This is an engaging and enjoyable book that makes a strong case for abandoning the wishful thinking of religious belief and embracing reality to the best of our ability. I found it bracing and thought-provoking.
The two-reader format was bit distracting. At first I thought the female voice (Lalla Ward) was reading only quoted passages, while Dawkins was reading the bulk of the text. However, it turns out that the readers change apparently at random intervals. Ward, though a clear reader, often took a somewhat disdainful tone that wasn't so apparent in Dawkins's voice. However, this is a minor niggle that did not detract much from my overall enjoyment of the book.
Looking back on my own conversion to atheism and how difficult it was to abandon my religious upbringing, I hope this book will make the struggle easier for those who are just starting down that path. The book makes clear the fact that, by opening our eyes to reality, we see a universe much more awe-inspiring than what is allowed by religious mythology.
I downloaded this book to take on a 12 hour road trip. I don't recommend it for this kind of listening, and I'm not sure I could recommend it at all. It seemed to me that it went way over the top with long, convoluted political discussions, and most of the action is described after the fact by the characters, i.e. it doesn't happen "live."
And although I'm all for woman power, this got kind of ridiculous in several places, notably when Mary manages to knock out 3 armed men, each with a single blow. Give me a break.
I actually took an active dislike to the book toward the end, and only finished it because my travel companion, who had slept through most of it, wanted to hear the last part.
My mother and I listened to this book over the course of a weekend road trip. We're both "dog people," but I don't like overly sentimental books or blatantly manipulative tear-jerkers. This book had an interesting story that kept our interest to the very end. In fact, we listened to the last several minutes sitting in our driveway.
For those of you who don't like sad endings, this one shouldn't be a problem for you. Without spoiling it for you, I can say I felt the ending made sense and was actually what my mother and I had both said would be the best solution to a difficult problem.
The main characters in this book were well rounded and interesting, and even secondary characters who started out as stereotypes were mostly revealed as flawed people who had reasons for the things they did.
I enjoyed this book greatly and will look for other titles by this author.
I listened to about the first two thirds of this book before I finally got tired of it and gave up. This is one of those books where the main character takes a stupid pill and never recovers. At every turn, she is either mindlessly firing her gun without first identifying the target, driving her car like a maniac, punching her friends in the face, or basically refusing to act like a normal human being. Up to the point where I gave up, I don't think she had made a single reasonable decision, even allowing for the fact that she was supposed to be damaged by abuse as a child. My advice: take a pass on this one.
I'll save you some time. Here's the book:
talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk action talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk conservatives=heroes talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk asteroids talk talk talk talk mirrors talk talk talk liberals=cowards talk talk talk talk action talk talk talk talk talk action talk talk talk talk talk.
When I first began listening to this book, I thought the reader must be the author. Usually, when you hear a reader who is not all that great, it turns out to be the author. (Neil Gaiman is an exception: he's an excellent reader as well as a great writer.) In any case, the reading sounds clipped and too fast, and it can be difficult to understand. As others have mentioned, character voices, especially for female characters, are not done well.
This reader might do fine on non-fiction but he just wasn't well-matched to this novel. I gave up after about 2 hours.
This is one of the best audiobooks I've downloaded from Audible in my 7 years as a subscriber. Neil Gaiman really knocked this one out of the ballpark.
Unlike some other authors who read their own works, Gaiman could easily have made a career as an audiobook reader (not that he'd want to.) He compares favorably with my two other favorite readers, Jim Dale of the Harry Potter books, and Lisette Lecat, who reads the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. He's that good.
I also listened to the Anansi Boys, and wasn't all that crazy about it. This book, though, really captured and kept my attention. I liked all the characters, and was thoroughly entertained every minute of the way.
One thing that I especially appreciated was the remorse felt by the main character after losing one of his guides. In most books of this kind, the loss of a minor character is just shrugged off.
There was something touching about the reluctant and unassuming manner of the main character as he becomes the literal hero of the story.
I can't recommend this book strongly enough!
I enjoyed every minute of this book, and am eagerly awaiting the next volume. The reader is excellent: he has a very pleasing voice, and does the characters well. One minor quibble: on occasion he stops reading and starts acting, and in some places, over-acting. However, I'll gladly listen to another book by this author and this reader.
I've stuck with this series so far, but just barely. I found the universe represented here to be interesting and inventive, and I liked many of the characters.
My main complaint is the many, many holes in the plot that leave you saying, "But wait a minute. That doesn't make sense because..." And I'm not talking about minor quibbles. I'm talking about major parts of the plot. For example, if the Mage Imperator of the Ildirans retained the memory of the ancient war and how his race was almost exterminated by it, why didn't he stop the humans from deploying the torch, which would surely reignite the war? If the wentils can make a ship for Jess Tamblyn to fly, why do they need him at all? Why don't they fly their own ship and seed the new worlds themselves? And speaking of Jess Tamblyn, if he could be inhabited and transformed by the wentils, why would touching other humans supposedly be fatal for them? And why does everyone keep saying that the existence of the hybrid child of the Mage Imperator and the green priest vindicated a heinous forced breeding progam, when said child was not a product of said program?
After awhile, so many inconsistencies become a constant irritant.
Another complaint is the great amount of filler in this book. The first 15 minutes is a summary of the first 2 books. After that, there are constant interruptions to restate things from the other books, and sometimes to restate things from this book. It speaks of sloppy editing to me.
What kept me going with this book is that I thought it was a trilogy, and I had to make it to the end. But now that I know there are several more, I'm ready to call it quits. I'd like to know how it ends, but my patience has its limits.
I loved this book. The narrator was top-notch, and the story was engrossing. I found myself worrying about Jason at odd times during the day and night, when I wasn't listening to the book. There were also some really memorable phrases, the kind you hear, stop the the player, and think, "I've got to remember that one."
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