A series of poorly written, disjointed stories about future cities, based on today's headlines in America as if the future is based only on what happens in the US. What a crock of egocentric bs.
This is one of Bryson's earliest books, published in the late 80's. As such, it lacks much of the humor that balances his snarkiness, leaving a book that seems to have been written by a curmudgeon. Americans have a lot of issues, but I found the book mean spirited. I also couldn't figure why he chose to travel during the cold, rainy season when some of the prettiest parts of the west weren't accessible. Maybe he wanted a better comparison with life in England.
I really didn't understand the need for this "prequel". I really enjoyed the first three books of the series, but this is a boring rehash of all the stuff we already knew from those books. There were no new revelations about Royce and Hadrian and why spoil the mystery of how Gwen built her establishment. I see this as a play for beating the old tired horse to death for money.
The Twelve tries to expand the story too much in one book. The author tries to keep the action fast-paced while juggling a multitude of characters in a series of related, but different stories. He jumps from one group of characters to the next so quickly that it becomes very difficult to follow when listening. Scott Brick's sing-song narration doesn't help, either. The resulting audio book is a disappointing follow up to The Passage.
The book really seems to fall apart around 22-23 hours. Switching back and forth between story lines came so frequently at this point that I had to put the book aside for awhile. I got so frustrated with Brick's sing-song, monotonous deliverance, I thought I would scream. I usually like Scott Brick, but not when a real performance is required to help distinguish the characters. It seems like Brick gets bored while reading long books, so he tends to drone on and on with little change in inflection, tone or cadence. If I remember correctly, three readers were used in the first book.
The book probably works better on paper than in audio. I find it easier to deal with a multitude of characters in a herky-jerky story when I can visually see the names and can quickly turn pages to reread a section. The Audible app doesn't allow you to easily go back or especially forward to listen to a part you didn't understand without frequent bookmarks or complicated fast forwards and inaccurate scrubbing.
Since this book is part of a trilogy, readers are certain to buy it, despite the reviews, to continue the story that began in The Passage. I plan on listening to both books again in hopes that I enjoy The Twelve more the second time. I have no idea how Cronin will handle the third book, but I hope it's more in the style of the first book and not the second. I also hope Brick steps up and gives the next book a performance that it deserves.
Not scary, not fun, not what the author said he wanted, and not worth the bandwidth to download.
I enjoyed the story, but found it a difficult one to listen to. I like Dick Hill's performances, but not this one. The narration was hard to follow as the story jumped back and forth between characters and locations. There were no real breaks between chapters or when the story switched between characters or locations. If you can't devote your full attention to the story you will have to rewind frequently to figure out when the story changed. Mr. Hill seemed like he wasn't interested in this project because his reading was unusually flat for this complicated story.
Good story, but not great.... I enjoyed the book and, as always, the narration. The story twisted and turned and had a somewhat surprising ending. I was on the verge of not liking it when the location turned bizarre, but Childs convincingly wrote his way out of it.
Over the years, I have read all of Joseph Wambaugh's books and enjoyed everyone. This book is no exception. Well-developed, familiar characters, lots of cop humor and Hollywood wierdness, and a fast paced story make this book a great read.
I enjoyed the stories and thought the performances fit the characters to a tee. This is King writing in his Shawshank and Green Mile form, no spooky stuff, just great story telling with a twist.
If you like Rollins' Sigma Force books, this was one of the better recent ones.
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