I got this book yesterday and listened to the whole thing almost straight through (a few breaks here or there for some basic sleep etc). I couldn't stop smiling through the whole read- the narration was great and the story really well put together.
It's funny- very rarely do books actually make me laugh, but this one did. It lays out the parameters for the various plot devices, time travel primarily, quite well and then sticks to them. A lot of books (or movies) with this topic end up all over the place with plot holes or painful logical inconsistencies. Meyer avoids this trap.
It's certainly not earth shatteringly profound or intense. But it's well written and extremely entertaining. Most importantly, at least for me, it is surprisingly creative and held my attention raptly for the duration- clearly.
To expose bias, I am clearly in Meyer's demographic- I'm 30 years old and a lifelong geek-child of the techie generation. But I think if you are interested in a book like this, you will probably be of a similar bent and will find the various pop culture references/nods entertaining.
If you are looking for an engaging, light, happy, and entertaining listen, give this a try. You won't be disappointed.
I just finished this listen about 5 minutes ago. There will not be spoilers in this review- I like to give that heads up from the start.
Howey manages to write an extremely unique version of the dystopian future genre. The 'Omnibus' edition is made up of 5 parts, each one cumulative but distinct. A believable story with complex characters tackling massive concepts.
I think Minnie did a very decent job with the narration. There are parts when I felt she went a bit overboard with her characterizations of certain voices (Juliet sometimes [not always] making me cringe just a bit). However, her general narration tone was extremely balanced and pleasant to listen to.
Unexpected plot points and twists. I was surprised at the depth of character development achieved- genuinely cared about the outcome and fates of those in the story. Even the not so great morally.
I enjoyed this book a great deal overall, but it took me a long time to finish it; this is relatively unusual for me. I'm one of those listeners who can blow through a book in a couple of days if it really grabs me. Definitely worth your time if you are a fan of this genre- far more so than *many* of the offerings out there. I will be listening to the rest of the series.
I'm a fan of zombie fiction. I'm a fan of post apocalyptic. I wanted to be a fan of this book. But it's boring and predictable. Poorly written. The narration was good, but honestly I fell asleep while listening, twice. Gave up after 2 hours... I wish I could return those two hours to my life. I'll have to settle for returning the Book.
Avoid if you have a brain in your head.
I *think* this book was well written? I'm just not sure it was because of all the sound jumps... At least 15 times in the first half of the book there were major gaps in the audio. I would be listening along and suddenly it would be as if I had hit the button to the next chapter. This would, in turn, prompt me to scroll back to make sure I hadn't done that or spaced out. I finally gave up about 2/3 of the way through.
I'm not going to comment on the strength of the story or anything else really, because poor sound quality makes any appraisal unfair. It's being returned.
I'm not really sure where, or how, to begin with my review of this book. After reading the other reviews, I was actually a bit afraid to buy it and start listening. When King says something "scared the hell out of [him]", it makes me pause and think long and hard whether or not I want to do that to my psyche. I did, clearly, choose to press play.
I can say one thing, for certain- this is a supremely well written story. It will *clearly* not be everyone's cup of tea. However the detail and carefully placed word selections helped make this a throughly captivating listen. Cutter uses classic rhymes and tropes, familiar to anyone who has spent time in Scouts or camping, with rhythmic and pulsating effect. The suspense of the book is twisted notch by painful notch, from the first page to the last.
In turning to the focus of so many of the other reviews: yes, this book is not for the squeamish. Yes, there are brief scenes of harm to animals. Yes, it has imagery that may be exceptionally disturbing to some.
I actually was not that disturbed by much of the book. To expose a bias, or potential desensitization, I am a criminal defense attorney and was trained as an EMT. As a general rule, dealing with psychopathy or sociopathy (which are explored in depth within this book) does not shock or surprise me. The "gross out" factor didn't hit me that hard either. I will say that I didn't eat, eat, eat... anything while I was listening, lol. The only thing that actually gave me pause was the short chapter on the psychopath character and an animal. That was... disturbing.
However, hiding beneath the surface of the gore and horror is a story which is more emotional and cutting- Cutter takes the standard characters of youth and exposes them to his nightmare. The expected becomes the unexpected, but from the perspective of a 14 year old boy. Speaking as someone who was once a 14 year old boy, and one who was very much like Newton, Cutter hit the nail on the head. He plumbs the reservoirs of strength and perseverance in the face of abject horror as well as the psychological horrors we inflict on ourselves. He explores the concepts of youth and maturity, the nature of adulthood and childhood, as well as when that line is crossed.
It is not an uplifting book. It is not a light listen. I will likely give many people nightmares. It is, however, an extremely well written examination of the human psyche when faced with the literal and allegorical monsters which lurk in all of us to one degree or another. Highest marks and recommendation, but let the listener beware.
I get nervous when I really love the first book in a series. Second installments run the risk of being boring, overly repetitive, or losing the thesis begun in the first work. My anxiety was, thankfully, unfounded. Martin, Gwen, and Phillip have returned, accompanied by a slew of new characters.
