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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-11-18


I read this book when it came out, and am thrilled to revisit it in audio. I simply adore this novel. The author creates such a gorgeous, lush, intricate and fascinating world for readers to lose themselves in. I chose this as my nighttime trying-to-get-to-sleep book after a knee replacement (sleeping is not easy for several weeks after; hard to get into a comfortable position), and I found myself kind of happy to be awake at 3:00 a.m., because I got to listen to more of The Night Circus! Jim Dale does a marvelous job with the characters and the tone.

If you aren't into magical realism or fantasy, this book is not likely for you, but it is so lovely that I would recommend trying it anyway. You might surprise yourself, and the book will certainly surprise you.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-13-18

Excellent thriller, narration just okay

I really enjoyed Jane Harper's debut, The Dry (which I read), and found the second in the series just as strong. The detective, Aaron Falk, is an interesting and complex character. The writing is very good, the characters are strong and avoid cliche, and the plot is intriguing.

I wasn't thrilled with Stephen Shanahan's narration, and I would encourage the producers to look for someone else for the next book in the series. His reading has very little variety; his sentences tend to have the same cadence and inflection, to the extent that the meaning of the words doesn't come through well . . . the words and the inflection are often at odds. He tends to "bite off" his words and attack his sentences almost ferociously, so that he sounds irritated and sarcastic a lot of the time, and, again, it doesn't bring across the meaning of the text. It is nice to have the Australian accent, but if I had to choose between that and a better narrator, I'd take the narrator.

I did feel that the narration got considerably better in the last third of the book.

All of that said, the narration isn't terrible by any means, and the book is well worth a few irritations!

I very much look forward to what Jane Harper writes next!

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-15-18

Serviceable, formulaic thriller

This is a decent thriller, but not anything to write home about. There are some large plot holes which are difficult to swallow. The writing is good. I wasn't happy with the narration; I found it cliched with stereotyped characters. The women sounded petulant or like prostitutes, sometimes like petulant prostitutes. I didn't find any of them believable. The men were also cliches, but with greater range. I bought this on the Daily Deal and it was fine for that, but I wouldn't have been happy spending a credit for it.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-15-17

One of the all-time great audiobooks

This book starts, not slowly, but with a good deal of background and setting of the scene. About a quarter of the way through, I wondered whether that was going to be the whole book, but whew! This thing picks up and gains speed until it hurtles you into the conclusion. The writing is simply terrific, putting us squarely inside NYPD Detective Denny Malone's head and life. Winslow has created a totally believable and up-to-date NYC noir, with a large and well-drawn cast of characters.

Dion Graham narrates this to utter perfection. His voices and characterizations are varied and superb. He strikes exactly the right notes, and we are there, for every scene, as Denny Malone's life disintegrates. This is one of those audiobooks where the narration adds so much that it's hard to imagine "just" reading the book, as excellent as the prose is.

I bought this as a Daily Deal, but I would have been very happy to use a credit for it. I am hugely impressed by both the book and the narrator. Get it, stick with it through the backstory, and you'll be glad you did!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-02-17

Not for me

I loved Great House and The History of Love, and was excited about Nicole Krauss's new book. She's a really good writer, but I'm quitting on this about halfway through. My problem with this book is that every so often, the plot stops cold and we go through heavy philosophical and theological discussions. It interrupted the flow of the book for me, and I found myself getting irritated and impatient. It might work fine for a reader more interested in these matters. I don't find the characters interesting enough to overcome this issue.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-17

Much interesting material, sometimes slow

This is a great book for history buffs and detective fiction buffs. The crime itself was shocking, and the character of one of the first murder detectives is interesting. At times it reads like a murder mystery, but there is also a great deal of historical detail about the early science of detection, its position in society and literature of the time, Whicher's prior cases, etc. This material really slowed the narrative down for me, and I found myself feeling the book was needlessly padded. I think both the story line and the historical material would have benefitted from being separated, so that they did not, as it were, keep interrupting each other.

Simon Vance is one of my all-time favorite narrators. The reason for the four stars is that I found his technique of reading the quotes in character voices jarring. Much of the first part of the book quotes various members of the household, police, etc., and I found the constantly-changing voices an irritation.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-17

Glad I went for it!

I'm a major Dickens audiobook fan, and he is known for length, but I had doubts as to how well I'd do with the 38 hours of Anna Karenina. Not an issue, as it turned out. The writing is superb and often mesmerizing. Tolstoy goes into an amazing level of detail, and takes his time with scenes and plot lines. Once in a while I'd get a little tired of the detail (the political meeting went on a bit long, but they often do, don't they?), but then I'd come across something like Levin helping his farm workers scythe the hay, which is an extraordinary piece of writing, and find myself completely absorbed.

I can't sing David Horovitch's praises highly enough. It's a beautiful pairing of book and narrator.

This book is well worth your time!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-12-17

Solid, entertaining mystery, great narration

I found this a very involving, compelling mystery. Tey begins with one plot, which eventually derails into an entirely different one. The writing is very good, and Carole Boyd's narration is excellent. Go for it!

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-31-16

Exquisitely beautiful

You might think that a book which takes place almost entirely inside a Moscow hotel over the course of 40+ years would have some dull moments. But this novel is about Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who has been sentenced to house arrest at the posh Hotel Metropol, and it is charming, sophisticated, funny, philosophical, and heart-warming. It's a book perfectly suited to our times, a lovely foil to The Age of Vulgarity and Trump. Count Rostov, confronted by the cruelties of the Soviet state, chooses the humane path. He is a class act. He looks for, and finds, the best in people. We come to know a host of his friends and acquaintances: the hotel staff, the chef and manager of the spectacular restaurant, the hotel seamstress, the little girl who grows up in the hotel and befriends the Count, and the hotel's guests. It is a stately, witty and beautifully-written long stretch of a book, and it is superbly narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith. I didn't want it to end. Bravo to Amor Towles! I haven't read his first novel, but will certainly do so now, and I look forward to the rest of his career.

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6 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-21-16

Wow! This was terrific!

Thanks to previous Audible reviewers, I took a chance on this one and am glad I did. This is an exquisitely plotted, well-written and complex police procedural set in South Africa. The characters have a lot of depth and the structure is tense and unusual. There are a few gory details, but for the most part it isn't a violent book. Simon Vance does a marvelous job of the narration. As usual. I'll definitely look for more of Deon Meyer's books.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful