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Ron P

Monroe, WA USA
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  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

  • By: Ron Hansen
  • Narrated by: Sam Freed
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 61

Jesse James was a fabled outlaw, a charismatic, spiritual, larger-than-life bad man whose bloody exploits captured the imagination and admiration of a nation hungry for antiheroes. Robert Ford was a young upstart torn between dedicated worship and murderous jealousy, the "dirty little coward" who coveted Jesse's legend.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By alankelleher on 07-28-15

A good read, but could have been more . . .

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

Reviewed: 03-24-18

I saw the movie long before I read the book, and unlike many, I found the film version to be hypnotically compelling. The music, the cinematography, the performances . . . I think it was art. That said, it has a flaw at it's core, which is that it maintains too much distance between the characters and the viewer. Particularly in the middle bits, where some of the events felt disjointed and made the narrative feel like it was pieced together with a lot left on the cutting room floor.

Upon listening to this book, I see that the film was likely not edited in parts into vague incoherence at all. Narratively, I have the same complaint about the book, which is that the scenes involving Wood Hite, Dick Liddil, the Fords and the nature of Wood's conflict with Liddil just ring . . . incomplete, if not hollow.

In some ways, the narrative intent and what Hansen's trying to do with Jesse himself make this problem difficult. Scenes not involving Jesse lack gravitas. Like everyone else in the book, Jesse is not a completely drawn character; rather, we get glimpses into who he is and what he *might* intend with his actions. And this is problematic because we simply don't get enough scenes with which to frame whatever it is we're to think of him, or Robert Ford, or anyone else.

There's a bigger story to be told about Ed Miller, his fate and Jesse's choices about him, for instance. Normally, I tend to believe that most books, even really good ones, would benefit from an aggressive editor. Very few books merit epic treatment. However, this is a rare case where I think a good third of a book was left either in Hansen's head or somewhere at the mercy of an overly aggressive editor.

All that said, I prefer a quiet narrative style, especially with subjects like old West celebrities (that's what we're talking about when we discuss Jesse James), and Ron Hansen delivers that. In fact, I think he's a brilliant writer. He is drawn to unusual details that really place the reader in a scene, and he hits on certain minor actions that convey a lot more than entire paragraphs from lesser authors might.

But it's too short. The topic, and his writing talent, deserve more. As it is, it's a loosely connected series of vignettes about Ford and James -- which still gives us a beautiful book in many ways, and I recommend it. But when I think of lovely prose in the service of a human, historical tale, I can't help but think Hansen has better in him -- I think this could've been a book equal to authors like Mary Doria Russell or Marilynne Robinson.

In the end, I enjoyed it very much -- I think I just wish there were more of it to enjoy. If it were developed to the level it could've been, I wager I'd have it at 4.5 stars. As it is, it sits at 3.5 for me, so round up.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Henderson the Rain King  audiobook cover art
  • Henderson the Rain King

  • By: Saul Bellow
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 271
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 193

Bellow evokes all the rich colour and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe. Henderson's awesome feats of strength and his unbridled passion for life earns him the admiration of the tribe - but it is his gift for making rain that turns him from mere hero into messiah.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing Book on Many Levels

  • By Chris Reich on 10-07-14

A brilliant novel spoiled

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

Reviewed: 03-20-18

I’ve been trying to get off my butt and read/listen to more of the classics. Never having read Saul Bellow, I read some reviews and tried this one.

My take is . . . mixed.

First of all, it’s obvious why Bellow is held in high regard. His prose is amazing -- simply amazing -- with a deft ironic touch that can convey an array of emotions in every sentence. As the narrator, Henderson is so breathtakingly perceptive while simultaneously stubbornly blind to parts of himself and his place in the world – I’m not familiar with another book that manages that trick so effectively. I often marveled at the piquancy of an observation while watching as the observer utterly misses the significance of it.

There is something universally American about Henderson and his self-centered desire to do something great and worthwhile. His internal, nameless cry of *“I want, I want!”* is something I think nearly everyone can identify with, at least at some points in their life.

