The book tries to please in the way that a summer movie pleases, which is to say that it is shallow. Moreover, it lacks the special effects available to a movie producer. The plot is rushed and so packed with suspense that there is room for little else. Of course, this audio book must be judged in context, with consideration of the quality of its counterparts, which is why I have awarded it two stars.
I haven't yet finished this audiobook, so i can't comment on the story line, although so far it has kept my attention. However, the narrator many time uses the volume of his voice rather than the inflection to distinguish between characters. This causes two problems - all the women sound the same (quiet) and all the men sound the same (loud) except for two men who sound different from the others because they "talk" faster. But of course, those two fast, loud talkers sound the same. On top of being confusing because of the volume issue, it is also very difficult to hear. If you are listening on headphones, then you have to turn it up enough to hear the quiet voices, but then it blares in your ear when it is a loud person. Since sometimes a back-and-forth dialogue occurs between a 'loud' character and a 'soft' character, every other sentence can vary, so it isn't something you can just keep adjusting. Even when listening on a stereo it is still very annoying.
I was very surprised how disappointing this novel was. The science was not impressive and the story was absurd. To me it read like a bad Sunday made for TV movie. I saw the movie also and I could hardly get through the movie as well. The movie was only about 2 hours.
I admit that the movie adaption to this story is crap. BUT, I had faith that Crichton being such a smart guy, could provide the detail and character enhancment that the movie so sorely lacked. I am happy to say that the unabridged version exceeds my expectations. The characters were real and easilly visual. The story had lots of punch, while still slowing down for a convincing backstory. A few times while hiking the story actually made me stop and curse. I was very much inside the story. I cared about the people. Loved some of them, hated some of them. I had opinions throughout of what I would do in that situation. I was involved! I cared.
It's not often that a story comes alive like this. I find myself sad that it had to end. If it had had another dozen disks, I would have been totally okay with that. I'm sad only that it had to end. It's too bad that the movie didn't capture the story I heard here. But that's Hollywood for ya.
I purchased this book based on the reviews on audible.com. As you can see by the rating I gave it, I was NOT impressed. The narrator of this story sounded like he was completely bored reading the story, which made it hard to really get into the book. Beyond that, it took about 5 1/2 hours into the book before it even got interesting.
While the plot of the story was decent, the narrator just seemed to ruin it. If it had a different narrator, my rating probably would have been higher.
If I had to judge Michael Crichton based on this book, I would conclude he's not much of an author. I had high expectations for this book just because the premise sounded very cool. However, once you get into the book, it's kinda boring. The plot seems to wander around only giving you small crumbs of interesting things to ponder. This book definitely doesn't "grab" you with suspense the way you'd want it to. And the plot transitions from one place to the next are just lame. The dialogue is boring and characters carry nothing interesting.
Although, I must pose one question. If you were to READ this book, instead of listening to it, would it be more enjoyable. I found the narrator of Timeline, John Bedford Lloyd, to be very boring himself. Although, I imagine it must hard for these narrators to sound "not boring" when reading a book for hours at a time. The most hilarious thing about this audio book is his attempt at doing a women's voice whenever one should talk.
Anyway, in conclusion, I would caution against getting this book. It does have an interesting premise, but the plot development is awful and obviously, the book was only written as a preface to Crichton getting another movie made. This might be the one time where the movie is actually BETTER than the book.
Great book. It combines perfectly history, science, and science fiction. The story looks very believable. Attention to details makes this book a most read. I have bought the hardcover, the e-book and the audible version. All are very good. I really like to read while listening to the audible version. I have noticed some differences between the audible version and the book. But this makes audible more interesting.