This book revels in the concept of being a history book about a man who never existed. Unfortunately, it has taken that concept too far for my enjoyment, as the dry, divorced narration (not the reader, but the narrator itself) and the endless examinations of socio-political issues without any context caused me to have flashbacks to a high school teacher, forced to teach a subject that they do not care about in the slightest.
I've really enjoyed the Monster Hunter series, but I felt that this was a weak entry in it. It pulls back the curtain for a certain character, showing their backstory in great detail. It's a fine backstory, but it's not nearly as fun as the mystery was. The plot is fine but not great, the main villain is certainly villainous but is not particularly interesting and his motivations aren't really understandable.
I really liked the idea presented in Amped. Were that idea explored in an essay or a piece of speculative fiction, I think that I would have enjoyed it more. Instead, it is presented as a novel and the story of that novel ends up feeling very forced. I feel like I Wilson was trying very hard to make a mystery where the reader could be pleasantly surprised as the story twists and turns, implying one villain and then another... but it just came across as muddled.
The story works so hard to cast certain characters as villains (callously killing innocents, etc.) and then abruptly flips their role while only providing the thinnest veneer of reason. Along that same line, it is obvious that Wilson wanted to tell a story of a social dystopia, but his world fractures into this state through a completely (to me) unbelievable series of events. As I was listening to it, I kept asking myself, "Really? Who would do that? Why would anyone do that?" over and over again. The world did not feel logically consistent and so ended up very artificial.
Aaronovitch has created a very fun and detailed world for his Peter Grant novels. Police procedural is melded smoothly with the supernatural, creating a London that is both wholly unique and yet feels like a natural part of the world.
The narrative is written from Peter's perspective and is very well put together. The character's voice is very strong and consistent, adding color, flavor and humor to the scenes.
Holdbrook-Smith gives a FANTASTIC performance. As the narrative is written is a strong and distinctly characterized voice, Holdbrook-Smith's performance brings that voice to life in remarkable ways. He is not simply reading the book to you, but is rather performing the book for you and is able to bring a whole additional level to the story through his performance.
The story had a lot of interesting ideas but I never felt that it went anywhere.
This is a really engaging story. It deals with some pretty awful situations, and though it doesn't hesitate to let you know what's going on, it also doesn't revel in the awfulness and pain. I think that the book handles those difficult situations with graceful storytelling and is to be commended. My only complaint is that the production has some weird pauses. There are some silent stretches that were sufficiently long that I started reaching for my stereo to ensure that it hadn't turned off or something before the next bit started.
Volume 2 adds more depth to the already fascinating world that Lindquist and Christensen have created with their Dead Beat stories. An overarcing plot comes to light, tying together events from most of the short stories into one grand scheme, while adding history and weight to the ghosts that inhabit this world. I can't wait for Volume 3!
This book is a strong continuation of the story created in the first book. I continue to like the characters and it flirts with being a really amazing book, but it didn't quite feel like it realized that potential. Still, it was very solid and enjoyable, adding depth to the world and telling an interesting story.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It maintained a strong message throughout and was very well written. By largely using journal entries and autobiography to tell the story, an incredible amount of setting detail is conveyed in relatively few words. My only complaint is that there was some vaguely supernatural stuff that really didn't strike me as necessary and nothing really came of it.
Davina Porter does an amazing job narrating this story. Not only does she use appropriate Scottish accents, but she manages to convey several distinctive Scottish accents for the various characters. I had no difficulty in understanding her (despite the array of accents present in the book) nor in determining which character was speaking. She is a gifted performer who really brings the book to life.
That said, I did not enjoy the book itself. I'm a 30 year old male, and I've never before come across a story that seemed so finely, perfectly tuned for a demographic of which I am not remotely a part. This may be technically sci-fi/fantasy, but it's only a fantasy in the sense that a teenager fantasizes about their attractive teacher. This book is a Romance, pure and simple.
The entire story seems to me to be the author's fantasy (as opposed to a story set in a fantasy setting), every element blatantly conspiring to force the main character to be empowered and to experience a thrilling romance. I've nothing against empowered female characters, nor against romance, but the book is so blatant in its pandering to those two ideals that it completely ruined my immersion. The plot only seems to be a secondary consideration, often lost in the relentless pursuit of this author's indulgent fantasy.
This short story (and it is certainly short) is a fine example of a classic ghost story. It is creepy and fun at the same time, ending at the perfect moment, just as you realize what's going on.
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