Minneapolis, MN, United States | Member Since 2010
I made the mistake of scanning some reviews before downloading this book. There's a spoiler in one review that's hard to miss. It ended up really changing this book for me because it destroyed a plot line. I'm not sure how I would have felt about this book had I not spent the first half in anticipation.
I wanted to love this book, but didn't. I liked it very much but there was a predictability about it that kept me from loving it. The narrator wasn't stunning from the start, but the nuanced reading really captured the characters. In the end, it was a huge asset to the book. It's not the kind of reading that jumps out at you. Rather, it's subtle and works perfectly for this book.
Interesting that the end of war is really the beginning of upheaval in many instances. I'd never really thought about the implication of that when it came to the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1865. This book provides insight into individual thinking/motivation when societal change is in the works. In that regard, it's excellent.
Every now and again you hit a book that's so addictive you just can't stop listening. This was exactly that for me.
I knew nothing about this voyage. I'd never heard of George DeLong or the USS Jeannette. I expected a good historical account - something I'd listen to a few hours at a time. Instead I found myself buried in the story, the characters, the land, and their entire experience.
Hampton Sides does a great job of bringing together a ton of detail into a coherent storyline. Some reviews are a little hard on that aspect, but I thought it added to the whole experience. These were very competent people. The level of preparation was stunning. That they left behind such a complete record of the voyage is a testament to how seriously they took this endeavor. All the detail made it more real for me.
As to the narration ... I thought it was adequate. Morey doesn't get it the way, but he doesn't add anything either.
Word of warning: while I was listening, I was so taken with the book that I started looking up maps and other details about that area of the arctic. Until that time, I really didn't know how this was going to end. I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had stayed off the Google machine until I was done. It was impossible to avoid details and it spoiled the suspense.
The greatness of this audio book is not in the writing or narration. Both are adequate but not noteworthy. The real beauty lies in the subject(s) - the elephants. In a way, this ends up being a love story to them.
Though I've always wanted to know an elephant personally, I likely never will. This gave me a glimpse of what that might be like. I was impressed, once again, by their intelligence, uniqueness, and bravery. Again, as with many other books, it filled in a piece of WWII history that was new to me.
It's interesting to see where events have taken people in life - especially during the first half of the 20th century. I don't think anyone could have predicted how Billy Williams' decision to become a teak man in Burma would actually turn out or what a difference he might make. By virtue of place, the book shines some light on British colonialism - and it's not pretty.
This is a lovely look at what happens when people have a passion and heart. And though that's interesting, for me the unforgettable stars of this book are really the elephants themselves. Here's to you, Bandoola.
But this book doesn't come close to his others. First, it's WAY too long. The plot drags. Usually his books are longish, but they need the time for a plot that keeps turning and twisting. Second, it's just too graphic. I'm okay with details, but this one went too far for me. Third, it was just too predictable.
If this is your first Greg Iles book, I hope you don't judge him but it. There are plenty of others that are absolutely terrific. This one is mediocre by comparison.
This is a dark book - the final in an inky black trilogy. And it is fabulous.
Adrian McKinty has a talent for bringing characters to life with the written word. Then Gerard Doyle picks it up and does the best Michael Forsythe I could possibly imagine. There isn't a better fit between book and narrator.
This is murder and mayhem. It's not gentle. The dialogue is rough and so are the scenes. Expect that. You can also expect a tightly written mystery that keeps you listening.
I think it would be disappointing to start with this book rather than the first one in the trilogy. Listen to all three in order and you'll be rewarded with some superb character development. McKinty is at the top of his game.
This is a tough book to review. It would be easy to include a spoiler and that's not fair to other readers. So, I'll stay clear of that and do the best I can.
This is the first Kristin Hannah book for me and I didn't really know what to expect. With all the advance press, I was hoping for something equal to, say, "The Goldfinch" for this year's list of greats. Yes, it's good - but it's not going to make that list for me.
Though there's never a shortage of WWII books in fiction, there have never been enough books about the huge contribution women made to the war. I'm always pleased when one comes along that I think will capture new readers. I don't think this book comes close to "Code Name Verity" in quality, but there's no question it will generate great word-of-mouth and be a book club favorite.
As to the book itself, I wish I could rate it in two halves. The first half for me was ho-hum. Let's be generous and call it good. It took me a very long time to get into it. The narrator didn't help much. She's adequate, but really doesn't enhance the experience in any way. For quite a while I wondered if I could endure but pushed on anyway. I'm glad I did. Things changed.
About at half time, the storyline thickened and it became a compelling listen. All the set up on the characters paid off. Closer to the end when the author brings the whole thing around, she really ties it up beautifully. I'd even call it great.
Is it "Winds of War" caliber? Nope. But that book will never get a new flock of readers and social media buzz where this one just might. If it helps a new generation know what women did during the war, it will have done its job.
