Audiobook Review

Audiobook Review: Career of Evil

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Arrrrrgggghhhh! How you wanna go and end the book like that! OMG no, come on!

some-time-later
Ok, I’ve come down from that ending (which still pisses me off) and think I can manage a coherent review now.

There was a lot going on in this book, and we learned a lot more about Robin and Strike than the trickles of information from the previous books. Their relationship shifted slightly and we finally had acknowledgement of the sexual tension between them, although we’re still left without any relief or hope that anything will ever happen.

I enjoyed learning more about the 3 suspects that the duo investigated, although they were despicable to the last. The brief chapters we got from the killers point of view was also no fun, and it made me feel okay about the prospect of being single for the foreseeable future. I know it’s fiction, but sadly, it’s firmly grounded in fact.

The investigation was tedious, with a lot of time spent on surveillance… which I guess is a good approximation of the actual profession and highlights that being an investigator isn’t all chasing criminals and catching killers. It was also pretty obvious from at least halfway through who the killer was… although I had some weird dreams last night where I woke up convinced that it was in fact Matthew…

On the subject of Matthew… what didn’t make sense to me is that we see this picture of Robin as a strong character, but that doesn’t reflect in her relationship with Matthew. Obviously there should be more, things that we don’t see that explains the love Robin feels for this character that is so obviously written to be the cliché’d douchebag boyfriend, but instead we’re left with this picture of the last person on earth someone like Robin would like. It doesn’t make sense and it feels like a cheap trick used by the author to direct the reader a specific way.

Specifically, we seem to be pushed to root for more between Robin and Strike, which is obviously the main relationship here… but surely there are other ways to create the will they/won’t they undertone than to create this awesome female character that is supposed to be strong and smart and incredible — then you saddle her with an insufferable Ken doll as a boyfriend and a backstory to “explain” her motivations.

And that’s another thing… this book focused a lot on various sensitive subjects… mostly about some of the abuse and prejudice women are subjected to. There are some graphic scenes of violence that will most definitely trigger unhappy memories in each and every woman who reads this book. The main theme is misogyny and the power men hold over women. Even Strike can be an insufferable sexist pig.

I want to ask why Robin had to be given that particular history, but on the other hand it’s a common enough occurrence that it’s completely plausible. People will say that it’s unnecessary and a dirty trick used to make Robin a martyr, but I don’t feel that. I think Rowling gave Robin that experience to show readers who might not know how something like that can affect your life, but it doesn’t define you and you can still be a hero even if someone made you a victim too. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The guy who narrated this book (and the previous ones in the series) was amazing. He had exactly the right tone and accent for each character and brought them to vivid life in my mind. The action sequences were done so well that I almost hyperventilated, and his natural English accent was extremely drool-inducing.

So in conclusion, even though I felt like Rowling was using trickery to try and manipulate me, I still think this was the best of the series so for. And even though that ending was infuriating, it left me salivating for the next one… which doesn’t even have an expected publication date yet!

P.S. I love the casting 😀

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Audiobook Review, Stephen King

Audiobook Review: Mr. Mercedes

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3 Stars

First of all can I just say that I’m so done with listening to older guys getting way too into awkward sex scenes when narrating audiobooks… I wasn’t that great of a fan of the narrator in the first place and after that it just got really painful. Will Patton drawled his way through this and while it was okay most of the time, sometimes he just completely lost the plot and irritated me with the way he portrayed certain characters. I’m also sure that the book was 100% longer than it needed to be because he insisted on maintaining a snail’s pace… but that’s up for debate.

Moving on… I’m a big King fan, but I’m not blind to his faults. Hey, everyone has them, so who am I to judge right? I know he’s a great writer and most of the time I absolutely adore his work, but honestly this isn’t the first time I didn’t love something he did. I’m not sure if this is true, because even though I’m a fan I haven’t read all his work, but I think this is the first time he’s tackled the crime thriller genre; and yeah I’m going to vote that he gives it up and sticks to horror… although I’m willing to stick it out for the rest of this series.

The characters felt recycled and thin, trying too hard to be either liked or hated. Hodges is supposed to be one of the best detectives his county had, but throughout this book he does the stupidest things and flagrantly disregards the law in multiple instances. Yet he’s kind of forced down your throat as the good guy, the one you’re rooting for. I mean if he was just any other old Joe who was flirting with thoughts of ending it after retiring and realizing that he created his whole existence around his work and is now nothing without it… so yeah okay maybe he needed this “case” to save himself. But I still don’t think his actions were corresponding to the person we’re told he is…

Brady Hartfield is your run of the mill “bad guy”. He’s impossibly hateful and mostly insane, but also super smart and lucky. He blames everyone but himself for his actions as well as the repercussions and his mommy issues are sometimes cringeworthy but mostly it’s recycled psycho stuff. Said mommy probably had a lot to do with how he turned out though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she also had a nest of snakes in her brain because damn she was screwed up…

In the supporting cast nobody felt genuine or even original (except maybe Holly… she was refreshingly crazy). The plot itself was patchy and needed too many excuses to be even a little bit believable. Most of the time Hodges takes things for granted, doesn’t make obvious connections and just generally mucks things up even more than they already are. Honestly, without his “supporting characters” he probably wouldn’t have gotten far at all and Brady would have gotten his wish…

Having said all that, this was still enjoyable enough to keep me listening, and King’s writing is always uniquely riveting. I’ll give the series another chance and pick up Finders Keepers next, although I don’t have much hope of character improvement…