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Written as if for an 8th grader

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

Reviewed: 06-20-19

This book is pretty awful. The characters are so dumb as to be horrifyingly obtuse. This is not a WWII spy novel; it's a child's version of a spy novel. Skip it.

Like listening to a comic novel

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

Reviewed: 02-09-18

The narrator really got into the spirit. A lot of fun if you can pretend it's not our real world.

Fascinating, but totally straight-forward, history

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

Reviewed: 10-15-15

This is an amazing story, well-told. It's straight-forward, factual history, with no effort to assess good or evil. The extraordinary value of Tolkachev's information, and incredible bravery of the CIA's men and women (often wives of spies) in Moscow in the early 1980's is made clear; the equally extraordinary hubris of the CIA and stupidity of the FBI in Washington is made equally clear, as is their breathtaking negligence of Tolkachev's safety. Nonetheless, the author takes care to not make any judgments. Nonetheless, readers will certainly be able to come to their own conclusions.

A wealth of information has been uncovered and is presented. No fact is left unturned or unsaid; if you like that kind of detail, you will love this book. It takes awhile to get into it and get all the names, places and dates straight. But it is well worth the effort.

The narrator is wonderful.

A haunting and wonderful book

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

Reviewed: 11-25-14

This is not a violent or horrifying war story. It is horrifying because it is war, it is children, it is waste, but Doerr has written one of the most beautiful, moving and lyrical novels I've read in years.

Zach Appelman's narration added immeasurably to the experience of reading this book. His inflections, sympathetic tone, and clear intention to sweep us forward and into the story made this a wonderful listen.

Such an annoying protagonist

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

Reviewed: 11-25-14

The narrator is pretty good but the story is so annoying - because the main character is so annoying. I'm assuming she must be gorgeous because I cannot imagine another reason why any of the men in the story want to spend time with her. There seem to be no women in her life which is perhaps not surprising; she's endlessly self-reflective and self-absorbed and thinks of no one but herself.

Awful narrator - am switching to reading it

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

Reviewed: 02-25-14

The story is wonderful but the narrator - he's just awful! Every single sentence is uttered breathlessly. He speaks as if there is an exclamation point at the end of every sentence. I can no longer listen to him so am splurging and buying the actual book to read.

The fact that the book is written from a teenager's point of view (or at least much of it is) doesn't mean that the narrator should read it as if it is a children's novel.

Extraordinary book (even w/o Pride & Prejudice)

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

Reviewed: 10-13-13

I have generally hated P&P spinoffs -- too wordy, too internally focused and generally poorly written.

Not this one. Jo Baker is a literary writer and this novel stands on its own , as absorbing and interesting (even without the modest involvement of the P&P characters). These people have real lives, real struggles and problems and loves, and we sympathize with their strategic and hopeful efforts to maximize their future security and happiness. The Napoleonic Wars may not have had much effect on the Bennets, but it's very present for the lower classes, where the men were strongly urged to enlist without any understanding of the horrors of that war.

The limited glimpses we see of the Bennet family seems to round them out into real people, too -- Elizabeth is still a very nice person and generally considerate mistress, but it is clear that her maid's happiness and security is never really on her mind except as it pertains to Elizabeth's comfort. This is probably an accurate depiction of women such as she. Mrs. Bennet's efforts to have a male child - over and over and over - elicit some real sympathy for her and deepen our understanding of the source of her current flightiness.

I loved this book.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

Magnificent

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

Reviewed: 04-17-13

One of the best - and most gripping - biographies I have ever read. The reader is excellent - even his approximation of various accents is good and not distracting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

An incredible story

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

Reviewed: 11-17-12

It's hard to believe that that this book got written. Collins & Lapierre have left no stone unturned. Everyone, whether a big or a small player in this dramatic story, has been interviewed. As a result, the book is a gripping account not of just the big event - the liberation of Paris - but the hundreds of people involved and their emotions, actions and rationale during the days and weeks leading up to the Allied forces entering the city.

The reader is somewhat arch and this detracts somewhat from the story - but not very much and I wouldn't let that deter you. It's a wonderful tale that reads almost like a novel. And it's very intense.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Fun, if somewhat one sided and unbelievable.

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

Reviewed: 09-21-12

Good and gossipy, if not always accurate (of course, it's Lowe's story so he can tell it however he wants to tell it). And, of course, the narration is excellent.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful