Initially I wondered how Gawande would get a whole book out of this material. In fact, it is a short book and I found myself regretting that it was over! Riveting, fascinating, not at all dry or boring.
The stories are well told, the theme carries through, and even though much of it is very dry material, it's easy enough to follow. Extremely distracting is the narrator's mispromunciation of numerous scientific words. He's actually a good reader, sounding confident and articulate... then he comes to a work he doesn't know and instead of learning how to say it, just plunges ahead repeatedly saying things like "zoe-ON-a-sis" for zoonosis, and "uh-SAY" for assay - to name a couple of the more annoying examples. This isn't a case of British vs American pronunciation, either, just an actor who should have been coached better.
I actually feel a little tricked into buying this one, based on the earlier rave reviews. This is basically a YA novel, though a fairly gruesome example of the genre. I didn't finish it, but I know how it ends - if you get my drift.
That said, it was very well performed and doesn't take a lot of effort to listen to so if you want a bit of brain candy and don't mind a made-for-TV-movie plot it's a reasonable choice.
I'm so glad JKR was "outed" as the author of this book, I'm afraid I never would have found it otherwise. This was a fabulous book, fantastically well read, and I really hope there is a series to follow.
Others have outlined the story, just add my voice to those praising the book, the author, and the reader.
Highly character-driven, and the characters, while not especially likable, were very compelling. It's a rare book that allows a reader to actively dislike more of the characters but still ardently pull for them to turn out OK. The ending felt unfinished, but that's typical of a lot of "literary" novels, of which this is clearly one. Not sure Id have gotten through the text version but the audio had me listening in my driveway, and while doing housework.
The story was a bit overdone, but worth the ride. The narrator was just weird. His voice and inflection would be far better suited to reading children's books. He had no feel for the material, and read all the dialogue with a sort of wide-eyed sincerity that seriously detracted from the book itself.
The writing was adequate, characters were stick figures, and at least one bad guy was someone I'd hardly noticed. Few surprises, but not a terrible effort. If I every try another by this author, I'll read it rather than listening.
This book presents a far more optimistic take on current events than most in the genre. Entertainingly written, smoothly performed, and convincing in its belief that we as a species not only can think our way out of the worst we have done to ourselves, but are well on our way to doing so. Diamandis is an example to anyone.
The writing style ad reader were pretty good, definitely enough to keep me listening to the end (and that's not a given!) I might try another title by this author. But there were huge gaps in timeline and logic, and poorly researched medical details, that frequently took me out of the story. I can't give details without major spoilers, butI think with experience and more available time for research, the author might be okay. I liked the characters for the most part - though the main guy's voice sounded oddly feminine despite the narrator being male. They were well developed and interesting. The plot could have been wrapped up much more tightly at the end but it wound up giving a sense of real life by not wrapping everything up perfectly.
Bottom line (and I don't know if this is the case) it reads like a second o third novel where the author is under deadline pressure, still working a day job and trying to promote his prior book while also spending time with his family.
Michael Robotham is probably my favorite mystery writer of the era, and his books as a group are so well read on audio that I make a real effort to listen rather than read them. There has been a delay getting some of them in the US, and I'm just so glad they are finally available! (Note: I'm writing this review some time after listening to the book!)
MR is a master of creating an intolerable situation - in this case two girls held captive for years. His characters feel like real people, laid bare - no excuses, no whitewash, and as a reader I don't feel manipulated into rooting for an impossibly perfect character or hating someone who has nothing likeable about them.
I did find the ending slightly contrived, but that's usually the case with thriller. There weren't many real susprises if you've read a lot of mysteries written in the past 20 years or so. I won't go into details as this didn't detract from the listening experience, just be aware that the end is not the best part of this one!
This is a fairly typical offering from the author. It really grabbed me at the beginning, then maybe 20% in I couldn't listen for a day and when I got back to it for some reason was less captivating. That said, it moved forward with only a typical amount of belief suspension for the genre, plenty of sympathetic characters, plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion. It is a good example of a suspense thriller, it is NOT a mystery. If you've never encountered this author before, it's a very good introduction.
This book is aimed at fans of "true science" books, and follows the basic formula: Interesting anecdotes interspersed with challenging factoids, with bits of history mixed in and some personal sharing by the author. This is a very well written example of the genre, using clear language and telling me lots I didn't know before. It is smoothly read by Leyva, who correctly pronounces just about everything, easy to listen too without being intrusive.
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