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I have liked other Sakey novels more than this one.
Though the story theme is very creative, I thought the various elements of the story were a little drawn out and difficult to follow. In addition, I thought a few the subplots were a bit overdone. I had a hard time deciding if the general feel of the novel was sci-fi suspense or romance.
Finally, I think Ms. Williams is an excellent performer with a lot of age, gender and situational range. However, I thought casting a colonial English - accented performer to represent primarily 2 American FBI characters may not of been the best fit.
Nonetheless, I'm glad I listened to the book and will listen to Sakey and/or Finty Williams again.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
*It's a love story...it's an epic war in an alternate world...*
Amazon's *Best of the Month* books are killing me this month. I've had three *Definitely Not's* and here is an *At Your Own Risk.*
There are 3 reviews here while I write my own and I agree with all 3 of them: too complex, should've been edited way down, and the narration is middle ground at best.
But before I whittled away the stars, Afterlife started out strong and Sakey's writing had me thrilled with the choice. The beginning is an example of fantastic writing as Sakey sets up an ancient history of a mysterious being and the eventual corruption of his soul. Interesting premise, strong narrative with good forward projection and great pacing, characters I liked and wanted to stay with for the coming 12 hours. At least for the first 3-4 of those hours, I was thinking Amazon got it right with this one. I detected a faint David Mitchell vibe with the focus on an event that takes place in multi-dimensional planes. As the summary reveals, the protagonist (FBI Agent Will Brody) is killed in an explosion. It takes him a while to come to grips with that fact as he wanders through an alternate world inhabiting a spectral plane of the exact world he just exited. I started to think of the movie Ghost...Patrick Swayze saving his earthbound love, hearing Unchained Melody in my head.
Then, the *Eaters* swoop in; there were good Pro-After-Life Eaters and the Soul-Sucking bad Eaters which set up a fun dynamic on this increasingly weird astral plane. Sakey's writing stayed strong, maybe a little too much going on in Will's head, but the story still intriguing and inventive and the author seemed to have control over the chaos. But then, the bad Eaters go after the good Eaters and I started to think of Twilight -- the good Cullen vampires vs. the evil Volturi...which sent a little bit of a warning blare to my head, but not enough to discourage me continuing with the story. It was about this point where I had to wonder if the author still had control of the chaos.
Then, all Hell breaks loose -- at least I think it was Hell -- but in Sakey's construct of afterlife, I'm not so sure if it was Hell or Beetlejuice's world outside of the Maitland's house. The writing I'd thought was so good in the beginning now felt like the editor had given up. Characters became exponentially more surreal, and the tidy lines between worlds blurred into obscurity. Creatures materialize out of the ether I started to think of Gozer the Gozarian before she does a backflip off the Chrysler building and morphs into Mr. Stay Puft.
It's a fun tug that pulls you in and holds you in this author's crazy world until it becomes a riptide and complete overload. As the story heated up on the *meta* level, the writing seemed to loosen and the author lost control of the chaos. It gets crazy, weird, outrageous...and then Sakey wraps it all up in an uncreative sappy finish that had me thinking, *Maybe not such a good book, but this would make a terrific movie!*
Then, I read: *Soon to be a major motion picture from Imagine Entertainment and producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.* As far as recommending...I don't know. You're on your own with this one, but Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have a pretty good record. Maybe they're better predictors of a hit than this Audible customer.
24 of 28 people found this review helpful
I loved Saikey's other books and was excited to read his new one. This was a big disappointment. The concept of an afterlife is one already fraught with difficulty and this was not handled well. Flinty William's British take on American characters and accents also didn't work and the reading was miscast.
I was captivated from the beginning. Was so tense and on edge most of the time and had to remind myself to relax and breathe! Can't wait for the movie. Very well written and narrated.