Earthquake Zone, California | Member Since 2013
While its set in the "old days" of the cold war, this Le Carre novel's subtext about the inner motivations of cold warriors, what makes them tick, their doubts, their cynical calculations and justifications, is really refreshing.
This is not a battle between "good" and "evil" as we see so often from the jingoistic media these days, but a battle between flawed but determined opponents playing out a convoluted struggle for power and control.
I enjoyed it very much.
I've read lots of John Grisham stories, but this is the first one I've read where religious devotion and conversion is such a major component. It's definitely not for me so I'll be getting a refund on this one.
First of all, there are lots of great things about this book, and about Stephen King's mastery of his craft. Secondly how can you beat 48 hours of entertainment for 1 credit? In my case as soon as I was done I listened to it a second time, so it's more like 100 hours of entertainment for 15 bucks.
Even if I have minor quibbles with the book, you should understand that I would heartily recommend it to just about anyone.
So my quibble is this: Why can't Stephen King resist the urge to employ the supernatural in his books? He could have written a very interesting story without magic or demons or ghosts, and I guess I feel that it has just become such a fixture of his repertoire that he can't escape from what strikes me as the easy out of leaning on the supernatural to drive his plots.
Great story though. I enjoyed it immensely.
I enjoyed all but the last couple of hours of this nicely crafted time travel story. It posits an interesting premise, and Stephen King delivers a lot of bang for the buck in this 30-hour adventure. Unfortunately for my taste he invests too much of the haunted house genre in his time travel story.
Spoiler Alert: It's impossible to discuss this book without mentioning how King ends the story, which strikes me as a total cop out. After stringing us along for 28 hours over whether President Kennedy can be saved, he winds the story up simplistically by avoiding the political repercussions and focusing his conclusion on how the universe itself (earthquakes and such) hangs in the balance because of the hero trying to change the past.
Rather than working his way through possible ramifications of saving JFK, King serves up cheap tricks and random acts of horror, which based on the many positive reviews (mine isn't really that bad) is probably what most readers want.
The story showcases the author's lurid fascination with rape and torture and even seems to embrace medieval punishments such as the pillory, beating, and disfiguration of children for petty crimes like stealing a loaf of bread, and flogging adults for all kinds of misdemeanors.
Rape is shown as a precursor to love in at least two cases - after Jamie beats Claire to "within an inch" of her life, he rapes her and soon thereafter she tells him she loves him. Later, Jaime is raped and tortured by the bad guy and then hates himself because it turned him on.
Rutting season is on - the book is so full of sex scenes that it actually gets boring.
Great narration, well written, interesting time travel premise (if you could cut out all the porn and S&M stuff), and you get 30 hours of story for 1 credit!
I understand this is FANTASY material and if this kind of stuff turns you on, I've got no problem with that. I just think the book should be labeled "S&M Porn" instead of "Romance" so that readers don't wander into it unaware.
It's really not my cup of tea.
The unsatisfying ending seems to scream SEQUEL in big bold letters and I wonder if the plodding pace and overstuffed details that are unevenly distributed in the book are a means to bulk up this offering for those of us who judge a book by it's size.
Brown weaves in a well-spun adventure when the student houses battle each other for dominance, but the story seems to borrow heavily from more successful endeavors such as "Ender's Game," the "Hunger Games" and even the Harry Potter series. It's almost as if he's trying to write specifically to fit into a new genre called "children coming of age in a future dystopia."
The narrator does a fairly good job other than a kind of plodding pace that to be fair might be the narration rather than the narrator.
I found the amount of harbored long term rage, both from the hero and from his enemies, more than a little is unbelievable. I was also unconvinced by the miraculous transition of the hero from slave to superman. How does someone go from pure ignorance to top of class on sheer will power alone, especially if any speed-reading technology is also available to the upper class folks he is competing with? How does futuristic cosmetic surgery make a working class boy into an elite warrior in a way that the elites who own planets could not afford to do for themselves?
This book pretends to champion democratic and meritocratic values, but I fear it undermines this goal by letting its hero take shortcuts to greatness because he was born to be better than others.
A great story about a small elite special forces strike group that takes on the well connected and well financed forces of high tech evil.
What I enjoy most about this and other Suarez books is this author's extremely cynical view of the people manipulating power behind the scenes in America, and how advances in technology could give unscrupulous elites the means to eliminate American democracy. It really makes you look at current events in a whole new light.
The bad - like an offshoot from a NASA survival class, this story digs into a lot of minutiae about jury rigging life support systems that seemingly only an engineer could want to hear. It got pretty tedious and I'm an engineer.
The good - engineering humor gave me belly laughs several times. I loved the camaraderie of the astronauts and the whole world uniting in support of the astronaut stranded on Mars.
The early part of the book gets bogged down (lethargic narration by the woman who plays Ender's sister accentuates this) but the story picks up once Ender gets to the military training school.
I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this book is because it highlights the duality of human nature – the smart sensitive kid who is mainly victorious over those who try to bully him, and who excels at the battle tactics and military strategy in the training games.
Ender isn't quite as successful at outsmarting the adults who manipulate him into becoming their tool, but therein lies the tale.
First of all one of the women narrators (the one who does the voice of Ender's sister) is so laid back in her delivery that it really drags the story down in the early part of the book.
Secondly, the book's first chapters could be drastically cut without losing anything critical to the story, but the majority of the story is more engaging as it goes along. All things considered, I did not find this story as satisfying or interesting as Ender's Game.
It's hard to write my opinion of this book without revealing more than I should, so be warned.
I very much enjoyed the major plot elements:
- the most horrible torture scenario ever written, where an implacable computer with infinite time pries out your secrets by reading your mind and zaps away your favorite memories as punishment for non-cooperation.
- a convincingly venal government agency gone rogue, developing incredible advanced technology not for America, but for its own ends, until it becomes so powerful that civilian government and armed troops are powerless against it.
The parts I am less enamored of were the overly abundant, occasionally swashbuckling but unconvincingly fortunate outcomes.
Still it is an interesting book that makes you wonder about whether there are real rogue agencies within the government with so much power that the government has to carefully pretend they don't exist.
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