This is a really interesting book...vivid and imaginative. The reader is spectacular. It stands on its own but I am hooked for the next one (which I didn't like as much and didn't stand alone as well)
I enjoyed the book but it wasn't as good as some of Silva's previous. The plot twists were ok but a bit formulaic. I think the idea of making Allon seem older was ok but a bit trite... It mirrored the last James Bond movie Skyfall where they did the same.
The reader wasn't terrible but his voicing and accents were very lacking. For a book like this with many international voices, you really need a reader that can do a passable Russian, Israeli, and English Accent. His were really poor.
It didn't ruin the reading but it certainly took away from it.
Finally, the last part seemed phoned in. Without giving away too much, all the events though the book had expected dangers and failures along the way. Once the major operation was pulled off, there were a few lame false foreshadows of danger to come (they might end up back in Moscow, the soothsayer saying Moscow would be Allon's death), the FSB staking out the airports.. Then.............nothing. No hitches at all. It seemed like Silva was all ready to make for a harrowing escape for the characters....but then ran up against a deadline... or a vacation... boredom... or something else... and then just quickly ended the book with an easy exit for the characters....no hitches whatsoever. It didn't match the rest of the book. It didn't seem realistic. I truly think the author just decided to end the book and stopped writing anything of substance after the main operation.
I enjoyed the story. I admit, I didn't like the main character. I think he was a narcissistic, naive, misguided young man who didn't appreciate others. Having said that, I think the author..who probably disagrees with me on that, had a purpose in writing this to make the reader think about that very issue...whether he was a good guy or everything I described Chris/Alex as.
In some ways, I wonder if the character merited a whole book about him.
As for the reader, I found him to be just fine. I don't agree with those who didn't like him. There are some amazing readers (like the one who does most of the Stephen King work), but this story didn't call for a hugely dramatic reading. I found it just right and wouldn't for a minute pass by this book because of the bad reviews Philip Franklin got. I think he read this just the way it should have been read.
The background on Italian art , Dante , and Istanbul was interesting. Otherwise, this was pure formula. I enjoyed the first few books of Brown, but the was stretching for this. I could almost anticipate the next device the author would use to try to arouse the reader... It was pure formula. Repeated words and exclamations over and over. Chapters started with a repeat of what just happened... as if we were watching a tv show back from commercial. This was very annoying. The story was weak and preachy. It felt like a forced lecture on overpopulation. I have no idea if the science is true or not but I am not going to take Dan Brown's word. If he wants to teach me about art, literature, and architecture through his fiction...great. Science and politics? Please....
The plot was forced and gimmicky.. It is classic thriller fiction to have one realize that everything one thought was a trick and not really as it seemed.. but this was totally forced and silly.
I would recommend finding a better book to spend one's time on.
This is the second part of the trilogy that started with Hunger Games. The first book stands alone. This book would not be very good without having read the first book. There is review but it doesn't cut it. If one has read the first book, it is very good, more of the same. In fact, too much of more of the same. The uniqueness of the first book is gone and you are left only with the exciting narrative....good but not as good because it is similar to book one. The annoying thing is the ending. Yes it is a cliffhanger like others have said... but the book does not stand alone without reading book 3. Sometimes you can be left with a little suspense. This is clearly just an unfinished story. They should have been honest and put it all in one book (this and the third part). Book 3 gets back into unique stuff... so it is worth it to read this but expect to read the last book. You will be unsatisfied if you stop here. In summary. Read book one only OR Read all three... OR read one and 3... Don't just read this one!!! or this one and 3...
By the way, I had no problem with the narrator. I thought she was perfect. She matched Catness and her ambivalent, tomboyish character. The fact that Catness isn't very likeable isn't the narrator's fault. it just makes the book more unique.
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