This installment flows incredibly well from book one. It does pick up almost exactly where the first left off, which was very well done. Old secondary characters are woven into the fabric, with new ones taking on the major plot lines. The whole thing is rather seamless, actually.
As expected, the book is full of pop culture and geek references- not quite as many as book one, but a number of spots made me rather happy. I repeat my inherent bias stated in my review of Book One: I am very much in Meyer's intended demographic with this book. If you aren't a member of the geeky/techie/1970s-1990s set, you probably won't dig this all that much. Who knows though.
I am rather surprised at some of the negative reviews, one in particular. I didn't think that the romantic parts were embarrassing or sophomoric in the least- I think they were actually pretty spot on for the characters. Certainly not as if a 12 year old girl wrote it. Unless, of course, as a 30 year old man I have the romantic maturity of a 12 year old girl- which I am certainly not discounting.
Luke Daniels did a great job with the narration once more. I laughed out loud a number of times and couldn't stop smiling. The only complaint I have was the book was over too fast for my taste, 12 hours isn't long enough to spend with Martin, Phillip, and Gwen.
I can't wait for book three. Hurry up, Scott.
I want to be very clear about something: VanderMeer is a beautiful writer. I was transported to Area X and remained there for the duration of the story. The imagery and psychological development and devolvement... just beautifully done.
That being said: This book is really, really weird. I just finished the book about 20 minutes ago and am still on edge. It is very much a bizarre dreamscape- one that verges into a nightmarescape more than once. In fact most of the book could be classified as slowly being wound tighter and tighter into the surreal. There honestly wasn't anything I would find particularly terrifying or graphic... but I am left feeling disturbed nonetheless.
If you are looking for a classic "beginning/middle/end"... don't listen to this book. If you are looking for a satisfying resolution after listening... don't listen to this book. If you are looking for "Lost" on drugs... this is the book for you.
There are gaps in the story (intentional I am positive), gaps which may be filled in the following two books of the trilogy. I agree with other reviewers thoughts that this could be a stand alone book- in fact I am really intrigued what on earth the other two books are going to be about.
I was not particularly impressed by the narration- quite frankly she put me to sleep a few times with the monotone reading. But, the story carried it through where I might have tossed this into the return queue otherwise.
In closing, that's just about all I can say without doing the unthinkable and putting spoilers in the review (something that continually stuns me when reviewers do on this site).
I listened to it rather quickly- this is always a good sign on my end. I love Guidall as a narrator in general, so that may be a bias as far as my feelings on the book.
This book is a meditation on the modern challenges of an ever evolving technological world and their implications for intelligence gathering. Ignatius sets the "walk in" that kicks off the book in Germany- if there was ever a nail on the head for "this was the past, lets look at the future", this would be it. At some points, this mantra gets a little heavy handed, honestly. But it is extremely engaging and entertaining.
Like any good spy thriller, you are never quite sure who is to be trusted, nor who is truly the 'bad guy'. I imagine that is the reality of life in intelligence. Human allegiances will never be black and white and what may motivate one person may completely alienate another. The main characters reflect this concept quite nicely.
I am not one of those reviewers who will tell you huge portions of the book, thus why I am being intentionally vague. However, it is well worth your time if you like conspiracies, espionage, and paranoia. I imagine it would be a great beach listen.
I really loved the set up to this book. It was setting out to be a genre bending take on multiverses from the perspective of an engaging and likable protagonist. The narration was good. The beginnings of the secondary characters were great. But...
It just lost it about a third of the way into the book. It took a sharp left turn that didn't really fit with what had been established up until that point- more like the Author got bored and said "Let's try this now!".
From there the plot gaps and inconsistencies abounded. The basic underlying "law of physics" for the book didn't make logical sense in a uniform way. It accelerated to the point of nonsensical hyperventilation. Unfortunate. As always, this is entirely subjective and your mileage may vary.
Irritating drivel and fluff. Terrible exaggerated narration, poorly written, and boring. Avoid this one. Returning it post haste.
I'll be honest. I wasn't sucked into this book right away- it felt like Brown needed some time to really warm the story up. I also realize this is the foundational work for a saga, or trilogy at least. Once it got moving though... amazingly good. The four stars is just because of my perception of slow starting- other's mileage may vary.
There will be comparisons drawn to the Hunger Games. Having read those as well, I can say this is a far *far* more complex meditation on those themes in a much more adult way. It is worth the listen. I am left, as with other series I love that are just getting started, wanting more immediately. But, it looks as if we will have to wait some time for book two (Golden Son, Early 2015 release).
I loved the narration, but it imparted an interesting and almost assuredly unintended subtlety- I thought the Author was Scottish or Irish and making a commentary on English rule and oppression. Turns out the fellow is American and lives in LA. That's what I get for taking things to literally and then drawing subtle conclusions which others may not see, at all. A different narrator would have changed the book dramatically for me. I don't know whether in a good or bad way.
In the end, Brown drew me into an all encompassing vision of a dystopian future. I was fully invested in the outcomes of the major characters. I cannot wait for Golden Son.
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