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Urban Fantasy Circus Ride

Au global
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
4 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2019-09-22

I came here straight after reading Perdido Street Station and The City and the City. While Kraken doesn't quite hit the same heights as those two novels, I certainly didn't leave disappointed.

The book reminded me forcefully at times of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. Both novels follow a protagonist's journey through a fantastical under-city living within London and at times both novels risk taking the London fetishism a little too far. However, Miéville shows here that he has a wry self-awareness that I haven't seen in Gaiman's work and it serves him well.

Kraken is often very funny but it never devolves into a farce; the story is consistently entertaining (if occasionally hard to follow) and the characters are genuinely likeable. Miéville continues to impress not only with his writing talent but his willingness to explore different styles. John Lee similarly shows off his versatility, nailing the tone of the novel and never leaning into the jokes more than necessary.

Coming off of reading three straight Miéville novels I'm still eager to start another. Do yourself a favour and try out one of the most exciting fantasy authors working today.

Quietly compelling

Au global
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Histoire
5 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2019-08-16

This novel is essentially the literary equivalent of a contemplative sigh breathed onto a rainy window, and I don't mean that as a critique. It's calm, understated, and reflective in an immensely enjoyable way. It's also a compelling exploration of the national character of Britain and the nature of 'dignity'. The Remains of the Day isn't obtuse or intentionally difficult to read, but it also isn't lacking in depth.

Dominic West does a fine job narrating. My only small quibble is that West's narration didn't quite convey the right sense of age. The narrator is meant to be an elderly man, but West doesn't really express this in his reading. Ultimately though, this detracts very little from the overall experience.

Ishiguro is an immensely gifted author and this book is a treasure.

Great, but not a masterwork

Au global
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
4 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2019-08-16

Neverwhere is both an entertaining book and a compelling love letter to London. Anyone familiar with the city will be sure to enjoy how Gaiman has reimagined its iconic locales.

As always Gaiman is an excellent reader of his own novels. It's a pleasure to hear him read his writing and experience his own vision for the story in his tone and inflections.

Held up to the bar of Gaiman's masterpieces like The Sandman or The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere does fall a fair ways short. However, it is a fun and fully realized piece of urban fantasy that any fan of the genre, or of Gaiman himself, shouldn't miss.

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Worth Diving In

Au global
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
5 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2019-08-15

Many of the reviews I read on here before picking this up spoke negatively about how "gross" this book is, and honestly they're not wrong. Miéville describes the monstrous races of New Crobuzon with an unflinching scientific eye. Ever wanted to know how a bug-human hybrid woman has inter-species sex? Too bad, because Miéville is going to fill you in on the mechanics. While this kind of exploration sounds, and often is, rather off-putting, it's also undeniably interesting. Once you get past the initial 'ick' factor you begin to appreciate the fascinating ecosystem that is New Crobuzon.

Miéville's writing is generally excellent. His prose is often baroque and verbose, but in a way that complements the world and the story. Over the top phrases like "psychic effluvia" tend to be endearing rather than distracting. The characters are interesting and well rounded, and the world itself is rendered in ultra high definition. There's a literary depth and quality on display in Perdido Street Station that I don't usually expect from fantasy novels.

I found John Lee's narration to be a little much at first, as he seemed to be over-enunciating in an affected way, but I came to see that this was actually an apt interpretation of the written style. Lee's reading here is top-notch, particularly his dialogue, which really makes these characters jump off the page.

At the end of the day Miéville has created a strange and wondrous world that is worth diving into, not despite, but because of the disgusting abominations that await you there.

Flawed but entertaining

Au global
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
2 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2019-07-13

Imagine Ocean's Eleven set in Mordor. Magic wielding thieves plan an elaborate mission to overthrow their oppressive ruler's regime. Sounds exciting! The only problem is that elaborate missions actually require a lot of planning and preparation, and reading through scenes filled with nothing but brainstorming and troubleshooting can quickly become tiresome. Throw on top of that many scenes of one character's comprehensive training in The Final Empire's complicated magic system and you begin to feel like the world of Mistborn is being tediously explained, rather than shown, to you. Even outside of scenes devoted to lessons or planning sessions, the characters often hold unnatural sounding conversations clearly only meant to explicate some part of the world.

While there are many dramatic and entertaining moments here, and the world and magic system are definitely interesting, there's also just a lot of sloppy writing on Sanderson's part. He often shows rather than tells. He doesn't vary his diction enough. His dialogue is often clunky. He's sometimes painfully corny. His characters are often underdeveloped. The list goes on. Even taken as a whole these issues aren't a deal breaker, but it's a shame to see Sanderson's good ideas weighed down by bad execution.

