Environmental engineer with a SciFi/fantasy addiction.
This is my first time writing a review since becoming a member a year ago. While I've thoroughly enjoyed many of these audio books, this is one of the first that completely pulled me in. I'd been trying to multi-task and take care of the dishes as I listened to the book, but gave up after the third time I found myself standing there with a dish suspended over the sink for 5 minutes. I've really enjoyed the other two Scott Westerfeld series I've read (Uglies, Peeps), but this is by far my favorite!
It takes a highly engaging story to keep me still for more than a few minutes ~ and even more so to keep me up well past the witching hour.
I really loved hearing Alan Cumming's deliberate and enchanting character voices. Daryn's personality came across so crisply, even while switching between "he/she" references as a girl airman. And Dr. Barlow - what fun!
For those who've enjoyed other books by Westerfeld - you won't be disappointed. For anyone who enjoys a good steampunk and/or alternate history genre - I'd highly recommend this as well. Heck, if you have even a squig of interest in concepts pertaining to biomechanics or fabricated animals - read up!
audible listener!! :o)
Great story! Scott Westerfield writes really wonderful characters who carry everything.
The plot was nice but a bit simple. So I liked the world he invented (all the beasties!) and the characters the best. The dialog is hilarious!!
Oh yeah, and then I bought the next two in the trilogy!!
Wondrous alternative history
The wild count. He shows a great analytical mind and fits what would be expected.
He understands the European slang and it sounds right coming from him.
Alan Cumming does a fantastic job of performing this story. He has a great range of accents so you really get a sense of the characters when they speak. He effortlessly switches back and forth from narration to Scottish to German and back again. His narration is very nuanced, flowing very well.
The story itself lends itself very well to the audio format. Without getting into a lot of dense backstory or explanation, the author still manages to portray his fantastical alternate history of a British Empire based on genetic manipulation clashing with a steampunk "Klanker" German alliance for a new version of World War I. The story manages to stay "real" and grounded in its characters while staying true to its science fiction.
Accents, accents, accents! They were, if not true to life, exaggerated just enough to fit in with the story's sense of pulpy adventure (ala Indiana Jones).
"Not the World (War) You Know"
Well developed main characters. Secondary characters were developed just enough without wasting time and words on unnecessary paragraphs. The story and technology are well thought out and interesting. It's YA but an entertaining diversion from reality.
This was my first experience with narrator Alan Cummings. His performance was very good. It did not grab me right away but I warmed up quickly. His characterizations make each person easily identifiable. He narrates all three in this series and there is excellent continuity on narration (I've listened to series before where the same narrator actually pronounces proper nouns differently from book to book in the same series! Very annoying).
yes! couldn't stop listening
really identified with Darren, because she follows her dream in spite of cultural norms
He's mesmerizing. I don't know how he switches accents like he does so effortlessly and so convincingly!
I haven't actually finished listening to this story yet, but I'm enjoying the narration so much, I had to comment. So far, the story has been great fun - two very likable teenage protagonists and their adventures in the run-up to WWI. In this alternate history, the Austro-Hungarians have mechanized weapons like clankers, while the Brits have fabricated beasts (genetically engineered crossbreeds). If you like steampunk and modern European history, you should definitely enjoy this. And Prince Alec and Derryn Sharp (a Scottish girl posing as a young airman) should be a great hit with teens. But really, the best thing about this audiobook is Alan Cumming. He is stupendous. He nails all the different accents and conveys the characters' personalities so well through tone of voice -- and he reads the story with such obvious relish. It's a delight to hear. I want him to read ALL my audiobooks from now on. I might even like him better than Jim Dale and Stephen Fry. At any rate, he certainly joins them on my list of absolute favorite narrators.
I typically like drama in the narrator, but Alan Cumming was overly dramatic to the point of distraction. And his mock-German accent was inconsistent and unrealistic. Ugh. The story itself was an unsettling mixture of admiration for the teen heros, painting them first as naive and then as smarter than the surrounding adults. I typically enjoy fiction aimed at preteens and teens, but in this case, I found it a waste of my listening time. And the final straw was that the story ended in the middle. Clearly a setup for a sequel, but without enough resolution to make one feel that they had arrived at anything other than a disappointing break in the story. And if you want to hear the end, you better buy the next installment. I'll save my money and my credits.
I enjoyed this twist on WWI.
The Leviathan was my favorite. i thought it was a well thought out system.
It's a YA novel, but a great one. The reader makes it even better. I enjoyed the tale much more than I should have as an adult. It's just fun. I try to point my students who are reading Hunger Games toward this excellent story. It has a wonderful female protagonist, plenty of action and amazing creativity.