As a first book in a series, The Mongoliad packs in quite a lot, while still just hinting at the story ahead. Multiple plot lines probably suited the multiple authors and, luckily, makes for some good reading. The plot, however, isn't very inventive or even creative so far. The whole enterprise feels like a rehash of so many historical or fantasy novels already on the bookstore shelves. If not for the amazing talents of the authors in their other pursuits I probably would never have picked this up, but may very well continue listening to each book in the series. I would say the one creative and somewhat unique twist this book has is to tell the story from both the "good guys'" and the "bad guys'" points of view, which also makes those labels rather relative.
Good narration. Rather slow pace. Not too absorbing with a bit more focus on the stamps than on the action. Feels like a collection of short stories rather than a coherent whole.
Fantastic characters. Spot on narration. Beautifully written. Story is a bit rambling, but otherwise and engrossing listen.
While this book relies a little too heavily on two major characters of the era, the surrounding material is engrossing enough to make up for myopia. Bryson's so-so effort is still better than almost anyone's best.
I enjoy the characters and the performance, but overall the story tries to tackle too much and winds up ending in a quick and unsatisfying fashion compared to Lynch's first novel in the series. Narration is amazing and totally engrossing.
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.
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