All that said, as time has marched on, assessments of racism in the book increase. My first reaction is that the narrator is unconventionally unreliable and ironic. We experience Africa (a place Bellow hadn’t yet visited at the time he wrote “Henderson . . .”) through the filter of Henderson’s bigoted, if generally well meaning, eyes and experience. Too much criticism of Bellow’s racism focuses on things Henderson thinks and says, such as referring to certain tribal women as “Amazons,” or subtly mocking the primitive nature of the cultures he encounters.

*This* criticism misses the point IMO. The narration is *clearly* ironic and an editorial on Henderson’s character (as well as what Henderson represents). Moreover Joe Barrett’s narration serves the book magnificently in conveying this.

On the other hand, Bellow’s African natives are still painted with a 19th century dime novel brush. It may be that the reader understands that Henderson's thoughts, words and actions toward the natives say more about him than they do about the natives, but the natives themselves are clumsy stereotypes nonetheless. It is cringe-worthy in places.

For this reason, I’m torn on how to rate the book. It’s brilliantly written, and were it not for the cultural laziness, I’d be right on 4.5 stars. Taking that into account, I think I have to give it three.

  • Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)

  • By: Wendy Holden, Don Felder
  • Narrated by: Dennis Holland
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 471
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 432
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 430

The Eagles are the bestselling, and arguably the tightest-lipped, American group ever. Now band member and guitarist Don Felder finally breaks the Eagles years of public silence to take fans behind the scenes. He shares every part of the bands wild ride, from the pressure-packed recording studios and trashed hotel rooms to the tension-filled courtrooms, and from the joy of writing powerful new songs to the magic of performing in huge arenas packed with roaring fans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don Felder is an interesting dude

  • By Paul Schmitz on 07-02-13

Bought this on a whim . . .

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

Reviewed: 03-13-18

I'm not really an Eagles fan. I've always thought they were kinda sanitary and vanilla musically. However, I have to admit I've been fascinated by the drama surrounding the band - in part *because* I find their music sort of sanitary. As in "what's to fight about?"

This book caught my eye specifically because I'd heard Felder's 'Heavy Metal' recently on the radio, and that tune's always been a guilty pleasure.

So. First off, the narration is . . . sleepy. I waffled between 2 and 3 stars on that part, so I went with 3, but I think Dennis Holland takes what is some pretty wishy-washy writing to begin with and deadens it to the point that Felder seems nothing more than a bumpkin. Which I don't believe is true.

Second, Felder and Wendy Holden don't seem to be able to account for different takes on a situation at once. If we're reading about how a particular tour was hell, it's *all* hell. Later, we read that the same tour was musically fulfilling, or whatever. Both can obviously be true, and a more nuanced writer would incorporate those things more effectively. Felder/Holden can't.

There are other problems with the writing and structure of the book. Suffice it to say, as a piece of writing, this book is exceptionally mediocre. Felder rehashes things 7 ways to Sunday, he contradicts himself, he gets facts wrong (not a big deal, but the Gibb brothers are Australian, for instance, not British), and he wavers in tone.

As a work of autobiography however . . . I can't explain precisely why, but I found it compelling. Felder can come across as alternately naive (sometimes to a point that strains credulity) and boastful, but his boasting nearly always seems to come from a place of insecurity -- a perception reinforced by interviews I've watched since reading the book. It feels like Felder wants/wanted Henley and Frey's respect more than anything else, and whether he ever had it or not, he clearly doesn't feel he did. I think Felder was, at the time of the writing, *hurt* more than anything else.

And even though I am predisposed to see negative in Don Henley and Glenn Frey, I actually came away with a higher opinion of Don Henley than I did before I read the book (admittedly, that's not a high bar). I think Felder comes across as a decent guy overall.

And, for those Eagles fans out there, the book has some interesting history about the way the albums were made, famous anecdotes, information about people in the periphery, as well as other little known behind-the-scenes stories. He also makes a pretty compelling case that he was *the* creative force behind the music for the song 'Hotel California', something that Joe Walsh and others have disputed recently. If Felder really still has the demo tracks he laid down, including the solos both he and Walsh later played on the record, that's pretty definitive. And it lowers my opinion of Joe Walsh at least a little.

Bottom line: I don't recommend this audiobook *highly*. It's mediocre. But if you are interested in the topic at all, it has humanity at the core, interesting stories, and it feels much fairer and less savage and/or salacious than other tell-all books of this sort.

  • World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition)

  • An Oral History of the Zombie War
  • By: Max Brooks
  • Narrated by: Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, and others
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,387
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11,573
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,571

World War Z: The Complete Edition is a new recording of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, featuring 21 additional Hollywood A-list actors and sci-fi fan favorites performing stories not included in the original edition. New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Good Story with an All Star Cast but ABRIDGED

  • By Kim Venatries on 05-22-13

Not really a Zombie fan, but ... simply brilliant!

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

Reviewed: 03-05-18

I'm not really a fan of the horror genre, although there was a time when "Night of the Living Dead" made Zombie flicks the exception for me. But it's so played out. Add to that the movie version of this (which basically shares the title only) was so awful, I didn't listen to my friends who recommended the audiobook.

My mistake. This audiobook version, with it’s all-star cast, is spectacular.

The premise of the book is unique -- you know from the get-go that it’s a look back from the perspective of those who survived the zombie war, which is now more or less over. Rather than diminishing the story, knowing that every character is telling his/her story in flashback somehow manages to *increase* the intensity. There are sections that are poignant, cynical, gripping and terrifying. The underwater sequences, for example, are nutso intense.

But the thing that truly makes this audiobook one of the best I’ve heard is the cast. The voice actors are spectacular. *Spectacular*.

This review is in some ways pointless, insofar as most people inclined to listen to it already have. However, if you’ve stumbled on this review as someone who stays away from horror in general and zombies in particular, do yourself a favor – it’s the audiobook equivalent of a summer blockbuster that manages to *exceed* the hype. It’s everything audio dramatizations try to achieve.

It's simply that good.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Night Circus

  • By: Erin Morgenstern
  • Narrated by: Jim Dale
  • Length: 13 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,048
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,261
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,272

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The circus of your dreams

  • By Anonymous User on 09-22-11

Dreamy, beautiful, underwhelming ending

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

Reviewed: 03-04-18

The Night Circus is an unusual book with some superficial similarities to quite a few popular novels/series, including Harry Potter, a lot of Gaiman stuff, and several others.

That said, it’s not just those things. This is an imaginative novel about a magical circus, and the most compelling thing about the book is the collection of unusual, surreal, and sometimes breathtaking ‘attractions’ of the circus.

Underlying the circus is an unusual wager in which two characters compete against each other without knowing it, for unknown stakes, and by rules that are deliberately obfuscated. The timeline shifts in a low key manner that, in my opinion, serves the plot fairly well (if you read the reviews, you’ll see that not everyone agrees on that point).

The low key narration left me a little less invested in the characters than a tale like this might normally earn, but this is in part due to a deliberate choice by the author to defy character convention. There’s some sleight of hand and misdirection in terms of character interaction, which, while a little distancing, increased my curiosity to see where things ended up.

If there’s a deficiency to the book, it’s the last quarter – especially the end. The vague magical realism that ramped slowly was lovely and a little hypnotic, but the end never managed to crest. It just sort of levelled off and left the reader/listener with an ending that probably has more emotional resonance in a shorthand summary than the narrative itself. I get what the author was aiming at, but I think the narrative style simply limits the emotional trajectory of the novel --- I think it would have been far better served with a vague ending rather than the specificity we got.

Which isn’t to say the story itself can’t resonate; I would imagine that a film adaptation will use standard tricks of that medium to impart an emotional resonance the book simply lacks, and I’d bet that a well-done film would be a rare example of the movie being a superior version.

All that said, I enjoyed the book, and with the qualifications above, recommend it. It’s dreamy, and I wanted to see how the pieces all came together. The protagonists’ story came together in a way that was telegraphed far in advance, but other elements were less predictable and wrapped up in an intellectually satisfying manner. If there were a more granular scale, I’d rate this book 3.5 stars. It’s not *great*, but it’s enjoyable and I’m glad to have listened to it.

  • Shards of Honor

  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,718
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,078
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,095

I>Shards of Honor is the novel in which Lois McMaster Bujold introduced the science-fiction world to Barrayar and Aral Vorkosigan, Beta Colony and Cordelia Naismith. From this beginning the author has created a multigenerational saga spanning time as well as space. Bujold is generally recognized as the current exemplar of the character-based science-fiction adventure story.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • First story in the Miles Vorkosigan series

  • By Lifelong Reader on 06-18-09

What am I missing?

