Mini Audio Reviews: Sea of Tranquility, Outsider, Book Thief

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on September 15, 2023 | 0 Comments

Mini Audio Reviews: Sea of Tranquility, Outsider, Book ThiefThe Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Published by Knopf, Scribner (4.5.2022)
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook, 259 pages
Length: 5 hours, 47 minutes
Narrator: John Lee, Dylan Moore, Arthur Morey, Kirsten Potter
Source: Library

4 Stars

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal--an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She's traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive's best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

A virtuoso performance that is as human and tender as it is intellectually playful, Sea of Tranquility is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment.

My thoughts

Won’t most of us die in fairly unclimactic ways, our passing unremarked by almost everyone, our deaths becoming plot points in the narrative around us?

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book, but between FANTASTIC narration and one of the single most mind blowing twists I’ve ever read, I really enjoyed it! It reminded me a lot of Cloud Atlas, spanning multiple stories across multiple timelines that all interconnect and come together in the end in an astonishing and brilliant way. THAT ENDING.

View Spoiler »

Overall assessment

Plot: 4/5
Premise: 4/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 3.5/5
Characters: 3/5
World-building: 4/5
Pace: 4/5
Feels: 3.5/5
Narration: 5/5
Cover: 2/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Mini Audio Reviews: Sea of Tranquility, Outsider, Book ThiefThe Outsider by Stephen King
Series: Holly Gibney #1
Published by Scribner (5.22.2018)
Genres: Adult, Horror, Thriller
Format: Audiobook, 561 pages
Length: 18 hours, 41 minutes
Narrator: Will Patton
Source: Library

3 Stars

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

My thoughts

I don’t have much experience with King yet (I read the first 3 Dark Tower books years ago but got stuck in a slow part and never finished, and I read Fairy Tale a couple months ago) but I enjoyed this one! I didn’t love it, and there’s something about King’s writing that creates a disconnect for me emotionally. But he sure is a master at world building because all of his stories are incredibly vivid!

I will say that this one felt forever long. I did enjoy it for the most part, but there were a couple of times I got a little bored, mainly in the last half. I was pretty shocked when a certain major event happened halfway through and there was still so much to go! View Spoiler » After that major event, the last half dragged a bit.

I thought the idea was interesting and creepy, but the ending was missing something for me. The audio was fantastic, though! Will Patton rocks!

Overall assessment

Plot: 4/5
Premise: 4/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
World-building: 4.5/5
Pace: 2/5
Feels: 2/5
Narration: 4/5
Cover: 2.5/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Mini Audio Reviews: Sea of Tranquility, Outsider, Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published by Knopf (3.14.2006)
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook, 592 pages
Length: 13 hours, 56 minutes
Narrator: Allan Corduner
Source: Library

2 Stars

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

My thoughts

Wow, what a huge buildup to end in such massive disappointment.

I had this on my TBR for YEARS before I finally took the leap and picked it up, going in with sky high expectations because this is a highly lauded and beloved book.

I just. Wow. I strongly disliked this book and no one is more sad about it than me. It started off fairly strong – I was intrigued AF that it was Death narrating, and the audiobook narrator was great. Sadly, it went downhill pretty quickly from there and just kept going farther and farther downhill. I didn’t like any of the characters, didn’t give a single flying fuck about anything that was happening, there was little to no discernible plot, and Death narrating started to piss me off because he had this uncanny ability to entirely spoil the whole fucking story. Especially one major event toward the end that I felt NOT ONE SINGLE TWINGE of sadness because I was so pissed that it had just been spoiled. LET ME EXPERIENCE IT MYSELF! Fucking stupid storytelling. This had great potential to be an emotional book and it just felt like a gimmick.

Oh and I have a new drinking game for you: take a shot for every time someone says ‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph!’ in this book. You’ll probably have alcohol poisoning by the end of it.

Overall assessment

Plot: 1/5
Premise: 4/5
Writing style: 2.5/5
Originality: 2.5/5
Characters: 1/5
Pace: 2/5
Feels: 0/5
Narration: 4/5
Cover: 2/5
Overall rating: 2/5

Jessi (Geo)

Posted in: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Subscribe to Novel Heartbeat to get more posts like this!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.