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 read this this book in eager anticipation after reading and really enjoying the first Lockwood & Co last year. My expectations were set extremely high by that first book, which was consistently entertaining, and an example of a narrator and book being just right for each other.
Possibly for that reason -- though I found this second book in the series entertaining and would welcome a third (especially after a huge WOW right at the end that I won't spoil here) -- I felt a little disappointed by The Whispering Skull. I found that the first part of the book, which set up the story, dragged on a bit, with the action-packed parts crammed at the end. I liked that the skull in the jar played a larger part in this book, and the story behind some of the magical artifacts was interesting. However, I didn't really get to know the main characters better, and in particular their relationships with one another failed to develop further, which I think could have made it more interesting.
The narrator did a nice job with the various accents and voices.
It's hard to talk about the content of this book because I found the narrative structure so very distracting. The entire book is written from the perspective of one person talking to another one evening. Everything learned about the second person is through the way that the narrator speaks to him. There are a lot of long sessions of the narrator talking about himself, except for the occasional chiding, borderline condescending comment he makes to the person sitting with him. (This structure is apparently called a "frame story".)
The story -- about a Pakistani fellow who goes to America and figures out how to make a ton of money and has an awkward brush with romance, but then chooses to return home and give up that life after seeing the ill treatment suffered by seemingly anyone suspected to hold Islamist beliefs in the U.S. -- is intriguing enough to maintain one's interest for the full ~5 hours, and is even thought-provoking at times, with a bit of a punch to the gut at the end. The narrator is excellent.
The most interesting part of this book was hearing about the Koch Brothers' father and their upbringing. Unfortunately, so much of the focus is on the scandalous in-fighting that there is very little time spent on the business and the intelligence and drive of Charles and David. While I learned a few interesting factoids about the brothers, it got tiresome listening to fight after fight, lawsuit after lawsuit, family vs. family.
I rarely find books deserving of five stars, and I have never wanted to re-listen instead of moving on to another book... before now.
I read (and re-read) this nearly a year after reading and really enjoying the first Galbraith book. Cormoran and Robin are back to solve another mystery, this one even more intricate and twisted than the last. The chemistry between them and the supporting characters works very well and the story is very well-written and entertaining (quite a thorough, unique and well-developed look into the publishing industry, with a curious murder at its center). Mr. Glenister is one of the best narrators in the business; his transition among voices and accents is seamless.
I highly recommend this book -- regardless of whether you read the first one or are a J.K. Rowling fan. This one stands entirely on its own.
Thank you, Audible, for making this a daily deal. I don't know how this author or this book would otherwise have crossed my path, and I'm so happy they did.
This is a charming story about a salt-of-the-earth good guy, Keith, who is great at building and creating things with his hands on a small scale (a "miniature mechanic"). He is thrown a few curve balls, from ending up with his orphaned niece he can barely afford to take care of to needing to make world travel he definitely cannot afford, but he finds a way to make the most of it with an engineer's ingenuity and practicality, not to mention his standard kindness and humility. I don't want to give away the story, but I can promise it is very entertaining, with amusing dialogue and a nice picture of the time period (~1960's). The narrator is excellent, moving among various British and American dialects with ease.
"Any Other Name" is the 11th installment in the Walt Longmire mystery series. I got here because I have read the other 10 and really enjoyed most of them.
If you're planning on reading this as your 11th Longmire too, be aware: #10 was so incredible that it's hard to imagine #11 being anything other than a slight step down.
That said, this was still a great story. I liked that it takes place in South Dakota instead of Wyoming, which Walt calls home; the scenery, animals (buffalo), and cast of South Dakotan characters added to the entertainment value. I also liked that, when trying to unravel one mystery, Walt finds himself in the middle of another (and of course he is determined to solve them both). Despite the distance from home, Walt involves his trusty sidekicks, Henry Standing Bear and Victoria Moretti, who bring humor and clever repartee (and backup when the going gets tough) to the story.
I suppose when one reads a series, one assumes the star of it is going to survive (otherwise, how can there be book #12?), so in that sense this books is predictable. However, I did not see the end coming as far as how the mysteries turned out!
George Guidall was born to narrate this series. I cannot imagine trying to read these books and missing out on his amazing narration.
One note: I believe Longmire fans are divided into those who find the occasional forays into Native American mysticism/hallucinations entertaining, and those who find it annoying. I'm in the latter group, and so found one of the chapters painful to get through, but thankfully it was limited to that one section.
I am so glad this book was a daily deal recently, or else I might never have stumbled across it. This is an exquisitely crafted novel that follows the life of an amusingly self-involved young man, and the seeming chaos that happens around him as he moves through life unremarkably and largely unharmed. Doesn't necessarily sound like much... and yet, I found myself hanging on to every word, and even rewinding to listen again (and, unusually, I bookmarked several great quotes -- I love the Audible app!).
The writing is simply incredible, with the story (though dreary at times) and philosophical musings the equivalent of the "icing on the cake". Had I read it instead of listened, I might have given it four stars. However, layering on the narrator with his perfect cadence and inflection (and the British accent that automatically makes me like things slightly more) got me to give this five stars.
This caught my eye because of the narrator (Simon Vance, who is always fantastic), the time period (turn of the century 1800's France), and the genre (classic detective, in this case named Vidocq). The story got off to a slow start, but ultimately was an enjoyable mystery with wonderful doses of historical fiction. If I were rating just the second half, I would give it four stars. Worth a listen!
This is the second Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery I've read. While the first was not my favorite, I thought the characters had some endearing qualities, and so gave this one a try. London is once again at the center of the story (this time, its waterways), but in a less interesting way than in the first novel, which was partially set in wartime London. The storylines are at times hard to follow, and I found the dialogue tiresome because it did not reveal new things about the characters (rather, it reiterated what had been learned about them in the first book). The narrator does a fine job with what he's given.
I just can't get into this series the way I was hoping to (and the way I have with Louise Penny's Gamache mystery series and Craig Johnson's Longmire mystery series). Better luck to other listeners.
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.
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