of characters, and now I want to know more... so I really hope it is a long series.
A note on the narrator: absolutely fantastic. I am a sucker for an English accent, but Mr. Glenister goes above and beyond: he does all types of English accents and the various voices excellently and really brings each character to life.
I read this because I really enjoyed The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, also by Mr. Hosseini.
One of the things I most enjoy about his books is stepping into Afghani culture, through the description of surroundings, ways of life, language, or characters' mindsets. That was certainly true here. He is a master at "the big twist" -- a shift in the story towards the end of the book that I wasn't expecting, and found to be quite moving. He is also great at doing "little twists", which keep you guessing about how well you know each character and his or her relationship to the other characters, and make the story very entertaining.
I struggled with the structure of this book. The narrative jumps among several characters, places, and points in time with abandon. I typically do not mind a non-linear narrative, but in this case I found it hard to follow, especially because the revolving narrators did not tie directly to characters.
When I listened to The Kite Runner (narrated by Mr. Hosseini), I was rapt by his pronunciation of the Farsi words, names of people and places in Afghanistan, etc.; it certainly added a level of enjoyment to my experience that is part of why I love audiobooks in the first place. In And the Mountains Echoed, however, so much concentration was at times required to follow the accented English of Mr. Negahban and Ms. Aghdashloo that the effect was lost.
The decision to layer multiple narrators on top of multiple narratives strikes me as a failed experiment. I would have enjoyed this more if Hosseini had narrated the whole thing himself.
I read this because a friend recommended it as a "Harry Potter for adults." (I loved the Harry Potter series.)
And there were several elements that made this very enticing: a school only for magicians, another "magic" world, a special game that only magicians play, super-smart slightly outcast kids in the real world who excel at magic school, a journey to another world and a chance to bring down evil.
HOWEVER... I ended up being very disappointed. The story spends way too much time focused on how bored these super-smart magicians are, and how much they drink, and how true happiness eludes them, and how they keep to themselves and are far too cool for the rest of the school, their families, and basically the rest of the world. It was impossible to get into the characters because I felt no sympathy for them. I wish there was more time spent on the magic and the other world, instead of detailing the relationships among the main group of kids.
The narrator's monotone did nothing to help the dreariness of listening to the teen angst that ruled each twist of the story. He's one of those narrators who basically has the same voice for every character, and though he made a valiant effort at various accents, his performance fell short.
...but this is it. I read this book because, as a fan of this series, I have eagerly awaited the release of this newest book ever since I finished reading the other eight a few months ago.
Walt Longmire is an incredibly likable character. He is humble, brave, self-deprecating, sensible, and fallible, all while managing to be a salt-of-the-earth kind of charming. The supporting characters draw the reader in even further, each with his or her well-developed role, strengths, and flaws. The culture of Wyoming and the American West gives great flavor and lets this be a learning experience (I'm an east-coaster) at the same time.
And then there is the story. Twists, turns, action, romance, mystery, balanced with well-written dialogue and the sturdy cast of characters -- it's a page-turner that will make you laugh, cry, and cling to the edge of your seat.
If that weren't enough, let's layer on the fantastic narrator, who does an incredible job of bringing the characters and the emotion and pace of the story to life. It is truly incredible how remarkably consistent he is with the different voices.
My commute is my only audiobook time, so I listen in fits and starts and sometimes zone out for a bit. With this book, I found myself rewinding every time I started up again or found myself zoning out. I tried to savor every word because I just did not want it to end. (I won't spoil it with details -- but it ends with a kick.)
Even if you haven't read the other books in the series, you could start here. If you don't love this book, I wouldn't bother reading more of them -- but if you do love it, you are in for a treat. There are eight more!!
I read this because I have read all of the other Sookie Stackhouse books and I was happy to see there would be another.
It was very enjoyable, as usual -- good action, good "magic", good romance, good intrigue. And the narrator is just perfect. I can't imagine anyone else narrating this series.
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