The story Solaris tells is interesting and its point-of-view unique. That which some reviewers found tedious I found quite interesting, namely technological descriptions, historical notes, philosophical reviews, etc. The characters are well-developed, especially the protagonist. And the fact that this book is well over 50 years old now makes it all the more interesting. It was fascinating to hear how people envisioned the technology of "the space age" back around the time I was born. Of particular interest was the notion that a space station would need a library of actual books, because the whole idea of ebooks was inconceivable back then - which made his reference to an "out-of-print" book especially amusing. Or the fact that tests would require print-outs on celluloid, since digital imagery was also unknown. Far from detracting from the book, I paid closer attention to the technology described because listening to it was sort of like an archaeological dig.
The performance was pretty good, but could've been better.
Surp Risingly Good
I do not know this narrator's age, but his voice is ideal for narrating a book in which a young man is the main character. He's a good reader with a pleasant voice. I'd definitely be drawn to a book he narrated in the future.
The most moving point in the book, I would hope that everyone agrees, was the moment Aubrey made his choice at the matchmaking ceremony. The author handled this beautifully, and the twist was fantastic.
I bought the first book of this trilogy in one of Audible's sales, even though I'd never heard of it before, and had never read one of Winfield's books. The conceit is different enough to keep things interesting, and the characters (both good and bad) are compelling enough to keep the reader engaged. The second book was good, the first book was better than the second, and the third (this one) is the best of the three.
Probably not. The author's scholarship was far from impeccable, sometimes allowing her own prejudices to make connections that simply do not exist. For example, she actually said that the Donatists were the first Puritans. Assuming that she didn't mean to say what it seemed she was saying, I would have let it pass, but she pressed the point further comparing the two groups to an entirely inappropriate degree. In fact, no Puritan would ever have had a belief that the efficacy of the sacraments was in any way dependent upon the person administering them. They certainly promoted the purity of the church, but all sects do to one extent or another. They had no Donatist tendancies whatsoever.
I have listened to John Lee narrate before and find his tone unpleasant. It sounds snarky and dismissive. And his repeated mispronunciation of certain words (e.g. Monophysite and Manichean) nearly drove me crazy. From henceforth, I think John Lee will be one of the very few narrators I intentionally avoid.
Stephen Fry's snide narration was complete overkill and did nothing to make listening to this classic enjoyable.
This novel falls short in two ways. First, King is a master of horror. And yet, the horror found in Revival is mediocre (and that's being generous), and ill explained at that. But worse than the low-grade horror is its utter lack of grace. This is the second area in which King usually excels: Resolving the tragedy and redeeming the horror, finding good in the end. But this book is all bleakness and hopelessness in the end. I can't imagine that I'll hold to my current conviction, but if you asked me right now, I'd tell you I'd never read another Stephen King novel, so bad was this one.
I was very much looking forward to the final book in this series. I'm glad I read The Magician's Land, but was a bit disappointed. The characters were further developed from who they were in books 1 & 2 in the series, but I felt the plot got a bit too fantastic for my tastes. Some fantasy readers like "in-you-face" magic, but I'm a fan of a bit more subtlety than this book offers.
One of the highlights of the book is more of a filling out of the prehistory of the Chatwin family.
Regardless of any criticism, this book is a must-read: If you've read the first 2 books in the series, you have to close the deal with this one. If you're a fantasy fan and haven't read the first 2 books, then you need to. Either way, all roads lead to The Magician's Land.
You'll be surprised at what you learn in this book. Most westerners are more or less ignorant of Genghis Khan and the Mongol empire, and what we think we know is based on negative assumptions. This book brings to light the ways the world was positively impacted by Mongol expansion, and in several places highlights ways in which Mongols were far more advanced than their European counterparts at the time. Some of these include freedom of religion, the equality of women, and the importance of free trade.
The only criticism I might give the book is the author's introduction which was read at the end. It was very interesting and not to be missed, but much of it seemed to be anticipating what we would read rather than reviewing what we'd already read.
All in all, I'm glad I listened to this book and would recommend it to anyone who's into history, biography, sociology, political science, comparative religion, or anthropology.
This is a very engaging story, and it is admirably narrated by Simon Prebble. The sensitive reader needs, however, to be warned that it was written in the 19th century, and reflects that era's attitudes toward elephant hunting (a noble pursuit that could be carried out by English gentlemen) and, worse yet, Africans. Though the writer clearly admired Africans, he also tended to view them as less than Europeans, and also used the occasional racial slur to refer to them.
I admit I'm a fan of epic fantasy, and though this work isn't typical of that genre in many ways, its scope is broad and it's quite lengthy. Despite its length, however, it's very readable. I never felt that the narrative was tedious, and the writing was fresh, descriptive, humorous, and fitting to the story. If you're a fantasy reader who also likes Dickens/Austen/Brontë, then you'll love this book.
You'd think that a book by Billy Crystal narrated by the author himself would be truly entertaining. Unfortunately, its moments of entertainment are rare, and made all the more ephemeral by Crystal's rushed and emotion-free delivery. Much more glaring are his frequent references to his own genitalia, his lack of compassion for others, and his utter lack of respect for others' religious views. His die-hard fans just might make it through this one with a thirst for more. The rest of us had to force ourselves to finish the book.
This work of non-fiction is not only informative, but it also offers the drama of a novel. It's impossible to stop listening once you start.
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