This was among my first audiobooks ever and is by far my favorite. While the story by itself is good, the presentation of this book is what makes it great. Having multiple narrators is what gives this story life. For me there was a real sense of several people, PA State Troopers in this case, relating their own accounts of events and not somebody reading a book. Perhaps the narrators were able to focus on their respective character(s) better than if there was a single person behind the voices, but they related the emotions and events in a manner unlike any other book I have heard so far.
I think Stephen King has a way of creating fictional locations within real places that is different than many authors, to me it always seems like you could go find them if you could only find the right exit off the highway. Troop D's barracks and shed B in rural Pennsylvania are no exceptions; it has to be there, doesn't it?! The standard SK surreal events, mangled eye, and horrifying ways to die are all present and accounted for. Which isn't to say that this is a below average book. This author's one of a kind ideas about monsters and aliens is what makes this one so fun.
The narrator had me wondering if, at some point, he was going to ask if if switching insurance companies could save me money..."does a bear defecate in the woods?" I'm sure you know the commercials.
Everything in this book seemed to be lost by about two decades. Maybe the author placing a homburg on Delany's head was to show that he was also willing a bit of a bad guy, because it seems to me that by the 70's fedoras and homburgs were generally out of fashion for most. Wardrobe aside, the majority of it seemed better suited to the 50's or earlier not the 70's.
Delany was a terribly contradictory character: He seemed (to me) either dumb as stump or able to make brilliant connections with few pieces of information. He was willing to go very far outside the law to get the bad guy and still be concerned with a desk cop properly answering the phone, professional appearance, and so on. Compassionate enough to visit murder victim's families and then ruthless enough to yell at and degrade a widow when she wouldn't help. Delany seemed like a manipulated character in a story, not a cop that worked within the fictional world; he didn't seem "real".
Finally, the regular alcohol consumption by the police was just plain silly. Out on a stake out? Have some brandy, Working the investigation? Have beer from the well stocked fridge, otherwise have coffee. Met up with another police chief? He's carrying about a case of beer in his patrol car, so dig in fellas while we wait! I really don't understand what the author was trying for.
There's no mystery here: You know who the killer is and you know who is going to get him. There are no particularly exciting moments. It was merely dragging through Delany's investigation, and enduring the author's description of ham fisted or limp wristed characters. I finished this only because I wanted to see how the author would force the closure of the investigation.
This story was frustrating on so many levels. From the politics to the equipment used on the battlefield. From what I can guess this story takes place somewhere between 1991-97. I judge this based on reference to the cold war having just ended and the service life of the tanks the US used. While I am certainly not an expert on the US Army's arsenal in Korea, I am fairly certain that the US has more than M16's, a handful of tanks that were dated even for that time period, a few artillery batteries, and some troops on the ground. While the North Koreans had grenades, special forces units, and all manner of heavy equipment.
It was amazing that even as the conflict rapidly escalated the President of the US never contacted any other leader in the world for any reason. None of the UN nations were involved in the battle even though the author involved the UN council and (I believe) called it a UN action occasionally. It was essentially the US standing alone against several nations involved in an out of control war.
Most of the victories the US achieved were mostly by luck, I think the author was attempting to create tension and excitement with that but it only made me feel the US was poorly trained, undisciplined, and poorly equipped.
The narrator was not the best I have listened to. The Koreans sounded like they were exaggerated sports announcers (the best analogy I could come up with). Anybody on a US radio was so overly stereotypical: "Rrrrrroger...." and that sort of thing. I was in the Army for 5 years and there was more likely a good butt chewing if anybody was trying to sound like they were in the movies while on the radio.
If you're looking for a story that bears some military and political realism (other than the names of equipment) then look elsewhere. However, if you want a casual story that moves along quickly enough then you might enjoy this one.
I don't often go for fantasy books. I listened to the sample and wasn't too sure about Michael Kramer's voice. Based on the other reviews and the fact that it was a long story for 1 credit I decided to give it a listen. This is one of the most engrossing stories I have listened to and I didn't want it to end.
The characters are well developed. The author provides you with characters that aren't perfect, they're conflicted, they're fallible, and they're intelligent. There is a bit of everything in this book from battles to philosophy and the characters all have reasons and motivations for their actions. I really enjoy that aspect of the story and the way it is developed throughout. The world isn't described with intense detail but there is enough to allow you to create the images of the places and people in the way that you see it, not the absolute way author sees it.
