I really enjoyed this book and it drew many smiles and chuckles from me as I caught the jokes and word play. It was a little slow getting started, but once the story kicked in, it was very entertaining. If you like rock & roll, you'll enjoy all the references and side jokes. I thought of one friend immediately that I'd want to share the book with. I think it wouldn't have the same kick in printed form, though. The voices and reading are really great.
I was disappointed in this book because it was so unutterably depressing. Although the heroes and heroines of the book were all interesting characters, their lives were horribly tortured and full of so much pain and suffering and dashed dreams and hopes that I found it incredibly depressing to read.
The villains of the book seem to triumph time after time, the lives of the common people are incredibly without hope, and even though things do often turn out in the end for many of them, it is a long, hard slog through a very long and tedious book to get there. By the end, I didn't much care if any of them achieved their dreams.
The writing also lacked authenticity for the period. Did they use the term "shagging" in the 14th century? Although it was interesting to read about life in this century, I found much of the characters' situations, thoughts and actions to be far too modern to seem real. It was like a modern story flavored with some period color.
I prefer long books, but ultimately, this is one book that I felt would have fared better in an abridged version.
I knew nothing about this book except that it is out as a movie now and I knew my 11 year old would want to read it before going to see the movie.
I thought it was an ok book - not as well written as other children's literature, but I loved the setting in the cold north. I doubt that the concepts of God, the church, and religion will have much impact on my child, as she loves fantasy and some of these themes are in other books she's read. I didn't even know there was a controversy until reading some of these reviews.
I enjoyed the author's narration but did not like the full cast dramatization. It was distracting and I very much did not like the main character because of the actor who read her part - too shrill and breathless. I think children would enjoy the theatrical reading, but it did not appeal to me. I will read the rest of the trilogy to see how it all comes out, but overall I felt it was just ok.
I was appalled at the gruesome violence in this book. Even in an adult tale, I would probably fast forward through the graphic depictions of executions, horrid deaths, and a truly sadistic "bad guy." I would never recommend this for a child, nor any of my adult friends. Maybe the later books, if they don't include this character, are a better read, but I won't waste my time to find out. I found the main character, Matthias, to possess enough undesirable traits to make him not a particularly good role model or even a sympathetic character. I hate to sound like some kind of do-gooder, because I'm not, but this book hit all the wrong chords for me. I think this book, like Watership Down, uses cute woodland creatures to tell a very dark tale indeed.
If you like a long book with a good story and characters whose fates you care about, then I think you'll like this book. The story is much more involved than the review lets on - about halfway through the book the story seems finished, then continues on down unexpected paths. Ultimately, it's a great story with many surprises. I found it to be a "page turner" if you can use that term for an audio book.
The characters are intriguing and well defined, and the language, settings, and social conventions are very interesting from a historical perspective. I know one reviewer didn't like the portrayal of women, but just consider that this writer's perspective was the prevailing view of the times. It didn't bother me - I just found it interesting to see how things have changed.
I will give one caution about the quality of the recordings, though. This seems to be a recording adapted possibly from one made for cassettes. You'll find the volume and sound quality changing with each break for a cassette side, and the previous phrases repeated. Annoying, but tolerable. I didn't like the first narrator's voice, but quickly got used to it.
This book is one of my all-time favorites. When I saw it available at Audible, I was immediately compelled to email all my Audible friends to recommend it to them. Set at the turn of the century, it chronicles one of the earliest (fictional) attempts to profile a serial killer. Using techniques developed in the search for Jack the Ripper, the Alienist sets up a team to catch a killer of boy prostitutes. The historical details are fascinating, and Caleb Carr skilfully weaves real historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt into the story. If you like psychological thrillers, you'll love this book.
I loved his early books and appreciated his attention to detail. But in this one, every time something is about to happen in the here and now, someone has to reflect back on what "old Dad" did before or speculate on his thought processes and moral conundrums. There is so much angst and soul searching, repeated ad nauseum, that the action could fill a very thin novelette indeed. And there was such extreme repetition of things described in minute detail at different intervals in the book to different people that I found myself talking back to the tape "yeah yeah yeah, I heard this already!" I've never fast forwarded through a book before, but I did extensively on this one, and wished I'd opted for an abridged version. An interesting story, poorly and tediously told. Where was the editor on this stinker?
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