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R. Thyme

  • 5
  • reviews
  • 2
  • helpful votes
  • 6
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From A to V - Annoying to Vile

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-26-19

Want to spend 7-and-a-half hours listening to the spewings of the gratingly annoying and the loathsomely vile? Why then, "Black & Blue" is for you. After the first book, which had promise, the series has steadily broken that promise into less and less palatable portrayals of, ultimately, indigestible characters.

The title characters, especially Kate, have become dithering, self-absorbed, unconvincing caricatures. So much so that the otherwise excellent narrator has resorted to whispering almost all of Tony's mush mouth blather, while screeching almost all of Kate's never ending whining. The most repugnant of the secondary characters are front and center, and the formerly tolerable secondary characters throw neurotic temper tantrums.

Then there are the characters developed specially for this murder non-mystery. The love-interest Texan who personifies the All Hat No Cattle trope. Every one of the female characters is a hollow, grasping, deceitful, clinging shrew straight out of the Misogynist Hall of Horrors. The male characters are cardboard cutouts who are supposed to be Worst Cases of Testosterone Poisoning. The murder non-mystery is a thin subplot. The book really should be re-titled "The Anguish That Lord & Lady Hetheridge Suffer at Home and At Work" to do it justice.

Plodding, Implausible, and It's a Children's Book

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-26-17

A boring book for children, with plot holes big enough to swallow a fleet of lorries. It starts with a preposterous act of petulant vandalism and goes down hill from there. The cardboard cutout characters are, well, cardboard thin and cardboard tasty. The 14-year-old protagonist's parents and adult guardian are dead, of course, and the living adult characters are the weak, mean, ugly ogres that maladjusted 14-year-olds believe all adults to be. The story line is so glaringly obvious that I felt like grabbing sunglasses even while listening. The book is classified as a mystery. The only mysteries are how such sodden, small-minded, depressing awfulness could come from the high talent pen of Anthony Horowitz, and why the brilliant Simon Prebble wasted his breath on such rubbish.

Whining All the Way

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-17

Any additional comments?

The Royal Spyness series ran out of even a modicum of appeal about halfway to this dismal, depressing addition. I kept hoping and listening, but now I'm done. The limp protagonist, Lady Georgiana, is a lame, whiny, self-pitying, lazy dimwit who has become quite insufferable. My hope sprang not-entirely-eternal that she would grow up. Sadly, Lady Georgiana only shriveled and regressed, dragged down by her clinging dependence and fatuous inanity as the series plodded on.

Not that Lady Georgiana is alone in her unpleasantness. Not at all. There is not one likeable, let alone admirable, character in the entire series. From the sickeningly feeble Duke-brother to the despicable sister-in-law to the conniving Queen to the sappy, patronizing boyfriend to the narcissist mother to the noxious, baneful maid, all of the Royal Spyness characters aren't so much to be found in a rogues gallery as in Sartre's No Exit. Unlike Joseph Garcin, however, I have finally had enough, and I'm leaving l'enfer.

Winner of Most Annoying Protagonist Ever

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-30-16

Any additional comments?

The continuing travails of Hilary Manningham-Butler, the most annoying protagonist ever. Though this book is self-contained, and it's not necessary to read the first book first, Hilary's character is slightly less annoying if you know why he's (she's) suffering the inconveniences set upon him (her) in this installment. (The first book is much better constructed too.) Experienced mystery readers will rumble the villain smartish, and some players in the drama are cardboard stereotypes, but I did keep listening to the end, primarily because of Angela Dawe's top drawer performance. Emotional import, pace, accents, timbre, pitch, etc, etc; here is excellence in audio book performance. The plot of The Red Zeppelin is thin, and motivations are vague or unexplained or obvious. The final jeopardy scene is so implausible that it must be a not-funny joke on the reader. But really, listen yourself to decide if you've ever met a more annoying protagonist.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Truly Terrible Narrator Trashes Tasty Tome

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-15-16

Any additional comments?

Shameful. Rodska's nasal, whiny, high-pitched, grating voice makes Falco sound like a near-hysterical, particularly aggravating child, thoroughly spoiling an entertaining, engaging adventure tale. This, the first book in the compelling Marcus Didius Falco series, introduces some of the best-developed characters in historical fiction, then cleverly maneuvers them in and out of dire straits, all the while maintaining the smooth arc of an absorbing plot line. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous, always smart, perceptive and satisfying. Deplorably, Audible is removing the Falco books narrated by the brilliant Simon Prebble and replacing them with the repellent Rodska-narrated versions. PLEASE bring back the Prebble-narrated versions, and PLEASE make available for purchase more Prebble-narrated books in the series.