I bought this book because of all the positive reviews. It took several tries to get through the book. I kept telling myself "I bought it. I’m going to listen to it. Maybe it will get better." In the mean time I rushed through several other books that I could not put down. Eventually I paused to examine why I was not enjoying this book. At first I thought it was excessive detail or all the time spent trying to describe life in a police force. Eventually it hit me. I never built any attachment to the main character. This is the book's failing as a standalone novel. While he was going through his struggles I found myself not caring what happened. If you are not already a Harry Bosch fan, don't start with this book.
I really enjoy books like “A Short History of Nearly Everything” and “A Brief History of Time.” When I saw this book I thought it would be true to the title and tell me how the universe can go from nothing to something. Sadly the book does not follow through. Krauss keeps getting distracted with his hatred of religion and trying to prove the universe was not created. According to him, whenever an atheist scientist is proven wrong it is and evolution of knowledge. When a religious scientist is proven wrong it is an indication of ignorance. He takes great joy in pointing out those that he considers ignorant. Too bad more of his energy was not applied to the proposed subject of the book. Science with an agenda is never as accurate as scientific observation and presentation with an open mind.
Some people believe a realistic detective story has to be dark, deviant and full of language unsuitable for a child. I’m not one of those people and was happy to find enough lighthearted moments in this book to keep me in a good mood. The plot may not be complex but I did build enough attachment to the characters that I wanted to know what happens next. That is why I burned through this audiobook in a day. I’m glad that I did not let the abundance of average and below ratings deter me from trying this book.
I am familiar with the setting of this book and came away feeling that the author is not. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the descriptions of the area the mannerisms of the people were not quite right. It felt like a town in the hills of Kentucky populated by people from the mid-west. I doubt that most readers will notice.
Narration – I enjoyed listening to the book without thinking about the narrator. That is a good thing.
My main issue with this book and the series is the attitudes of the British during this period of history. The symphony I developed for the heroine as she fought against sexism was tempered by the aggravation I felt any time she expressed the old British expansionist attitude that the savages of other lands needed the British to guide them because they were too stupid to help themselves. I suppose this made for a more complex character, but it did detract from my attachment to her.
There was a point in the middle where I became board with the story. It rambled around it on complexity like a mystery novel determined not to let anyone guess the outcome. I did finish the book, but by the end I was glad it was over and do not plan to buy more in the series.
Narration – In the beginning I was very worried about the narration. I had to turn up the volume and listen closely to understand the voice. By the second chapter I had become accustom to the speaker and ended up liking her performance better than the story itself.
This book takes descriptive writing to another level. Every room, every person, every article of clothing, how the bed feels, what is used for a pillow, the condition of the pathways, etc… While I like the story and characters I cannot help but wonder if an abridged version would be better. The excessive detail tempers the emotional impact when the author is trying to build excitement, tension and fear. In fact, I felt a little detached throughout the entire story. This book is a good candidate to try that 1.5x or 2.x speed option. I will try the next book in the series but am not yet willing to commit to 14 extremely long books. After reading series by Terry Brooks, David Eddings and Orson Scott Card I am used to more excitement and a greater attachment to characters.
I enjoyed this story right up until the end when it seems like the producer walked in and said "You have 5 minutes. Wrap it up." It left me confused, surprised and a little mad. If not for the ending I would give the story 5 stars. Otherwise, it is a good listen and I will consider other books by Robert Heinlein. I did see other reviews where readers complained about the attitude towards women. I thought the author was pointing out social injustice, not endorsing it.
The narration was easy to understand but the different voices were hard to distinguish. That is why I only gave the performance three stars.
This book pulls you into the story from the start. No long explanations about who the buggers are, no back stories to review, no long chapters dedicated to creating the world. Right into a story. In my opinion that shows real talent and an author that knows how to engage the reader. Character development takes precedence over describing the environment. I enjoyed the book enough to finish it in two days. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is a few things that seemed improbable and some repetition of the story during battle school. I’ve already recommended it to some friends.
I can understand why Ringworld received so many awards after its release in 1970. It created a world that fired the imagination. 40+ years later we have 29 seasons of Star Trek, 18 seasons of Star Gate (including animated seasons for both series), several less successful series and countless movies. Just creating a world is no longer enough. A future in space is not as new and magical as it was 40 years ago.
And thus, the biggest problem with Ringworld. There is not a lot of story development until the end. Throughout most of the book I felt like the author was focusing on laying a foundation for a series. Maybe plot and character development comes in the next book. I’m glad I finished the book because this was a historical release in science fiction but I don’t know if I will continue the series. After listening to the book I felt like I had spent a week in an old grand hotel that has fallen into disrepair. I left thinking “This must have been a really nice place when it was new.”
This book pulled me in immediately and kept me riveted throughout. I was tempted to listen straight through until the end even though that would have kept me up to 3 AM on a work night. I’ve noted some complaints with the tone of the narrator’s voice and those were echoed by a co-worker, but for me the voice worked. It may be that I was listening first in an office environment at a low volume and then listening through built in speakers of an iPhone. The voice cut through and I could understand the narration even at low levels and tiny speakers. I did debate on giving this either 4 or 5 stars. While I greatly enjoyed the story I was disappointed with the end. It should have ended earlier in the story or have taken more time tying things up in the end. At one point I was thinking “This must be the end. What a great story.” But, the story kept going. Later I found myself saying “Why are they playing music now?” and then suddenly it was over. Because of this I gave the story 4 stars while still awarding 5 stars for the overall rating. I will be buying the next book.
The book jumps around a lot and gets very repetitive. The only thing I really got out of it is that Madoff did as much financial damage to the Jewish community as he did to anyone else. The entire book feels like they tried to throw it together fast while Madoff is still in the news. A 15 minute abridged version would have been better than listening to over four hours of this. The only positive is the narrator. He is clear and easy to understand. I really felt bad for him as he tried to breathe life into this material.
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