This is not normally my cup of tea. I'm sort of a military fiction/science-fiction/thriller/mystery kind of guy. I like a lot of action in my books and I don't like a lot of psychological mumbo-jumbo or romance or sex. Philosophy? OK. I can handle some of that, and there is plenty of philosophy found in this work. It's dished out in un-subtle slaps to the mug too, though not unkindly.
Plus, it's a very funny book, sort of in a "Stephanie Plum" funny way. However the protagonist, Amy, isn't young and fit and beautiful. She's in her 60s and sort of dumpy; and very anti-social, especially at the start of the book. When we meet her she has a basset hound and a couple of friends and teaches writing on-line and has a very messy house which she rarely leaves and which is filled with books she hasn't read.
In chapter one, she falls down. She's hit on the head and suffers a mild concussion.
What happens from there... Well, listen to the book. You'll enjoy it. I did, and I was surprised. Honestly I never would have bought this book but it was one of those books recommended by the narrators.
And, speaking of the narrator, Amy McFadden did a wonderful job on this book, catching the character's voices just right; hitting the proper ironic notes and also deadpanning the slapstick in the funniest ways. I laughed out loud while in inappropriate places, such as the grocery store, the pet store, the gas pump and one or two other public places I can't think of right now.
For me, this book was sort of like falling down and being hit on the head and suffering a mild concussion, metaphorically, and... I suppose... philosophically speaking.
This book is laugh out loud funny, I recommend it highly.
I for one have always been a fan of the "Western". I read them as a kid and only quit when I couldn't find them any more, other than the more short and shallow predictable paperbacks that are out there now. Somehow, I missed this one when it was written, and I'm so glad it was resurrected by Nancy Pearl and then produced by Audible. Thank you.
This Western is anything but predicable. You know the premise from the Audible summary; fifteen cowboys show up in Russia and then start a cattle drive of longhorn cows and bulls. These are not steers being driven to market but breeding stock; which are much more difficult animals than castrated and fattened steers. Indeed, the herd almost takes on its own personality as the story progresses.
Our cowboys of course meet up with fifteen Cossacks and together they begin a very long trail drive to deliver this herd to the village that bought it. Adventure ensues. Adventure which includes huge wolves, Siberian tigers, and bloodthirsty Tarters as highlights. Tarters apparently, are the Russian/Siberian equivalent of our "Indians".
As I listen, hours fly by. Figurative pages are turned, and turned, and turned. I had a very hard time even taking a break; though it's a very long book.
It's all told through the eyes of a young drover on his first long cattle drive, and so it's also a "coming of age" story. And it is an excellent story, well written with a good plot and a great narrator. I loved it and recommend it heartily.
All in all, not your normal "vampire" book but more of an apocalyptic bio-weapon sort of book. In this case the weapon is a virus that causes one to turn into an almost mindless vampire at first. That is, one becomes almost a "zombie" type of blood-sucker that congregates with it's own kind and then attacks and feeds at night on anyone not infected. Sunlight is deadly to these infected victims/vampires.
The battle to contain this virus is the meat of this first book, and it's a page turner given that there's a very rich human involved... on the side of the vampires. That little fact provides for some great plot twists.
Five stars in all three categories from me since the narration by Ron Perlman was spot on. This was a terrific listen all the way.
By the way, I was surprised at how closely the television show followed the book. There were some obvious differences, but the show and the book are very close. I'm sure season 2 will follow book two and so on, but we'll see. I've already gotten bot the follow up books and intend to listen to them before the next TV season because I cannot wait to find out how it all comes out. Frankly, it doesn't look all that good for the human race to be anything much more than just a blood source for these "beings". But wait, perhaps there is some help. Seems there was some sort of truce broken when "The Master" decided to come to the "New World"... Hmmmmm.
She was unexpectedly funny, whimsical, even, at times, a little satirical, in her own sweet unassuming way.
She was unexpectedly resourceful. Able to make due with very little and indeed, to cause very little to multiply into very much indeed.
She was unexpectedly brave. Not due to non-realization of the amount of danger she was in, but brave as in courageous, able to think under pressure despite the danger she was seeing very clearly.
She was unexpectedly dangerous in ways no one could have predicted in a thousand years.
She was unexpectedly entertaining from the start through the finish of the book, causing this listener to commit to listening to more of the books which have her as the main protagonist.
An astounding book; well performed by Barbara Rosenblat who captured the flavor and nuance of Mrs. Pollifax precisely and who kept the humor always just at the exact level needed to color the danger and intrigue with a little whimsy. The plot was tight and the tension was tight throughout.
Terrific! Just a lot of fun to listen to,
What can I say? This is a book that I will probably take back. And I take back maybe one percent of the books I buy, maybe less. I have more than 1000 books in my library and I think I've returned maybe two or three. So that is less than a percent. But I just couldn't get through this.
Watching this poor girl's life deteriorate while those around her just watched was just painful. If her account was accurate it was hard to believe that no one called her parents or that her boyfriend didn't react sooner or that her friends didn't figure out something was wrong much sooner.
That's about when I quit. I just couldn't take any more. Her accounts of what she was seeing and hearing and doing made absolutely no sense to me, which I guess was the point. However, I didn't find it any fun to hear about, read about, think about, remember or continue to listen to. I didn't understand any of it, and I felt so sorry for this young woman that I just couldn't continue. And this was way before she hit bottom.
For those of you who study these sorts of breakdowns or how the mind works, God bless you. I'm sure you found this fascinating. To me, it was just too sad to continue listening to.
