A print review of this book said that if you liked "The Davinci Code" you'd like this book. Wrong. I agree with previous Audible reviewers - this is a poorly written romance novel. My rule is to give a book one hour of my time before abandoning it. I lasted barely 60 minutes.
The plot and the characters are fascinating. King builds suspense like few others, and the excellent narration added to the experience. This is one of those listens where I didn't want to get out of the car when I got home because I had to know what was next.
I'm a big fan of Stephen King - both his writing and usually his selection of narrators. Unfortunately, the narrator of the first story doesn't keep his volume at a consistent level. Far too frequently I was straining to hear the last half of a sentence as his voice trailed off. I was listening with a friend and we both kept reaching over to rewind and change the volume. So I can't give you a review of the writing, since I couldn't continue to listen. Like I said, King's choice of narrator is usually excellent.
As a fan of the Number 1 Ladies Detective series, I looked forward to the same kind of rich cultural experience wrapped in a bit of a mystery. Unfortunately, the characters here are shallow and insipid, their bland stories strung together like an endless string of digressions from what is billed as the main plot line. I gave up after seven hours of listening. Disappointing to this fan of the author.
You've read how fun the plot and characters are - I can only agree. But what really added to the audio experience was the narrator's voice - just the right ironic tone and inflection to underscore the delightful (and believable) absurdity of the story, without being a distraction that takes the listener out of the story.
The first half of this story could have been about any whiny, privileged child trying to gain our empathy for having grown up in the shadow (you say "shadow", I say "great example") of a father of great character. Not new, not insightful.
BUT the second half takes off, as the narrator is thrust into a chance to redeem himself as a man, an Afghan, a muslim. The characters become much more intriguingly drawn and the world they traverse becomes palpable.
The skill of a reader is essential to my enjoyment of an audio book - a bad reader will make me abandon a good story. The author of the Kite Runner is an excellent reader of this tale. He speaks in an English that is clear even to my very provincial northern US ear, but with Afghan pronunciations that add musicality to the story and draw the listener fully into the author's world.
Well worth the reading.
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