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Nottamun

Strasbourg, France
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  • 3
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  • The Girl with All the Gifts

  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,520
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,078
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,059

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her 'our little genius'. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A stunning read

  • By Simon on 19-01-14

Another zombie story

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

Reviewed: 14-07-16

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who are looking for zombie stories. I wasn't.

Has The Girl with All the Gifts put you off other books in this genre?

I wasn't looking for this genre. Instead of zombies, they are called 'hungries'. Other than that, it's a zombie story with a 'twist' that the prime character is a high-functioning little girl.

What three words best describe Finty Williams’s performance?

Fine for zombies.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Serious disappointment. I followed it through to the end but wish I hadn't.

  • The Poisonwood Bible

  • By: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Narrated by: Dean Robertson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 560
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 420
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 422

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it - from garden seeds to Scripture - is calamitously transformed on African soil.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • excellent read

  • By metalwork on 22-09-10

Lyrical and compelling

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-12-12

I enjoyed it. If the narration was a little flat, I wasn't put off by it and the fact that each subsection is preceded by a naming of the character involved helps in following the plot. The character of the four daughters is drawn out carefully, as is their development over time. The Congo and its people are far more than a mere backdrop; they shape the growth of Orleanna and her four girls, whereas the refusal of the father to attempt any sort of integration compromises not only his religious mission but also his family bonds. He fades slowly out of the picture, leaving Orleanna to face all the consequences.



I wasn't convinced by all the characters. I couldn't get into the head of Rachel, the eldest girl, and Nathan, the father, remains a cipher despite his backstory. Adah, on the other hand, is fascinating and her plays with words reflect Kingsolver at her lyrical best.



At times the book feels a little like a treatise on long-suffering motherhood and the second half seems nowhere near as strongly written but, overall, I thought it had real impact.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Pillars of the Earth

  • The Kingsbridge Novels, Book 1
  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 40 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,352
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,489
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,489

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known... of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul... of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame... and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Pillars of the Earth

  • By Robert on 31-10-10

A good read but far from Follett's best

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-12-12

After "Fall of Giants" and "Winter of the World" my expectations were high. It was well narrated and the story - based on the times of anarchy during the factional wars between King Stephen and Queen Maud - should have been gripping. I felt, however, that something was missing. Themes are repeated, often to no good effect. One cathedral builder is replaced by another, who is replaced by another. In between times, various baddies contrive to interfere with the contruction and Phillip, the prior in charge, has to dream up increasingly ingenious schemes to circumvent the problems. And the baddies are really, really bad. Has there ever been a nastier villain than William Hamleigh, even though he seems to be in constant dread of eternal damnation? He, of course, gets his comeuppance. Bishop Waleran Bigod and Sub-Prior Remigius are both ambitious and scheming and have to be defeated. On the other hand, Aliena, dispossessed daughter of the Earl of Shiring, is stunningly beautiful, intelligent, an entrepreneur of genius and a Thoroughly Good Egg. Prior Phillip maintains his principles throughout and demonstrates an astonishing ability to come out on top, whatever is thrown at him. Yet his link with God in this medieval tale is strangely unconvincing. Richard, Aliena's younger brother, is just weird and his character and capacities seem to be employed largely to implement and tidy up the plot.



I admire Follett's ambition but I feel that somewhere along the line he lost his grip. Long before the end I was wanting it to be over and the murder of Thomas Becket came somewhat out of the blue in order to bring things to a conclusion. In my opinion it is not one of his best.