This was a spectacularly clever story with a nearly flawless pace. The kind of pace I've always wanted Stephen King to have. The reader did an incredible job, especially since the story revolved around a tight ensemble cast. His voices and subtle nuances were spot on.
If you've already read book 1 and 2 of the series then nothing anyone says will change your mind about finishing the series off. So I won't say anymore.
A bit dense, a bit heavy on the philosophy of thought and being, and a bit dry, but the arguments are heavy and thought provoking. If you're looking for an unvarnished argument against religion, an argument made with relish and gusto, then this is the book for you. Be warned, however, it's a bit difficult to keep track of when driving or doing anything else, as the arguments can be a bit high-concept.
It's impressive to see the author of Harry Potter books delve so fluidly into the mystery genre. The prose is tense, the language salty, and the characters multi-faceted. The performance is absolutely spot-on.
The ending is quite unpredictable, only because it's so not worthy of the story. No spoiler here, but the "twist" at the end is so unsatisfying as to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Maybe it's me, because I really enjoyed it. Ken Jennings is a clever and witty dude whose mildly sarcastic observations on mildly kooky folks comes off as lovable rather than snarky. This is definitely a niche topic, but even if your interest in maps and geography isn't keen, the humorous prose and spot-on narration make it a good use of your time.
If you've read part 1, then get ready to have very little of the characters you've grown attached to. A new plot line involving the Pope, a deranged priest, and Vatican shenanigans dominates this rather ill-paced sequel. Since I've already spent this much time on it, I'm somewhat obliged to listen to part 3, which I'm hoping has a bit more oomph to it.
Great narration, and great subject matter. The plot rolls along slowly, more in the tradition of an Agatha Christie parlor mystery than a taut thriller. Basically, if "Name of the Rose" and "Father Dowling" had a kid, this would be it.
I don't think the narrator did the slow-paced story any favors with his dry, unaffected reading.
I have no beef with Dawkins' argument for atheism. What bothered me about this book was its dry, sluggish prose, its incessant reference to other works, and its two-reader narration which acted to distract rather than to enliven. Having recently listened to Hitchens' "God is Not Great," which is witty, pithy, and elegantly written, Dawkins' work seemed so dead and uninteresting. Where Hitchens can denigrate his opponents with withering logic wrapped in literary genius, Dawkins' attacks seem petty and rigid. He spends too much time worrying that he'll offend, then dives right in to some petty attacks.
Basically, this is a scientist's book about belief and non-belief. It lacks the culture and personality that many other books on the subject have in spades. Also, one good narrator would have done just fine, instead of Dawkins and a female narrator splitting the duties...poorly.
I'm still not quite sure what I think about this book. It was challenging, creative, and unusual. I'm just not sure if I really liked it when all was said and done. The performance was great, and the story's pace was good and rapid. Maybe I wasn't all that gratified by the ending, or by the rather minor revelations exposed at the end of what was a pretty big buildup.
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