Saturday 8 February 2014

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Official Blurb

Le Comte de Monte-Cristo is an adventure novel and one of the author's most popular works. He completed the work in 1844. The story takes place in France, Italy, islands in the Mediterranean and in the Levant during the historical events of 1815-1838 (from just before the Hundred Days to the reign of Louis-Philippe of France). It deals with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy and forgiveness. The book is considered a literary classic today.

My Review

If I start by saying that I'd been holding off listening to this book until a single-reader version came along, you'll realise it is a book I wanted to hear, and that I wanted to hear done properly. This is actually the third version of the book put out by Librivox, but the first solo version.

It is 56 hours long. Fifty Six! The reader, David Clarke is excellent and pitches a great French accent that brings the text to life.

I stopped listening after 18 hours. Even David's wonderful reading could not induce me to continue listening to this so-called classic. With reference to this book, the word "classic" means long. It does not mean good.

It started so well, with the protagonist being imprisoned for a crime he did not commit and a great prison escape. Then...then...Well then lots of boring stuff happened to characters that I didn't feel for nor care about. Was the author paid by the word, it sure felt like it Rambling, disjointed, lack of plot, lack of emotion and in the end, after an investment of 18 hours I realised life's too short for this book.

Reading 3/3
Production 2/3
Story 0/3

Total Score 5/9 (Only count this score, if you think it fair when I didn't finish it!)

Listen to the first chapter 

Download it from the Librivox

Where Evil Grows by S. Lawrence Parrish

Official Blurb

Where Evil Grows: Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll... from Hell.

It's 1976. The rock group KISS is cool. Every teenager alive wishes they could be so cool. So what would you be willing to do to hang around with the cool kids? Pretty much anything....

Justin Foley has cool new friends; they smoke dope and everything. And now that Justin is just as cool as his friends, an evil and malignant entity as old as time and space also wants to be his friend. And more than that, while it gestates in the service tunnels beneath Justin's school, the thing wants Justin to be its mentor. It wants Justin to teach it all about life and what it takes to be a success in this world.

What better place to learn than in a school? And what better measure of success than in taking control of your own destiny? Of course, along the way you might also learn how to assume control of everybody else's destiny....

Where Evil Grows: When fantasy becomes reality... you'll suffer.

My Review

Spoilers Ahoy!

A disappointment.  Well written on a page by page basis, very good narration, but ultimately lacking...something. Let's break that down a little. The story focuses on a group of school kids and the thing that is growing in the basement.

It started really well, introducing the kids and the "thing" but then seemed to just go on and on and on about the kids interacting and getting high.  Too many time did we here them talking about getting high and , OMG going on and on about the group KISS. Even if the kids were supposed to be obsessed with the group, I am not and I found it rather tiresome. I did wonder if the author was writing an autobiography at one point and the story went into immense detail of the history of KISS.

Anyway...I was really disappointed when the story seemed to be building towards a climax set in the school as the protagonists were to put on an air guitar KISS concert. Yet, in the end the school blowing up was just a throw away scene no more important to the plot that which guitar pick the kids used. Such a waste.

I'm so confused by what happened next. The evil thing from the school turns up at the kids home impregnates a girl and the book ends.  Only it doesn't. There's an epilog where the world ends. As I listened to the epilog, I thought to myself, THIS IS THE STORY, not endless drug smoking scenes. Then the epilog was over, just a couple of pages.

The squib was damp.

Now, having dumped all over the book's structure, let me say that I did enjoy listening for the first two thirds of the book. The narrator is excellent (is it the author?). I listened right to the end, which is more than I do for many books, but I was disappointed. One for KISS fans.

Reading 3/3
Production 2/3
Story 1/3

Total Score 6/9

Listen to the first chapter 

Download it from the Podiobooks