*Disappointing* pretty much says it all. I had such high hopes for this one, and the story did carry me off at first...The setting, the characters, the initial building of the plot promised to deliver a great adventure. I slurped up all the details of the boy's wide education and filed away all the clues about the trials to come, the future in store for him, the state of the world around him, the wonderfull possibilities for the development of Tuala's character. And then I waited. And waited. Nothing came to fruition. By the time I had listened to three quarters of the book I knew there was no hope. The early promise of a great story was definitely not kept, and about half way through it began tapering off into a tedious, unconvincing love story. I have an hour or so to go, but I cannot bring up the will to finish this.
The best part of this book is Leonie Swann's writing - she has a beautifully fresh, wonderfully descriptive and unique style, which I immediately fell in love with. I enjoyed every minute of this book and of these words... they kept surprising me, delighting me and making me laugh out loud.
This is an original story unlike anything I have ever read. There are quite a few points of view here, various strange, quirky characters who we get to inhabit, but my absolute favorite experience was slipping into the strong, sleek bodies of Julius' bold and beautiful fleas. Die Floehe wuerden dieses Buch bestimmt als einen "grossen Sprung" bezeichnen :)
The narrator did a really good job of capturing the tone of the book. Her reading definitely brought out subtleties, ironies and humor in the story. She is not by any means a master narrator, didn't really have different voices for different characters or any fancy tricks up her sleeve, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. Tiny complaint: this is a German book but it is set in London, so the characters and places have English names. I was slightly irritated by the narrator's heavy German accent every time she said "Julius Birdwell" or any other name.
Dunkelsprung is the perfect name for this book.
This one is something special. December is about to commence, so I feel confident in saying that this is and will remain my favorite book this year. You may want to skip this if your German is not very good, but if you are a (near) native speaker I don't see how you could not love this book for the gorgeous language alone.
Yes, I'm sure I will listen to this again when the mood strikes me to dip into the Darkness of Balram's India. IMO this book is not the strongest contender in the story/plot department. But! It is a fantastic experience - it swept me up and dumped me in a foul, feral, fascinating, funny, frightening place which I have never seen from this perspective, never with this detail or feeling... never cared about overly much. I do now.
The degree to which this glimpse of that India is haunting and intriguing me makes this one of the best books I have listened to this year.
I would have enjoyed more dedication and depth at the back end. It felt like a bit of a race to the finish line from a certain point onward. Which is fair enough, I guess, but I would have had attention and interest to spare for Balram's present life.
Atmosphere! I'm no expert on Indian accents, but to my ears John Lee's performance is absolutely wonderful. He made the story that much richer and more engaging for me.
You'll love this if you enjoy a bit of a culture shock, if you like a-peek-at-the-underbelly type stories, if you can handle a dose of darkness. It's funny, too. And definitely worth a credit.
The Poisonwood Bible is one of those gems in which absolutely wonderful writing (vivid, poetic, distinctive, but not at all taxing) meets great narration - subtle, understated, but full of feeling and understanding of the characters. As I got to know those same characters it became easy to distinguish between protagonists even if I missed a character switch, by both the writing and the narration.The crowing glory of this book is the author's incredible gift of observation, as well as her ability to translate her observations into such fresh and powerful language. And so the human condition is once again revealed to be utterly tragic and utterly comical. She had me, unexpectedly, in stitches many times, laughing so hard that I had to hit the pause button so as not to miss anything. (Perhaps I found certain things particularly funny because, having lived many years in Africa myself, I recognized so many of her insights as profoundly true and absurdly humorous.) She also had me, not unexpectedly, blinking away tears here and there... and she made me long for things, and appreciate things, and she made me angry and engaged.I learned something, too, some things I did not know about the dire political goings on that made such a mess of the Congo. I recommend this book wholeheartedly for all of the above.The reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5 for performance is that I found it a little confusing and annoying that there was never any space between the end of one POV chapter and the beginning of the next. It was very easy to miss the switches. A production flaw, I think.And the reason I gave the story only 4 stars is because Miss Kingsolver overshot the end of the book by quite a bit. The first 3/4 or so of the book are really wonderful, the rest is, IMHO, utterly superfluous and drags on for no particular reason. Not only does that last part contribute nothing much to the story, it loses the magic, the keen insights, the powerful imagery etc that wowed me, and the characters suddenly become flat and grow no further even though they age in leaps and bounds. It's quite odd, really.BUT never mind the end. The bulk of the book is all good things and completely makes up for any flaws. It will be a credit well spent.
I thought I remembered reading this book in my tweens or early teens - the first book that I had to put down for a bit because it made me sob so hard that I couldn't see the letters anymore...lol...wonderful memory. It turns out that the book I read back then was actually "Voice of the Eagle", the second title in this series. Still, I was very pleased when I stumbled on this here, bought it immediately and was prepared to, even expecting to, love it. Which I did not. Because it's awful. The narrator brings out every bit of awfulness and multiplies it exponentially. Maybe it's just me - the narrator's accent really grated on my nerves with her Kuh-wanis and her speeerits and her pointy consonants. The main character struck me as a silly, stroppy, selfish, utterly uninteresting and unlikable cardboard creature. The elements of supposed romance in the story are un-engaging and unbelievable, yet the style of writing, the endlessly looping plot and the author's obsession with Kwani's physical assets would be perfectly at home in a bad romance novel.
I'm so sad. I would love to revisit the story that touched my young reader's heart so much 20 years ago, but I don't think I can bare any more of this tripe - certainly not on audio.
Spoiler alert: Don't think about the past; don't worry about the future. That's the Now Method. Feel cured? Yeah, me neither.
(Of course being 'now' is great and extremely important, but I'll bet you know that even without wasting a credit on this book.)
