Sacramento, CA, United States | Member Since 2014
I ADORE this series and I highly recommend it.
3 of the narrators were excellent - 1 was not. Her voice was very stiff and didn't flow together.
I might have been happier reading this in print, but I definitely recommend the audio over not reading it at all.
Even though this isn't my first Kirby Heyborne listen, I thought that his inflections didn't match how I would imagine a teenage boy's... this could easily have contributed to my finding Finch unrealistic. I probably won't be listening to Heyborne again, though I would definitely listen to Ariadne Meyers.
I can see why this was compared to The Fault in Our Stars - aside from the "feels" moments, Finch and Violet's adventures had a quality reminiscent of John Green's style (which I enjoyed).
I have a harder time seeing the comparison to Eleanor & Park. Those characters were just so real to me while Violet and Finch were so... well, unreal. Part of Finch's supposed charm, I think, is his unfiltered honesty and over-the-topness. For me, it was hard to believe anyone could really, seriously say some of the things he did and get the normal reactions he got (I'm talking about you, Violet). Perhaps I would have connected to the characters and been more moved by this story if I found them believable*
The writing had its moments, but was flowery/poetic in a way that came across to me as overdone. The pacing (despite it's John Green-esque moments) was hindered by many things going on at once. And, the intensity of the most critical moments was softened by my lack of connection with the characters.
*This is not to discount the author's very real, personal experiences, many of which are closely mirrored in this book. Kudos to her for writing about them.
There are so many things that make this book work: Journal-style narration that weaves story and history, characters that are realistic for the period and full of personality, heart-stopping plot twists, and a story that is intense and emotional but not completely hopeless. On merit alone, I'd give this book 5 stars. It is excellent.
As far as my personal connection with the book, I'd give it more of an "I liked it" 3 stars, though towards the end (and upon post-reading reflection) I really like it. I enjoyed everything I mentioned above, but i never got truly sucked in, so it dragged in several places. I'd call this book memorable but not a favorite.
Narration was really excellent, especially the first half.
This listen is pure fun, what with the steampunk/finishing school/spy training aspects brought to life by a writing style that's a bit silly and an excellent narrator. Where it disappointed was that it wasn't easy to follow; There were certainly several memorable characters and situations but not a strong story arc. I may or may not continue with the series.
This my first Laurie Halse Anderson book, but it won't be my last!
This book is advertised with an emphasis on its darker aspects and the fact that it's an "issue book," and indeed it was very intense and raw in parts. This was complemented with stunningly poetic writing - it hit hard.
However, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it also had a perfect balance of lighter aspects - a smart though imperfect heroine (best kind) and a fantastic but realistic love interest/relationship. These things in combination with the moments of poetry and moments of intensity and - oh yeah - the fact that I was so ADDICTED to this book that I practically read it in one sitting - make it an instant favorite and an experience I will not forget.
I was very pleased by the narrator, her voices and intonation were subtle but spot on.
This book pretty much has it all - a great premise, thoroughly explored; realistic characters and situations; twists with maximum impact - with a bow of great narration on top!
This book steers clear of the fantasy land that dominates many YA contemporaries, which I greatly appreciated because it allowed the author to more fully discuss what would happen to this character and those around her in a thought-provoking way.
My quip comes with the main character not always making decisions I agreed with. She is supposed to make mistakes - which I love, and makes the story more real - but there was a portion where I didn't feel or understand her motivation.
I also couldn't help comparing this book to Zevin's more recent trilogy (All These Things I've Done, which I HIGHLY recommend) which was longer and with more of a wow factor (because of the setting) that this book lacked.
Greer was an ideal narrator - she didn't stand out, but in a good way. I was just immersed in the story.
[Decker learns that Delaney is somewhere talking with Holden, Maya's brother]
"Holden," I mumbled.
"What kind of a name is Holden anyway?"
Jana blinked at me [...] "Catcher in the Rye? Ring any bells?"
By my blank expression, I guess she could tell that it did not.
She sighed. "Holden is only the angstiest voice of discontented youth in all of recent literature."
Shit. Delaney was going to love him.
Oh, how I love this author. I really recommend her.
Here are the things that made me want to give this book 5 stars:
-I really loved Decker's narration and grew to like him even more than in Fracture.
-The story is haunting, suspenseful, and extremely addicting.
-The writing is perfect. Styles that are too simple or too flowery are distracting -- this had a perfect, unobtrusive balance, yet it was gripping, clever in parts, and poetic in others.
- Even though Fracture had a satisfying close, it still left some questions to explore and so this sequel felt natural and even like it could stand alone.
However, there were a couple of caveats. First, I felt that Delaney's character fell a little flat. I guess it's bound to happen to an extent since we're not in her head anymore, but it didn't really feel like the same character sometimes. Her and Decker's relationship troubles were understandable, but lasted too long, and were resolved too anticlimactically. And the end of the book lost a little steam from the amazing and intense opening, and still left questions that were a big part of the story!
Despite these things, I was not disappointed. This is just overall the kind of book I love to read. You can bet I'll be religiously tracking this authors releases :)
(Also, the narration of this audiobook was AMAZING. I am impressed that a female narrator was able to pull off a male p.o.v. so flawlessly. Her voices were distinct, but not distracting, and her intonation spot on.)
An early copy of this audiobook was provided for me by audible.com ... Little did they know this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, Muahahaha!
DID NOT FINISH at 54%
I don't know how I would have liked the book and the narrator separately, but they made a bad mix. First of all, the story was very slow. There was a lot of attention to detail and not enough attention to the plot. This combined with the narrator's very slow reading was a bad combo. I remember listening for a stretch of 30 minutes and there were no real plot developments - just description.
The narrator's French and southern accents are fine, but distracting because you can hear how much attention she is putting into them and it made me lose focus of what the characters were saying sometimes.
I was ready to give up at 20%, but I found the 1.5x speed button and that helped, but in the end I decided not to finish this.
I have seen some better reviews of the text copy of this book, and I wouldn't be adverse to giving Caitlin Prennace another shot with a different book, I just can't recommend this audiobook.
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