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Andrew Korsovetski

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Sublime

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-07-05

The Maltese Falcon is a classic detective story, probably the entry point for how to get interested in the genre. It's a tightly paced, well constructed story with engaging characters.

At its heart is its charismatic and yet morally ambiguous protagonist Sam Spade. Hammett writes Spade as a perfect foil to the various sinister characters he comes across. The Maltese Falcon is written from a third person perspective and we're never given a frame of the characters inner thoughts. This works very well as we're never completely given a picture of Spade's inner thought process or how he deduces his conclusions, we just see his actions. This creates a sense of suspense to the story that overshadows how it is ultimately a plot featuring a Macguffin that everyone is looking for. The Maltese Falcon was widely viewed as the prototypical Macguffin story and for good reason. It views the plot device as simply a mechanic to hang its hat on, and allow its characters to flourish.

The Maltese Falcon to me is Dashiell Hammett's opus and it's disappointing to me this was Sam Spade's only novel due to the quality of the book's worldbuilding and the various rogues the main character encounters. But at the same time it is quaint in a way. We live in a world where stories are never simply finished, we just see them continue on in sequels ad nauseum. But in the Maltese Falcon we're given a single snapshot, and we're left to ponder. It's little wonder the book heavily influenced later authors such as Raymond Chandler as a result.

This audio book is a solid rendition of the story, the narrator takes great effort at trying to sound like the various characters for better or for worse. The book has also been told through audio dramas. Whichever way you want to experience the Maltese Falcon, you'll find it to be one of the best in its genre.

Very well paced, expertly written

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-05-19

Unlike a lot of other books on serial killers, this one is exceptionally well written with the benefit of hindsight and context. It's written like a story frequently jumping between the life of the killer and what each of the investigators were doing at those particular moments in their lives. It creates this engaging narrative that feels very satisfying when they reveal how they caught him. Overall I highly recommend this book.

Very underrated

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-03-15

The Regulators is a thematic follow up to Stephen King's book Desperation. It exists in an alternate universe to that book. Many of the same characters appear in both stories, some of which are similar wheras others are completely different.

This is a core element to both books appeal. Both books tell similar but different stories. And it's recommended to read both back to back inorder to get the full picture. It is a lot of fun to spot these similarities which all make up a cohesive whole when read this way.

The story and premise to The Regulators is equal parts H.P. Lovecraft and The Twilight Zone. It very much reads like a horror themed version of the latter. The book covers a single series of events that last a very short period of time. However in-between events there are miniature pieces of exposition that give you greater context to how the story reached that point. It always feels like you're uncovering more of a multi-layered mystery as it goes on. The book also ends in a more satisfying way than it's sister book Desperation.

Overall I greatly recommend this book to fans of Stephen King. However only if you read it after completing Desperation while the events and characters are fresh in your memory. It greatly enriched my understanding of the story and characters in a way comparable to reading The Silmarillion prior to The Lord of the Rings. As a result it remains a unique book in King's catalogue. There's nothing else quite like it.

2 people found this helpful

One of King’s best works

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-03-13

Pet Semetary is one of King’s best books. It is genuinely very engaging from a storytelling perspective. It’s characters are very vivid and fully realized. It builds suspense extremely naturally and when it gets to its inevitable conclusion you are completely invested. I’ve read this book so many times and I am still humbled by the master work King weaves in this tale of dread.

Pet Semetary is easily one of the first books I recommend to people wanting to enjoy Stephen King’s work. I consider it easily in his top 5. It helps that this audiobook in particular is narrated by Michael C. Hall who does a brilliant job personifying the various characters. Especially the main character’s neighbour Judd.

Overall, highly recommended. It holds up very well to its cinematic adaptations.

1 person found this helpful

Okay, nothing special.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-03-13

Much of King’s later work can be very hit or miss. While his earlier books are very striking and bold with their storytelling choices, his later ones tend to play it safe and repeat a lot of the same sort of characters and plot beats. Desperation is sort of in the middle. It starts off pretty good, has a pretty drab middle and an okay ending.

The biggest issue I have with it is the book’s main character David is somewhat annoying and has a habit of just pulling a deus ex machina out whenever King writes a situation that the characters have to find their way out of. He tends to either be fully aware of what the villain is doing or just comes up with a solution out of nowhere. The other characters are more likeable especially Johnny but it really does drag the book down.

It does get better as it goes on. King takes his sweet time to explain questions you might have. And it delivers an okay ending to wrap things up. Overall a solid entry in King’s catalogue but compared to some of his best books like Pet Semetary or the Long Walk it feels kind of amateur in comparison.