I suffered from anxiety and depression a few years back, and it turns out that what Dr. Weekes suggests here as a cure is pretty much exactly what I did back then to get over it. Accept the anxiety -> lose the fear of the anxiety -> lose the anxiety. Since getting pregnant I have had bouts of anxiousness and , occasionally, out of control moodiness that remind me so much of my past anxiety/depression issues that sometimes it has felt like a relapse. So in order to fortify myself against the stress of the impending delivery, the crazy hormones and the sleeplessness ahead, I looked for a little something to help me relax, 'accept my landing', know that even if this is a relapse I can recover again just like I did last time.This "book" is a series of four radio broadcasts from 1967 by Dr. Claire Weekes, in which she speaks in slightly antiquated language about her experience in working with patients that suffer from anxiety disorders. She presents both her views of the underlying problem and the solution to the problem in a very clear, simple and passionate manner, and she is absolutely endearing to listen to :) This recording may be over forty years old, but in my opinion this lady's ideas are still spot on. (Plus - it's quite fun to get a little glimpse of 60s societal norms as a side dish to the still very relevant main material.) I'm so glad I chose this as my 'fortification' book because, strangely, what took me so long to figure out for myself back in the day, what finally let me move on from my extremely frustrating and often debilitating disorder, is right here, in a sweet, neat little 2 hour package. Although I wonder if, had I heard this back then, I might have dismissed it as outdated, way too simple, impossible, not enough. It is none of these things - not if you can get up the guts to truly follow this advise. Good luck!p.s. I recommend listening to the sample to see if you like her manner, diction and accent. Personally, I think they're adorable :)
'Disappointed' is not a strong enough word. It actually made me angry how awful this book is. I must have slipped into some alternate universe while listening to this thing - that's the only way to make sense of the fact that so many people seem to have enjoyed this utterly insipid, ridiculous, mind-numbing bit of tripe. Yes, fine, in picking a historical romance I'm not expecting Tolstoy. I'm prepared for something light, hopefully a bit fun and a touch sexy, packaged in a generic but atmospheric historical setting. The Bride did start out that way. I immediately disliked the extremity of the heroine's superwoman characteristics - she is perfect and can do everything and everyone loves her and yet she is ooooh so humble and blablabla. Standard fare with these stories, I guess, so I was willing to get over it. But ugh: "She is as flawed as a clear blue sky" (gimme a break). As if this statement is not bad enough, the author apparently does not trust that her reader has enough brain cells to figure out the irony here, so she has another character ask what the speaker could possibly mean, since a clear blue sky is not flawed at all! "No," says the other, "only to a blind man". Gag.
OK, so we have the utterly perfect heroine (to make her main character 'three-dimensional' Garwood inserts an ever-so-charming flaw: the lovely Jamie has a bad sense of direction), and the gigantic, irresistibly sexy, rough, powerful Scottish laird whom said heroine is forced to marry and who cannot wait to get her in the sack. Sure, I'm with ya, fire away.On the first day of their marriage he seduces her despite her determination to keep him at arm's length unti he loves her, and he promises to never lose his temper with her. And that's it. Really. The rest of the book is about her going "haha, I'm going to make you angry but you can't be angry because you promised. Although I don't mean to be insolent, my lord." Then he is angry, making her wonder if he really cares about her. Then he shags her and tells her how much he cares about her. Then she goes "haha, I'm going to make you angry but you can't be angry because you promised..." On and on, one idiotically contrived altercation, self-pity party and boring sex scene after another, ad nauseum. It's unbelievable, really.
Sure, the narration was fine.
First the qualifier: I'm 30 yrs old, so not technically the intended audience.
I initially purchased this series for my boyfriend during an Audible series sale, thinking it might be a fun sci-fi/gladiator type of story. That didn't work out, the boyfriend was immediately put off by the narrator and the premise, and completely gave up about an hour in. Not wanting to entirely waste the credits, I tried listening to it myself.
I found Katniss to be a pretty annoying heroine - throughout the series she's increasingly whiny and self-obsessed and rarely has a clue. I rolled my eyes a lot and often wished she would just shut up and let us get on with the story. I guess this is the inescapable teenage element in what is, after all, a YA series.
The narrator is also not my favorite. She gives most of the characters the same incredibly irritating drawl, which tended to make me think that reading these books instead of listening to them would have been more enjoyable.
But enjoy them I did, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. There have even been moments where I found myself misty-eyed and wondering just how the author managed to draw me in despite my reservations about what I perceived as a somewhat flat world/cast/story.
I am now in the middle of the last book. I have no regrets about spending 2 credits on this series. And although I don't think I would recommend this to my friends or family, I do appreciate the secret ingredient, whatever it is, that has kept me listening so far...
I can absolutely enjoy a bit of twisted kink, so judging from a lot of these prudish reviews I thought this could be fun. Unfortunately not. Absurd characters who are all exactly the same. Thoughtless, unoriginal, shallow, uninteresting "kink" element. Endlessly repetitive and just unimaginably boring on the whole. I couldn't even make it to the middle of the book.
This review is for adults who enjoy smart, fascinating, imaginative 'children's' books. This is NOT one of those. I decided to give this a try because more than one reviewer compared it to Pullman's His Dark Materials. I can't imagine why. 'Magyk' is a silly kiddies book, comparable to something like 'Inkheart', not 'The Amber Spyglass' or even Harry Potter.
It's well read and I'm sure the tots will enjoy it, but that's about it.
(Admittedly I could not bare to listen to more than half of this book, so perhaps it takes a magical turn toward interesting later on. But considering the childish style, predictable storyline and flat characters, I sincerely doubt it.)
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