On balance, I did enjoy The Final Empire. Kramer's narration is reliably good and there are enough cool ideas here to sustain an entertaining read. But if you're here because you were drawn in by Sanderson's brilliant Stormlight Archive (as I was) you may leave disappointed.

3 personnes sur 4 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

Middle of The Road

Au global
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Histoire
3 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2019-06-18

I'd never read any Terry Pratchett before and honestly I was a bit underwhelmed by Good Omens. The humour in the book can best be described as 'extremely British', which might be a pro or a con for you. If you've read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy you'll know basically what to expect, although many of Pratchett's jokes didn't land as well for me.

While Gaiman's name is on the cover it's hard to feel his influence in the writing; although the larger concept is pretty up his alley. But if you're coming here for a Gaiman fix you'll likely leave disappointed.

Martin Jarvis' narration is good, but never quite reaches the levels of charm that someone like Stephen Fry can bring to a reading.

Overall, I'd hesitate to recommend Good Omens to anyone who wasn't already a Pratchett fan. It's not a bad book by any stretch, but there are a few too many missed jokes and two dimensional characters to make for a really satisfying listen.

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

Great book with some flaws.

Au global
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
4 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-07-06

I thoroughly enjoyed Oathbringer. Sanderson's epic continues to be thoughtful, rich, and satisfying. Meanwhile, Kramer continues to excel in his narration and Reading seems to finally hit her stride with this one. However, while this huge novel highlights all of Sanderson's greatest strengths as an author, some of his weaknesses are also on display.

Structurally, the formula of these novels is beginning to feel a bit repetitive. Dalinar's suppressed-memory flashbacks, for example, mirror the exploration of Shallan's past in Words of Radiance a little too closely. I'd be happy to see more changes to the formula in the next entry.

The most glaring flaw, though, is Sanderson's handling of romance. This entry in the series devotes considerably more time to romantic relationships and, frankly, Sanderson just isn't very good at writing those kinds of scenes. This unfortunate limitation certainly doesn't spoil the book as a whole, but there are many more lines to cringe at in Oathbringer than there were in either of the last two books.

Just like the last two books in the series Oathbringer is immersive, surprisingly thought provoking, occasionally cringeworthy, reliably satisfying, and really just a lot of fun. Everything there is to love about The Stormlight Archive is on full display here.

Winning Comination

Au global
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
5 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-06-13

There's no part of "Neil Gaiman reads his own retellings of Norse Myths" that isn't immensely appealing. I don't imagine anyone who's made a serious study of Norse Mythology will find much new here, but for those of us who are only casually acquainted this is a highly entertaining way to experience the lore. While sticking as true as possible to his source material Gaiman retells these stories in a way that makes them easy to read and enjoy. He captures what's fascinating and charming about the myths while injecting some of his own charms as a storyteller and narrator at the same time. The result is a highly entertaining book that's also a great source of information about an ancient culture.

Top Notch Satire

Au global
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
5 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-06-13

It's rare to find a book that strikes such a perfect balance between meaningful social critique and utter hilarity. I keep thinking back on all the hilarious moments in the novel and I find that the more I reflect the more I realize just how much this book has going for it. Those moments aren't just funny, they're vivid, layered, and thought provoking as well. There's a lot of art that talks about being black in America but Beatty has found a truly singular angle with which to explore the topic. The writing is totally accessible but without sacrificing depth; it's unpretentious but still endlessly clever.

Prentice Onayemi's narration is pitch-perfect and wonderfully complements the prose. He really seems to inhabit the persona of the narrator as he's reading. Really he just nails the delivery on every line, a truly flawless performance.

Would highly recommend this book to pretty much anyone without hesitation; I think Swift and Twain would find a lot to like here.

Page de couverture de Anansi Boys

Good but not Great

Au global
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Histoire
4 out of 5 stars

Évalué le: 2018-06-13

This isn't Gaiman at his finest or most ambitious. While the book is often described as a semi-sequel to American Gods it's actually much more reminiscent of Neverwhere. In fact, the many structural similarities to Neverwhere are sometimes enough to make Anansi boys seem like a bit of a rehash, especially considering that the novel already leans somewhat on the lore established in American Gods. All that being said, even when Gaiman's isn't at his finest he's still a great writer and this fun and light hearted adventure is certainly worth the time of any fan.

While Gaiman is a great reader of his own work, he wisely left the narration of this one up to Lenny Henry who (I assume) does a much better Caribbean accent than Gaiman. Even though I've grown to expect Gaiman to narrate his own novels, it took no time to get used to Henry's charming and dynamic reading.

If you're looking for your Gaiman fix, or just a fun modern fantasy novel, Anansi Boys is a fine choice. If you're looking for something exceptional though, on the level of American Gods or The Ocean at the End of the Lane, you're not going to find it here.