Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is one of those books you have to be in the right mood for... evidently, I was. It is written in 1st person pov anAlcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is one of those books you have to be in the right mood for... evidently, I was. It is written in 1st person pov and proclaims from the start that not only is the author not a hero, brave, or even a good person, he also isn't Brandon Sanderson despite the false name used on the book cover. This author addresses the reader frequently, sometimes discussing his own writing methods and tricks of the writing trade, and even confessing why writers write... to torture people. Sanderson always creates interesting worlds and really interesting magical systems. This one may not be his very best, but it was very good... and fun. I don't know yet if the protagonist, who is 13 in this book, will age in future books, but this one was a fun little romp with a boy, a girl of the same age who is a knight, a doddering yet powerful old grandpa, and two more adults to add to the confusion and fun. I have no idea if a middle school aged reader would like this--the apparent target age--but I did. It is quirky, funny, clever, and unconventional... just right when you're in the mood for fantasy that is funny and a little odd.
The narrator did a very good job with this one. He sounded believable as the protagonist and as an old man. He gave the prose just the right light-hearted touch when needed and even a slowed reflective tone the times it was called for. Really good job....more
I had to begin this series with the fourth book because Audible didn't have the first three. The story is completely comprehendable starting here andI had to begin this series with the fourth book because Audible didn't have the first three. The story is completely comprehendable starting here and the author does quite a good job at bringing the reader up to speed in just a few sentences here and there where needed. The story is told economically--in the same way M. C. Beaton does with the Hamish Macbeth oor Agatha Raisin series--and does a fairly good job of hiding the solution... although I actually guessed part of the solution the moment I met the character because sometimes I just see it and there you are. I like the setting in Whales and wouldn't mind getting to know more about it.
I did find that jumping into the middle of the series did feel a little like coming in during the middle of a symphony... you feel that lack of flow in the characters lives and stories even though the main themes have been repeated for you.
Ann Flosnick narrated this one and I enjoyed the light Welsh accent she gave the characters who spoke with one. The pace of this one was a little fast and I found I had to listen even more attentively, especially since I was playing catch up. Sometimes I had a little trouble knowing who was speaking, especially when the dialogue was between Penny and Victoria, when there were no attributions as to speaker or when the words didn't contain telltales that would distinguish between a British and Canadian speaker.
I'm going to watch Audible to see if the first three stories appear and then maybe start--or re-start--from there....more
Every now and then a book will surprise me. I wasn't expecting to love this book or want to gush about It when talking to others... but I do. This stoEvery now and then a book will surprise me. I wasn't expecting to love this book or want to gush about It when talking to others... but I do. This story is sweet, lovely, charming, enchanting... magical. Cassandra Morris, the young narrator of the audiobook, does a splendid job with this. She provides just the right touches of charm and vibrancy. In a story of a girl who collects words, it is appropriate that the author is a true wordsmith. The prose is often poetical without ever feeling forced or studied.
This isn't a book that hits you in the face with its brilliance or action... its magic is subtle, sweet, enchanting. I've already re-read this one and will do so again any time I need a book with just a snicker of a magic all its own....more
I found this book after reading "Dust and Shadow, an Account of the Jack the Ripper Murders by John H. Watson"--which I loved. I've never cared aboutI found this book after reading "Dust and Shadow, an Account of the Jack the Ripper Murders by John H. Watson"--which I loved. I've never cared about learning about Jack the Ripper, but that book eased my way into the topic. The Name of the Star was a fair continuation with a story of a girl who arrives in London to begin boarding school on the same day a modern-day reenactment of the Ripper murders begins. I read this in audio with narration by Nicola Barber.
Narration first: 5 stars! I loved that she gave all the people appropriate accents and did an excellent job with various British accents. I also loved it that she pronounced the city of New Orleans and my home state of Louisiana the way I do. This wasn't accidental as she pronounced it differently when others said it. She actually stumbled a little over New Orleans, stressing the middle syllable in Orleans a little too much, but I really appreciated it overall.
Second, the story... let me say that I really enjoyed the first four fifths of this book very much. I also really appreciated the very end. What I didn't particularly enjoy was the Bella-esque way the heroine walked into grave peril as a sort of sacrifice. The way the ending was handled made the group supposedly responsible for handling the situation seem like a rank bunch of amateurs--or the very young group of inexperienced neophites they were. Still, the premise has real potential and I will give the next in the series a try....more
I listened to the Simon Vance narration of this one. I have been on a Holmes kick and listened to The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volumes 2 aI listened to the Simon Vance narration of this one. I have been on a Holmes kick and listened to The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volumes 2 and 3 back to back. Then I listened to this one. The writing was pitch perfect with language and phrasing drawn straight from Conan Doyle or approximating it wonderfully. All of the elements were there along with superb narration by Vance.
I have never been even mildly interested in knowing more about Jack the Ripper, but a well-reviewed book about Sherlock Holmes applying himself to the capture of Jack the Ripper made me curious enough to give it a try.
I found the book treated the crimes with sufficient information to convey the horror but not enough to be macabre or too graphic. Since the narrative was from Watson's point of view, it always reflected his Victorian sensibilities, his medical background, and an honest depiction of his revulsion.
The solving of the mystery was typical Sherlock Holmes. Ripperologists might quibble with the ending, but the details were well researched and how Holmes handled it all was vintage Holmes.
Not only do I recommend this book in audio, I recommend how I followed it up. I found a book called "The Name of the Star" by Maureen Johnson which is about a girl from Louisiana--my state--who goes to a London boarding school just in time for a modern-day Jack the Ripper to begin a copycat killing spree. Having been introduced to the ripper info, I was interested to follow this one. It has a paranormal aspect to it and an interesting setting and primary and secondary characters. Do try it as a follow up to "Dust and Shadow."...more
I read this in audio and found the narrator to have a lovely lyrical accent. The story itself was something like what J. K. Rowling would write if sheI read this in audio and found the narrator to have a lovely lyrical accent. The story itself was something like what J. K. Rowling would write if she did something on the Ministry of Magic aimed at adults. The premise is quite interesting, the world-building thorough, and the humor is wonderful. For a first effort this is very good, though not perfect. Still, I'll follow this author in hopes he continues this as a series....more