I love Stephen King, but this was one of the least enjoyable books I've read from him. I didn't enjoy the subject matter, and the characters felt veryI love Stephen King, but this was one of the least enjoyable books I've read from him. I didn't enjoy the subject matter, and the characters felt very flat and stereotypical. The plot was extremely predictable. I would recommend you read one of SK's other novels - he has a lot of great ones....more
**spoiler alert** I struggled with rating this book. The first 1/4-1/3 of the book I'd give 5 stars. I loved seeing the world through Sebastian's inno**spoiler alert** I struggled with rating this book. The first 1/4-1/3 of the book I'd give 5 stars. I loved seeing the world through Sebastian's innocent cat eyes. And when the ants started their assault on the humans and all the animals started changing, I was blown away. I thought it was one of the most bizarre, creative things I'd read in a long while! Sebastian's transformation into Mort(e) was awesome, and I LOVE the story behind Mort(e)'s chosen name, how he confronted his "master," and became a warrior in the fight against the humans. What followed from there, however, was not as enjoyable, thus the three-star rating. Below are a few observations/issues I had:
#1: character motivation - I just didn't believe in the strength of Mort(e) and Sheba's love. Mort's relentless search for Sheba drives the story forward, but it felt like just that - a plot device. There just wasn't enough done to establish their deep relationship in the beginning...at least not enough to make it believable that Mort would devote his life to wandering the ends of the earth looking for her. Maybe that's because....
#2: this book isn't about the characters - it's an allegory, like Animal Farm, but about religion. It starts out fairly subtly, but by the end the author is laying it on so thick, he's practically beating you over the head with it and the book felt like a chore to get through. (I'm not religious, and not particularly intrigued by the themes present in this novel...I just don't care.) Religion aside, though, the magic kind of went out of the book when I realized that the characters were all just hollow toy soldiers the author was using as symbols to act out a pretend religious debate.
#3: darkness and despair - this is a positive note - the book is bleak! There are lots of dark, depressing scenes. Way more than you would expect from a story that features animals as main characters. This ain't Charlotte's Web, people. The ants were truly scary! Some scenes really made my skin crawl. I respect the author for going to those extremes, and refusing to portray any character as purely good, right, and wholesome. (Well, except Sheba. ...more
**spoiler alert** I feel like I'm probably going to be in the minority here...but I didn't love this book. Yes, I cried at the end. Yes, I love animal**spoiler alert** I feel like I'm probably going to be in the minority here...but I didn't love this book. Yes, I cried at the end. Yes, I love animals and I think baby elephants are cute. And yeah, I know this is a book written for children...
BUT I felt the author minimized the horrors of how the animals were living in isolation and captivity. I also felt that the way Ivan saved everyone (through his hand drawn billboard) was very unbelievable and deus ex machina. And the ending....I'm glad Ivan gets to be with his own kind, but let's face it, he's still in a zoo. ...more
Wow, how much I did NOT ENJOY this book! A big part of it was the narrator of the audio book - she over-enunciated every single syllable, dragging outWow, how much I did NOT ENJOY this book! A big part of it was the narrator of the audio book - she over-enunciated every single syllable, dragging out each word and speaking in a low, drugged monotone. It was absolutely brutal to listen to. I actually sped up the narration speed and it was STILL annoying. So that probably made me hate the main character and the entire book even more.
But I wouldn't have liked the main character anyway - she was so timid and mousy and damaged...ugh. If I had to hear, "I dug my fingernails into my thighs" one more time...
Also, the story. It was a mystery in a very loose sense of the word. I enjoy mysteries that you can follow the clues to solve. This mystery just kind of rambled on and not a lot was discovered, until the very end when everything is just explained during the epilogue (the narrator sounds like she's reading a laundry list). The author threw in a couple of "twists" at the end, but at that point I just didn't care anymore.
I stopped listening to this multiple times and kept picking it back up and listening for as long as I could stand it....I guess I was hoping there would be some sort of pay-off in the end (there wasn't)....more