I have loved every single Amelia book and every narration by Barbara Rosenblat, but I was kind of appalled by the narration of this one. I don't know if the problem was with the direction or if the reading just wasn't practiced enough, but there were these long, tedious, distracting pauses during the dialogue, particularly during the "Manuscript H" sections. If I hadn't already listened to Barbara Rosenblat read 17 other Amelia books with vim and vigor, I would have blamed the lack of energy in this book entirely on the narration.
The book started out with promise, I was chuckling along as the characters reestablished themselves, but after about the first hour I found myself having a harder and harder time staying focused on the story and characters because the reading was unnaturally slow and the syntax was absolutely awful in sections. I'm inclined to think that the story was about average for an Amelia book, not one of the best but a good mystery anyway, but because it was difficult to concentrate on the narrative thread, I found that I didn't really enjoy it as much as I was hoping to.
Die hard fans will still get something out of it, but if you are new to Amelia PLEASE PLEASE do not start with this one! Go back to the beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank and experience the magic from there. By the time you get to this one, it will be possible to (maybe) overlook the problems and enjoy reconnecting with the characters at least.
If the opening strains of music in this book give you a little chill and make you wonder if this is actually a techno-Harry Potter, then you are in for a treat, my friend.
I *loved* this story. It takes a while to really get an idea of what's going on, but you are as hapless as the main character, so don't worry. It's quirky, amusing, and very original. I can't recall reading anything else like it, and that for me is a huge plus. I will undoubtedly listen to it again and again in those times when I'm feeling a bit down, and need a good story to lift me up.
George Wilson's narration was top-notch and did not in any way detract from the story. If anything, it was readable because of him.
I don't know if I could stomach it. There were parts when I thought, "this is brilliant" and parts when I thought, "when will this book be over?" I don't know if it was just the presentation of the story, which was disjointed and frenetic until things finally joined together, or the way the characters seemed to get worse and worse.
I'm glad that everyone in the book died (except the two "good guys"). I honestly disliked pretty much every character, and was glad when they got what they deserved, in mostly ironic ways that made me laugh a little. Maybe if I listened to this again, knowing what to expect, I would have a different take on it. Not for the squeamish, I will say that much.
A saucy puzzle
It is hard to choose, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Delpha. Or the dragon.
I haven't heard her before, but I enjoyed her performance.
If you like fantasy/romance, you are in for a treat. I like or love all of Jennifer Crusie's books but this one is special because it has a very interesting fantasy storyline that she doesn't usually have. I like that the characters don't just accept it and roll with it, but experience conflict, agitation, and doubt, the way I imagine any normal person would when confronted with the supernatural.
The story has some twists and turns that I found myself figuring out just as they happened, and a few I didn't see coming. There is an odd mix of characters ranging from the bored thirty-something trying not to be desperate, the career-minded Rambo-type, the happy-go-lucky trickster, the overbearing mother, and even a fortune-telling crow. There is pretty much something for everyone.
Neysayers of the story might not like the fantasy element mixed in with the author's usual romantic style, but I found it refreshing and fun. Relax and enjoy the ride!
I have listened to it more than once already! I especially liked that it was taken from Jon Ronson's real family life. The stories were funny and a little embarrassing, the way real family moments always are. I enjoyed them especially because they were read by the author. I always feel like Jon Ronson is talking to ME when I listen to his audio books, and this was no exception. I wish he would write more about his life. Memoir?
It has a similar style to Jon Ronson's other books.
His narration always gives an insight into how he feels about his subject. I enjoy his books in audio because they feel like more than just journalism, you get to know him as a writer while you learn about his subjects. The most interesting part of these stories was that the subject was Jon Ronson himself.
Well, Jon Ronson, of course. And he could bring his son along too, he sounds adorable.
If you haven't listened to anything by Jon Ronson, this set of stories will give you a feel, even though they are more intimate than his books. If you are a Jon Ronson fan, then definitely listen!
I didn't read the print version, and I don't want to. Bronson Pinchot's narration was AMAZING. His style was absolutely perfect for this story, every character had a defined voice and personality that really showed through. It is rare for a narrator to so completely embody every character in a story, but he managed it. The accents were all definable and pitch-perfect.