I'm really in awe of this author. Her ability to craft a compelling story against the backdrop of war - even this particular war - is really impressive. More than that, she helped me understand the historical context while delivering a story. That's an achievement.
Like many others who were around during the 60s, my knowledge of Biafra is limited to photos of starving children and pleas for help. I knew nothing about what caused the humanitarian catastrophe - only that it existed. The images are seared in my mind. If someone had handed me an historical tome on this particular civil war, I doubt I ever would have read it. That's where Adichie delivers some magic. Her book brought that whole time to life for me and delivered an ugly history in a way I could understand.
There are times in the book where I was confused as to the sequence of events. The jumping back and forth wasn't always clear. There are also times that the actual writing is a B+ instead of an A. None of that mattered to me. I was completely taken by the whole experience -- diving into Nigerian history, reading about Biafra, examining my own assumptions, and thinking about how vulnerable people can be when superpowers don't do the right thing.
Robin Miles adds a dimension to this book I never would have experienced if I'd read it in print. Her reading is beautiful - artful, nuanced, and completely one with the characters.
During the long winters we suffer through here in the north, it's really nice to broaden out a bit and discover authors that are new to me. (Anything to break through the boredom.) I have a special admiration for first time authors - the rare breed with the persistence to actually write that debut and get it published. So, I really looked forward to this book. I wanted to love it. I didn't.
There's an underlying grittiness that normally appeals to me. In this case, it wasn't dark - it was bleak. Let's call it Wyoming, as we heard so often. Second, it just needed to be tighter. Everything wandered ... the dialogue, the characters and the plot. There were times when I was really lost as to what was going on. I was about half-way into it and realized I was ready for it to wrap up so I could move on to the next book. That's never a good sign.
I'm seeing rave reviews all over the place and am wondering if I missed something. I don't think so. I think it's a distinctive writing style that will appeal to some people and maybe not so much to others. The bleakness may work for some people. The wordiness may work for some - though I vote for a ruthless editor to the benefit of all. I think I can fairly say it just was not my kind of book. To each his own.
I'm not sure where the writing ends and the narration begins, but together Adler-Olsen and Malcolm are simply terrific. Malcolm has a way of delivering the wry asides and frustration Carl Mørck has with Assad's language mangling that makes me laugh out loud. It gives me the feeling that I'm along for the ride and observing all of this from the back seat. And what a ride it is.
I never quite know where Adler-Olsen is going to take the plot and just when I think I've got it figured out, I find out just how wrong I am. I love how cleverly the characters work off each other. He manages to write about daily life events (and body functions) with such wit. Stomach flu? Who knew it could be hilarious.
This series is a little twisted, sometimes dark and very quirky. (There's always an "ewww!" factor.) It's also first-rate entertainment if you want to bury yourself in a mystery and take a trip into a Denmark you never knew was there.
I hope Graeme Malcolm is called back to narrate the first two books in the series. Carl Mørck just isn't the same without him.
Jussi Adler-Olsen's books have been coming up in my suggested list for a long time. I'm not sure what took me so long to give them a try, but I finally took a look and decided to start with this one. The rave reviews were impossible to ignore and after listening, I think it earned every one. Granted it's not literature, but I still had to give it top honors. Here's why:
This is such a perfectly executed thriller that it should be a "how to" manual for writers. It has an underlying tension that never abates. He ratchets it up a notch from time to time, but it never goes back to zero. There are just enough characters to keep it interesting but not make it a difficult listen. (Meaning, I never had to write anything down to keep them straight.) The characters are quirky with dialogue that's clever and witty. (Meaning, I actually laughed out loud.) It's a thriller, so of course there are horrific things - but this author somehow manages to stay on the psychological side, rather than venturing into the disgusting. When you're not listening and thinking about it, it's the characters that stay with you - not graphic scenes. That's impressive.
Graeme Malcolm's narration is spot-on. It's absolutely perfect for the author and the characters. The combination makes this escapism listening at its finest. I'm so glad to discover an author I like as much (or more than) Nesbo and McKinty. Kudos to all for a credit-worthy listen.
Before I say anything about the book itself, I have to give the narrator a salute. I cannot imagine anyone better to narrate this book. Doyle makes it all work. Truly great work.
As to the book, Neville created a tension that's essential for the genre. The characters were believable and flawed. The "gotcha" was there. There was a tautness to the storyline that kept me listening and trying to figure it out. It was there for 85% of the book and then ... not. I'm not sure what happened, but a solid 4-star listen fell down to a 3.5.
Even though I can't give this a rave review, I'm glad I discovered Stuart Neville and will continue to watch for his books. It's a thoroughly enjoyable listen - undoubtedly due to Doyle's flawless narration. I can't wait to see what else he writes.
Report Inappropriate Content