TULSA, OK, United States
Honestly, it's hard to explain or describe. It's a fantastic book. I think what I loved best was the humor in the face of darkness/evil/fear.
The scene where we finally find out why, exactly, David was in trouble in high school. I won't go into more detail, but man, it's amazing. Especially when placed in context with the surrounding discussion with Amy.
Amy. Loved her development and her humanity. How lost David was until her.
I will say this, it is really, really weird. I mean so weird it may turn listeners off. Some may call it juvenile but, for me, Wong writes in a style that closely relates to myself and people I know. It's like reading a book that tracks how my buddies and I would have reacted if we were in John and David's position. I loved it.
I just finished this listen and have read through many of the reviews. I think a lot of people are missing the point of this book. I realize that interpretation is extremely subjective, but as in The Troop, there are many levels to delve into on this listen.
First off, I don't know why the publisher focuses so much on the Gets in their write up. If you are expecting some apocalyptic horror book, you will be *extremely* disappointed. If you're looking for a nuanced exploration into madness and memory, this is the book for you.
This book is about plumbing the 'depths' of our conscious and subconscious minds. Cutter takes us 8 miles deep into a station that is a pinprick from collapsing in on itself from the extreme pressure. As the characters go deeper into the ocean (read, their minds) and stay under, they are tormented slowly, but surely. Moments from their memory drive them mad and fears from their childhoods come alive. The true terror one felt when the shadow on the wall looked *just* like X, Y, or Z. Clowns. Nightmares. We're lead through a storyline where you are never quite sure whether the characters are asleep or awake; never sure what is real or imagined.
Yes, it is gruesome. It's horror from Nick Cutter. Of course it's gruesome. Brill does an absolutely fantastic job with the narration. And Cutter's writing was, as expected superbly beautiful in its tone and word usage.
I thought this was a really great horror book up until the ending. It just didn't cut it for me. That is, of course, purely subjective and others may have a very different reaction.
Worth a listen and a credit if you like Cutter's work or are into paranoia inducing horror.
I have not seen the film adaptation, so I went into this book without any preconceptions. I think that is a good thing after completing this short, but extremely powerful, listen. I'm going to address this review without discussing more than is present in the Audible synopsis above.
The Reader is, essentially, a parable for the generations following the Holocaust. Michael represents the generation immediately following the perpetrators, as represented by Hanna. I won't go any farther into the plot, though I am not sure how important refusing to present 'spoilers' actually would be in this instance.
This parable addresses one of the most horrifying questions of the 20th century; how could the perpetrators of the Holocaust (or arguably any genocide) do what they did? And, how do the generations that follow understand or, if possible, come to terms with their actions?
It also explores the long term damage those who perpetrated or allowed the atrocity did to those who came after the war. Hanna harmed Michael, whether she intended to or not. The generation before harmed the generations that followed.
I'm not sure those questions will be answered for many of the listeners to this book. At least not in a way that is satisfying; I know for me, I was satisfied. That is not to say that it is an easy read; I have a feeling this is going to be one of those books that follows me for quite a while.
Schlink is blunt and sparse in his writing. Every word serves a specific purpose and economy of usage is employed extensively. Many authors would have made this into a 10+ hour book; here we have a fully functional story in just 4 hours. I didn't feel as if anything was rushed or too many jumps were made; in fact, I think expanding the story would have detracted considerably from the issues at hand. You can tell a lawyer wrote it though.
I think this book would be much, *much* better suited to text. Seeing the examples, being able to tangibly hold onto it... I think my star review would change significantly. I'm not sure I can stomach the generalized arrogance either; the man is clearly good at his job, but that doesn't mean we need a reminder every paragraph or two. Ignoring that, however, there is absolutely worthwhile and important information contained.
While not really a book, this interview series is stunningly good. An unbiased and expansive examination of the human experience, as exemplified through our collective mythos and archetypes.
Those who have dogmatic approaches to life or morality may have a lot of trouble with the concepts discussed, at length, in this series. However, those enthralled by the concept of cyclical representations of religions and mythologies (a line that is perilously nudged repeatedly) will find a fascinating experience.
Plus it has Star Wars in it. So, it has to be good.
I loved the concept for this book; it seemed like it would be right up my alley. But my god, it is slow. Horrifyingly slow. And miserably depressing.
After reading a number of the reviews (after throwing in the towel), it appears the book may pick up after the second half. Well, that's a very long listen for something that may, or may not, get better 10 or 12 hours into it. I gave up after my personal compulsory 3 hour listen. I feel pretty strongly if there hasn't been a hook after 3 hours, it's not worth my time. And, quite frankly, I feel like that is being generous sometimes.
I will say this; there are aspects of the book that are very well done. It is descriptive. I felt like I could envision this dystopian Thailand. But there was nothing there to grab me and draw me in. Great, we have this beautifully laid out dystopian vision; now what? Repetitive characterizations and heavy handed symbolism. On the plus side, the narration was really very well done.
A disappointment overall.
