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As I said in my review of The Passage by Justin Cronin, had I known the book was about vampires, I would have taken a pass. And, as I said in that review, it would have been my loss. This really is not a book about vampires, per se, as we have come to think about them, but a variation on the theme and it was excellent. I selected this book because another reviewer had written that he thought Carrion Comfort was the best that Dan Simmons had penned. I would certainly rate it close up there with his Magnum Opus Hyperion and Endymion. It was that good and that is saying something.
The book is one of Simmons early works apparently derives its title and many of its themes from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I am also not a fan of WWII books about Nazis. This also was not what the book was about per se though it does give us the background on the main villains of the story and villains they are like perhaps we have never come upon before. That theme also is somewhat of the thread that permeates and ties things neatly through the book as it continues to America in 1981.
Saul Laski is one of a few of the heros in the tale of whom some survive and others do not. Saul is both predator and prey. Though old in 1981, he somehow manages to rise to the occasion and present a challenge to some of the most nightmarish scenes I have ever read. And, no, I am not particularly a fan of horror books either but I am a fan of Dan Simmons and will probably read anything he comes out with.
Some of the accolades and awards the book has received include Bram Stoker Award winner 1989; British Fantasy Award winner, World Fantasy Award nominee, 1990. Some have commented on the length of the book. I would not have shortened it one page. I often find unnecessary passages in books but this is not one of them. The book was thoroughly entertaining after about the first couple of chapters which, on hindsight, were just as integral as the others.
The narrators of this epic were extraordinary. This is a book made for listening to by gifted storytellers. Mel Foster acts Saul, Willi and the other men and some of the women. While I find men acting women’s roles can sometimes be impossible to pull of, Mel foster is impeccable in his narration. Laural Merlington plays the role of Melanie, the most arch of villains. She is vicious, scarier than $#it and made even more so by the incredible acting voice of Ms. Merlington. I could not rate either narrator more highly.
Bottom line if you can’t handle scary, skip this one. If you love great writing and like it complex and epic in scale, don’t miss it.
65 of 68 people found this review helpful
I see other reviewers a bit put off by the length of this story. I had the thought "wow, a compelling story that the author took his time with!" What a bonus! I didn't find a single part boring. I liked how he took his time with a complicated tale. I liked the story development in between bouts of action. In typing this, I would compare it to the Steigg Larsen series...I like some story and character development with my "action sequences." I have not read Simmons' other books (for which he is apparently more famous) but this one piqued my interest in perusing more! The narrators were both excellent, too!
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
I wonder if the people who gave this a high rating simply are in denial; are they just refusing to not like it, since that would mean they've wasted 39 hours?
Up until the 35 hour mark I still thought that this book could turn out to be worth the time. A good, solid ending could make me walk away with a positive feeling about it. I was wrong. There are a couple of really intriguing ideas, but they're drowned by mediocre rest. You could easily have cut out half of this book. I wonder if there was no editor at all working on it. It's not that the book is totally aweful. A very much shortened down version of it could maybe be pretty enjoyable.
There is no way I'm going to listen to anything by Simmons unless it's under 10 hours now. I don't know if I'm going to listen to anything by him at all...
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
A man and two women meet up congratulating themselves on their game prowess, one boasts at actually having killed John Lennon and JFK, compelling strangers to do their dirty work. An Auschwitz survivor is struggling to find the Nazi commander who compelled him in a sick sacrificial game of human chess during WW2.
Various individuals, having lost loved ones or been effected by the crazy trio, band together to stop them once and for all. A long, but brilliant listen.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Only downloaded for lack of other ideas. Excellent story. Interesting story layout. This book doesn't hold back and kept me captured from beginning to end. Rivals even the most popular stories by Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful