This book exemplified the good and bad in humanity by brining to life a tale of struggle.
I heard about this book via TechDirt b/c the author published the book through Amazon directly and did tremendously well on sales. When I saw the Audible version, i had to get it since i had owned the Kindle version for a year w/o reading it. The book is now being made into a movie so its an all around win for independent authors.
Anyways, this book is one of the best books I've listened to in a while (and that's coming off of a long stretch of Alastair Reynolds and Peter F Hamilton books, among others). The writing is very, very good and i completely understand how and why it would be considered 'movie material'. This is one of those books that when you see the movie after finishing the book, you'll have the feeling that you've already seen 'that part' b/c the imagery Howey creates is vivid and complete. In that sense, i would say its comparable to Harry Potter and Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice & Fire series).
Onto the narration by Amanda Sayle - I was impressed. This book doesn't have a sole main character, it has many that all follow a similar story line and the split is pretty even, half male, half female. Audible books tend to have a narrator with a gender matching the protagonist but this one could go either way. I think Amanda did a wonderful job that certainly adds to the overall quality of the story.
Finally, i will say that had i actually read a synopsis of this book before buying it, i would not have purchased it b/c the type of story that it is doesn't typically appeal to me. That said, i'm glad i got it and i think you should skip the synopsis and hype too, just get it and listen/read!!
This book is wonderful. It's thought provoking and is not a predictable dystopian novel. I can see it appealing to a YA audience but I would categorize it as adult. There is minimal profanity and no sexual content. The narration is bad as many have commented and I understand that they use a different narrator for 'Shift.' ...I am grateful.
The book is captivating and I will be reading the next book, 'Shift', by Hugh Howey. It explores a silo and its society after the world, the "up top," has been contaminated and made unlivable. What is intriguing about it is it takes place generations after anyone has any idea about what happend to the surface and elephants and green grass in books seem to be made up creations. The general population has no idea what happend before and it is designed to be that way. The book explores the human need to find out their history and the need to leave the silo. The book shows how these needs effect their society. It is forbidden to discuss going "up top" or to go outside. It's is very much a contained psychological experiment in the essence that you have an absolute control group. The difference is it isn't an experiment in the book. It is their reality. There are good twists and I highly recommend it.
The use of whispersync for this book was very nice particularly because of the narration. I hadn't used whispersync before and found I liked it. It was cheap to pick up the audible portion after getting the book through amazon. I think it helped my review of the book. I started reading 'Wool', which was fortunate, because Amanda Sayle's ability to do additional character voices is lacking. She does fine on regular narration and Juliette's portion but her interpretation of male voices and some of the women is really bad and I think it would have led me to find some of the characters that I interpreted in my head as strong as juvenile. I utilzed whispersync for Julietts's portions and went back to the book if there was a lot of dialogue. I believe I might have abandoned the book if I hadn't. I would only get the audible version of this book if you choose to use whispersync. If you don't want to do whispersync I would read it and not listen to it.
I love to read books; and now just recently I've discovered that audio books are very cool!! I'm also an author. You can find the SciFi book "The Curse of Europa" here on Audible or on Amazon.
A little less description of EVERYTHING. To me the story started out slow and I almost gave up on it. I moved onto a different book and just about returned this book because it was just moving way too s-l-o-w, and the character voices of the mayor and especially the deputy were very annoying. I returned to it a few weeks later and stuck it out - but the beginning almost made me bail.
Once the story picked up steam I enjoyed it. It was clever and smart.
I just listened to story narrated by Angela Dawe. She was spectacular! Sayle's character voices rubbed me the wrong way I guess. Her normal narration voice was okay but she seemed to read a bit slow also which added to the slow start. I bumped the narration speed to 1.5 which helped.
In the end yes. But like I said before, I almost baled on it after about 2 hours. I think the word count could have been cut a lot without loosing any of the story.
I'm glad I stuck it out. After the mayor and the deputy voices were no longer needed, the other ones were not as bad. I was excited to dive into this book and was sad when I was ready to give up on it thinking it just wasn't my style. But I did like it over all. I think the author just has a way of over describing stuff, but I think that is what others liked about it. You can't please everyone :)
So, this book was an instant classic and has been reviewed and gushed over pretty widely. It's all true. Read it.
I'm just going to talk about the strangely uneven narration of this audiobook. Amanda Sayle reads it, and I'm going to take a wild guess and say that she must have a history in cartoon voice over.
The thing is, she reads the text PERFECTLY. She gets the intent of the the text more often and accurately than almost audiobook readers I've heard in the past decade.
I can't recall her ever mispronouncing a word, or getting the tense or conjugation wrong. That's an amazing feat for a book of this length.
Then why has she been so widely complained about in the majority of reviews of this book?
It's the voices she chooses to use. Most of the major characters both male and female are just perfect. This is a serious book, filled with grim, practical people. The acting for most of these characters is perfect for them.
But there are 4 or 5 character... important to the storyline, that sound like they're from the Rugrats cartoon.
Without giving away any spoilers, there is one character who might be thought of as the "mail villain". Ms Sayle gives this away almost instantly by using a voice straight out of a Hanna-Barberra cartoon. It is so jarring and distracting to hear this overdone slimy cartoon villain voice right in the middle of the most tense, serious scenes that it's almost impossible to stay invested in the story.
She gives another character a squawking voice that is commonly used for bird characters in cartoons. I actually went back to listen to previous chapters to see if I'd missed something that would explain this voice. Other female characters who are written as tough leaders who demand respect are read with overly cheerful little Disney baby voices.
All of these weird voice choices are too bad because otherwise Amanda Gayle could very well be one of my favorite audiobook actors ever. I hope she gets more opportunities in the future.
Now I'm going to go check IMDB to see if if my theory about a cartoon career is true.
I love the world Howey built and his vision of a society developed by several thousand people locked inside a huge underground silo. I especially enjoyed the customs, laws, and taboos that he imagined developing in that place as generations passed. After reading Books 2 and 3, it makes sense why the silos had no elevators and why people were essentially color-coded. The idea that the silo is a microcosm of our planet makes so much sense that I'll probably think back on this story for a very long time.
Howey's descriptions of place are detailed and well-written, the plot is interesting and never predictable, and there's a lot of nice development with both the male and female characters. In fact throughout the series, the female protagonists are presented as normal humans with believable motivations, and behaviors that are both good and bad -- just like male protagonists. All the characters, male and female, are important to the overall story and are given equal time. Howey wrote his female protagonists to be emotionally strong and to be atypically concerned with more than just their children and partners. And surprisingly, none of the women use sex as a method to obtain anything. Not once.
It's rare to find female characters even half as developed as the women in the Silo books. That's because even though it's almost 2016 for most of us, in sci-fi and horror it's still 1956 for a lot of male authors. For example, their type of 'strong' female character will always wear 6-inch heels and revealing clothes in hand-to-hand combat situations. Instead of just writing an interesting character who happens to be a woman, these authors would rather use one- and two-dimensional caricatures of women for plot devices, props, and fillers to move their male characters from one scene to the next, and to demonstrate the heroism, manliness, and sensitivity of their male protagonists. Just imagine the helpless victims to save, and the saints (usually mothers or potential mothers) to protect, and the hypersexualized cartoons to hump.
It's important for these authors to see how women are presented in The Silo Saga, especially because of its success. Maybe they'll realize that success wasn't an accident. And by giving male and female characters equal representation, similar development, and making an effort to portray both genders as people, maybe they'll be able to write better stories.
After listening to 17 hours and 43 minutes of Amanda Sayle's narration, I'd advise getting the Whispersync or Kindle version and reading all or part of this book yourself. She reads slow and slower, does the worst male voices, and she has a tendency to emphasize words and phrases as if she's holding up a children's book to share the amazing illustrations. The good news? The next two books are narrated by someone else.
Fun, interesting premise. Relatable (though sometimes forgettable) characters. Standard dystopian symbolism, but fresh, interesting story.
Complex story took some time to get into it, maybe a little more verbose than I would have liked, but was worth it as the story evolved nicely. Narrator gets a lot of credit for the various voices she used well to differentiate characters.
I really enjoyed the story. It starts slow, but once it got going it was hard to stop listening. Looking forward to the next book in the series. The narrator is very good except when she's doing male voices. Male voices were very flat, lacking emotion.