I'm a big John Wyndham fan, but this is one I'd never read - and fortunately it's wonderfully read and rendered as an audiobook. Like several of his others, this book follows an invasion of Earth, centering on England, but unlike many alien-invasion stories, this one involves aliens in the deep that are never seen by any of the characters in the book. It adds an air of mystery to the already mysterious happenings, as does the music that separates segments of the story in this production.
The narrator does a great job, not only in personalizing the different characters, but also in keeping the tone from getting too maudlin.
If you have heard a lot of actors interviewed, you get used to them saying what a great cast and crew they worked with on Production Whatever. There's a lot of that in this book -- and that's a shame. I expect every actor to publicly say every other actor on the movie shoot was wonderful and the director was hugely talented and the production was a high point in their lives and they never wanted it to end.
But beyond that, there's still a lot of good stories, funny dialogue, and interesting history about The Princess Bride - how it came to be filmed (I had no idea so many people had tried for years to get the novel made into a movie), how it was filmed (on sets and on location) and the reception it received on release and in the decades later. I enjoyed hearing how Cary was recognized by the Pope, who was a Princess Bride fan, or how he broke his toe while trying to use Andre's ATV and tried to hide it with costume adjustments and altered staging during the shoot.
I agree there are some production problems (Cary Elwes' voice does change about a third of the way in, and it took a bit for me to realize it was still him). Was it a vocal change, a production change, an post-production change? Either way, it was noticeable and detracted from the listening experience. And, while it might have seemed a great idea to include the interviews with cast and crew in the audiobook, the actual presentation was not done well -- Billy Crystal was on a bad phone connection (you couldn't clean that up in the editing booth?) and the voice announcing the name of each interviewee was deep, slow, and toneless, as if announcing people set to be executed. However, what was great was Cary's imitations of some of the cast and crew (especially his impersonations of Rob Reiner and Andre the Giant) -- I actually wished there were more impersonations and less actual recordings of the actors themselves, who sound like they're speaking to a microphone rather than speaking to a person (which I'm sure they were).
If you're not a movie fan or haven't seen The Princess Bride, don't bother -- this is definitely for the fans.
This is only my second Carl Hiaasen book - the first was read in print, not an audiobook - and I enjoyed it......however I can see the similarities and can see how too many of them would become repetitious and be too much of a good thing. But, it isn't too much for me and this is still an enjoyable book, both in tone and content. It has humourous writing and a good storyline (and a reasonable mystery).
I'm still not sure what happened in those 5 days at Memorial Medical Center in the aftermath of Katrina......and that's a good thing. This book reports from multiple sides of the situations to illustrate the conflicting stories, issues, and post-event findings that show that life (especially life during a crisis) is not straightforward and simple. Heroes have failings and villains have threads of redemption, and there were no winners after Hurricane Katrina.
What this book does let us know for sure is that there were a lot of tough choices to be made by a lot of people in a tragically desperate situation; some people did some heroic things, some people did some cowardly things, and some people tried to muddle through the best they could. There was corporate bureaucracy, false rumours spread by nervous media sources, and a wealth of post-situational criminal charges and civil law suits. It makes for an interesting story, all 'round.
The narration was average, suffering a few mispronunciations but otherwise up to the task.
This was a great listen! Although it might be notable for Edgar Allen Poe's inclusion in the book as a cadet at West Point, the novel really stands on it's own even if he weren't the character who helps the protagonist investigate murders and mayhem on the West Point campus. The narrator voices the characters well, and it was an all-round pleasure to listen to.
I love these Christie mysteries read by Hugh Fraser - he is wonderful. This outing has Poirot on an airplane trip from France to England when a fellow passenger is murdered on board. Like an isolated house mystery, those present are all suspects, and they are the only suspects. With the company of a British and French police inspector and the help of some fellow passengers, Poirot manages to sniff out the murderer. Oh, and along the way he plays matchmaker to two lonely passengers -- so in the end, all is well.
