I highly recommend the audio CD versions of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce books. I love this series and thoroughly enjoy Jayne Entwhistle's voice. FlaI highly recommend the audio CD versions of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce books. I love this series and thoroughly enjoy Jayne Entwhistle's voice. Flavia is a delight and Jayne is able to give her and the other characters so much depth and color. I will probably not read a single book - just listen to the audio books. And don't be fooled - these are not middle grade books or childish. These are gems. ...more
As luck would have it, I didn't realize this was #2. But a well-written series will provide enough background so a new reader is familiar with the eveAs luck would have it, I didn't realize this was #2. But a well-written series will provide enough background so a new reader is familiar with the events in previous books and will not bore the faithful reader by recapping ad nauseam what they just read. I am grateful the author treated a new reader jumping into the series with respect. (Yes, I'm not over my Charlaine Harris experience and the beating she inflicts on faithful readers by regurgitating Sookie's past in every. single. book.)
I haven't read other reviews and I bet I'm not the first to compare Alex Hawke to James Bond. He is similar in every sense but is a pale shadow. Hawke hovers on the edges of the action, sharing the exploits with other minor-major characters like Stokely, Ross, the ambassadors and the titular actors the assassins and Bin Wazir. (Pardon my spelling because I 'read' this book on audio.) He obviously is the heart of the book - literally - because it all starts with his wife being shot on the steps of the church and so he is central to the plot. But while Stokely and Ross are chasing the man with no eyes in the Florida swamps exacting revenge for killing Vicki, Alex takes his colleagues hunting as a stress-reliever. Hawke does have a significant action scene at the end of the book but I expected more. I see a resemblance to Bruce Wayne, witness to his parents' murders and orphaned, wealthy, high-tech toys, a faithful family butler. But Alex lacks the passion, drive, risk-taking nature that would make me categorize this as a 'thriller.'
This was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it. John Shea is an amazing reader and had a huge challenge with this story. In his capable hands (vocal chords), he treated accents like a painter handles a color palette - each character was distinct and came to life in my ears. Shea is a master reader - the best I've heard.
The audio edition highlighted Isabel Allende's gift for storytelling. I could have listened to this for many more hours but the story isAudio Edition
The audio edition highlighted Isabel Allende's gift for storytelling. I could have listened to this for many more hours but the story is about Zorro's beginning - his birth in Alta California, his childhood, his travels and escapades in Spain and his return as a young adult home again. Along the way there are love stories, injustices, secrets, swashbuckling pirates, humor, heartbreak, villainy and heroism.
It's worth noting that the reader, Blair Brown, is outstanding. Imagine her daunting task - she must channel a mostly male cast of characters whose ages range from 5 to 50+, with a variety of accents: Spanish (2nd generation Spanish settlers, Cubans, Barcelonans, Mexicans) or Indian or settlers in Louisiana. In my opinion, she does an outstanding job differentiating voices and tracking them through their aging process, yet keeping them consistent enough that I knew who was speaking without the tags of 'he said' or 'so and so said.'
This is a thoroughly enjoyable way to 'read' this book. The adventures, romances, perils, losses and victories come to life in the audio version and add depth and dimension to the larger-than-life tale of Zorro....more
I chose this book because it seemed light reading - a good change from my recent books (see 'Winter Queen'). I expected something light and frothy. ThI chose this book because it seemed light reading - a good change from my recent books (see 'Winter Queen'). I expected something light and frothy. The main character Sunny Alvarez is a naïve woman who leaves her not-quite-fiancé for Paris. Along the way she meets a handsome man on the plane who convinces her she should go to Monte Carlo instead. From there, many characters get introduced and jewel robberies, blackmail and romance ensue. I would guess - I don't know - that there were other Sunny and Mick Riley novels before this one, because of references to other criminal cases, near-death adventures and a history between the friends Sunny, Mick, Ron and Allie.
To me, this novel is like an 8th grader dressing up in Louboutin shoes and Coach accessories and having a weekend adventure that is too grown up for her maturity level. To be plain, the cozy friendships, the clichés, the friends who show up anywhere in Europe and the far east to help each other is very simplistic - where are the real-world interferences from jobs, money and other obligations? The characters, dialog and plot are manipulated by the author and if you pause to think about how someone ended up somewhere, or whether an emotion is appropriate at that time or if really, that would happen? - then this is a frustrating read.
As middle-grade as the plot and characters are, the book is appropriate only for adults because of the gratuitous description of the villain's psychopathic obsession with sex and all things stereotypically bad and wrong about an unattractive, past-her-prime poor Russian, Kitty Rata (really - did the name need to be that blatantly simplistic?).
Oh yeah - what the heck is that cover about? The story takes place in the span of a week over Christmas and New Years. Sandals, bikinis and the beach? Well, I would guess that about sums up the thought that went into this whole affair.
I wish this had been a more interesting read but the simple plot and unrealistic characters made this an unenjoyable book....more
This was an excellent novel with an intriguing plot and well-developed main character, Erast. I 'read' this in an audio CD version and was daunted atThis was an excellent novel with an intriguing plot and well-developed main character, Erast. I 'read' this in an audio CD version and was daunted at first by the advanced vocabulary in the first chapter - I appreciate outstanding use of words, but I think about the word and its meaning and it was quite a bit of work at the start - curious since this book was translated. But I recommend sticking with the book - it is a gem. And I debated listening to the end (since it was due back to the library before I got to the last couple of chapters) and I was so glad I kept it. It was worth the overdue fines. This is a book you have to read all the way through to the end - it comes full circle and is very satisfying, in terms of the plot and the way I came to feel about Erast's journey from ingénue to young man....more