Maybe this is overstating things, but this book reminded me that humanity on the whole is both compassionate and intelligent. It's easy to forget how great we can be, as people, when faced with long odds. But that's the message of the book.
And it is delivered with a hilarious, detail-oriented and character rich approach to a very old idea: the castaway.
If you value science, problem solving, space travel and have a decent sense of humor, don't miss this. I ignored it for too long because of the short length. Just get it.
I like Reacher books. They're not literature but they're fun and filled with vengeance fetish. This was my 5th Reacher, first via audiobook.
The story is pretty boring and takes a very long time to get going. Biggest flaw is that unlike in other Reacher books, you never really learn why you should care about the person Reacher is fighting for, other than the fact she's got a kid. But like they say in the book, everybody's got a kid.
The narrator really killed it for me. His female voices are all whiny, and a borderline insulting portrayal of women.
And maybe it's because this is an earlier book, before Child improved his writing. Or maybe it's because my brain is able to skip the phrase when reading it (instead of listening) but...if I hear the phrase "Reacher said nothing" one more time, I'm going to snap. It is spoken literally dozens of times, possibly over 100. Lee, you don't need to tell the reader that the character says nothing, you just don't write them saying anything!
I made it through all of Pandoras Star and the sequels. The thickness of the prose was daunting in those books, but the universe created was fascinating.
This book has the same dialogue-heavy blandness with no story or characters. I listened for 8 hours and gave up.
I was excited, but it's just OK. The narrator's clearly non-professional voice and sporadic snippets of instrumental music made me feel like I was listening to "This American Life". Like that show, this book is interesting but slow and kind of dull.
There is far too much history of the region in the beginning, needlessly extending the length of the book. It is strictly chronological; I feel it would have been far better if it jumped around a bit to keep things interesting. The protagonist isn't really much of a hero, or even an anti-hero: he's a drunken liar with no sense of purpose. His only motivation is money, for spending.
There's an entertaining quality to the story - the bumbling heists, incompetent police - but not much actually happens. He robs some post offices and banks, gets away with small amounts, and is eventually caught.
I stopped listening when my next credit came along and only finished it months later when I ran out of other books.
On a personal note, the historical background on the country helped explain why my Romanian college roommate was such a pathetic loser.
I hated this book. I love Star Wars extended universe and have read/heard over 30 of the books. This one is just terrible. It suffers from narrative limitations based on the canon that unfortunately kill any chance at excitement. Kenobi cannot reveal he is a Jedi, so there's no action at all. The characters are heavy handed and one dimensional. The perspective of the Sand People is a great concept that is wasted by this writer.
Skip it. Get Maul: Lockdown instead.
The longest audiobook I've ever heard, by far... not unexpectedly, the prose is dense and the story is richly detailed. The universe is very believable, largely due to the complexity of the human characters...
If you like political sci-fi, this is worth your time. Like most political sci-fi, there are some boring parts.
The big problem with this book is the performance. The narrator has a habit of starting sentences loudly, and finishing them at a whisper. Perhaps this is "dramatic" but it makes selecting a volume level impossible. In order for me to hear the end of the sentence, the beginning of the sentence needed to be so loud that the speakers would distort.
If its your first go at Carl Hiaasen, try something else. Striptease or Skinny Dip, maybe.
His genius is making flawed characters lovable, so you end up rooting for them all the way.
There's none of that here. No redemption for the bumbling villain. Hero and heroine are unlovable. No real social comment. Racist bad guys and scamming zealots: too easy. I just didn't enjoy it.
He's one of my favorite audiobook pleasures, but Hiaasen missed the mark with this one.
I gave a lackluster review to Florida Roadkill, but I went ahead and got Hammerhead Ranch. The story is better here; maybe its because I know Serge now or because the background set up in FR gave HRM a chance to grow. But, I'm hooked on Serge now and I know I'll keep downloading these books.
They're not great literature, and there's no real point to the tales. No underlying message or social comment. Some of the character names are cringe-worthy puns.
But they are fun to listen to and usually very funny. The "Serge voice" Wilson uses has really grown on me. On to "Orange Crush"...
My first Dorsey novel. Definitely a Hiaasen wannabe, with mixed results. The characters are truly hate-able in a delightful way. Imagery is terrific. Tarantino-esque. Inventive and very funny overall.
But there's no real story or underlying point. Hiaasen's formula includes 2 elements missing here: an underdog to root for and an overarching point about society.
Dorsey is just pulp. But it's really a lot of fun. I'll listen to another one.
Reviewer below states that the two writers are contemporaries, which is just plain wrong. Hiaasen's books predate Dorsey by at least a decade.
Richard Morgan is an amazing writer. Some of the similes and descriptions used here are nothing short of brilliant. But the story itself is a little bit off.
Still, its worth your time if you enjoyed the Kovacs novels. The storyline is essentially the same: a "superman" with some questionable morals but a big heart deep down goes hunting for bad guys.
The problem with this one is motivation. While Kovacs is trying to stay alive, its unclear why Marsalis is so driven. Oh, right, its "love"...excuse me while I cough politely.
Its a good story. But its a little slow here and there and some of the characters' motivations are unclear or contradictory.
The narrator is perfect. The Cockney quips were a lot of fun and I love that Marsalis is a bad-ass black Brit.
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