One of the very best books I've ever read. Gives the story of mountain climbing from the perspective of the Sherpa, without whom Westerners would never have climbed the highest peaks in the world but who are mostly unsung heroes. Excellent performance by narrator as well.
I have great respect for Jon Krakauer as a writer, and this is the first book I've given less than 5 stars. I don't know if the issue was him or the subject matter, to be honest, but it felt awfully repetitive pretty quickly. Then again, it may have been the fact that there were so many cases that were so similar, and that was the point.
It was obvious that Krakauer generally took the victims' sides in most cases. I would have too, until hearing in some of them how little it took for them to claim to not have given consent. Also, the role that alcohol played seemed to be downplayed as well.
A lot was discussed about the role of "trauma" in memory, but almost nothing about the role of extreme drunkenness. In at least some of the cases, including those where boys were convicted and their lives ruined, the girls' memories of whether they had given consent seemed to have been based more on just how drunk or high they had been at the time than on reality.
Perhaps I'm being a bit judgmental, but when a couple are making out and she is all for it, removing her clothes and his, then claims later she resisted at or after that point, I have to wonder just how much of her memory might be faulty. Granted, the way the world worked when I was young, when the fault was ALWAYS the girl's, and the word "rape" never entered the landscape, even in cases of gang-rape and other obviously non-consensual sex, were wrong and needed to change. However, I wonder if the pendulum has gone a little too far.
Getting back to the book itself, it's solid work, but I expect more from Krakauer. So, 4 stars rather than 5.
As much science-fiction as I've read and/or listened to over the years, rarely do I come upon something with truly original ideas in it. Dark Eden combines concepts of people necessarily inter-breeding, a truly original world with well-fleshed out, complicated characters, and it hints at more to come.
A great deal of science-fiction has Young Adult relationships and characters, which can get tedious, but the sex relationships in this book are instead quite mature without feeling pornographic.
Dealing with the topic of creating an entire population through interbreeding only two people touches on creation myths, and you get a bit of a feel that this is their creation myth while at the same time factual.
Enough loose ends were left that I can see a sequel on the way---I hope that is the case.
As an An/Irish person of Catholic descent, U find the Troubles fascinating. McKinney brings them to life with unforgettable characters like Seam Duffy. Gerard Doyle is a wonderful narràtor and nails the difficult Belfast accent.
If you can get past the murder-as-comedy mindset, then the first half of the book was pretty funny. About halfway through, however, it turns into an entirely different story, and I couldn't tell if it was trying to turn into an earnest redemption story, a religious tome, or what. Writing in first person always takes the risk of losing the reader, especially when so much of the content goes on only in the narrator's mind. I really tried to stick with it, but finally had to put it down, as I was becoming bored silly. The narration and accents were spot-on, of course, since the narrator is Luke Daniels and he can probably make the phone book interesting. He has a great ear for dialect and foreign accents as well. Maybe a solid C-
Lately I've discovered a number of what are billed as Young Adult dystopian stories; the Hunger Games books, the Giver Quartet, and now the world of Unwind. It's almost too bad that they're billed as YA, as that might prevent some older readers like myself from discovering them.
Once you accept the basic premise of the storyline---that a civil war fought over abortion has resulted in a world in which abortion is illegal but has been replaced by "unwinding," the dismantling for parts of some teen-agers from 13-18---everything else hangs together quite well.
China has already discovered that, once you accept that the bodies of those executed are fair game for organ harvest, the desire for such organs and need for more and more bodies results in more crimes deserving the death penalty.
The narration is also excellent, with each voice fleshed out well and in character. I've so far only listened to Books 1 and 1.5, both of which were great, and am beginning on Book 2. I hope they remain as good as they have been so far.
I like true stories, mysteries, adventurers, novels about Russia, and cold cases. So, though I'd never heard of this case before, it filled pretty much all those categories. The story is this: In 1959, at the height of the Cold War, 9 Russian engineering students go hiking and skiing in the northern Ural Mountains, in winter. They are all found dead in the snow near their campsite after failing to return to school, which, by the way, is in Siberia near a bunch of Gulag prison camps. So who or what happened to them? Was it escaped prisoners who killed them, or did they happen on classified military tests for which they had to be silenced? Or aliens, or animals, etc, etc. Using the records from that time and modern science, an American journalist attempts to solve the mystery. Anything more I could tell you would involved spoilers, so I won't. It's not a GREAT book, but a good one, hence four stars instead of five. I also don't really like authors reading their own work, but this one does a pretty good job. He goes into a great deal of detail in what life was like during those years for ordinary Russian citizens, something I find fascinating; that glimpse under the curtain into a closed society to which I would otherwise not know anything about. Historical non-fiction and docu-drama, when the background is accurate, I find interesting because you hear about the lives of the famous, but not the people who would be your counterparts in a very different society. And of course, since the Soviet Union no longer exists, the only way to get a glimpse of ordinary Soviet lives in through work like this. Very solid work---if you like any of those genres; mystery, other culture, etc., you'll find it entertaining. Also, though the author goes back and forth in time between the hikers' journey and his journey visiting where they died, he does it well and it never gets confusing.
I'd never before read a coming of age novel with zombies, but that's pretty much what this is. I can't say much because it's too difficult to avoid spoilers, and this book has a LOT of plot twists, Couldn't rate it five stars simply because the zombie genre is so terribly overworked, but it's close to a 5-star read. Most of the characters are well-written and three-dimensional, especially the main character, Melanie, a very unusual little girl.
I'm not usually a fan of the mystery-thriller genre, but love Irish authors, so when introduced to these books, I was sucked in and couldn't get out until I'd listened to the whole series. Gerard Doyle is a wonderful narrator, with a great Irish brogue without sounding like a caricature. Two things about this series, especially, you might want to know. One is that there is a really high level of violence, with an awfully lot of dead bodies. I'm not judging that, since this genre tends to be like that, but it does get close to going over the top a time or two. Second is that you want to listen to, or read, his serial books in order or you'll find yourself totally confused.
I just discovered that Audible has most of Frank Herbert's older, non-Dune books. Because his Dune series is SO famous, and has been extended by his son, some of his other work fades into the background. Most, if not all, of his older work deserves the same fame that the Dune books do. I'm glad I discovered that Audible has them in audiobook form. The narration is excellent, as well.
I bought this because I'd read in a review that Martin Cruz Smith had written some excellent books prior to his Detective Arkady Renko books and that he was quite talented at getting the nuances of other cultures correct. This was the first book I read of his other than the Renko books, and the characters were a Hopi Indian and a white expert on vampire bats. I don't know enough about Hopi culture to know for sure if he had that culture down accurately, but it certainly seemed so. Again, good narration as well.
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