Like many others, I'm typically not that into fantasy (Harry Potter books aside). But I downloaded this one based on all the positive reviews. And wow and I glad I did. I love a book with interesting relationships that is not shallow that doesn't leave me completely depressed, and often that's a very hard thing to find. But it's exactly what I got in this story. The story and characters were wonderful. Although it's fantasy (obviously) it doesn't feel that way. You just get to experience the wonderful relationships that develop between the characters in a way that you can relate to. The characters in the story are real and sympathetic, and I found myself attached to them easily.
I'm glad I got this as an audiobook, because the performance was great, and it kept me going when I might have put down a printed copy. This is an epic novel centered around many characters, so the first several hours were spent introducing and setting up these characters. I am not sure I would have been able to read through this long set up, but listening to it, I enjoyed it (I might have enjoyed reading it too, I'm not sure).
All in all, I loved it.
I really enjoyed this story. I liked the characters from the start, and although I was pretty sure I had figured out the family's secret early on (and I had), it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. I was quite addicted to the story while I was listening to it, and couldn't wait to get back to is when I would have to stop. It's not a deep piece of literature, by any means, but it's a good story with sympathetic and entertaining characters, and a love story that you can really believe and that makes you feel good.
I bought this book because the synopsis looked like a good character/relationship story. However, what I found was a story that was disturbingly violent. I didn't care about the characters, and there was no suspense in the romance or the "mystery", and no character growth that I could make out. The narrator's performance was good, but that was about all I liked.
I'm a long time fan of Veronica Mars, and I wasn't sure this book could live up to the original TV show. It fell slightly short in terms of overall feel, but I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the mystery and how much the story pulled me in, which was more than enough to compensate for anything that might have been lacking. I agree with other reviews I have read that I wish the book had been written in the first person, but nevertheless, the story and the characters hold the book together. Kristen Bell is amazing as Veronica Mars on TV and she does an admirable job as a narrator, though I feel her strength is still in TV/moving acting, rather than voice. Overall, though, definitely recommended.
There's no question that Jodi Picoult is a beautiful writer. She is a true master of the English language, and from that perspective I enjoyed this book. However, I found the descriptions a little too intense and graphic. I understand that given the subject matter (the Holocaust) this was bound to be the case, but the horror was just a little too much for me. It was just too depressing and upsetting for me. By the middle of the book I almost couldn't continue because I was so upset, but I knew that I had to continue because it would get less depressing eventually so I wouldn't be left in such an awful mental state. I also didn't find the story as compelling as I expected to. The characters were interesting, but I found things moved a little slow at times.
I've read one other Jody Picoult novel and I had a similar reaction to that one (I can't remember which it was), so I suspect I just don't care for her stories, despite her beautiful writing. I can see why others would very much enjoy this book. But if you are sensitive to horror and strong negative emotions and situations, this is probably not the book for you.
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