EB White, as a writer, practices what he preaches, and his narrative grabs a reader from the first page.
He is one of those few authors that SHOULD narrate their own stories, with both a lovely sense of pacing, and a voice that lulls a listener into rapt attention to the story. Both his words and his voice weave a rich tapestry that children AND parents can enjoy.
it was decent, mind candy, if the emphasis had been on ROMANTIC mystery.... but I didn't expect that genre, and I found it offputting.
The plot was more predictable than I like in a mystery, though really, fine for a romance novel. It's a decent crossing of the two genres, and totally has it's place, it was just miscategorized for me.
The story is decent, and if I had known what to expect, I might have rated it more highly. However, I found the introduction of the supernatural to be offputting. (I'm not allergic to a bit of wonder in my stories generally, but it's out of line with the rest of this series, which is fully grounded in reality.)
And still, I find that Jenny Sterlin doesn't capture the characters for me. Her voice is lovely, but not for this series. Her portrayal of male characters especially doesn't quite hit home, and everyone comes across snotty in a way that doesn't sync with the characters I love. I am sad to say I will be skipping further books in the series narrated by Sterlin, though others seem to have loved her narration.
the story itself is a fine addition to the series, but I found the slowness of the narrator's pace to be maddening.
Her voice and pace would be lovely for something that is meant to be poetic, or for bedtime stories, but it lent a sleepy drawl to the story that was out of place for a crime drama. I loved her voice, but NOT FOR THIS STORY, and not for this genre. Even Miss Marple would have needed more pace than this.
I am ashamed to admit I had never read the original book; I found the differences between this, and the movie I know so well, both startling and refreshing.
Anne Hathaway does a phenomenal job bringing the characters to life (and making sure the next generation doesn't get so old before they discover the original story!)
The story was a little too focused on boys and romance for me; I wanted this to be a little more adventurous and a little deeper, but found instead that it was typical teen stuff, in a new setting.
I also found the narrator cloying... she worked hard to make her voice sound young, and while she settled in after a while, it didn't work for me. (The times when she portrayed adult characters, I found her voice much richer.)
all that said, I LIKED the story, I just hoped for something a little more.
the story is the right blend of fun and funny, dark and silly, and the narrator is perfect for the story.
I loved it, and the resident 13yo is eating it up....
Overall good, but not excellent. The story drew me in, and I had a hard time shutting it off, though wholly on the compelling thread of the story, rather than the strength of the writing or the narration.
The narrator had a hard job, in that the type of narration appropriate for the first half of the book was very different from that of the latter. She was the absolute right choice for the beginning, and was a large part of what drew me in; but as she approached harder, militant characters, it was irritating to try to hear them through her voice which was so clearly and well suited to the gentler ones.
The story itself is engaging, and had some potential; there was a great richness of detail, and an intricate world of duality and reflections, that had the potential to be a ground for exploring some of our cultural sticking points. But the author has a tendency to repeat descriptions, and there are aspects to the world and to the characters that are created that fail to engage the listener in a believable way; the characters are a little too one-track, a little less rich and thoughtful than they need to be to feel like real people.There is also a laziness to the descriptive choices that is sometimes illogical, and sometimes downright offensive. (perpetual use of the word mongrel to describe a group of people, for example.)
The ending tied together illogically and a little too thinly. The action was haphazard, and seemed less like a well thought out sequence of events, and more like a group of convenient single actions, supporting what was next but not growing from what had already occurred. (Or, stepping in to say "Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that when you weren't looking....")
The narrator has a lovely deep voice, and he has a good handle on SOME of the voices he uses. But most of his voices, and especially those for the main characters, are wheedling instead of just being young. And his narrative voice is halting, as though he is breaking. Each sentence apart. Into pieces. Hardly bigger. Than a few words.
It was almost a normal rhythm if you listened at one-and-a-quarter or one-and-a-half speed.... but it drove me bananas, and I wonder if I would have liked the STORY more had I read it instead of listening.
The story does not need a sequel. The story line itself was tied up, by the end, and the world hasn't been fleshed out in a way that would make me want to visit again. That's too bad, because it had a lot of potential, but I have to say I wouldn't read a sequel.
This was listed as a young adult book, but there was nothing challenging about the story for a younger child (my 7yo enjoyed it a lot, and was too young to care about the narration, or the logical gaps.)
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