While the story is probably terrific (it should be with all the high ratings), I am struggling with the narration. I am only an hour in, but I don't know if I can listen to the rest of this. From the very start the narration has been hampered by wildly varying volume. It seems that the narrator starts each phrase at high volume, and then drops off to very low volume at the end of the phrase. If I turn up the volume to hear the end of each phrase, the start of the next hurts my ears. After an hour of listening I have a headache, and I've missed 25% of the narration on the quite end. I haven't run across anything quite like that on other audible books.
I've listened to dozens and dozens of audiobooks and there are only one or two flops. One is the fifth book of the Game of Thrones series where they changed narrators and the pronunciation of the names of key places and characters. The other is this one. The sound level of the narrators voice drops at the end of nearly every sentence, making it almost impossible to listen to unless you're in complete silence. Then, it's merely annoying. I gave up on the book half a dozen times or more and only finished it by listening during times when I had nothing else. Fortunately the story, when you can hear it, is compelling and unique enough to bother. I'd recommend reading the book rather than listening to it.
Better vocals would have bumped this to at least a 3. It is difficult to appreciate the story when the reading is so horrible.
I was excited about the premise of this book, but so much of the book is spent describing completely irrelevant things. It was like the author got a listen of descriptive words and used a computer program with the function of using as many adjectives as possible to describe everything.
I would never listen to John Lee again - he reads like William Shatner with a British Accent.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
I've listened to over 100 audible books, and this is the first with terrible production quality. Unless you have a "loudness" button on your device, or some other way to shrink the dynamic range of the audio.
Fortunately for me, I have a really good external sound card on my computer, and I was able to tweak the audio to a reasonable range. However, my preferred listening to device is my phone, and there is no way I can listen to this book on that device.
ALMOST EVery phrase STARTS OUT REally loud and then get so quiet ... you ... can .. hardly ... hear.
My only option on my phone was to turn the volume to max to hear the quiet part, but then every 30 seconds or so, a loud word would blast my eardrums painfully.
...Oh, and the book is narrated by John Lee doing his very best to over-enunciate every word, and stop JUST shy of rolling every "R". He also dramatizes EVERY LINE so that mundane descriptions get the same emphasis as tense action sequences. What a hack.
Anyway, I'll come back and re-rate the story once I've finished listening to it on my computer.
I wont go in to the plots too much mainly if it 3 - 5 stars you may want to try it.
It's slow moving a lot of back stories spaced out through the story so it jumps around. I like the story, but its slower then Stephen King novels.The plot is ok. use a credit or sale but most sci-fi buffs may get into it.
The Narrator has a British accent and is a little dry to boring to listen to.
The least helpful reviewer on audible.
There are some characters I just don't care about, but the ones I do care about I really love. There are some amazing moments in this story. If you're a fan of space operas this will be right up your alley. Maybe it's just not for me. I got the sequel because I really want to know how this ends.
Not especially. There are too many stories happening all at once (for my taste). Found it difficult to hear when one story line ended and the next began. LOTS of characters to remember. I listen while driving 30to 90 minutes at a time.
If the cast is as limited as his voices.
the book doesn't so much end as it just stops. kind of like the last episode of the season in a TV show. It's a cliff hanger to bring you back. I hanen't looked but I suspect there are 2 or more additional books after this one.
Excellent story and thoroughly enjoyable read/listen - Peter Hamilton's well developed characters all fall within the full spectrum of the human condition, beautiful flaws and all ... and the varied aliens are truly alien in their essence - especially the main alien antagonist, in the sense that "it" doesn't think or isn't motivated in the same context as a human (as it should be - which many writers fail to establish). The multiple characters, from all walks of life, really develop over the two books and all culminate and contribute towards the story's climax.
John Lee's narration is brilliant, and brings each of the many characters to life with unique voices and style. I didn't hear many of the production issues others have mentioned - I thought it sounded excellent throughout. I was sorry to finish this two book series and will be looking for another audio-book to fill the void.
I generally like John Lee quite a lot but just as there are few things more annoying than Americans trying on fake British accents, there are very few Brits who can do a tolerable American and he is not among them (even the superlative Patrick Tull falls short in this, if very little else). Peter Hamilton is British, so perhaps that dictated this choice, but given that 90% of the characters are being portrayed as having some form (some completely unidentifiable form) of American accent it was an unfortunate one.
Lee's efforts in this regard are at best grating and at worst absurd to the point of parody. To single out just one example of many, the character of American astronaut Wilson Kime sounds like a parodic William Shatner on a particularly hammy day--think of Zapp Brannigan from Futurama but with twanging vowels that go sproinging off in startling directions and resemble the inflections of no actual American anywhere ever in history. I suppose this stuff sounds "American" to Lee, but to a native speaker it's just weird. (And a newsflash to Brit narrators in general: Not ALL Americans pronounce the letter "R" so hard it bruises your eardrums.)
Some listeners may find this less annoying than I, and in small quantities I can tolerate it, but it when it's this pervasive it really mars the experience of what is quite a decent SF novel.
Hugh Laurie is the exception that proves the rule: Brits shouldn't do "American" (and vice versa).
I did not Like John Lee as a narrator! His tone, accent and dialect cause the volume to fluctuate continually throughout the story. He clips words and almost mumbles, which makes it difficult to listen to while driving (when I listen to most audiobooks).
Uh, NO. It and its must "read" successor, Judas Unchained, are in total almost 80 hours. Sorry, but I like to sleep and eat. The story is great but this just ends at a very climatic point. You cannot "read" this book without listening to the Judas Unchained.