I cannot say enough about this book. I have already gifted it to 2 other people and recommended it to many more. The story and performance are both outstanding. The book is an amazing example of human will. This book is amazingly uplifting. I would recommend it to any WWII buff, runner or anyone who needs a pick me up. If you think your life is difficult, listen to this book and maybe the hardships you face won't seem so hard anymore.
So everyone likes to be part of something from the very beginning, right? It's like when Grisham wrote "A Time To Kill" and you read it before he was a big name. Well this is what I expect out of Weir. This book is crazy good. When I read the premise I thought, "That's going to be hard to pull off. He's going to have a limited 'set' to deal with" meaning the guy would obviously be confined to a very small area if the book were to maintain any reasonable sense of reality. Well Weir pulled it off. This book was everything you thought "Castaway" would be but wasn't. I cannot say enough good things about this book.
With regard to the performance, Bray was the story. His interpretation, timing and delivery were spot on to the point you think that Weir wrote the book with him in mind. Bray's uncanny use of humorous delivery at the perfect time made an already enjoyable book that much more enjoyable. I actually have added other Bray books to my library because he is so talented. I hope that Bray and Weir continue to collaborate and I am looking forward to the next book!
I had a hard time finishing this book. It seemed like it started to drag a bit at the end. Additionally, I listen with headphones and the production quality wasn't great. The narrators are excellent but there are several chunks of the book where they clearly re-dubbed the spoken line or paragraph. It takes you out of the "moment." It was like watching an R-Rated movie on regular TV. I'm sorry but if you're going to charge $20 for a book, you shouldn't have "cut and paste" production quality.
Forgive my play on words in the title for those who aren't acquainted with the GD/GP story line of the book.
I think the best explanation for this book would be, this is what happens when you plagiarize someone else's book/idea. Book one in the Divergent series was a good book but it borrowed extremely heavily on the formula for "The Hunger Games." It even used a lot of the same symbolism but wrapped it up in a slightly different package. Book two was pretty good as well as Roth tried to create her own imagining of THG. However, by book three, Roth's lack of imagination and creativity are exposed when she is forced to pursue her own narrative one hundred percent. This book plodded on and on and was loaded with exposition. It was boring and listless in much of the story. I read another review that stated Roth seemed to be trying to make a deadline which I agree with completely. This book was poorly thought out. It felt rushed and yet was so boring at the same time. There were gaping plot holes and completely unnecessary tangents. My guess is Roth was under pressure to complete a full novel and just loaded it up with extraneous chatter. "Here's your book. CHA-CHING!!!"
The performance was very good, given the subject matter. I found the narrator for Tris to be especially good and the Tobias Narrator held his own.
Without being too obvious, Roth wrote herself into such a bland hole that in the end, the only card she had to play was the eventuality of what happens in the weapons room. It reached a point of "something shocking has to happen because nothing has really happened." Normally, in a long series, when you connect with the characters you feel crushed at such a dramatic and final turn of events. "How could this happen????" you would say. You would emote, you would feel pain. It's like these characters become your friends and their loss is yours. I felt none of this when the weapons room sequence ended. I was thinking, "Huh, that's one way to end it" but never felt any emotional tug.
I know this review will not be popular with the fans of the series so let me start by saying it's a good book and enjoyable. However, I cannot give it more than 3 stars because the book borrows heavily from the Hunger Games. To state otherwise is to turn a blind eye. Yes, the stories are different but much of the premise, symbolism and narrative centers around the same architecture.
There are some spoilers in here so if you want, stop reading and get the book. It's enjoyable and worth a listen. I am just starting book 2.
Let's recap the similarities
Dystopian society? Check
Government scandal? Check
Strong Female Lead? Check
Strong Female who is unusually skilled? Check
Lead comes from one of the weaker/frowned upon districts? Check
Day on 16th birthday that will change the lead character's life? Check
Ranking system? Check
Female Lead is "amazingly" ranked number one, thinks it will be much lower but "surprise!" everyone is shocked by this? Check
Lead identifies with an Avian Icon? Check
The list goes on and on and at times was very distracting. "Wait, didn't that exact same thing happen in THG????" I found myself asking. For example, when Tris got the "ravens tattoo" I pretty much asked if Veronica Roth was honest enough to mention that her any of her inspiration was THG. At least Tris didn't get a mockingjay tattoo. For crying out loud, even the covers of the books are incredibly similar. I have read a couple articles about some ridiculousness of Roth writing this while she was in college. That's great and probably true to some degree but to ignore the number of story line plots that Roth "borrowed" from THG is insulting.
All and all, it was entertaining. I do take issue with Tris smelling every damn thing. I know the sense of smell is a big memory trigger and as a psych major, Roth is obviously integrating this but she goes on and on with what everything smells like. It makes me want to ask, "Just how big is Tris's schnoz anyway?"
Around the 30th chapter it begins to drag and becomes a teen romance novel but wraps up pretty well. The end is a bit anti-climactic but really it's just the middle of the second book rather than the end of the first.
With regards to the performance, the narrator was amazing. This is one significant difference with THG. The THG narrator was grating and miscast. This narrator was phenomenal and not overly dramatic. She did not make the performance about her narration which to me is the cardinal sin of narration.
Anyway, Roth probably should pay homage to Collins but that's just my opinion. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to get back to writing this book I am working on about a girl named "Dottie" and her little Dog, "Otot" who get swept up in a hurricane and transported to the land of "Zo" where they follow the Green Brick Road to the Amber City while being pursued by the wicked witch of the Northwest...after that I have a great idea for a boy wizard who lives in a basement. He doesn't know he is a wizard until...oh hell, I'm taking this too far...
I had to stop listening to this novel. It had a very well written beginning but just before the halfway mark I was done with it. This novel should be categorized under "Romance." "Ridiculous Romance" would be more appropriate. Love stories about teenage vampires are more realistic. I am shocked this book has received such rave reviews.
I believe an Author has a responsibility to the integrity of the characters. Roberts completely abandons "Abigail" as soon as her relationship with Brooks is introduced. I can see where a genius with an eidetic memory could end up with a Police Chief so I'm not saying anything about his profession. However, there is no way it would be with this Police Chief. Brooks is a character that is just one step away from used car salesmen. The pace of the romance between the two is so rushed and so unrealistic given Abigail's history that you begin to focus on the impossibility. Brooks is also a little sleazy and a little corrupt. He baits a criminal and has a relationship with the town slut until he meets Abigail. I understand why he baited the jerk, but there are better ways to resolve the issue and quite frankly, if Roberts is going to paint him as "Super Boy Scout" then she can't vacillate between right and wrong with him. There is no way the character with Abigail's history and logic would fall for any of this.
I'm sorry, but for the people that compare Abigail to Lisbeth Salander, have you even read, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo????" That was a character who was always true to her nature and any change came with a tremendous amount of effort. If anything, Abigail is actually a backwards insult to feminine strength and intelligence. Sure, she's smart and in control but as soon as she meets Brooks she lets him walk all over her.
Had Roberts put a flaw in Brooks it might have worked. Maybe he was very smart, about to go to law school or something but then he witnessed a murder prompting him to join law enforcement. Better yet, maybe he had a criminal background and he turned the corner to "good" given some significant event. The "Criminal Background" would also provide Abigail with more conflict as she decides what to do.
Very disappointed. I thought this was a big waste of a book. If you want a romance novel (that isn't very romantic actually), then this is for you.
On the narration side, Julia Whelan is an amazing narrator and it's hard to believe she does every voice. She narrated "Gone Girl" and showed her range and professionalism again in this book. She was the number 1 reason I chose to listen to this one. It is too bad her talents were wasted.
I enjoyed listening to "Dark Places" very much but found the ending disappointing. Flynn seems to test the limits of "no way that could happen" a bit too much in this novel. Too many coincidences. Flynn also delves a little too deep into grotesque description at points while ignoring more elaborate description at other points. I found just about every character incredibly unlikeable (more below). Lastly, the narrator who narrated Libby Day was a spot on choice for the voice of Libby. She used this desperate, beaten down defeated tone that really matched the character. Beyond that, her range was very limited. Several of the characters had the same voice including Diane, Lyle and Ben. If a character spoke without an introduction like "Diane said" sometimes I thought it was Ben speaking. I think she could be a very good narrator if she broadened her range.
The premise of two murders happening about 45 minutes apart for two completely separate reasons took too much suspension of disbelief. the novel builds and builds to a who "dunnit" conclusion and it seems like Flynn took the easy way out. Additionally, one of the most unlikeable characters was the mother. Sure, Runner and all were awful people but the mother was an absolute failure as a parent and mother and the "out" she takes in the end was ridiculous. Flynn should have given her a history of suicidal tendencies or some background to suddenly account for the "mom planned her death" as a conclusion. Also, the description of the assault on the cow as unnecessarily grotesque and prolonged. At the same time, when Lyle picks up Libby at the gas station near the end and wants to take her to the police, Libby "said some awful things." It's like Flynn got near the end of the book and figured, I have to wrap this up. Here was a chance for Libby to expose her flawed, judgmental attitude and Flynn took a pass.
Anyway, I did enjoy the book despite then bizarre ending. Harsh review but based upon Flynn's other work, I have to downgrade this one.
Actually Carrot Top making out with Joan Rivers while riding on a shark is the only thing that is more frightening than this book but I was limited to 50 characters!
This book is frightening but not "BOO!" frightening. It's a twisted, you'll never get a step ahead frightening. It was an amazing, out of control frightening. It's unsettling. I could not stop listening to it. Gillian Flynn put together a masterpiece from start to finish. The suspense and the "Oh My God!" builds on itself reaching a feverish pitch. It is a terrifying look into the darkest corners of manipulation. How self serving are we and how much do we need to be liked? How far will we go to be right? Gillian Flynn may very well be a mad genius. How could she put this whole story together? I am really looking forward to listening to her other work!