Stephen King's greatest novel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-01-03

The Long Walk was the first book King wrote chronologically, albeit not the first to be published. It's a much more subdued book compared to his other titles. Slower paced, more drawn out. The book was written long before King's novelist style was further solidified and his common clichés manifested. It's a deceptively simple story with a greater deal of subtle worldbuilding sprinkled throughout. The premise of the story is every year 100 boys volunteer to walk down a road. Each walking at least 4 miles per hour. And if they fall slower than this speed they risk getting warned. 3 warnings leading to being shot by a group of soldiers following. The book has an extremely bleak tone that at the same time carries forward themes of friendship and camaraderie. These themes are the highlight of the book and really keep its slow pace gripping. The Long Walk is a really good example of subtle worldbuilding. The book takes place in an alternate history United States but it doesn't come across that way on a first reading. Only from listening to the subtle clues of dialogue does this become apparent. "The German airblitz on the east coast of the United States during the last years of World War 2". It's surprisingly effective at making the world the story takes place in feel believable. King would later go on to write somewhat fantastical stories taking place in very outlandish settings. See: The Stand, the Tommyknockers etc. However The Long Walk accomplishes something none of his later stories are able to truly grasp. This simultaneous marriage between extremely vivid characters with a bleak and desolate setting. When it's ending comes it leaves you wondering what it all means, what might happen next. The Long Walk has since greatly inspired me artistically in life since I first read it and I greatly appreciate how well written it is. I've always desired a sequel to this book exploring more of its mythos. But at the same time I'm also satisfied with it ending in such an ambiguous way. And I hope future readers/listeners do too.

Legendary

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-11-17

The Lord of the Rings is a legendary tale of high fantasy and adventure. Tolkien’s opus has been well regarded by many, and it has stood the test of time as an innovative work of fiction as the blueprint for the modern medieval fantasy story.

But more than that the book is filled with engaging characters and stunning detailed descriptions. The world is so vividly rich with detail that it’s recommended to also read its sister tome The Silmarillion to fully grasp it.

But more than that what made it so memorable was how well Tolkien captured its central characters. Each of the main characters changes over the course of their adventure. By the time you reach the end of the story you distinctly feel how well each character’s arc comes to a close. When the book reaches its epilogue I was genuinely very sad as I was so invested in the story. If that isn’t the mark of a great writer I don’t know what is.

Overall you owe it to yourself to read The Lord of the RIngs. Reading the book will make you dislike the Peter Jackson film trilogy due to all of the things he left out. It also helps Robert Inglis’s narration has stood the test of time. He gives very good voices to all of the characters from Frodo to Gandalf and even a stunning portrayal of Gollum. After this book every other fantasy story feels amateurish in comparison.

1 person found this helpful

Realistic and poignant science fiction story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-11-07

The Andromeda Strain is an effortlessly well paced science fiction novel. It takes a very hard sci-fi glance at the possibility of alien life, focusing on the much more realistic prediction of alien microbes being found as opposed to actual organisms. It tells a story that is very reminiscent of Crichton's later Jurassic Park but in a much more down to Earth and humble way. Nothing ever feels too far fetched or unbelievable. All of the characters in The Andromeda Strain are interesting and it never reveals it's hand too soon to make the nature of its alien microbe obvious. Another really interesting aspect of this book is despite being extremely hard-science loaded. It never feels too complicated or obtuse. Everything is very well explained in laymen's terms and as a result the plot feels very clear and understandable. It also has a very satisfying ending and plot resolution. The performance by David Morse is also brilliant. His old wisened voice lends itself so well to this book. It feels at times like a military briefing by a retired general more than just a person reading a book to you. I can't praise this aspect of the audiobook enough. Overall highly recommended novel and audiobook by Michael Crichton. It is unfortunate that it's one of his lesser known works.

6 people found this helpful

Very average

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-11-07

Rosemary's Baby is a very average horror story.

The book has a lot of value in the sense that it builds a very intriguing mystery at the offset that continuously builds. The main characters of the book are all very well defined as well, I was never at any point questioning who this or that person was and what their role in the story were. The mystery is told to the reader in a very interesting way, in the vein of the play Gaslight. The story's pacing however is very slow, for much of the book nothing happens and it genuinely feels at times like a novella length story made into a novel. Something that should've been 100 pages made into double that length. And you especially feel it given how the most exciting parts of the story occur at the very end of the book. The climax also feels extremely short given how much buildup there was and feels genuinely very unsatisfying as a result. The ending is also dissatisfying and not worth the 200 pages/6 hours of buildup.

Rosemary's baby is also very clearly a religious story, to the same extent as something like the Exorcist. Where it's core themes are built around scaring someone of faith, and feel very silly when looked at from a secular lens. The book will probably be more creepy or disturbing to a person particularly of the Catholic faith. To the non-religious or readers of other religions it will just feel very silly and the ending very hokey. This is one aspect of the story that feels very dated, as the theme of Christianity losing it's grip on society was very much in the public consciousness in the 1960s (as is its Friedrich Nietzsche quote it throws around) but feels genuinely silly when reading it 50 years later.

The performance by Mia Farrow is also very good however I rated this 1 star as the sound mixing is HORRENDOUS. The audio was not mixed AT ALL. It frequently sounds like the narrator is whispering and then jumps up to sounding like she is shouting. There's also a persistent humming noise once the audio is raised to a maximum. This is very infuriating and makes me not want to recommend this version.

Overall a very average horror novel that is unfortunately very dated. I hope one day someone can adapt the story into a more contemporary tale as the building blocks are there for a great psychological thriller. But as it stands it's an interesting if unfortunately underwhelming book.

Emotional albeit kind of rambly

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-08-24

I like Pauline's story in this book however I feel like much of the book's structure was a little haphazard. This was probably due to how she compiled it from an exhaustive array of reference material stretching from all sorts of time periods. A good example is it feels a tad too focused on her own life and that of her extended family and not enough about the story of Stan and his delusions. Which I found far more interesting.

At the same time I'm probably not the target audience. Still, her vocal performance is extremely good and lends a lot more to this story than I initially expected. It's easily better as an audio book than as something you read by yourself.