This book sets up an interesting world, but then doesn't do much with it. Essentially it's a revenge fantasy book with the entire focus being on killing the big bad guy. The bad guy is 100% evil so you can hardly blame David the main character, but you could blame the author. It is disturbing to me that this is supposed to be YA fiction. There is a very strong gun worshiping theme here. The main bad guy has a square jaw, the side kick bad guy is asian. The love interest girl has long blond hair and mysterious bad moods. Sigh.
I don't play video games, but this book seems like a really violent video game to me. The simplification of good and evil and the wish to destroy the other with big weapons is basically what's wrong with our culture today. Is this how we want to encourage young adults to think? The only thing that marginally saved this book is the narrator. He made David sound young and earnest and likable. But honestly, I can't think of anyone, teen or adult, that I would recommend this book to.
This is a hard book for me to rate. I know Orson Scott Card is a mormon and normally I won't buy his books as I do not wish to financially support mormons in any way. But this was on sale and I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for time travel, so I bit.
The reason Pastwatch is hard for me to rate is because Orson Scott Card is a really good writer. The story is interesting and while the future characters might be a bit skimpy compared to the historical characters, for the most part they are all well written. The premise - future people going back from a ruined planet to deliberately change human history for the better- is thought provoking. The historical segments are interesting and believable. Over all, this is one of the better Audible books I have listened to in a while, as far as the quality goes.
But here's where the trouble is for me (and it's a bit of a spoiler alert, so if you're okay with christians converting Indigenous people then buy the book and read no further). The basis of this story is the idea that if only christianity had been introduced to the New World in a nicer way, everything would have been okay- races would respect each other, the planets resources would not have been over extended, we would live in a kinder, gentler world etc, etc. This is just fatally flawed to me. I don't think religious missions are ever good, and I don't think native people should have been converted to christianity (and I live in the Navajo Nation, so I get to see the painful fall out from this every day). Mostly, I resent religious proselytizing mixed in with my time travel. This left a bad taste in my mouth and the wish that I had stuck to my no-supporting-mormons rule, sale or no sale.
I am not a Stephen King fan. I don't like when you have a story based on a fictional science premise (in this case a genetically engineered virus), and then you mix in magic. It was unnecessary and seemed like the author just trying to make the book more creepy with a cheap plot device. I am also not a fan of the horror genre, but I do like post apocalyptic stories of survival and that's why I bought this book. Unfortunately for me, the horror out weighs anything else in this story. The idea that in 100 years, there would still be left over food to eat and clothes and vehicles that are serviceable was just not believable. There is a lovable dog and a bunch of other predictable fluff that should have been edited out.
But ultimately what grated on me most about this book was the narrator's weird intonation. Like someone reading schmaltsy poetry and trying to infuse it with meaning. I need to remember to heed the advice when other reviewers mention the narrator is annoying. I would have returned this book, but I had already returned something else this month, so I slogged through to get my money's worth. I really can't recommend you do the same.
Although the listener will solve the mystery long before the characters, this book was a truly wonderful read. It’s a sentimental story, and while it does follow the romance novel rules that the protagonist must be shiningly beautiful, the characters are tough and not given to sentimentality. Strong female characters and their relationships drive this story. And while it’s nostalgic in some ways, it does not white wash the brutality of the past, for the poor or the rich. This attention to detail made the book both realistic and interesting to me. It will make you want to learn more about your own grandmother and great grandmothers’ real lives, while revealing that we can only research and reconstruct a partial picture of the past.
I found the narrator to be excellent. Her American accent is way off though, so her English accents may be as well, I can’t tell. This is only a small part in the book and was just humorous to me, not distracting- do we really sound like that?
As some reviewers have pointed out, this book is not particularly well written, but as a story, not great literature, it would be passable. However, you will have to pretend that it was written in the 50’s like Alas Babylon, for it to be an okay listen and even then it sounds like a pathetic kind of male wishful thinking.
Women are not going to “drop” feminism and revert to being stereotypically deferential and secondary to men because we lose technology. Every major player in this book is male and that effectively eroded any plausibility of this story for me. Two minor characters are female. One is manipulative and emotionally unstable, the other (young and attractive) picks a man older than her father for shelter and wants to sleep with him in exchange for protection although being the protagonist, he doesn't pressure her. Oh, and there is also a mysteriously powerful woman at the heart of the religious cult who is described as obese, nauseating and completely disgusting.