Quick has managed to capture the essence of something terribly fundamental to at least a portion of humanity; dysfunctional love mixed with mental illness and obsession. To get a bias out of the way immediately, I was born and raised within a half hour of the location of this book; the addresses in Philadelphia mean something to me and I can still smell South Philadelphia when I close my eyes at night, thinking about my home. Quick captures Eagles fever, the feel of Philadelphia, and its suburbs magnificently.
Another thing to address, right out the gate, is the comparison between the book and the movie. I really dug the movie. I thought Lawrence and Cooper did tremendous jobs. I also understand why the film was scripted the way it was. That being said, as is the case in many instances, the book allows a level of nuance that 2 hours of screen time just can't capture. I think you have to view the movie as the Cliff's Notes to the book. Significant plot changes occurred and, quite frankly, the movie was very watered down.
This was a difficult listen, emotionally, for me. Mental illness is addressed, at length, as the primary vehicle plot. And it does a spectacular job of it. But Quick's book is so much more than that. It's family dysfunction countered by standing up for the people you love. It's desperately, frantically, obsessively yearning for happiness (in a fairy tale kind of way), but accepting a more reality based version. It's a journey of self discovery and taking charge of your own life's story, of finding love and forgiveness in unexpected places.
Quick also managed to capture the feeling of desperately trying to 'fix' some past failure or disaster in one's life. Feeling like there is a crushing weight pressing in on all sides while consistently stumbling. The best laid plans...
In the end, it was a beautiful and delicate listen, even if difficult at times. Highest marks and significantly better than the film.
I've listened to many books on audible and given five star ratings before. I'm going to have to adjust my grading scale after listening to this book. If this is the level of story a modern book can achieve... my god.
The best thing I can equate it to, without giving plot spoilers as others are, is Empire Strikes Back. Not in plot or delivery, but in that atmospheric brilliant success that is the example of the second episode not always falling short of the opener. This is such a sweeping and dark installment in a trilogy. While already set in a dystopian or I guess utopian (depending on your personal twisted perspective) world, Brown manages to hit an even more discordant note than Red Rising. Much more. In fact I'm still recovering from this listen.
The characters from Red Rising return, with some notable additions. The themes and concepts delineated in the first book are explored much, MUCH more deeply. Anyone who compares this to the Hunger Games or any of the scores of YA dystopia would likely compare their child's finger paintings to da Vinci. I weep for your soul.
Brown plumbs the depths of some of the most fundamental aspects of our humanity. What makes us... us? Is it our choices, our outward form? Is it our origins? Can we truly overcome our pasts or, more importantly, can we decide our futures? More troubling are the ruminations on the nature of evil; is it a static, constant thing, or does a slight switch in perspective change its visage? Each of the characters and the plot as a whole, reflects these questions. Unfortunately an answer is not readily available and we are left, intentionally I am sure, a quivering mass of raw emotion in Brown's wake.
While it may sound dramatic or grandiose, and is certainly personal opinion, I view this as the best book I have read in a decade. This book is worth a credit and 20 hours of your life. It will change you, carve you, in some measure. Whether for good or bad is to be seen.
I really loved Dark Places. It was a great book (not uplifting though, to say the least), so I thought I would give her first one a try. I found this to be terribly formulaic and boring... she clearly developed as a writer between her first and second novels.
Gave up after 2 hours or so. Clearly not with the crowd on this one, but such is life.
I have a rule with books: give it at least 3 hours before making up your mind. I gave this one 6 hours, since I really did enjoy the first in the series. It just didn't grab me, not in the slightest. Terribly disappointing.
It's not completely surprising though. It was a great one book concept. Clearly 'Brilliance' was enough of a success that Sakey and his publishers felt a 'saga' was warranted. Unfortunately, in this listener's opinion, that is not the case.
Much of the book felt extremely forced. Emotions were being shoved down my throat rather than enticed out organically. While it's sic-fi/alt. reality/semi-apocalyptic in nature, the plot line didn't seem natural or 'realistic', even within the confines of Sakey's created world. It feels very much like Sakey had to force out a continuation of Book 1, rather than letting the story end at its natural place.
Daniels did a fine job of narration as always. In fact he's the only thing that saved this from a one star review. That and limited aspects of the Ohio couple's storyline.
Like I said at the beginning, I only made it through about 60% of this book before giving up, so your own milage may vary and there may be an eventual payoff I am missing. I'm willing to take that chance as there are many other books in my queue.
I used a credit on this one over a year ago. It sat in my library for a long time- so long in fact that I would have returned it without listening to it if I could have (time limit had passed) since clearly I wasn't going to get to it. I finally decided, hey why not.
I am so glad I did.
This was the surprise of the year for me, as far as books were concerned. Utterly engaging and believable. The characters developed well, as did the plot line. No forced culmination- everything fit and made sense based on the build up. That is not to say that the book was predictable- far from it actually.
It's funny, sci-fi, and horror, mixed into a solve the mystery plot line. Great characters. Just... believable, even with as out there as the plot line is.
The narration was fantastic. I'd listen to Ray Porter any time. I'm going to have to give Clines' other books a try, even though the ex-superheros series doesn't appeal to me on the surface. If they're as engaging and well written as this was, I can't see not liking them.
Is it the best book ever written? No. Is it worth a credit and your time? Absolutely.
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