Molina's talents and some interesting characters kept me from awarding one star. The narration is wonderful! I loved The Chopin Manuscript, despite the jerky-at-times plot, so was disappointed and then increasingly irritated by the Copper Bracelet. With an ingenious central idea and already-established characters, the authors still seemed to deliver an unsatisfying whole. My take was that multiple excellent and experienced authors, given this task of advancing a plot handed off to them, felt it was important to make a mark in the plot and (nearly always) sent the story in a different direction. In their own books, surely, there are chapters that stabilize a plot or advance the characters a bit. Not here! Every chapter has a BOOM! The result was that I became increasingly frustrated and eventually abandoned the listen about 3/4 of the way through. Thus my take on the endeavor as a whole. For me, it was a lot like stories we tell to occupy children on a car trip: everyone takes a turn and hands off an improbable twist. Thus some entertaining episodes, but not a very satisfying whole. Well, except for Molina's steady and experienced hand.
Porter's narration of this inventive tale was spot on, with vocal mastery that delighted us and kept us going over the last hours of our vacation road trip. The characterization was fabulous! We were invested fully in the fascinating group of misfits who live in the Kavach building, especially slacker Nate (the narrator) and Veek, resident geek goddess.
Great elements: Historic L.A. brownstone. Multi-padlocked doors. Odd apartments. Mutant cockroaches.
Apparently this is a bit of a departure for Clines. Think Twilight Zone and be forewarned: the first half is heavy tech mystery with maybe secret government agency undertones. Around chapter 60 you find yourself in serious sci-fi land. By then you'll be so fascinated by the tale and the characters, you'll stick with it...and be glad you did!
Yes, Pimsleur is a great AUDIO approach, but be aware that you'll hear, "Go to your Pimsleur booklet" somewhere around lesson 3 or 4 ... Unfortunately, the .pdf booklet that comes with this download doesn't include the information you want! I *think* the content is excellent, but true usability is limited until Customer Service can help out on the missing documentation for Units 1-10. My best guess is that it's just a scanning error (e.g., scanner missed pages and scanning software assigned page numbers, so it's not readily apparent). I'd like to think the publisher didn't omit essential support for the audible version. The Simon & Schuster CD version (also 2008) costs about $100 more at Amazon. Audible Customer Service is trying to sort this out, but meanwhile, I have a semester-long commitment in Romania next spring so I'm also looking around for someone who might supply the missing pages.
I read the Audiofile review for the UNabridged version (an AUDIE finalist) and then carelessly bought the abridged - read by the author - for my historian husband's post-surgery listening. The second star above is a historian's nod to content; at the end of the first hour, his verdict was "one of the worst productions I've ever heard." Specifically "Given the subject matter, surely the reader would at least make an attempt to pronounce the Spanish and Portuguese words - it's beyond awful!" What a waste of money!
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