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

Reviewed: 02-13-18

The issue I have is not that this book is generally well-reviewed -- a lot of books I don't care for are well-reviewed. (as an aside, I wonder what the median book rating is across the entire Audible catalog . . . 3.5?). It's that reviewers I follow and respect seem to *love* this book.

I just don't get it. For starters, the plot felt like a rough outline of a story to me, with some mechanics that felt either lazy or extremely contrived. Or both. The 'war' felt neither epic nor threatening.

The prose was serviceable at a minimum, and much better than that in places. But . . .

I just never really cared about anyone or anything in the book. The writing maintained this weird emotional distance from the characters. Specifically, I was very conscious that I was following a story, and that the characters were *characters*, not people. It was sorta like reading a newspaper. Places where I should have empathized with a character going through something horrible, or perhaps been moved, were just . . . numb.

Normally, I'd just write it off and shrug. But given that so many people I respect really like this book -- I'm trying to figure out what I'm missing.

I just can't.

  • True Grit

  • By: Charles Portis
  • Narrated by: Donna Tartt
  • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,869
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,839
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,837

Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie, as vital as she is innocent, outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So worth it!

  • By Tommygaus on 12-29-10

A great Western in need of a microphone shield

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

Reviewed: 02-13-18

Most people who pick this up will have seen the movie versions -- both of which I like. They both, in their own ways, adhere pretty closely to the book, with a lot of word-for-word dialog.

So what's to gain by reading the book? Okay, aside from the standard (and valid) notion that a book is always different, and very nearly always better than a film adaptation, it's worth a read because it's well written, well plotted, well paced, funny, exciting, and the author respects his readers.

Heck, it's just everything you want your Western -- or any page-turner -- to be,

My main nit with the audible version, and it is enough to give me pause, is the narration. Donna Tartt is a surprisingly talented performer (especially given that it is not her day job), and her love of the book is obvious. The problem is that the engineering is terrible. It's almost as if she did the recording without a microphone shield, and it's just maddening -- at least to me.

Let me put it this way; if you find the sound of people smacking their lips offputting, *this* will be offputting. I am such a person, and while it was still worth the listen overall (which is a testament to the quality of both the writing and the narration), I almost gave up a few times.

Were it not for the engineering snafu, I'd have been hard-pressed to choose between a 4-star and 5-star rating on the narration. As it is, the narration is . . . adequate.

  • Doc

  • A Novel
  • By: Mary Doria Russell
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 16 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 984
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 812
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 809

The year is 1878, peak of the Texas cattle trade. The place is Dodge City, Kansas, a saloon-filled cow town jammed with liquored-up adolescent cowboys and young Irish hookers. Violence is random and routine, but when the burned body of a mixed-blood boy named Johnnie Sanders is discovered, his death shocks a part-time policeman named Wyatt Earp. And it is a matter of strangely personal importance to Doc Holliday, the frail 26-year-old dentist who has just opened an office at No. 24, Dodge House.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great writing and narration

  • By Dennis on 06-02-11

My favorite novel ever

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

Reviewed: 01-22-18

Combine Larry McMurtry with Marilynne Robinson, add some historical fiction, bake it up just right, let it rise, and you get . . . ”He began to die when he was twenty-one, but tuberculosis is slow and sly and subtle. The disease took fifteen years to hollow out his lungs so completely they could no longer keep him alive. In all that time, he was allowed a single season of something like happiness.”

Simply put, this novel is perfection.

For context, I love Westerns -- movies, books, documentaries . . . and nothing fascinates me more than the Earps.

That said, this book is not what you expect -- if you expect a typical take on the Earp legend. Oh, the Earps are in it, as are Ed and Bat Masterson and a host of others. But this book takes place in Dodge City, ending before the move to Tombstone Arizona and the infamous gunfight there. Rather, this is about Doc Holliday, a man of temper and sensitivity and a kind of nobility, building his character using previously unavailable historical material such as family letters, etc. And it's not much of an adventure story, although it contains most of the elements of an exciting western story -- shootings, fights, horse races, gambling. But it's slower, contemplative and just *beautifully* written.