If you're a fan of military fiction, and don't mind an elite mind set, W.E.B. Griffin might be your cuppa. This is the first book of the Maine Corps series, and in it we meet most of the protagonists. The antagonists, of course, are the entire Japanese army and navy and air force, as well as any bureaucracy in the US that might not agree with the Marines. But our young heroes and their beautiful (and rich) girlfriends who are willing to go anywhere to follow their warriors and their exploits are very entertaining, and the history is accurate. The story, set against the history, is well told; the heroes are heroic; the women are beautiful, and the action is ... well... not very realistic I suppose if one has ever been on a real battlefield, but close enough to reality to provide some tension.
Griffin has a style all his own, I think if you like him, you'll like him. I do, for some odd reason, so I do recommend his books, despite their elitist and very conservative flavor. I do feel a responsibility to warn the first time listener about that "flavor" in his writing, but if you can get past it, or if it doesn't bother you, I believe the books to be very well written and very enjoyable.
The characters, while all officers (at least eventually) with the exception of a couple of Gunnery Sergeants who are, of course, the guys who really run the Marine Corps, are all well developed and believable. One gets caught up in their lives, lived against the turmoil of the times. Again, I like the books, despite the obvious flaws, and I've read everything he's ever written and now I'm listening to them. He is that good a writer.
Was this Tom Kratman's first book? It read like it. Long, boring political discourses punctuated by a few poorly done battle scenes and some "evil antagonist" dialog. Or I guess the earthers up in space were the evil antagonists. I'm not giving away any plot I hope if I say that. No, I can't be. The plot was so disjointed and difficult to follow at times that it was hard to tell the players.
Seriously, the author seemed to get too caught up in political theory and how evil the liberal, environmentally active... and whatever other anti-conservative names he could think of, organizations were misbehaving than with making the story work. Oh yeah. Arabs are also evil. Well, they're all evil except the English speaking, whiskey drinking Arabs he likes.
If you're a very conservative Rush Limbaugh fan and enjoy reading political theory with some story and a little action every now and then, you might enjoy this book. I cannot recommend it though. To me it was one-dimensional, with poorly drawn characters and a thin plot and story line.
This is a classic story of good against evil, with a twist of lone wolf vs a group. Does that make sense? I know. Not really, huh?
OK, so without giving away any plot it's a story of the evil corporation that's bent on taking over the "oasis" a virtual world apparently based on today's internet. There's this contest, see, made up by the guy who invented this "Oasis".
To make a long and funny and interesting and tension filled story short, the lone wolf meets the girl of his dreams, teams up with her and his best friend and a ,,, well never mind who he teams up with. Our hero ... Well, listen and see what happens. Does he win? Does he get the cyber-girl? Is all well in the end? Or, does evil take over the Oasis world and start charging a fee for its use? Listen and find out. You won't regret it.
Grover Gardner narrated and did a superb job in keeping the characters recognizable by voice alone, an important talent in this book, where the author pretty much assumes you've read the first in the series. Not much time is given to introducing or describing the old characters, though they stay pretty much true to form.
Again, the heart of the book is the courtroom, where the cross-examinations of the various state witnesses are brilliant drama, and at times, high comedy. The inevitable exoneration of our heroine comes ... well, I don't want to spoil it for you. I mean, you did know he would save her, didn't you?
A secondary plot is the civil suit of the released-from-death-row-at-the-very-last-moment-before-his-lethal-injection falsely accused, incarcerated, convicted and sentenced but saved at the last minute man. Whew. Anyway, that's all going on in the background while Andy is trying to save his "only-true-love". Oh yeah. Don't forget. He's also suing his former father in law.
All in all, a good time is had by all. A great book; an easy listen and a lot of fun. I recommend it; but remember, it's just a fun book. Don't expect more than that and you'll enjoy it.
This book is a fresh and pertinant now as it was when it was written during the height of the cold war. If you're not my age you probably don't remember having nuclear attack drills and having to hide under your desk at school, holding your head under your hands and with your head down between your knees. (And as I learned as I got older, "kissiing your a** goodbye".)
No, seriously, we had them every month or two in the late 50s when I was in the third and 4th and 5th grade. Then I guess the government decided not to make us do it anymore. But there were a few good post-apocalyptic books writtien during that time. "On the Beach" was one. And "A Canticle for Leibowitiz" was another, though I don't think it was actually discovered until after it had been out a while.
The book is a lot post apocalyptic (twice); a bit fantasy; a whole bunch philosophical, AND highly entertaining. It's about why human beings do the things we do, and how we manage to screw things up so royally, and the nature of evil in this world as well as the nature of good and the ever present coflict between the two. AND it's a fun read. Wait until the Abbot loses his temper and hits a doctor in the nose because he's doing euthansia of radiation victims. He has to confess his sin. His confessor, the assistant abbot, is relentless. It's hilarious.
However, beyond the funny scene of a priest who lost his temper are serious questions. And the arguement is as pertinant today as it was then, with all the focus on abortion and our "culture of death". Who is right? Is it the doctor, who is only trying to provide a compasionate and painless death to people who are dying already from radiation poisoning? After all, they are facing a painful and slow death and are going to die no matter what. Or is it the abbot who's right; who says to put your faith in God, and give your suffering to Him? The abbot maintains a person can use that pain and suffering to get closer to God. Who is on the right? Is the doctor really perpetuating evil, as the priest seems to think? Is it that "euthanize them" mind set that lead to the nuclear exchange in the first place?
Get it. You'll enjoy it. And the performance by Tom Weiner is just excellent. This is one of my favorite SF books of all time, read very well by a veteran reader. Enjoy!!!
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