What I didn't realize when I picked up this copy of the book, is that it also included the prequel novella Let You Leave which was such a good beginniWhat I didn't realize when I picked up this copy of the book, is that it also included the prequel novella Let You Leave which was such a good beginning to the story. Unfortunately, the novel itself was lacking.
As I read my way through the first third of the book - which ended up being the aforementioned novella - I was in love. Layla is suffering from PTSD after the death of her parents and has been home schooled for the past few years after suffering an embarrassing seizure in front of her classmates. She is determined to finish out her high school career in a public school, but no one will let her forget her episode. She's shunned and ostracized until Landen O'Brien, a new kid from Colorado, looks at her and see her. The relationship they form is sweet, chaste, and they manage fall in love without any physical bonds between them. But the other shoe is always ready to drop, and when Landen has to move back to Colorado he devastates Layla in the process. The novella had so many feels, and although I was confused at the abrupt ending when I realized it was a novella, I was looking forward to the rest of the story.
I was so disappointed. The novel itself opens on Layla's first week at college, she has moved across the country in an attempt to take back her life and not be defined by her condition. She is shocked to find Landen among her peers. He's not there by coincidence, but those secrets will come later.
I, on the other hand, was shocked to find Landen's attitude so changed. His POV chapters read like a horny frat boy (a term I don't use loosely, being part of Greek life in college and not at all liking the connotations that go with the slag term "frat"). While he spent his time in the novella feeling protective over Layla, he spends his time in the novel getting drunk and getting in fights over other guys speaking to her. It felt like a complete turn around and it took me off guard.
While the novella was rated PG, the novel jumps up to NC-17 almost immediately. There was a heavier dose of teen angst in the novel, I spent half the time wanting to yell at each of them to spit it out already. It seemed like all the legitimate struggles they faced in their family lives in the novella were replaced with stupid misunderstandings because they wouldn't just tell each other how completely in love they were. It really ruined the romance I felt from the novella. Overall, quite disappointed in the novel itself....more
This review contains notes on the Audiobook Version of Cloud Atlas
I've been wanting to read Cloud Atlas for some time and the upcoming movie (and a nuThis review contains notes on the Audiobook Version of Cloud Atlas
I've been wanting to read Cloud Atlas for some time and the upcoming movie (and a nudge from Sword and Laser) gave me the push to read it. I'm going to go story by story and then wrap it up at the end.
The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing is set in the 1850s and written in the form of Adam Ewing's diary. This story was the most difficult for me due to the archaic language used. I appreciated the themes and moral ideas in this section of the book, but I found the overall story a bit... meh. Scott Brick (one of my favorite narrators) narrated this section. I think the audio version made the language a bit easier to understand, but I often missed the dates of diary entries and had a tough time working out a timeline for this section.
Letters from Zedelghem is set in 1931 and written in the form of letters. Frobisher is a composer and this section has a lot of musical imagery that I found really enjoyable. The letters often included shorthand and abbreviations which made for an awkward audio experience, though I did enjoy the overall narration by Richard Matthews.
Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery was a pretty average section in both the story and audiobook narration by Cassandra Campbell.
The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish was one of my favorite stories in the novel. It had a great sick sense of humor and John Lee was an excellent narrator - I'll be adding him to my favorite narrator list.
An Orison of Sonmi~451 was another of my favorites. It is set in a convincing and well thought out dystopian Korea and focuses on a genetically-engineered clone who rebels against society. It has many of the same themes that are popular in books that delve into the morality of robots and AIs, but Mitchell made it his own story. I was nervous about the audiobook version as the story is told in the form of an interview, but Kim Mai Guest was amazing and I was blown away by her ability to provide characters with distinct voices - another narrator for my list!
Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rything' After is a fun post-apocalyptic story set in a tribal future. Told orally (possibly around a campfire), this story is written in a thick and broken dialect of English. I was glad to have the audiobook for this story as I imagine it would make for a difficult read.
Although I did enjoy several of the stories on their own merit, Cloud Atlas really excels as a whole. Not only does each character experience the story of the character before them, there are common threads in locations and experiences of these characters that are masterfully weaved to create the novel. Each story has a distinct style and dialect and I was constantly impressed with Mitchell's versatility. This is definitely a book that merits a re-read as I'm sure there are subtleties that you will only pick up on the second time - though I don't plan to listen to the audiobook a second time....more
The book was well written and the prose was elegant, but it seemed more like a collection of short stories based on an extended network of people thanThe book was well written and the prose was elegant, but it seemed more like a collection of short stories based on an extended network of people than an actual novel.
I loved the first chapter where we are introduced to Sasha, and I was looking forward to get to know her. The second chapter introduces Bennie, who I wasn't as fond of (though he did grow on me). The story then continues in web of six degrees of separation and we get a chapter about Bennie's wife's old employer or some other relation. Weaving the stories together as Egan did was impressive, but I wanted to know more about the characters I loved and felt like I had to drag myself through chapters with other characters to get there.
All of the characters were deeply flawed. I'm not talking about your normal every day flaws - we have a kleptomaniac, a few characters with suicidal tenancies, divorcees, drug addicts, a convict, almost everyone of the major characters has had a severe fall from grace and there's even a genocidal army general thrown into the mix as a minor character. Though I think it was part of the world Egan was creating, it seemed overly exaggerated to me.
Each chapter is written from a different point of view. Mostly in 1st and 3rd person, but one chapter was written in 2nd - which I just don't like, and one was written in PowerPoint - which I found very clever. The 1st person chapters were never from the same person's point of view, and you often didn't know who the "I" was until several pages into the chapter where someone would address the narrator by name.
It had some great thoughts on the passing of time, how people age (some gracefully and others not so much) and how they deal with change. But overall, it just wasn't my thing and I definitely don't get the hype.
This book was really tough for me to rate. I really like the idea behind the book and though it was neat to see how different thing afAudiobook Review
This book was really tough for me to rate. I really like the idea behind the book and though it was neat to see how different thing affected the Foundation as a civilization.
The downfall, for me, was the audiobook. I chose to listen to Foundation because Scott Brick is one of my favorite narrators. He doesn't disappoint, but I don't think Asmiov's writing style translated well to audio form. Foundation is largely made up of large sections of dialogue which were often difficult to follow in audio form.
The book itself is thought-provoking and I think I may add it to my re-read list and one day read it in text to (hopefully) get more enjoyment out of it....more
I did not finish Slaughterhouse-Five. I made it to page 135 and it sat on my bedside table for close to two weeks before I picked it up again - and thI did not finish Slaughterhouse-Five. I made it to page 135 and it sat on my bedside table for close to two weeks before I picked it up again - and that was to return it to the library.
I'm giving it two stars because there were definitely some good messages hidden in the pages - about war, life, and death - and there are some really interesting insights that Vonnegut shares.
However, it was just too post-modern for me. The prose was jumpy, in someways hard to follow and it just didn't keep me interested. So it goes.
I'll probably pick it up again someday and take another go at it - if for no other reason than to say that I've read it. But for now, I need to move on in my book reading or I'll never make a dent in my to-read shelf!...more
I'm going against the grain here, but I think I would have liked it more if I had read it instead of listening to it.
I'm a big fan of author's readingI'm going against the grain here, but I think I would have liked it more if I had read it instead of listening to it.
I'm a big fan of author's reading their own work. It gives them the ability to express the emotions their characters have, rather than someone else interpreting the characters. But Alice Walker just didn't connect for me as the narrator here. I felt like there was a disconnect between the broken dialect of the 1930s southern blacks and the proper tone she tried to take. I also had a hard time following character dialogues as her voices for each character were extremely similar.