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Caroline

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OK for a light listen

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

Reviewed: 20-06-20

The idea behind this book is a good one (intersecting stories of various people over many years) but I don't think it really worked as there were too many different stories, many of which didn't add to the overall narrative and meant the main characters were a bit shallowly drawn. I thought the ending was a bit weak and obvious too. Having said that, it was quite a pleasant listen but not something I'll remember.

Better than Wolf Hall!

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

Reviewed: 09-06-20

I read this after reading the Wolf Hall trilogy (which I loved) and wondering how much was true and how much was fiction. This was gripping and actually more interesting as it's based on the evidence. I also found the wider scope of this book (i.e. giving more of the international context) made it more interesting. The books seems to be a very balanced account of a complex and incredible man living in dangerous times. The narrator was superb too. Highly recommend if Wolf Hall has sparked your interest in Thomas Cromwell.

Full of clichés - very disappointing

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

Reviewed: 25-05-20

I thought this would be an interesting book but is more like a medieval Mills & Boon. I've tried twice to listen to it but given up completely. Waste of a credit.

Fantastic story and amazing narration

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

Reviewed: 23-05-20

Loved the story (having also loved the first 2 books in the trilogy). I can't understand other comments about the narrator as he was the best one, I thought. I can only put it down to people not liking a change of narrator when you have got used to hearing Cromwell's voice as a particular narrator. Don't let it put you off ! my only slight criticism about the book was that there were too many flashbacks. I can see that they were useful as Cromwell was getting older and more reflective but I felt there were too many throughout the book (not enough to knock a star off though).

Good Story - flawed ending

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

Reviewed: 26-04-20

This was quite a good listen with lots of twists and turns, many of which I didn't see coming and the main characters very well drawn. The narration was excellent. I won't give anything away about the ending but will just say it was very weak and I felt the author just wanted to tie everything up too neatly which was unrealistic and the characters behaved completely at odds with their behaviour throughout the book.

Interesting history but some parts spoilt it

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

Reviewed: 19-02-20

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the life in Iceland and Algiers and the contrast between the two such different societies and ways of life. The story was especially interesting given that it was based on a true story. The thing that spoilt it for me was the relationship between Asta and Cilleby that seemed rather far-fetched and the book would have portrayed a more realistic experience without it. Overall, I enjoyed it though.

So many interesting ideas!

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

Reviewed: 28-11-19

What a fascinating book. It deals with the really big questions about human societies and why they developed as they did and how different societies deal with similar problems (like how to prevent powerful people just favouring their own families). The author sets out explanations for the different development including why western Europe developed all the elements of democracy (i.e. a lot to do with Christianity).

There is so much information in the book I will definitely listen to it again but learnt a lot from the first listen! I couldn't fault the narration.

interesting linking of 2 events

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

Reviewed: 11-09-19

This book explains the causes and political apathy about the 1952 smog which killed thousands of people and attempts to force the Government to act to protect people from its effects and the murders committed by John Christie at about the same time. Its message is about why people focused on the latter which was far less deadly than the former which is a good question. I didn't know much about the smog so that was interesting. One thing which was quite jarring, though, was the American terminology e.g. diapers, fall etc which sounded really out of place in this book.

Great insight into genetics

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

Reviewed: 31-08-19

This is a really interesting book which tells the lay reader with a general interest all you need to know about genetics. The author narrates the book which is great as he's clearly passionate and knowledgeable about the subject but he explains things very clearly. I particularly liked his explanations about what genetics can and can't tell us about human behaviour and a lot of the misunderstsndings/misinformation that come from press stories.

It's probably a book I'd listen to again to get the full benefit from as there is a lot of information in it but I really felt that I had a much better understanding after the first listen. Definitely recommend for people with any interest in learning more about this crucial subject.

Fascinating book

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-08-19

This book answered so many interesting questions I had never even thought to ask e.g. why was it that European diseases killed so many native Americans and not vice versa, why do societies tend to move from living in tribes to kingdoms etc. Jared Diamond answers these questions in a very clear way and by reference to various different societies around the world. I found it completely absorbing (so much that I have just downloaded his most recent book, Upheaval).