A book by Brandon Sanderson. The theme of magic and the struggles of an "underclass" of people is similar to what he writes about.
A part at the end when one of the characters makes a sacrifice... I won't spoil it, but it was very moving.
If you haven't read the first book, you need to before reading this one. But don't worry- it's awesome!
Addictive new series
It was a tough call, but by the end of the book, my favorite character was Heinrich. He just kicks so much butt!
I really liked Monster Hunter International, but the first couple books were a little on a the gory side. I am happy to say that this book has just as much action, but less blood and guts. The writing is solid, the characters are fleshed out and the story nice and meaty. The magic-based storyline reminds me of something Brandon Sanderson would write (he is my favorite fantasy author of all time) but it has a different edge. I especially liked how the quotes at the beginning of each chapter centered the reader into the exact place and time of the story, and gave it a realism that helped to imagine it really happening in history. I also liked the way the story circumvented real historical events and made them "magical." If you are into sci-fi/fantasy and want something more anchored in "reality," definitely give this a try.
Sometimes I don't like stories where you are put into the middle and have no idea what is going on. And then you think you are finally catching on, and something happens to totally change your perception of the story and you're lost again. However, this one is brilliant in its ability to lose you every few pages, yet keep you so enraptured to the story that you couldn't stop listening if you wanted to. It is about monsters, conspiracies, supernatural elements, aliens, paranormal fears, and everything in between, yet it is also none of those things. You really just have to listen to it to know what I'm talking about. Try it!
Its style reminds me of the Monster Hunter International series, with its single, sardonic narrator, fantastic fighting scenes, kind of gross monsters, and likable characters.
Oh no, I couldn't possibly tell you. It would ruin everything!
Well, obviously John. But also the narrator David Wong. And the worms. Wait, nevermind. I didn't say anything about worms.
I started out really into this book. It is well written and there was a lot of dramatic tension in the first half. Of course, I knew it was a romance when I got it, but I guess I was expecting more mystery than romance. Right around the second half (not coincidentally, around the time the sex scenes started) the entire mystery element disappeared in favor of protracted sex scenes that were so long they became tedius. The first of them was well over an hour long! If you are into that sort of thing, then you may not have felt as I did that it really took away from the overall story, and I found myself fast-forwarding them to get to the actual storyline. The mystery element was set up well, but by 3/4 of the way, I was getting frustrated with the main character to figure out who did it, when I had figured it out several hours earlier. Overall, the story was enjoyable, but if all the books in the series feature the mind-numbing sex scenes this one does, I don't think I will want to listen to the rest of the series.
I would have dramatically cut the sex scenes, which I think would have made them more rewarding.
I LOVE Simon Prebble, everything he does is fantastic. His narration is half the reason I listened to this book all the way through.
Less description, more left to the imagination.
This is a like a lighter, fluffier version of the Sookie Stackhouse series, with a few principal differences- in this series, the "Sookie" character is way sarcastic and enjoyably scatterbrained, and actually gets changed into a vampire by Mr Tall Dark and Handsome. The story is simpler, more wholesome, and without the serious drama. It's very funny, full of predictable Southern charm, and the reader does the various voices admirably. I recommend it if you want the fun of a vampire series without all the heaviness, and don't mind that the "mystery" portion of it is a bit easy to figure out.
I listened to the original Bartimaeus Trilogy and enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to this new one. I got a surprise, however, because this one was even better than the previous three! It has all of the things I liked about the trilogy, and none of the things I didn't like. It skipped over the explanations of magical learning and the politics of the present day government, which I found a bit tedious. It was also lighter-hearted and had a more satisfying ending. The writing was just as good, or maybe better, and the story had a lot more action in it.
Bartimaeus fans will certainly not be disappointed, for there are plenty of antics from your favorite fun-loving demon, and new-comers to the series do not have to listen to the previous trilogy to understand the story, as this one takes place over a thousand year before it! If you are looking for something out-of-the-ordinary in that vague cross-genre space between fantasy and sci-fi that has a little magic, a little history, and a little humor, then this book is for you.
Report Inappropriate Content