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.
I started reading this book in large part because the series is highly rated. After listening to the third book, I had to stop. The narrator is unbelievably distracting. I will get back to that.
My biggest concern was when I studied the reviews. If you were to examine only the written reviews, the rating goes down up to a full star for both performance and overall story compared to the grossly collected reviews (both written reviews and reviews that aren't written, just stars assigned). TLF has less than 100 reviews. It would be very easy, and worthwhile to stack some of these reviews with biased opinions and even go as far as to create fake email accounts to boost the review score. I guess my point is, if a book has only a smattering of reviews, look at the written reviews for the most accurate evaluation of a book. It's too easy to finesse the results. From a data analysis standpoint, the written reviews shouldn't be around 20% lower when compared to the overall reviews. That's too big of a deviation (now you know why I like techno thrillers).
That being said, I cannot believe the narration of this book. I don't blame O'Donnell as much as I blame Brick Shop Audio. I'm sure O'Donnell has talent but her talent didn't match up with the tone of this book. O'Donnell has a voice that would be more suited to melodrama and possibly something like a self help book. Her voice is a bit hoarse and choppy and her delivery is a bit whiny. It isn't best used in a techno thriller. Additionally, some of the selections she used for voices were downright comical. The two "gangsters" were given voices that you would hear in a Bugs Bunny Cartoon. I eventually gave up because I was unable to focus on the story. It was during a part with the two gangsters, ("Yeah see, we got a book here see and we're going to read it see").
The story isn't bad and has promise but if I have to stop listening to a book, the overall rating has to be the lowest possible score. Too bad, I was looking forward to completing the trilogy. Maybe I will actually read the book.
This was an entertaining listen. If you're into technology and artificial intelligence, this could be an excellent listen. There are a few unusual parts of the book that will make your eyes roll (for instance, why does everyone have to throw a very young character into a very adult role?) but all in all it was enjoyable. The narration was pretty good although the narrator struggled mightily trying to imitate a Japanese and a French accent. It would have been a better idea to just stick to reading the book.
Just finished Ender's. I found the book interesting from many different viewpoints. It is both a psychological thriller as well as a military "text book." The story runs it's course, seldom getting bogged down too deeply. When compared to books like "Hunger Games" and "Harry Potter," it is clear that this is the grandfather of those books.
As far as the performance goes, Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison were incredible. Gabrielle de Cuir was annoying. She is overly breathy and dramatic. While the other narrators focus on delivering the story, it seems like de Cuir focuses on making the part about her performance. She would be good for some ridiculous romance novel or vampire story. I searched her portfolio and she in fact, is the narrator of some vampire stories. I guess that is okay if that is your thing but her delivery was way off for this part. All in all though, she is only in a small portion of the book but be prepared to be distracted when she narrates.
Weakest of the three books in the series (so far). A lot of the best parts of the other books have been the interpersonal relationships. This book has none of that unless you count having a friendship with a duct taped bottle of Jack D. This should have been the first book in the series (albeit with a different ending).
This book amounts to the same trick over and over. Zombies and or rats, lots of rats. It's like a comedian with one joke. It got very redundant over time. The same thing happened a bit in the beginning of the third book with Scott but then that book started to get better over time. You reach a point where you say, "I get it. There are a lot of rats."
As usual, RC Bray is awesome. His range is incredible and he makes excellent decisions as far as his delivery goes.
Not a terrible listen but not "edge of your seat."
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.
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