Even in times past, in a small town, women would be extremely important to the fabric of the community, not just shadows. Sorry Mr. Kunstler. For better or worse, women today are even the largest new market for guns. While you obviously long for more “simple” times, there are just too many female doctors, dentists, mayors, police chiefs, land holders, CEOs and even ministers for the future to play out this way. That reality completely blows your story -- and exposes your misogyny.
The first book made me really happy to have found the series, it had great character development, nasty aliens and an interesting universe to be introduced to with lots of potential. I could hardly wait to down load the second. This second book really doesn't make use of that potential. It relies on the first book for character development which is not expanded here. Rusch's alien species are not part of this plot which was disappointing. I would probably be willing to try one more book into the series except that this narrator's various character voices are just too irritating. His regular reading voice is smooth and rich, but all the other characters are grating and seem wrong, especially the female detective whose voice is too nasal and sharp and her new side kick who sounds like a surfing teenager- others are exaggeratedly too low, slow or gruff, they are all "off" and distracting. Sorry Audible, I'll be going with paper books if I continue with this series.
While I appreciate the craft the author used to intertwine the vampire slayer story with a historical setting and events, the brutality often described in this book just seemed over the top and unnecessary. While the over all plot was okay, these scenes made me want to skip ahead or stop the book, they were graphic and disturbing. This book is not a "fun" vampire story and was definitely written for a movie audience. I don't like horror movies, but my husband does. We listened to it together on a long trip and he agreed with me- the violence was gratuitous, so be warned. This is one of those credits I wish I had spent on something else.
I read this book 35 years ago when I was a precocious 12 year old. It made a huge impact on me then and I thought I would download it for a classic listen now. First off, I can't believe my parents did not have something to say about my reading it then, but it was the everything goes 70's. (I have always suspected my reading of Kurt Vonnegut's books at a tender young age may have given me an odd outlook on the world.) In short, I would not recommend Slaughter House 5 for anyone's 12 yr old child, but it does help explain my high bar/expectation for literature that I was always reading books of this caliber through my teens and beyond. As an older adult reader/listener, this book is very rich , moving and thought provoking. The importance of this book has not faded one bit since it was written and should be read by all (adults), especially now that there are so few WWII vets left to tell their first hand stories. As for the audio performance, the narrator's reading was a bit too smooth, and the voice too young for the character- it just did not seem right to me all through the book. At the end is a short but priceless interview with Vonnegut himself. RIP Mr. Vonnegut, you were truly brilliant-thank you for your contributions!
If I had realized I was buying a romance novel, well, I just wouldn't have bothered. This book starts out with promise, the main character is a history professor at Yale I believe (I listened to it last month, but still irked I spend my credit on it). I guess I expected more from a Ph.D at the top of her field. She has a plucky attitude and good knowledge of some obscure history but that's where her smarts end- especially when she falls in love and it's bye bye to her former life she would have worked hard for. After the vampire takes her to yoga class which was imaginative and fun, this tale went down the drain for me-just kind of a boring remix of various familiar ideas in this fantasy genre. I did finish it, but not w/ my full attention. Also quite annoying, right when it seems it might get interesting again (finally!) it ends. The narration was good except for the voice of the main character- very girlish, almost like a churlish 13 yr old which irritated me- not the voice of a professional used to lecturing who would speak with more authority. I think neither the author or the narrator get how competitive and difficult it is to land a prime position in academia, you have to be a very accomplished person. Since we're talking about the main character the book is built around- maybe more research? This book should have been labeled romance- it is very light and did not live up to my expectation or the story line potential.
I thought Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon trilogy was true genius, and recommended it to everyone who would listen. Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of the fantasy genre, but thought I would try this book. I found it did not capture my attention enough for me to really follow the complicated story line as I listened. This turned the book into a series of sword/bow/knife battles in which untold numbers of people, horses and others are gruesomely dismembered by the Gil and friends, sprinkled with practically every character having a turn at homophobic hate speech, with some brutal sexuality thrown in, gay, straight and extraterrestrial. It seemed there was barely a plot stringing these incidents together- I kept listening hoping to eventually get drawn in or figure it out, but no such luck. Not one to be offended by foul language, I could not help but notice that if I had a nickel for every f-word used in this story, I would have made back the price of the book 4 or 5 times over. Quite disappointed, Mr. Morgan, come back to Sci-fi!
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