I have listened to all of the Percy Jackson books and I have pretty much lost steam at this point. Each book is more and more similar to the previous one. Sometimes that works, but in this case, there is almost no innovation to each book. I originally thought the premise of the stories was clever -- why create new stories when you can just borrow from Greek and Roman mythology? Genius! -- but it is as though the author is on auto-pilot. I made it through because I listened to it at 3x speed and even then didn't really have to pay attention to get through it. I'm not planning to read any more Percy Jackson books.
I question whether this book would have had such success if books like Ender's Game, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games hadn't been written first. But, you have to give Ms. Roth some credit, as I am sure there are thousands of authors who have been trying to ride those coattails and have failed. While it doesn't belong in the same league with the great books listed above, this is a fast-paced, entertaining story with a clever premise. The narrator is nicely functional; she does a good job of getting the story out there without intruding.
"Where humans were concerned, the only emotion that made sense was wonder at their ability to endure, and sorrow for the hopelessness of it all."
This sentence from the book more or less sums up how I feel after finishing. The setting of the story is India in 1975 (with several brief jaunts to earlier parts of the 20th century to explain characters' backgrounds), and it paints an entertaining, at times amusing, and yet often bleak and disturbing picture of how the political situation in India affects people of different backgrounds (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh), different points of origin (mountains, village, big city) and different socioeconomic statuses. The fact that the reader gets to know the characters so well makes the good times particularly heartwarming, and at times makes it difficult to hear what is happening to them.
I found the story to be well crafted and nicely paced. There are several characters and story lines that cross when you don't expect it and are easy to follow. The narrator, John Lee, is excellent; I might not have embarked upon the audiobook version of this novel if I had not seen his name in the narrator slot.
What a great debut novel! This is the enchanting story about two supernatural creatures and their unlikely paths to regular human lives and, eventually, one another. It takes place in turn of the century 1900's New York. The people and places are equally well-developed and key to the novel. It's a charming story that keeps the reader guessing throughout. I would highly recommend this even if fantasy/magical stories are not typically your thing. While there is a supernatural aspect to this story, it does not overwhelm the fact that this is just a well-written, heartwarming, historically intriguing story.
The narrator is one of my favorites, and met my already heightened expectations effortlessly.
I stumbled upon this book while searching Audible for another mystery series. Right off the bat, this met several of my criteria:
a) significant number of books in the series and on Audible (8);
b) takes place somewhere interesting that I don't know much about (London)
c) has the added bonus of a fun accent (British)
And then, once I read the book, I could add well-developed, interesting characters to the list, as well as two cases for the price of one. The case in the present has to do with Arthur Bryant, the eccentric half of Bryant & May (John May is the straight arrow), who is trapped in a building when it inexplicably explodes; and the case taking place in WWII London delves into theater life, the prevailing culture, and Greek mythology to solve a host of murders. This book does a nice job of setting the scene of the WWII times without getting overly emotional about it: Yes, it was unfathomably awful; but Londoners were doing their best to keep calm and carry on. The story follows the detectives as they stumble their way through the 1940's case (their first one) and in turn updates the reader on progress on the modern-day case, all the while being easy to follow.
The narrator does a very good job with the several voices and accents.
Note: I use the Goodreads rating system (three stars = liked it, four stars = really liked it).
My recommendation: Go download this book immediately!
In the past, I had come across this book, read the description, and passed on it. Then my co-worker insisted I would love it, so I got the audiobook... and I AM SO GLAD I DID.
I had trouble putting this one down. I laughed, I cried, I learned about medicine and Ethiopia. The characters and their relationships are richly developed and even lovable, despite some horrific actions; the surrounding culture (whether Addis Ababa, New York, or Ethiopians in Boston) plays a very important and fascinating role in the story; some of what I believe are realities of life in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa are eye-opening/gut-wrenching; and most of all, it is incredibly well-written. There are several different threads, which all are easy to follow and end up tied up neatly (but not too neatly).
The cherry on top is the fact that the narrator is fantastic.
This is the first Neil Gaiman book I read. Frankly, I found it difficult to understand what exactly I'd be reading from the description, and primarily was persuaded to download it per the reviews.
I wish I had realized that the 10th anniversary edition meant there were 12,000 additional words added (that the author thought should be in, but the editors had cut before publishing it originally). The last thing this novel needed was more words!
I like sci-fi/fantasy/thriller books, as well as mythology of various sources, and this gives you a little bit of all of that. It's a nice survey of "gods" from diverse cultures and also a little travelogue of the United States through the eyes of someone who does not live in the U.S.
When there's action, the story moves really well, but there are plenty of parts of the story that drag.
In the end, I thought this book was just so-so. The story is big on good/clever ideas but not superbly written. The full cast aspect was nice but uneven (some narrators were better than others). I'm glad to have experienced a Gaiman book after hearing so much about them, but I don't think they're for me.
This is the second Collins/Burke mystery I listened to (Collins the defense attorney, Burke the priest, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia).
This book introduces the reader to Burke's family (which unfortunately means this takes place primarily in New York City, and not in Nova Scotia, which might have provided a little of the Canadian flavor I was hoping to get), and focuses on the life of his father in Ireland and his involvement with the IRA. The references to life in Ireland 50+ years ago plus the presence of the IRA in New York City are the most interesting part of the story.
It's awfully convenient that Monty Collins, a Canadian defense lawyer, just happens to be in New York on vacation the entire several weeks it takes Burke and his family to get to the bottom of the mystery, which relates to his father's past. It also seems almost silly what a huge role Collins plays in solving a crime that is simultaneously being worked on by the NYPD. As with the first book, the relationship between Collins and his ex-wife, Collins and his children, Collins and Burke's whole family, etc. is practically idyllic (and not very believable).
One benefit of not very complex relationships is that it makes this a very easy read -- don't have to think too hard, nor do the emotional heartstrings get pulled enough to be a distraction.
Narrator isn't great, but is serviceable.
Not sure I'll listen to another one, not before testing out some other mystery series anyway.
I came across this book on my hunt for good mystery series. It was given good (4+ stars) reviews by two people I follow on Audible.
I was hopeful that this would include some local color (it takes place in Halifax, which I've never visited), but alas, the focus was primarily on developing the characters. The defense attorney Collins and the accused priest Burke are the primary characters, and while they are pretty entertaining (Burke in particular, probably because of the Irish accent), and despite the fact that their lives are turned upside down when Burke is accused of murder, their dialogue and relationships with others are just a little too easy and convenient, a little too perfect.
The mystery/whodunit part dragged a little bit, but that didn't matter so much as it took second seat to getting to know Collins and Burke. I felt I knew them just well enough by the end to warrant downloading Book 2 in the series.
I didn't love the narrator, but what saved him from ruining the experience for me was that so much of the dialogue came from Burke and so was delivered in a passable Irish brogue (for whatever reason, to me, audiobooks in English/Irish/Scottish accents just sound better!).
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.
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