Extensive press raised my expectations that this would be a notable and memorable book.
Unfortunately, the so so writing failed to bring the subject matter to life. This book pails in comparison to RIVER OF DOUBT (though it quotes from this earlier work).
Here's another situation where the author is unable to bring his characters to life on the page -- or to convey the arc of their journey.
The books promise is sadly done in by its feeble execution.
Not terrible...however, I would advise checking out better options first.
No - and I wouldn't suggest that a friend spend the time to listen to it. There are many other novels that are much better.
The are several moments - Vegas, the museum - the book is made up of them. The problem is that the linkage between them gets weaker and weaker as the novel progresses.
The book did not evoke an extreme reaction - it certainly never caused me to smile. I was saddened to read yet another novel where key characters spend long periods of time on drugs or in pursuit of them. This is almost becoming cliche.
Based on the awards and the glowing reviews, I was hoping for a novel as compelling as Junot Diaz's "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" -- but my hope was misplaced.
No. While the writing is clever, the story quickly becomes so far-fetched with too many unbelievable coincidences that suspense fades. Then, to top it off, the book ends like a Marvel movie -- with a cliffhanger that screams "Sequel to Come".
No. Read Gibson or any of a dozen more accomplished cyber pop writers.
None rose high enough to be considered favorite
Originally, yes. However, half through the book I began to wonder if the author knew where this was all going. Since he ends the book without ending the story, I suspect he doesn't.
After reading the glowing review in the NYTBR, I was very disappointed in the book.
Unlike the far more useful Pimsleur or Learning Spanish Like Crazy audio programs, Frobose doesn't bother inserting in chapter or lessons breaks. This makes it very difficult to repeat a difficult section/lesson. It doesn't really seem much thought was given to the program overall. How else can one explain teaching the numbers one through ten in the level 2 audiobook -- or spending 40+ minutes going over idiomatic expressions? I was so hopeful that this would be a well-designed and effective audio-tool for learning Spanish. Sadly, it isn't.
Frobose simply failed to construct an effective learning program where one section built on the one before it. He also failed to make it easy for the listener to go back to the start of a lesson to repeat. Sadly, the audio sounds like a cut and paste hack job.
I'm unlikely to try another Frobose audio. I've listened to two of them and both suffer from a lack of warmth, clarity, or effectiveness. His aren't the worst Spanish language audio programs out there -- but they aren't all that good.
Frobose could learn a great deal from the producers of the podcast Coffeebreak Espanol as these folks have a warm and inviting tone that encourages and engages listeners. Mark's robotic delivery and recycled phrases take the joy out of the learning process.
If you want to hear just four short dialogues repeated again, and again, and again...then this audiobook is for you. Unlike the far better Pimsleur or Learning Spanish Like Crazy programs, Frobose assumes listeners don't have enough sense to rewind to listen to a section until they master it. Instead he repeats sections---endlessly. The overall effect was so tedious, it took all the joy out of learning the language and made it difficult to listen to. Most frustrating is that I only learned four relatively short and only somewhat useful dialogues after suffering through all the repetition and bland delivery.
Include four hours of intensive dialogue as promised instead of repeating four short dialogues again, and again, and again to get to four hours. You get four times more valuable and instructive content from a Pimsleur or Learning Spanish Like Crazy audio than you do from this one.
Robotic delivery and poor editing -- clearly a cut and paste job sticking pieces together. Frobose lacks warmth. The stilted notes of encouragement lacked sincerity. Overall, the effort pailed in comparison to Pimsleur -- less learned, less enjoyable to listen to, less encouraging.
It was nice to hear the conversations by native speakers and have a chance to practice them. Would have been happier if there were more than four short dialogues in the entire program.
Many of the other reviews for Frobose's audios appear highly suspect. Most of the comments were posted by people who have never reviewed anything else. And it is surprising how similar their reviews are. Particularly surprising is the reviewer who made the exact same comments for Frobose's programs for Spanish and French ("This really worth the money") awarding five stars to Frobose and far fewer to competitors. Final bit of advice: Buyer beware!
The author goes on and on without sharing any sense of his destination.
Yes, the book
If you are a militant gay, convinced that every other male is secretly gay, you might enjoy the book. If, however, you see the world as a mix of gay and straight -- you'll be frustrated by the lack of straight characters...and by the inclusion of those from the British upper class that would certainly have been part of the story if a more balanced author had been at the keyboard.
Hollinghurst's earlier work - particularly The Swimming Pool Diaries - is much more compelling. This book felt like Downton Abbey without with, pathos, or characters you cared about. (Don't even get me going about the ending...)
The author seems afraid to end the series -- or uncertain as to the ending. He insults his listeners by rehashing 'old news' without really moving the story forward. This is more like a movie of the week where they take a 30 minute story and stretch is to 2 hours in order to enrich the pockets of the producers without any concern of the viewers/readers.
He rambles on and on and on and on
It is so hard for anything to stand out amid the endless droning. Too many characters. Too much back story. Too little forward momentum. If you thought the last book went nowhere, be prepared...
Martin's world and character names are engaging -- too bad he seems afraid to get to a final climax. At least Tolkein had the conviction to find an ending.
Wish I hadn't wasted so much time on a book that went nowhere. Time to move on -- even if the author is able to.
I'm not sure why I was expecting more of this book. The premise sounded interesting enough. However, the combination of the author's on-point prose and the narrator's 'adequate' reading left me feeling like I just finished a large meal of unremarkable food. Full but not satisfied.
While well read, the book itself was a disappointment. The beginning is enchanting (a nod to the supernatural) -- the middle goes on and on -- the ending reads like a promotion for book two. Don't look for a final conflict between good and evil or resolution of any sort. On the whole, the writing is smart enough but the pacing feels flat/monotonous and the romantic sections get a bit too gooey for my taste. It seemed like the author really didn't have a vision for the elements of evil to challenge the protagonists. The hints at a conspiracy and one-dimensional antagonists helped the book come across as a sweet supernatural romance novel...much less than I expected after the engaging opening. Overall a disappointment -- the spell was cast, however the magic failed to materialize.
Why would an author think she is a better reader for an audiobook than a trained professional? Her publisher and producer should have had the guts to tell that she's not up to the task. Their honesty might have given this light and somewhat interesting work a chance as an audiobook. Instead, listeners are subject to 8 hours of an annoying monotone. While some snippets of decent writing managed to emerge despite the mangled delivery, the book never seemed to fulfill its early promise. Too bad -- I had high hopes.
After reading numerous glowing reviews for this book I was curious...but also apprehensive because I'm not a fan of "Vietnam war books". However, this book entranced me from the first page to the last. Soli does an exceptional job crafting complex and compelling characters. Her descriptions of Vietnam make the country come alive -- almost emerging as another character. If you are looking for a simplified political parable for or against the war, look elsewhere. For those seeking an original work of fiction that will transport you to another time and place, The Lotus Eaters delivers.
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