Interesting read, well written and humorous. I found it entertaining to listen to, and was well read. It is not as detailed as Mr. Nivens other novels, but worth the listen. This is a short review, I am aware, but I am not inspired to write a longer one. It is about one guys travel through hell, the people he meets and his personal discovery, which is a large part of what hell seems to be about.
The rumors are true. Stephen King has not written a really good scary book in a looong time. This one is no different. My review is simple, it's simply not good. Buy another "zombie" ish movie.
Just don't bother. It is a horrible read, listen, story...wow. What a turd. I've read almost everything on Vietnam, WW2 and Iraq/Afghanistan, and FINALLY thought "WTH", I'll try it. Nope. Nope. Nope. Its worse than a 6th grade book on Vietnam, if you took out the profanity and such, it would be written for a 10 year old. Uhghh,,,Hope I can get a credit back.
There has never been a book written more important, interesting and timeless than Atlas Shrugged. I had read it years ago in the 7th or 8th grade. I remember thinking it was so far fetched that I viewed it as I would a sci-fi novel. When I read it this time, I see it as a wake up call to all Americans, all Humans. If you have not read it, or it has been 20+ years (like for myself) i can not over emphasize the importance of the reading. Ayn Rand has become my favorite author, and I am reading all of her works now. Read this novel, and while doing so see if her words hold the frightening familiarity of what you are hearing, seeing, being told, taught and watching all around you,
The author manages to spends HOURS developing almost nothing resembling plot development, character development, tension, timeline or anticipation. The story is so very dry and poorly constructed, I found myself rewinding to ensure i had not entirely missed something important, which would not have surprised me considering I found myself thinking "why am I still listening to this...I should download something new".
Issue 1: The author loves to over explain the simple. Example: I do not need an explanation as to how a generator works. I know that diesel fuel is converted to energy, which is used in combustion to create compression, which turns a crankshaft...you get the idea. This is not a joke, he explains how a generator works. How is this relevant, at all, to plot building? There are a few of these. I even started my own monologue once where i was sure he was going to explain the workings and construction of the gun turret. Thankfully he did not.
Issue 2: Some mechanical research would have been appreciated. Example: no one with any, and i mean ANY, mechanical knowledge would write that deisel fuel would start to spoil after 10 days. What? Are you an....whatever.
issue 3: Who's on first? Whats on second? Very hard to follow who is where. There is no development in who is doing what, where and why. It is like reading a poorly abridged book. People seem to suddenly, without explanation, be alone and then confronted with problems. These problems are supposed to be...scary? Nerve racking? And there are attacks that happen without any explanation. A fellow gets a finger bit off, but there is NO build up to it. They are talking about a "thing" in one of the infected and the next thing you know a guy is running off, and the other character follows him to find out his finger is bitten off. It is so NON-climatic that you do not care.
Issue 4: The characters themselves are husks of people. They are seemingly hollow of any depth. Not a one of these characters draws you in, and there is no one main character developed to give reference point. It is like a Stephen King book if Stephen King did not do his excessive character building. That is the only way a King book works. Note: Maybe the book should have been 3 times as long, it could have been good, really good probably.
......except for my next issue...
Issue 5: This might be the main issue. The narrator. WOW. Wow. It is painful. I am not kidding. It is so, so bad. How in the monkeys-ass did this guy get the job,. I swear he narrated some of the training videos I had to watch as a teenager going to work at Jiffy-Jube. He seems to love his deep vibrating sentence endings, which have no place. It makes the characters all seem like being inside one persons head, without the benefit of the knowledge that would offer. I don't think I can listen to him again, and that is a shame, because there are some books he narrator that I want/wanted to hear. I feel like i listened to him before, but can not place it.
So, no, do not waste your money, serious.
The age of the book is not the issue. As with most books written about post societal collapse, the age of the book is easy to get around. Since technology would revert initially. However, the survivors in this book must be some of the most ignorant people in any of the books i have read. It is a shame, because it has great potential. The main character is presented as an educated person, and as a camper, an amateur outdoors-man. But as the story progresses, it is as though he never evolves into a survivor, he never matures into an adult, really. I, personally, can not imagine the characters grouped together just existing, and so poorly for so long. I had to stop listening 1/2 way through book two and move onto something else before returning.
There are a few annoying technical details that really annoyed me. Maybe most people wouldn't think about them, but I doubt it. It is as though Mr. Stewart did no research on the technical aspects of time v.s. mechanics. This is separate from the annoyance of slow witted people "surviving". I suppose it could be a accurate representation of "career students", with no life experience, making a existence in a empty world, but over the YEARS the book takes place over, I can not believe that people would not start to evolve much better and faster than in the book. Also, the ease of which they find sustenance is a little beyond what I would think remotely reasonable. It almost seems like life in the book is easier than life before the epidemic.
I can't say don't read it, because a lot of others enjoyed it according to reviews, but personally, it would be last on my list of books to read.
one of the best Audio's books of it's type I have read.
The Stand. A similar story concept, but much much better. It is a much more intense and complete look at a post-apocalyptic world and the people left behind. It is much more interestingly presented and written about and the characters, I feel, are better developed and easier to relate to or believe. McCammon does an excellent job of putting you into their shoes (or lack thereof) and creating multiple characters with extreme character personalities. He goes way beyond The Stand's character's and morphing them into totally new, and incredible, beings. This is not a zombie book, but I do not want to give away too much. The "devil" creatures in both are well developed, but much more interesting and explained in Swan Song.
A must read if you liked The Stand or post-apocalyptic novels. It is not a monster or zombie book, but if you like those you should like Swan Song, too. IT deals with survival, but also of inner strength and courage and goes into the inner personalities of the characters.
Alas, Babylon is, by far, my favorite Audible book yet.
The entire story is excellent, including the narration. That might be my favorite part, except the story is not at all hindered by the age of the story. It is well built, the characters stick with you and are all "common" enough people, but extraordinary as well.
this is a must read if you are looking for a book of its type. Its not over the top in action or violence at all, but it reads beautifully and I would highly recommend it if you have gotten far enough into the reviews to read this, then you will like it.
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