Mary Doria Russell deserves more attention for the quality of her writing, and this novel is in that rarefied group of novels where you emerge a better person for simply having read it. Not because you learned anything tangible (although you will -- there's a lot of interesting history in it), but because it's art.

To put it another way, I like to read science fiction, I like history, biography, historical fiction, philosophy, I like pulp, I like poetry. My favorite books range from 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' to Marilynne Robinson's 'Housekeeping' to 'The Expanse' novels to 'The Martian' and 'Ready Player One.' I like stuff like the Bobiverse books and Scalzi and Jeff Shaara's historical fiction.

But no bit of writing I've yet come across makes me happier to be alive than the bit in 'Doc' near the end with him playing piano at a Christmas party.

Perfection.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Forbidden Knowledge: The Gap into Vision

  • The Gap Cycle, Book 2
  • By: Stephen R. Donaldson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 334
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 306
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 308

Beautiful, brilliant, and dangerous, Morn Hyland is an ex-police officer for the United Mining Companies - and the target of two ruthless, powerful men. One is the charismatic ore-pirate Nick Succorso, who sees Morn as booty wrested from his vicious rival, Angus Thermopyle. Thermopyle once made the mistake of underestimating Morn and now he's about to pay the ultimate price. Both men think they can possess her, but Morn is no one's trophy - and no one's pawn. Meanwhile, within the borders of Forbidden Space, wait the Amnioin, an alien race capable of horrific atrocities....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By Brandon on 07-22-17

Building momentum

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

Reviewed: 01-22-18

In some ways, this is even darker than 'The Real Story.' Some pretty awful things happen, and the level of depravity can be hard to take.

That said, Donaldson goes where he goes so that the moments of light and hope feel earned and real. The moral stakes of this series are very high, the plot is compelling, there are very complex philosophical issues at stake, and while some might call his prose too deliberate and his plotting too slow, I think he's at the height of his powers with this series.

Donaldson's strength, in my mind, is that he infuses his character development (his characters are rich and complex) with thematic elements of the story in a magnificently epic way. To put it another way, when you're aiming at the level of moral philosophy Donaldson is with these books, it can be easy to slide into parable. It can be easy to use the metaphor to drive everything.

Donaldson doesn't do that. His characters breathe, and if he's sometimes unsubtle, his bluntness feels truly organic to his characters.

And the plot -- the tension builds as the books progress, clearly heading somewhere we can guess (literally and metaphorically), but we have no idea what we'll find when we get there.

This is Epic stuff with a lot to say about our moral universe, but first and foremost, it's a darned compelling story with characters that we not only care about, but characters that evolve as the story goes on. Just because you hate someone now doesn't mean you will at the end. And vice versa.

Also, a note about Scott Brick. He seems to be a love him/hate him narrator. In my mind, he's *perfect* for Donaldson's prose and characters. I enjoy his performances in everything from 'Foundation' to 'Dune', but if all he did were to narrate Donaldson, he could drop the mic and walk away.

  • The Real Story: The Gap into Conflict

  • The Gap Cycle, Book 1
  • By: Stephen R. Donaldson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 473
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 432
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 436

Author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time, master storyteller Stephen R. Donaldson returns with this exciting and long-awaited new series that takes us into a stunningly imagined future to tell a timeless story of adventure and the implacable conflict of good and evil within each of us.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Unique concept for sci-fi; but a bit dramatic.

  • By Yawning Lion on 06-14-13

Dark, but worth it as the setup for what follows

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

Reviewed: 01-22-18

If you've read Donaldson, you know he can be dark.

Well, this is *dark.* The plot is interesting, and if some of the techie ideas are dated, conceptually, they make sense and have analogs to what might be out there today (script vs. 'batch' files, whatever). It's strong work.

But cripes, I understand why some call this misogynistic. I don't think it is, but that's because it's Donaldson and I've read the whole series. There's some brilliant writing in this book, but overall, reading it is sort of the price of admission to the series as a whole.

It's worth it. Remind yourself of that when you squirm and contemplate bagging it. It's worth it.