The narration is outstanding. There is a large cast in this in this story and the narrators do a great job of giving a different voice to each character. There was a time when the narrators ran across the same character's name and they pronounced with a different emphasis on the syllables (making the name sound like a new name to me), so I had a brief moment of confusion. No big deal though.
This is very easily among my favorites and am anxious for the next in the series.
This is the first experience with It. I have to say that this story was much more than I expected. There are more than enough reviews about the story out there, so there's not much I can say that hasn't been said!
I think that the narrator did an excellent job over all. He had a large cast to maintain voices for and he did an exceptional job. However there were some places where he was a bit "overly enthusiastic" with his volume. For example: Some of Richie's voices were much louder than the rest of the section he was reading from. A select few of the characters' (side characters and especially Richie's impersonations) voices tended to be shrill, not high in pitch but very harsh on the ears. I found myself needing to turn down the volume several times. There were a few parts that the narrator's voice was obnoxious that I was anxious for him to get through the section because I just couldn't stand hearing it. By the end of the book I was quite happy to be done. Those are the only reasons I wouldn't give this a 5 star rating.
I think the narrator was perfect for this book. His narrative voice fit the tone and style of the story and his character voices were quite well done. He did a good job with accents and interpreting moods and vocal inflections from the text.
The story was interesting but took quite a long time to get to rolling. At times it seemed as though the authors had been writing separately or would edit the other writer's previously written paragraphs. There were occasions where it felt as though something was thrown in to remind the reader that "hey this is SCIENCE fiction". For example in describing an aspect of a naval ship's defense systems: "...an efficiency proportional to the cube of the incoming velocities..." was like stubbing your aural toe on a long walk.
The human race in this story felt as though they lived in an interstellar British Empire from a century or so past. As you go through the book you learn that there had been rises and falls in the human race and it made the social attitudes (and technological anachronisms) a bit more easy to understand. However, the humans all seemed to be conveniently ignorant, irrational, or simply foolish. Scientists making assumptions and drawing conclusions that made me grit my teeth. Military commanders making choices that no sane person would make. All of which allowed the story to progress of course. It took nearly the entire story for the humans to smarten up and within a very short period of time they figured everything out. The alien race felt overly intelligent. My greatest complaint is that they were able to pick up the human language and communicate without a flaw in a matter of months from a handful of people. The aliens lost their "alien-ness" early on.
In general I liked this story but everything about it seemed very contrived. Almost as if the authors were working on a puzzle; the picture was there they just had to make it all fit together.
If you liked the first book in the series then you will most likely enjoy this second book. If you felt it was so-so then perhaps you might want to skip this series and move to something else; I found it took some determination to get through parts of this book.
One of my pet peeves in any story is repetion of descriptive words, especially when there is a large supply of other words or phrases that could be used. In the first book it seemed every arrow fired and swipe of a sword resulted in "cloven air" or "this cum that" (bookstore cum coffee shop etc.) to explain dual purpose places or things. Thankfully he used a few different ways to describe things here and there.
A great deal of story time has passed between the first book and this one and I wondered if I had picked the third book and not the second, but this is indeed the second. The gap made me wonder what had happened in the story years between. It is as if this book is just a highlight worth noting in the lives of the characters. It isn't a bad thing because listening to day to day and uneventful routines would be quite dull.
At a few points in the story it was hard to determine where or when events were taking place; there was a lengthy flashback (yes flashbacks can be tricky I know) that left me wondering what I had missed is just one example.
The narrator is apparently quite accomplished and that fact leaves me wondering why he tends to repeatedly mispronounce words or if the author has spelled the words this way in the text (teeth bared in great effort pronounced as barred). Either way it the same as fingernails on a chalkbaord. Nobody is perfect of course, that aside, he does a good job with character accents and sound effects (woosh, screech, and so on).
The story is interesting enough to keep me listening, at least through the next book.
I downloaded this title in spite of the numerous reviews claiming that it is like Dungeons & Dragons and Renaissance Fairs. Some of the characters are involved with "ren-fairs" (which is a phrase from the author/characters). As far as "D&D lingo" or any other similarity to the game I'm lost. Unless you consider calling weapons by their actual names rather than a dumbed down description to be like D&D. I would say to ignore those reviews citing either of those as a description of this story.
Others have complained about decisions being made too quickly or society breaking down too rapidly as being unrealistic. It is FICTION!! Although the author could have dragged out things and then it would have been called "too slow and not enough happening."
It is a good story and serves the purpose of being entetaining. Although I do get annoyed at the author's repeated use of some words or phrases it doesn't hurt the story. The reader is good but not exceptional.
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