LISTENER

Martin Monk

UK
  • 3
  • reviews
  • 21
  • helpful votes
  • 15
  • ratings

Listened In One Go

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

Reviewed: 03-10-19

MESMERISING.

Listened in my car on journey from Fort William to Berlin. We flew!

Narration is incredible.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

Superficial but Entertaining

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

Reviewed: 27-08-19

Was drawn to the UK backdrop of this post apocalypse saga. Despite occasional references to Tesco / Morrison’s supermarkets and Land Rover dealerships, this could have been set anywhere with lots of supermarkets on hand to loot.

Characters were all wooden and devoid of any emotional trauma whatsoever; despite 99% of every person they’d ever loved or known being dead. I tried to finds ways to forgive or rationalise the author’s lack of EI and even assumed the characters’ “bouncebackability” was a universal symptom of the virus in an attempt to quell the rising fears around emotional superficiality.

Dan, the protagonist, is meant to be heroic, and is I guess, but is also a bully who hates chavs and anyone who doesn’t know how to clean a gun. He loves rules (e.g. only he and his selected crew can carry guns) yet feels entitled to disobey those rules at his will.

His affection for the teenage girl (Lexi?) was crass and owed too much to “Kick Ass”, his supernatural relationship with Ash The Dog was silly (and owed too much to Will Smith and his pooch) and his romance with Smart Kate (?) unbelievably cliched- surely no one could fall for his macho nonsense? It can only be that Scottish fella from “300” who could play Dan in a movie.

And so we just have to accept that the characters are one or two dimensional and focus on the plot...

The plot is... basically Dan leading lots of shopping trips to get things like Land Rovers, Pringles and sweets. Oh, and guns! Lots of guns. Tonnes of guns and ammo and holsters and jackets and magazines and carbines and and and and... All boring but made me wonder if the UK really us so packed with unused guns n’ ammo. But I have friends who would drool all over all that gun stuff do good for him. At least I learned that sawn off shot guns are dangerous unless up close...

The Enemies are always stupid. And evil. The virus seems to have realigned the good people from the evil people and implies that civilisation is merely a superficial plaster over the brutal savagery that truly defines humanity. The book would have been better titled “Angels and Demons” but someone got there first.

But seriously, are we really just a simple cataclysmic virus away from former welsh wrestlers declaring themselves King of said country and keeping women as their toys? I think men AND WOMEN aren’t as straightforward as that. Plus, not all teenage boys wear tracky bottoms, want to ride motorbikes, kill innocent people, collect slaves and serve post apocalyptic dictators. Most would be far too full on all the crisps, pop and chocolate Dan and His Rangers gathered!

There are a few nice touches: The insane assailant was withdrawn far too soon and the instincts of Penny’s versus Dan’s was poignant at times. But Neil was daft and his mimicked references to movies or TV characters either plagiaristic or plain irritating. Neil’s your guy who memorises and regurgitates all Blackadder and Alan Partridge episodes.

But here’s me entirely missing the point...

Who really wants to read someone’s best guess at how we’d all cope with survivors’ guilt and mass trauma? To try and guess might be absurd. Instead, the author brilliantly feeds that bit in everyone’s imagination where we ask what would we do if everyone we’d ever loved and known was gone?

This was the reason I bought these first two in the series and wasn’t let down. Weirdly, the author is very clever as they allow the listener to pinpoint who in that cast they most resemble.

My problem is that I’m no Dan and in this universe would happily see Dan come a cropper in favour of a slightly less chauvinist leader who understood that compassion, patience and pacifism were not entirely awful human virtues. Sadly, Dan just needs a hug, more ammo, a better Land Rover and a bigger dog than everyone else. Plus, I think he needs to grieve for the family we’re told he loved.

One major gripe: the apparent stab at veterans’ wives who leave traumatised husbands. I would n’t know for sure but I’m guessing no such separation would occur so lightly or incur such a simplistically dim view of the departing wife?!

BUT... I’ll probably buy the Books 3 & 4 package!

Why?

Because it’s a curious genre for us all right now in a world where the uncertainties of world leadership, climate change, Brexit and so on give us a sense that we’re on the verge of a cataclysmic change in our society.

And so, despite my major grievances, I would recommend this book. The narrator isn’t suited to British accents or pronouncing English place names (why didn’t anyone highlight the banana skin vocabulary to him?) but he gives it an edge and panache nonetheless.

The characters are all fairly wooden, the action familiar but the sheer blistering pace of the plot was welcome and rare. The author has a huge imagination and I am intrigued to see what they create next.

Thank you. 12 hours well spent and enjoyable!

For all my doubts I couldn’t replicate just one chapter of this book.

Holes 5 star

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

Reviewed: 12-08-18

One word, incredible. The story was fernomanal! And one you were listening to it you couldent stop yourself from listening to hours more.