I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio recording of this book. My knowledge of the French Revolution is pretty sketchy, so it was terrific for me...moreI enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio recording of this book. My knowledge of the French Revolution is pretty sketchy, so it was terrific for me to read a book that traced the history in some detail. Moran manages to give some perspective on just how frightening life became in Paris during the revolution and the Reign of Terror.
The reader for the audiobook had a hard time with male voices, but there isn't too much dialogue and not too many men, so it wasn't overly distracting.
I'm also inspired to learn more about Madame Tussaud. She seems like a fascinating historical figure about whom I'd never given a second thought despite having been to more than one of the franchise wax museums. In fact, I have a wonderful picture of my husband with a Mr. T model that's sufficiently life-like that the photo looks real. I was disappointed that the book didn't cover any of her life in England as Madame Tussaud, but instead only described her time in France before she married Mr. Tussaud.
The written version would be a page turner and it made for a highly enjoyable audiobook.(less)
I listened to all 30 hours of this in audio format (on cassettes, no less!). The reader did an excellent job reading quickly enough to keep the story...moreI listened to all 30 hours of this in audio format (on cassettes, no less!). The reader did an excellent job reading quickly enough to keep the story moving while not seeming rushed.
The thickly plotted novel is set in 12th century England. I wasn't at all familiar with this period of history and a few times turned to the internet to fill me in on the basic historical facts of, say, the civil war between Maude and Matilda/Stephen or the assassination/martyrdom of Thomas Becket. Generally, I enjoyed the details of cathedral building and was interested in the lives of the characters.
Many of the characters were completely black and white, and I didn't think there was much in the way of character development. For example, the evil William Hanley is consistently villainous--he cheats and oppresses his peasants, he rapes women, and burns towns. Good Prior Philip is always looking out for the best interest of those around him and worrying about whether he is doing God's will. But because there's nonstop action, I didn't miss the character development and the characters were interesting enough even if not particularly deep.
I'll probably read the sequel at some point, but I think I wouldn't want to dive into it immediately. I'd definitely listen to it on audio if I happen upon it.(less)
Ok, so I knew this book had gotten terrible reviews. But I've read the other five books in the series and didn't want to miss the final(?) book. I fig...moreOk, so I knew this book had gotten terrible reviews. But I've read the other five books in the series and didn't want to miss the final(?) book. I figured at least there would be some racy sex scenes to lighten up the book. Not really.
Auel seems to have visited a lot of caves with primitive cave paintings. But she doesn't seem to have much to say about them. I mean, probably 400 of the 750 pages of this book are Ayla trekking through sacred cave after sacred cave looking at more paintings. Look, a horse. And a lion. And, wow, is that a deer? But nothing profound is ever said about the paintings other than some drivel about how even in Ayla's time the paintings are really old and no one can remember who painted them or why or what the symbols were intended to mean.
There's very little character development and very little plot to carry the novel, and there's not even much sex. Instead, there's a lot of Ayla off doing boring zelandoni rituals and training, followed by a middle-school-angst style "He hates me"//"She hates me" back and forth between Ayla and Jondalar. Blech. By the end, I almost hated the both of them.
Ayla didn't even manage to take credit for inventing anything else, didn't domesticate any new animals, and ruined the Goddess-based society by telling everyone that it's sex rather than spirit-mixing that makes babies.
Ah well. I probably can't stop you from reading this if you're read the other five books in the series, but if you haven't read those, go read The Clan of the Cave Bear instead.(less)