I love learning about the middle ages and hoped that this book would paint a picture of "what life was really like." Instead, it drones incessantly about how debauched, violent, sex-crazed, and maniacal everyone was, especially the clergy. It contains chapter after chapter of horrifying anecdotes of pedophilia, incest, and unspeakable cruelty. Worst of all, the hysterical and unscholarly tone of the work strips all crediblity from the author, so that even if what he is saying is really representative of life during those times, I couldn't trust his reporting of it. I recommend skipping this work if you are actually interested in a balanced representation of the era.
Definitely. I love the concept of a bunch of college kids going back to medieval europe and trying to fit in. This is a great action/adventure/time travel story that is fast-plotted and somewhat unpredictable. The technology concept is cool too.
Fast plotting, lots of twists, and cool use of
For the first time in years I had to turn off the ipod and buy a hard copy of the book so I could finish this great story. The narrator, Scott Brick, voiced all the characters with such a snarky, arrogant persona that it highly distracted from the plot. Sometimes I couldn't even follow the dialog because I was wondering why two characters would be talking to each other in such condescending tones.
I can't understand why this guy is such a popular narrator. I won't buy another audible title if he's doing the reading!
I think these SmartPass guides to Shakespeare plays are excellent. I've listened to Hamlet and King Lear and am planning to listen to Henry V next. The actors who uniformly excellent and the sound quality is great, which is important when trying to understand early modern english poetry in a British accent on ear buds! Most importantly, the narrator/lecturer does an amazing guide summarizing the plot and delving into the themes of the play, the ambiguities, and how the play fits into the greater context of Shakespeare's works. These audiobooks are really well done, and they are perfect for a high school or undergrad student studying one of these plays for the first time. It would be great to listen while reading along from a text.
This is my favorite Steinbeck book and I was thrilled to finally see it on Audible. Unfortunately this narrator's take on Steinbeck's writing felt too glib and casual to me, and also a little too childish. It would have been perfect for a Mark Twain novel, but this book would have benefited by a reader with a more serious and less lighthearted approach. But it's still a good listen and a great book.
If you liked Pillars of the Earth you will enjoy this book as much. It is very similar, following the love interests, political successes/failures, and career developments of a mix of inter-related characters of various social classes as they navigate through the WWI era. The mix of personal narrative and fascinating history makes for great entertainment. You get to enjoy a heavy does of political and military history along with your soap opera plot turns!
I am really enjoying this listen. About halfway into this book, I find it to be a compelling political intrigue / empire vs. rebels war novel more than a sword and sorcery fantasy story. The narrative and character development strategies are quite similar to GRR Martin, but the tone is less full of doom and foreboding ("winter is coming"!). So far this story could have been set in the Roman Empire, the Shogun era, or any traditional empire/vassal setting. There are hints of magical developments to come, but as yet it's all about humans killing other humans to gain or keep power. But it's well-plotted and fun to listen to.
I've read and enjoyed every other Dan Brown book and was looking forward to this one. I have strong mixed feelings - the plot is enormously compelling. While the story is contrived and requires some strong suspension of disbelief, the result is really a great, fast-paced page turner. I am half-way through the book and will finish it in the next day or two because the mini-cliffhangers at the end of each small chapter are so addictive.
But like most addictions, this one feels unhealthy. I had to turn the book off numerous times because the dialog and narration were so terrible. I don't blame the narrator - Dan Brown's language gives him so little to work with. I don't expect Nabokov, but Brown's sentence structure and word rhythm, especially when heard aloud, is so graceless that it borders on ugly. Worse than that the author repeats distracting cliche phrases so often that after a while it sounds like a terrible running joke. For example, it sounds as if the editor and author are playing a game to see how many times they can hammer the phrase "stopped short" into the narration. These characters "stop short" on every other page of the book! It's amazing they get anywhere. I don't even know what that phrase means - does anyone use it in real life?
This book is like a super-sized order of french fries from McDonalds. You know they're not good for you and they don't even taste good going down, but for some reason you can't stop eating fry after fry till they're all gone. I'm going to listen to the ending now.
This is the version to listen to - the narrator is one of the best I've ever heard, and I think the english in this translation is the perfect balance of 19th century formality with modern vocabulary and syntax. I read Anna Karenina years ago and loved it then. But listening to this is like discovering the novel all over again.
This was a great listen - good characters, fast-paced plotting, and an interesting setting in WWII era Denmark. While the ending was definitely predictable, I didn't care. I enjoyed every minute.
This is a fantastic book - amazing sense of time and place. It's obvious that the author cares about her language, and the writing is highly sensory and full of atmosphere. The plot is engaging and the characters interesting and fully-realized. I highly recommend this book.
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