I loved the concept of this book, and I had high hopes. It could have been -- it should have been -- a lot better than it was. Sadly, the quality of the writing was pretty bad, and it ruined a good concept.
There's a kind of paradox in the book's concept, I think. It is filled with geeky 80s references that will only mean anything to those over 40 (or retro-geeks), but it's written with a protagonist and style of a young adult novel - and those readers are too young to get any of those references that populate this book. To try and overcome that, there are long-ish explanations of the movies, arcade games, and music from that decade that are used in the book, but in fact those explanations wouldn't be (shouldn't be) needed by those the book claims to want to appeal to. The result is that I feel like either the book is trying to teach me about a time period I fully remember, or that the book is trying to name-drop and wow me with an extensive list of pop culture to show me the author has done his research. A more engaging and subtle approach would have been to use the references without explaining them directly, slowly revealing an explanation in the context and usage. But that might have required too much writing talent, which I'm afraid this author simply doesn't really have.
This is one of those books that seemingly gets by (and gets high ratings) based on the subject matter, not the quality. The concept of an all-consuming universal alternate reality on line was great, as is the idea of an Easter egg hunt through that universe.....but it turns out the book is little more than a badly written story that drops names of 80s games, music, and movies as a badge of research, the way high school students would pad the bibliography list of their essays to make it look like they've done lots of research.
Wil Wheaton as narrator is a perfect fit, culturally, but, frankly, he's only average as an audiobook performer. Limited range of characterizations and inflections, it's more a recitation than an actual performance.
I leave disappointed.
I have read several of Patricia Highsmith's books before, though this is the first audiobook of her work that I have listened too. She is wonderful at writing psychologically creepy thrillers, and that is relayed nicely in this production. What I had not gotten from the movie version was how much Tom Ripley was a dreamer. Yes, he was a sociopath, but he was also a rampant dreamer who created elaborate scenarios in his mind of what his life could be like, "if only......." Sort of like a sociopathic Walter Mitty. His lies were all about making his life easy, but he never knew how he would do that until the opportunity presented itself. When it did, though, he showed no hesitation, conscience, or guilt about what he had to do, and was a practiced and skilled liar.
The narration might be considered too slow for some, but I thought it created the slightly creepy and sly sort of environment that fit Highsmith's style of writing and characterizations.
I got the feeling that this piece might have been some sort of test or audition for the series, or for the audiobook productions.........The story really has little to it, and serves mostly as an introduction to some of the characters (Georgie, Darcy, Wallis Simpson and the Prince of Wales). It also seems that Katherine Kellgren's narration is a bit "off", so I wonder if this was her first outing for the characters - she was (of course) still very good, but some of the characters' voices were a little too raw and overblown.
I enjoyed it as a bit of a freebie for fans of the series, but it's no where near as good as the actually novels in the series.
I bought this audiobook mostly on the strength of the narrator -- I've heard many of his other performances and loved them all. He was equally great in this, but the book was not as focused as I would have liked. Good history - 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama - with lots of activity and lots of emotion, but it tended to get lost a little and didn't stay on course as much as I think it needed to in order to keep the tension and interest in a way that would have made it great. Good but not great is the best way I can think to describe it.
I know that David Suchet is considered to have delivered the ultimate portrayals of Poirot in his 25 years portraying the man in television movie series "Agatha Christie: Poirot"......but that was not evident in his performance narrating this book. I guess it was fitting that the last movie he filmed as Poirot was Dead Man's Folly. If I didn't know who he was, I would have claimed he was overacting and chewing the scenery with some ridiculously cliched accents and over-the-top emphatic declarations in the final reveal.
The actual story is fine, but hardly one of Christie's better ones. The set up is a good one -- a "murder hunt" to follow clues is part of the entertainment at the annual fete at an old English estate, but the girl portraying the victim actually gets murdered. Sounds like it should have been better than it turned out to be, which seemed somehow both formulaic and muddled at the same time. All the usual suspects (red herrings, distractions, unknown participants) are there, but not presented well. This time I think everyone (Poirot, Christie, and Suchet) merely phoned it in.
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