LISTENER

Timothy Masters

Brackney, PA USA
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 65
  • helpful votes
  • 9
  • ratings

Dark and depressing

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

Reviewed: 06-07-19

Perhaps I have no business writing a review of a book that I quit about 1/4 of the way through, but I'll say my thoughts anyway. I knew the title, knew that it was a classic, and knew that it was a ghost story. All good. What I did not know until I got well into it is that the story concerns emotional and a certain type of physical abuse. It is incredibly dark, and every time I spent a little time with it I ended up getting depressed. There's enough anger and violence in the world without being subjected to it in reading for supposed entertainment. Enough.

Poorly written text version of a silly video game

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

Reviewed: 12-29-18

Maybe I hated this book only because I'm not in its target audience. But I'm a computer professional, I've played a fair number of video games, and I was a youngish man in the 80's, which is the central time period of this novel. I recognized nearly all of the 80's video game references. But nonetheless I was bored silly.

There are two serious problems with this book. First, the plot is nothing more than a trek through a video game, a journey that didn't translate well to words for me. Second, and more importantly, the plot was very linear. There were no significant plot twists, no surprises, no Wow! moments. It just plodded forward in a perfectly predictable direction, start to finish. There was no sense of adventure, no heroics, nothing. It felt like somebody played a mediocre video game and wrote a journal of what he or she did during the game. I finished it only because I was hoping for a smash ending, but that never came. It was a huge waste of time.

One of the very few novels I call a masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 09-22-18

I first read this book several decades ago when it came out, and I loved it. When I recently stumbled onto it at Audible, I got it and listened, and loved it even more than the first time. The world he has imagined is incredibly clever, and the book is entertaining start to finish. My wife hates SciFi (she is a Jane Austen fanatic), but I regularly stopped, rewound, and played short segments for her and she found them wonderful. The writing is so superb that individual segments stand on their own as works of art. It's rare that an author can come up with a work that is a fast-paced nonstop-action thriller yet is often hilarious. Over and over I stopped the player and basked in what I had just heard, a big smile on my face. This is wonderful, wonderful writing, one of the most engrossing and entertaining books I've read in a very long time.

Lastly, for Audible listeners (the form I just bought) I have to say that the voice acting is excellent. Every character has a distinct tone and speaking style, which greatly adds to the already enjoyable story. If you love edgy, unusual SciFi with LOTS of action, you will love this book.

Insane structure of excellent performance/stories

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

Reviewed: 06-21-18

This review is not about the stories or performance, but the unbelievably insane way they are structured. This is multiple novels supplied as multiple audio books. Seems simple enough. But no. They put part of one novel on one book, part on another, and then start a new novel in the same book. I wanted to begin with Emma, the fourth novel listed so I downloaded the fourth book. Amazingly enough, it begins with chapter 6 of Mansfield Park! As if that's not enough, all of the books have the SAME COVER! So you can't tell them apart. You've got a bunch of books on your Kindle, all looking alike, and all containing random starts and endings of different novels. They don't even have a Table of Contents that lets you see what's in what and jump to things. It's potluck. You take a stab at some book and be happy with what comes up. What genius thought up this method of distributing audio books?

38 of 39 people found this review helpful

I quit reading when the dog had to be murdered

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

Reviewed: 09-20-17

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I can't understand why anyone would like this book.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something less depressing

What three words best describe Will Patton’s performance?

He's fine. The story is the problem, not the reader.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Mr. Mercedes?

Sheesh, don't kill the dog.

Any additional comments?

I have enjoyed many Steven King novels, but this one was excessively dark and depressing from the start. And when the mass murderer decided to kill the kid's dog, I had to quit reading.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

Slow, agonizing (at least the start)

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

Reviewed: 09-05-16

Would you try another book from Justin Cronin and/or the narrators?

Narrator was okay, story is painful

What was most disappointing about Justin Cronin’s story?

It was simultaneously slow paced and the subject matter was painful

Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Okay

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Passage?

The graphic abuse

Any additional comments?

I was hoping for a good fantasy read, but this was a horrendously slow-paced tale of wife abuse that I found so painful to read (listen) that I had to stop. Maybe I stopped too soon... it's gotten some great reviews. But it was just so agonizing in its graphic portrayal of abuse that I could not bear to go on any further.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

Unlikable idiotic heroine bumbles along

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

Reviewed: 05-30-16

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Hard to say

What was most disappointing about Harlan Coben’s story?

The main character was a disaster, stupid and unlikable

Which scene was your favorite?

This would be a spoiler!

Any additional comments?

There is a writing trope: A woman is alone in a house. The radio announces that a murderer has escaped from prison nearby. The electricity goes out from the storm. She hears a window break in the cellar, followed by footsteps. Does she call 911? Noooo. Does she run to her neighbor's house? Nooooo. She lights a candle and slowly descends the stairs to see who's down there.

That's this book from beginning to end. When I read a novel, I want the protagonist to be smart, strong, resourceful, et cetera, so he/she can defeat the many dangers and emerge triumphant.
But the 'heroine' (I use the term loosely) is an unlikable idiot who creates her own dangerous situations time after time. Over and over and over she is presented with a situation in which even the most basic common sense would dictate the sensible response. But noooo. She does something really, really stupid and gets into more trouble as a result. I can't tell you how frustrated I was to endure this. I almost gave up in disgust several times, but I have to admit that I was curious to see how the initial mystery resolves. Even that was pointless. No spoiler here, I promise, but I do have to say that the ending was as dumb as the heroine.

Honestly, I love thrillers. I thought 'Gone Girl' was one of the best books I ever read. But this one, with its idiotic main character and downer of an ending was just awful. Oh well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful