I usually don't write a negative review because I feel the author has worked hard to do something most of us have never done -and that is to publish a book. But this book really needs to come with a warning. The first of the series wasn't as bad as this one. What do I mean by bad? I felt that this was a filler book that was written quickly for no other reason but to make it a three book series. The writing and events are all over the place. There is sometimes no reasoning for the characters actions. It was as if everyone in the story was bipolar and without their meds for too long. One minute a character would be feeling one way and the next a complete different without anything that could have provoked such a change. I found myself not relating to anyone because they were all so paper thin. The writing is overloaded with cliched dialogue. The author clearly doesn't understand the way the military works. My only emotion was that I found myself feeling sorry for the narrator. I was not able to complete this book. I've read, or listened to, hundreds of books, and I can say without any doubt that this one was by far the worst in every way possible.
This is more of a warning than a review.
All the previous reviews have just-fully told you how really great this series is. It's up there with the Dresden Files books as far as staying fresh, humorous, inventive, and adventurous goes.
But there should be a friendly warning attached, especially for listeners, so your not caught off guard. No biggie. It's like when you're channel surfing and someone walks into the room to ask you a question. You turn to them but they are looking at the TV thinking that where you intermittently stopped was what you were watching all along. So you look back to see that you must have stopped on Showtime or Cinemax because there's a couple going at it, getting hot and heavy. And now you have some explaining to do because that person asking the question is your preteen daughter. I'm talking That kind of warning.
So if your listening to this book without headphones be aware that the book touches on the subject of beastiallity. There is also an extremely detailed graphic sex scene (not a part of the beastiallity subject material) that reads more like a Penthouse forum than any of the other books of this series. I listened with headphones on and after the scene was over I felt like I should be smoking a cigarette with Renee Raudman.
Anyway, there it is. Great story to a great series with one miniscule warning.
What can you say about a book that has already won a Pulitzer Prize Award. Well, for starters, the audio book is even better! It's read by Frank McCourt himself and no other reader could have done a better job. His matter of fact tone and cadence will, in itself, keep you laughing and sobbing. I especially loved the voices of the teachers and English. He just does an excellent job. It's like your in a pub having a pint and he's telling you his stories.
If you haven't read the book yet, well then it's simply a must read. This book captures the sorrows and joys of the time (30's and 40's) and place (mainly Limerick, Ireland) like no other. It's written and told in the first person as viewed by Mr. McCourt. If he's age seven or eighteen then the views are from a seven or eighteen year old Frank McCourt. And this is why I think the story is such a classic like no other. If you want to listen to a book about human endurance, spirit, and survival (when the world seems against you) and still find the humor in it all then this is the book to listen to!
First, let me say I love this series, these characters and Peter Clines as a writer. That being said, I found myself questioning if this book brought the story forward in any way. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't elaborate. But I spent the first half the book wondering what the hell was going on and the second half wondering if this was just a filler book. I will say that if you were hoping to have some questions answered about why there are super hero's and villain's that suddenly appeared in the world right before the Zompocalypse, it isn't revealed in this book. Nor is much else to move the story forward. The book does place our hero's in a new predicament to overcome but that's about it. Unfortunately, for me at least, this book was not what I thought it could have been. It didn't go where I hoped it would go. It was just average.
This book was offered at a discount and not many seemed to have listened to it. Based solely on this my expectations were not high as to the books content. I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised to find a story which excelled in every way. It was well written, well paced and rooted in human emotion. Each character is complex (and gets even more so in future volumes.) It is an old world book about magic but don't expect any Lord of the Rings type creatures. The story works perfectly well without them. I found myself thinking of the book when away from it, caring and wondering what would happen next to the characters and Jeff Wheeler never disappointed me.
Kate Rudd does an outstanding job in her narration with both male and female voices. She gives each character a distinctive voice with emotions that you can hear the change. (Not all the males sound the same no matter what they are feeling.)
This book and this series is highly recommended!
Ask yourself what makes a perfect sequel and this is it. The story is expanded, the world is expanded. New threats dwarf old ones. New and complex characters are revealed. Secrets are revealed. Answers to questions you've had, or didn't even know you had, are answered. You learn more and get involved more. This story, as in all great fiction, is rooted in reality and human emotions. It is well written and Kate Rudd does a very distinctive, outstanding job with a variety of both male and female voices. This book (the whole series) is a steal for the price. Highly recommended!
