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Renee

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  • 6
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Fun but let down by a few issues

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

Reviewed: 14-04-2020

3.5 stars

This is a great contemporary version of a classic “whodunnit” where a limited number of people are trapped together in a remote location and the reader is gradually led towards finding out who the murderer and the victim are. Told from multiple POV, the story is more psychological thriller than Poirot but there’s definitely something a little nostalgic about it.

Overall the writing is good and the narrating characters were well drawn. However, one couple felt almost entirely superfluous, and the Icelandic backpackers’ subplot didn’t feel as fully realised as it could have. Doug the taciturn gamekeeper with a Past felt a bit cliche at times.

The multiple narrators did a fabulous job for the audiobook.

Brilliantly written; brilliantly read

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

Reviewed: 09-04-2020

This was such a great book. The characters are so well imagined, and three-dimensional, and messy, and complicated, and I found myself supporting different people at different points. And the issues around race are woven so seamlessly through the piece they never become preachy or didactic.

The narration was fabulous.

This is going into my list of top books of all time, and I'll definitely be rereading it!

1 person found this helpful

Good writing, flawed plot

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

Reviewed: 09-02-2020

So, sometimes I’ll read a book that’s badly written or has annoying characters and I’ll give up on it. This book was well written, however, but it annoyed me so much to had to keep reading it so I could rant at it.

Firstly, the characters. I didn’t like any of the main characters. Abby is manipulative, Will is arrogant, Blake is a complete pushover and Hannah is self-obsessed and whiney. I preferred some of the minor players like Molly, Gwen and Catfish.

Secondly, the pace. In the first half in particular it feels like several pages are spent describing each person’s facial expressions in minute detail, and it goes at a glacial pace. It speeds up a bit in the second half but I ended up putting the audiobook on 1.25x speed to get through it.

Thirdly, the plot. The whole thing revolves around a secret, which, when it was uncovered, made me make one of the disbelieving “tch” sounds out loud. Without spoilers there were so many things wrong with the entire premise and the whole debacle could have been avoided by anyone with half an ounce of brain. And despite the central role of Abby and Will’s child, you hear very little about her and the impact the event has on her.

I found it frustrating because, as I said, the book is well written but I couldn’t enjoy it because of those factors.

From what I’ve read the author’s other books are better, so I’ll reserve judgement till I try another one.

The narration was pretty good although I was occasionally confused as to which character was speaking a particular line of dialogue.

Interesting but slow

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

Reviewed: 31-01-2020

I have to admit I struggled with this one. I’m not always a massive fan of dual timeline books, but this one did that aspect well, tying the two timelines together with images and words so it didn’t feel too forced.

I think I just found it a bit slow. Particularly the older timeline with Lilian as a young woman. I feel like it could have been condensed a lot and had the same impact.

There were quite a few places where the readers know more than the characters, which is fine but the characters seemed to take an age to catch up! Or people withheld information for no good reason, which really slowed the pace of the whole thing.

I didn’t give up on it because I wanted to know what happened, and the ending was satisfying without tying everything into a neat bow.

Overall I’d say I mostly enjoyed it, but it was a book I was glad to finish.

The narrator was ok but a bit stilted in places and her voice for the “old” characters was an annoying croak.

Good narration, average story

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

Reviewed: 23-01-2020

I’m not usually a chick-lit fan and this book annoyed me for all the reasons chick-lit usually does. Maggie was an irritating character’s head to inhabit, but I did like her more by the end than I thought I was going to. I felt sorry for her cat too.

The narration was very good and felt true to Maggie’s voice. The narrator even sang the song bits, which most narrators tend to just speak! My only gripe with the production was that sometimes there wasn’t enough pause to signal a new scene, so my brain scrambled to catch up a couple of times when it felt like we’d teleported or time travelled!

Not quite as Neil Gaimanny as usual

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

Reviewed: 07-01-2020

I mean, it’s Neil Gaiman so it’s amazing, and he narrates it himself which is so cool to hear, but these are authentic retellings of Norse myths, so not like one of his usual novels. He writes and reads them well, but if you’re expecting a Norse version of American Gods you’re going to be disappointed.

Also, the gods are very weird, and sadistic, and not so smart sometimes. 😆

Dystopian fantasy done well

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

Reviewed: 31-12-2019

I’ve read a lot of dystopian fiction and a lot of fantasy and this combines the two genres very well. It starts off following the stories of a number of characters but it felt like it left a few of those threads loose at the end. I’m assuming we’ll hear more about what happened to the others in the sequel. The Lana sections do dip a little too far into purple occasionally and I found the character overly earnest at times but this was a really good listen and I’m planning to add the sequels to my Wishlist.

Narration was good - voices were differentiated with subtle variation. Easy to listen to.

Laugh out loud funny and fascinating

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

Reviewed: 13-12-2019

If, like me, you’re fascinated by cults, I highly recommend “Zealot” by Jo Thornely. Written like a kind of “cults101”, it’s written in a humorous, irreverent style that made me actually laugh out loud at several points. Language is a little NSFW at times so be warned 🙂

Jo narrated her own audiobook, which isn’t always a great choice but she reads it really well.

The Raelians may be my new fav cult.

Fabulous idea

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

Reviewed: 01-09-2019

What a good idea - audible book club! Loved the first book, and the commentary on it was interesting and insightful. Looking forward to finding out what’s next!

4 people found this helpful

Great story, excellent performances

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

Reviewed: 18-03-2019

There are a few places where a little suspension of disbelief is required, but I really enjoyed the story and characters, and thought the performances were good. I like that the changes in Margot make you not quite sure whether or not what’s happening to her is real.

If you enjoyed “Everything is Lies”, you’ll enjoy this.