Julia Whelan was a fantastic narrator. She WAS Amy. She was amazing to listen to especially considering the range required by the role. A lesser narrator would not have been able to tie together all the complex emotions and presentations required by the character. I will look for books that she narrates as I enjoyed listening to her.
In my opinion, Kirby Heyborne was epically miscast. His voice work for supporting cast members was solid. However, he speaks really slowly and he takes long and sometimes unnecessary pauses. He sounds like a DJ at a classical music station, "And...that was.......Beethoven's Fifth....his.....fifth....symphony..." Oddly, the cadence Heyborne uses to narrate and the cadence he uses to deliver spoken lines from the characters is different. Characters speak in mostly normal rhythm. Early on I changed the listening speed to 1.25x to account for his very deliberate, very drawn out narration. Additionally, his voice is buttery, almost feminine. He could pass for a woman with a husky, cigarette laced voice. I could see him reading poetry or a self help book. Something where the narrator needs to come across as non-threatening and helpful. "I'm on your side. No sudden movements..." I bet he could do an incredible Kathleen Turner impression. When the character of Nick is first described by Amy in the book, she describes him as this unbelievable, incredibly good-looking, ultimate guy. I had to pause for a second. I wondered if they were introducing a second "Nick." Maybe that was the big "mystery" in the book as I had heard a lot about it. The "Nick" that Heyborne presents seems very soft, possibly diminutive, maybe a bit weak chinned. It could be a "Missouri" accent but it didn't work for me. Really this is the only negative in the performance, story and all but it made me want to listen to Julia Whelan much more than I wanted to listen to Kirby Heyborne.
You will want to listen to/read the first two books in this series before starting Deep Sky.
Deep Sky was a satisfying conclusion to the "Breach" series. Lee does a great job tying up several plot lines and filling in the blanks. I'm assuming this is the last book although there is potentially room for more. Lee's creativity is amazing and I'm sure he is a very intelligent individual. My one issue with his writing is his greatest strength, the ability to create tension and drama is sometimes his greatest weakness. There was a scene where Paige was approaching "someone" and had to be very quiet. Lee went on and on with "another step and another and another" ad nauseam. It took me out of the scene and made me think of "Happy Gilmore" when Chubbs was saying "Just tap it in. Just tap it in." "Tappy Tappy!!!"
Other than that issue (which exists in every book in the series), Lee is an incredible author and I'm hoping in future books he learns to be less liberal with his brush strokes when creating his art.
As always, Jeff Gurner did a great job narrating the book.
I really enjoyed "The Breach." I actually searched for this book based upon the Narrator. Gurner has been excellent in everything I have listened to.
As for the book, I was very impressed with the story. Very imaginative, very creative. Some of the things that Lee invented and imagined seemed incredibly intelligent. Also, the ending really surprised me. Amazing plot twist, everything before it took on a new meaning. This is both good and bad as it opens up some significant plot holes but it was orchestrated with great technique. Excellent setup.
There are a couple issues I have with Lee's writing. Sometimes he "dangles the bait" a little too much. He'll greatly extend a moment of revelation to the point where it gets a bit aggravating. He'll write something like, "Both Travis and Paige were thinking the exact same thing and it explained everything. It was the key to all their questions. Their looks totally reflected that they were both thinking this one amazing thing" and he'll keep going on for a long, drawn out time before he gets to the point. Sometimes, this is useful. With lesser plot points it's like listening to Morning Radio where they want to keep you on through the commercials.
Before you read my spoilers and if you do, I really did enjoy this book. My issues with it are really only because Patrick Lee's writing really invited me to think about the book a lot. It wasn't a "read it and forget it book." I really did enjoy it and will keep reading the series and future books by Lee.
SPOILER ALERT: (Do not read unless you have made it through 7 Theaterstrasse. This is really just discussion for fans of the book)
I had a big problem with this whole area of the book (7 Theaterstrasse). It highlights Lee's other weakness. Basically the personnel in the house killed people and they killed some more and they killed some more and did I mention they were killing? We get it, lots of dead people. Lee has a habit of over-shocking the reader to the point where you begin to think, "okay, this is incredibly fake." He also missed a huge opportunity in this passage. He mentioned children in the mob. He should have had Paige command "don't fire at the children unless it's life or death!" Then, when Paige is working on the Nuke, he could have had a very young girl advancing on Travis, about to pick up a gun, slowly aiming it at Travis. The conflict of whether or not Travis kills the kid would be tense. How did such a young kid make it so far? Maybe he does end up killing the kid a second before all is clear and it haunts him in the upcoming sequels. Maybe he doesn't. Either way, a big character building opportunity was missed. That brings up my last point. The author doesn't delve deep enough into what made Travis a bad person early in life. There were no reflections on really flawed behavior. Yeah, he thinks about his ex girlfriend a lot but people who are flawed and know it really obsess over their past misgivings.
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