I know this novel was intended to play on traditional folk tales, but it really did not translate to a full length book. Folk tales rely on repetition (series of 3s) and one-dimensional characters (defined by one exaggerated characteristic). That works in short tales. But in a long tale, centered on a theme of suffering and toying with conflicting relationships, it drags the story down. I found myself irritated with the main character's melancholia because I simply did not care about her. I really wanted to like this book, and stuck with it to the end mainly due to the beautiful prose, but it never delivered.
I liked the Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, but this latest Langdon tale has to be one of the worst books I have read in my life. The characters are two dimensional (all geniuses, all beautiful, martial arts expert, stunningly good actors etc. etc.). The character motivation is shallow. The book is probably 2/3 exposition--information that should be shown through story. And, seriously, the "woke up with amnesia and a pocketful of clues" trope is pathetic. I really wanted to like the book. I did not. Really, really bad.
What more can be said about this audio book than, "simply fantastic"? The narrator is in perfect tune with the story. The story itself is a fantastic coming of age tale celebrating the discovery of life and magic through a passion for sci-fi novels. This was one of the best audiobooks I have had the pleasure to listen to ever.
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