This wasn't the easiest book. At some points, I
felt rather uncomfortable with the story. Just goes
to show you...the generation gap is real. Especially lately. But, discomfort and angst, nowwithstanding, this book seems to me to be very important, a literate chronical of its time.
If you hate hearing foul language, think twice before you listen to it. The "f" word and its
siblings seem to make up 20% of the dialogue.
But, Wolf said he tried for authenticity. What
is more painful, if the writer is accurate, is
how our poor English language has been reduced
and mangled in, of all places, our palaces of
"higher learning". Anyone who thinks today's
kids are smarter than ever should read this book.
I think this could have been a pretty good audiobook. Mr. Dufris' narration is fist rate, throughout. Having said that, in my opinion, the author fails on two levels. First, it is too "cutesy". The dialogue used by all the characters smacks of a tv sitcom...maybe even not a bad one, by today's standards. But I can't take it very long. And, it never stops.
My 2nd dislike...overt and overwhelming "political correctness". One can call me a "male chauvinist pig" or something similar, and I won't argue the point. But, the idea of portraying all female characters acting like tough guys, and espousing violence and, in general, acting just like egotistic, alpha males minus the anatomical trappings doesn't seem to serve either the story line or provide any human insights of worth. It's just a form of social pandering that seems to be in vogue, I guess. So as to sell more books of this kind to women? I don't know. Scalzi has talent. Mostly, here, its wasted.
Cornwell is a very good writer of historical fiction. Not only is this book and the trilogy the best work he's done, its the best working of the Arthurian legend I have ever come across.
The best Cornwell has done. More than that, the best take on the Aurthurian legend that I have ever read or heard.
I am a major Cornwell fan, although I don't feel everything he's done...and I've read and/or listented to 95% of his work...is worthy of high praise. As a writer of action packed historical fiction, he is peerless, in my opinion. This trilogy, the Warlord trilogy, is his best work, I think. Not only does it completely refresh the Arthurian legend and give it more credence than anything I have read before or since, but, it should rank as a honest to goodness, major "classic". It is every bit as much a real classic as Mallory's work. Cornwell exhibits as much and more wit in these 3 books than anything he's done before or since. His insights into the age and the individual lives of of the characters in that time are without parallel...no one I've ever read has done this better. Each of the books, "The Winter King", this one, and "Excalibur" is, in terms of quality, the equal of the other two.
Either reading them or listening to them being read has given me immense pleasure and
more food for thought than was easily digestible. There is no better means of immersing oneself in the legend of Arthur, the King, than reading Cornwell's Warlord trilogy. .
First, I am a fan of Reynolds and I like John Lee's narration. I have listened to almost everything he's done and Lee's narrated, until Reynold's came up with "Blue Remembered Earth" and its sequel. The former, I despised. I did not bother with the latter.
"The Prefect" is a very good example of Reynold's writing, and included good characterization, effortless descriptive power and able fostering of my desire "to know what comes next". John Lee did well with it.. I have read it twice and listened to it, once. The ending did not ring my chimes, but it was alright. The rest of it was very good to excellent.
It helps if one is familiar with the setting which Reynold's created over several novels to place the story in. But, even those who are not familiar with that setting will enjoy this work, I think.
Joe Abercrombie is a master of the genre. And, I've thoroughly enjoyed this whole series. Steven Pacey is, as usual, superb. This work and series,, in my view, is fantasy writing at its very best. I've praised other books in this series as well as the writer and the reader. This book is just as well written and read as the others. I think it would probably benefit the reader who has never read Joe Abercrombie, before,to begin with "The Blade, Itself".
I would love to see this series go on for a long while.
This is a fantasy novel which was hard for me to finish. Although I listen to a lot of SF and Fantasy, I usually find that good writing in the latter category is hard to come by. I've found that most of the posted reviews I which rave about this or that fanatasy novel are not to be trusted. Because when I try most of these highly rated books, they give me literary indigestion. Most are just awful...poorly written rehashes of hackneyed themes which were, in most cases, handled a lot better by earlier writers. Still, I keep trying them out, looking for the few that might just be gems. And, I've found a few...a few.
The Red Knight is an example of another disappointment. In some parts, near the beginning, it even showed flashes of the start of something really good...the single reason I gave it more than 1 star. But, the flash dies off quickly, each time, and the reader is forced to continue to trudge on along the book's prosaic path to its mundane conclusion. I guess this kind of over worn, comic book, style of writing appeals to a lot of readers, like the ones who rate unimaginative, poorly written fantasies with 5 stars. But, for me, its just another "fantasy" novel I wasted my time with.
First, I admit that I am a genuine fan of the writings of Martin Cruz Smith. He has always done a masterful job of writing fiction. I have read or listened to each novel in the "Arkady Renko" series several times, and was highly entertained each time. The same holds true for me with his other works, as well. Like all first rate writers, no matter in what genre they write, there is nothing "artificial" in their work. So it is here The story flows, the drama unfolds from the basic human nature of the characters and they remain true to those natures. Every word seems finely crafted to fit where it should and enhances the storyline.
Frank Muller's job was well done. Someone new to Smith's writings and this series, might do well to start with "Gorky Park", which is the first in this chronological series. But, by itself, this is a good book to listen to.
The author can make very entertaining stuff out of the seemingly non grandiose. He's done that repeatedly in (what I'm able to recall of) his non fiction books. In this one, he takes a big bite of "...Nearly Everything", thoughtfully chews on it and and cleverly reports how it tastes. This report, read out loud, with exquisite pacing and wit, by Richard Mathews, actually becomes more entertaining when listened to a 2nd or 3rd time...when one picks up the bits and nuances they've missed during earlier readings. The book seems seriously factual and intellectually sound. But, contrary to the usual lack of humor most often found in such writings, this book is a hoot. It is slyly witty and darkly humorous. The narrator is superb in bringing out these qualities. And by doing so, this reading does a great job in helping one gain a bit of honest perspective of one's actual place in our universe, I believe. Very enjoyable.
I managed to get through to Chapter 7 and couldn't listen any further. Stephen Pacey is as good a British narrator as I've ever heard...but even his credible narration could not make this awful novel into something entertaining, mildly interesting or enjoyable. The author should do "graphic novels" and forget any literary ambitions, at least, in this genre. Listening to this brought back the memory of listening to another audiobook wherein the author attempted to describe his characters almost entirely, by describing or mentioning, the popular music they liked. This author, though, uses a very different method to achieve the same effect... by using untold billions of descriptive adjectives and adverbs to "flesh out" his characters, settings, etc. But every word "picture" he tries to paint seems drawn, in sets, from previous material that is ever so familiar. His literary "inventions" are so trite, so hackneyed, that, although one may not remember the exact,original source(s), one already knows them by heart, long before this author ever pasted them in. Like, "the castle". Think about every popular image you have of a dark and brooding manse, all the images that one has ever heard about, read about, seen in movies or tv, or video games, even. Now, if one selects the image one has encountered most frequently, that seems to be the most popular, the one that just pops up first, that's the one the author uses. He applied that method to the first 7 chapters of this book, at least. Call the method "Write By Numbers". The novel is supposed to be a mystery, I think. This author does not know a mystery from a flight of migrating Canadian geese.
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