Reading is highly personal, we know that what one loves, another may disdain. And so the reading of The Thirteenth Tale cannot please all. It's rare, however, to find so much divergence in reviews of this amazing story. Personally, I became enthralled after the first half hour of listening. As others have mentioned doing, I found excuses to listen. My sessions at the gym lengthened, I drove the long way home instead of taking the shortcut and I hung on every sentence. The narration is absolutely perfect for the story. Let's hope the author is hard at work on her next.
I found this book a bit tedious in the beginning, as I usually do when protagonists keep making awful decisions and not owning up to them. But as the book went along, the "train wreck" [bad pun intended] that was the principal narrator, Rachel, unreliable and so oblivious, began to grow on me. As other characters were introduced along with separate narrators [I listened to the Audible recording], I became more and more intrigued. Who could we trust? Who was being honest? Who was trustworthy and who was not? The intertwined relationships slowly evolved in the story and I was hooked.
The book explored themes of obsession, honesty, of false memories, of the power of suggestion and how these all can color our perceptions and behaviors. Characters who we think of as "good" or "bad", are revealed to be something else entirely. The depiction of alcoholism was well handled, cringeworthy but without moral judgement. It was what it was, and the effects it had on a struggling individual were unvarnished and honest.
There were one or two minor loose ends in the book that didn't get satisfactorily resolved, but all in all, this suspense story was captivating and thought provoking. The use of the train as a metaphor to transporting the narrative and Rachel along her journey was effective.
I didn't read the print book. I loved the narrated version.
It was a complete, satisfying, engaging and enlightening book about people caught up in events before, during and after WW2. People lived, died, suffered and survived.
I loved it. However, I might quibble with some lapses in pronunciation of the occasional French and German words and phrases.. OK, full disclosure… I lived in Paris for 3 years and have also spent a fair amount of time in Germany so I may be a bit fussier about pronunciations than the average listener. Still… I really enjoyed listening and didn't want the story to end.
Werner and Marie Laure, the young star crossed protagonists, buffeted by events and circumstances.
There are many many reviews of this wonderful book available, so no need to add much. I simply loved it. It was a complete, satisfying, engaging and enlightening book about people caught up in events before, during and after WW2. I felt I knew the characters and could feel their emotions.
It was interesting having someone other that Bosch as the protagonist in this Connelly book. The story had plenty of twists and revelations and as always with an audiobook, my test is whether I find excuses to listen longer, including sitting in the garage listening to the book on my car speakers for awhile longer when I get home. The Poet passed the test with flying colors.
I don't understand the complaints about the narrator. I thought he was excellent, with varied voices and accents for the characters. His voice was deep and pleasant, his pacing spot on.
It's always a bit disturbing to read comments about books which the reviewers didn't actually listen to. In the case of this highly compelling, intelligently written novel, some just didn't like a character or two, or didn't like the theme, or the slow unveiling of the plot. Why give a low rating to a book you didn't actually listen to? I'd have a lot more respect for their opinions if they'd actually had the patience to complete the novel.
On the other hand, many of us found ourselves unable to turn off our iPods, drawn in by the terrific character development, the descriptions, the realistically portrayed situations. I am anxious for the sequel, coming soon.
Maybe I was just unfamilair with the genre, but I listened for an hour without gaining a clue as to what this book was about. I'm fairly conversant with serious literature and love a good mystery, but I simply felt all at sea without a paddle as I listened. The way it all bounced back and forth between suddenly appearing characters without any insight as to who they might be, or their place in the narrative, left me drifting. After awhile I came to recognize a character or two, but found I really didn't care. It amazes me that so many people seemed to like The Eyre Affair.
There is much to like in this audio book. Certainly, the excellent dual narration added to the enjoyment and was quite cleverly done. The concept of time travel is intriguing, even as it is implausible. I had to think, to replay sections, to keep all the back and forths straight, which added to the enjoyment of discovery. However, like many other reviewers note, the latter part of the book is somewhat slow and repetitive, as if the author had run out of fresh ideas, but had to plod along anyway, to finish off what had been started. The book would have rated at least 4 stars had the last quarter been more original and better paced.
Always a student of history, and sceptical about much historical fiction, I began listening to this recording with keen interest and fear of disappointment. I shouldn't have worried.
I was enthralled from the first chapter. Beautifully narrated in a lively and experience enhancing manner, I felt as if I was walking with the Aquarious. I've been to Herculeniium and Pompeii and seen many of the structures mentioned, but that isn't necessary for the enjoyment of this book, though it did enhance my listening experience. A book on the excavated cities would be a delightful visual supplement, if one is interested. I suspect many will be visiting the library after listening.
I was amazed at how suspenseful the story was, even though we have a pretty darn good idea how the story concludes. Each character, whether fictional or historic, was well defined and interesting. The historic references were valid and true to the period. I was particularly delighted with the vividly portrayed Pliny.
I didn't want the book to end. Highly recommended.
Once again, James has pulled me into Dalgliesh's world. As always, she slowly unrolls her story, always ordered, always beautifully described, always disturblingly undermined by corruption and murder most foul. This time we're at St. Anselm's, a theological seminary just holding on as an anachronistic institution, even while the buildings are barely holding on as the sea threatens to send them tumbling down the eroded cliffs. Murder strikes in this unlikely locale. We find ourselves pondering the extremes of human behavior, pitting tradition against modern venality.
James is a superlative writer, skilled, measured, precise. This is not a thrill a minute story, Jame's never are, but if you allow yourself under her spell, if you give your attention to her narrative, get to know the well drawn characters, the rewards and pleasure are considerable.
Keating is a wonderful narrator/reader who brings distinctive nuance to each character without histrionics.
I usually "read" Audible books while commuting. There were times when I'd linger in the car, even after parking, just to hear a bit more from Death in Holy Orders.
I loved the idea of the book, but the execution of this audible recording is terrible. The most annoying aspect was the narrator, whose rising and falling inflections bore no connection to the words he was speaking. I recommend listening to a sample before selecting this title for yourself. I failed to do so, and deeply regret my error.
Another problem was the awkward translation. It was overly wordy, convoluted and difficult. Dialog was stilted, and the poor reading of the text compounded my frustration.
The story itself is compelling, and is worthy of a better rendition.
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