Normally, I'm a guy who reads/listens to stories of war, adventure, crime and law. Occasionally, I'll dip into some science fiction or fantasy but have only done so when the works were mainstream. Harry Potter, Timothy Zahn's Star Wars, Enders Game, The Hunger Games to name a few. So when I came across these books I weighed heavily what the reviews had to say against what I'd normally (safely) be looking for. I'd seen the titles pop up before and had dismissed them. Each with their picture of a woman in no special pose holding a sword, a stock photo of a lion, with the generic backdrop of a city. The book covers are so vanilla I'd made the terrible mistake of not looking into the books any further. I couldn't have been more wrong.
On the surface Kate Daniels is a stubborn, sarcastic, tough-acting, pain in the ass -yet all woman. And I love her for it. As I read on and absorbed the complete world Ilona Andrews (a husband and wife team of writers I understand) had created I soon realized I was in for much more of a complex ride than I'd originally gave the books credit for. Oh, I'm now hooked. There's no doubt about it. I've listened to four books so far and have started the fifth. To coin a phrase Kate might use, the whole series is preternaturally good. Kate Daniels has quickly become one of my all time favorite protagonist due to her sharp wit, sarcasm and the way she views the world around her. The interaction between her and the bevy of rich characters (especially Curren the shape shifter were-lion) is magic in itself.
Each book is written in a stand alone fashion but you'd really be doing a discredit to yourself not starting with book one. I wouldn't have wanted to miss a moment of the special nuances which made and built upon the relationships of everyone and the magical/technological (or the lack thereof) world around them. The books are well researched concerning the magic, godlike beings and fabled creatures come to life. The stories are action orientated and the writers capitalize on this world of magic having the characters in one intriguing situation after another. And most importantly, like any good science fiction or fantasy piece, each book is rooted in a full spectrum of complex human emotions and characters that, at their core, anyone could relate to.
Renee Raudman is to Kate Daniels as Dick Hill is to Jack Reacher. I'm glad she's voiced all the books. She is very versatile for both male and female voices, old and young, normal and under duress and all phases in between. I don't know if there are awards given for voice-over acting/reading but if there are, she deserves to win one.
I was looking for an adventure book and thought this would be a perfect choice. The book however, was more of a History lesson most of the time. It often jumped from time period to time period and person to person than it was a linear adventure story. It did go into details eventually, more so in the later part of the book, of the actual African voyage where Livingston sought to find the source of the Nile and Stanley to find Livingston.
I admit there were several times early on that I considered abandoning the reading entirely. Not because of John Lee -I felt he did a great job narrating, but because my expectations were geared more towards an adventure in Africa and less of the entire History lesson surrounding Stanley and Livingston and everyone they had ever come in contact with. The bouncing around from the multitudes of people and dates got tiresome for me which mostly, but not entirely, happened in the first half. I stuck it out though and learned a great deal about a lot more than I bargained for. I only wish I had a book report due or something.
To sum up the experience; don't get this book if your looking for a linear adventure written as a fiction piece as events unfold. Get into this reading with the frame of mind that it is a History lesson told from a third party as an outsider looking in who is reading from the journals of Livingston and Stanley. Then be prepared not to get to the meat and potatoes of the story until the second half of the book.
This story transcends, has more layers, than a mere war story. One might find that the emotions, politics and actions or reactions between the characters and the war waged around them could be applied to anyone in supervision or management to this day. I learned from the experience of this story. There is no definitive good or evil characters only people with the capabilities of both. I think you'll find that the protagonist is any person USA. So when he is pushed beyond the brink of what is considered normal by societies standards, you find yourself wondering what you would do in those situations. The story is written in a way that when there is triumph or loss, you felt it personally. For me, it is one of those stories that stayed with me, had me thinking, days after I finished it -as the best stories tend to do. The narration by Bronson Pinchot was top notch. He captures the nuances and subtleties of each situation and furthers the experience of emerging you into the story. He doesn't just read it to you but rather becomes the characters in every situation. All in all, I recommend this book to all those who don't mind getting into the politics of the military in that gritty reality of time, and of the way it caused the Vietnam war to be waged.
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