I used to listen to these on tape when I was a kid, and when I saw them here, I had to download 'em. They're almost as great as I remember. Some of the voice acting is a little off (I'm looking at you, Elrond -- whose idea was that?), but the main characters are great, and the selection of material is excellent. One and three-quarters thumbs up.
This rollicking tale invented the lost world / jungle opera genre and spawned a host of imitators and hangers-on who variously copied the book’s vibe and ethos or just its specific devices (like the “white witchcraft” of the hunter’s guns or the terrifying of an ignorant native race by pretending to bring on an eclipse which luckily happened to occur just when it was needed. It’s old, colonialist, and racist (though very mildly so in comparison with most of literature of the day), but it’s a humdinger of a thrill ride. Special mention goes to the incredible narrator Toby Stephens, whose accents make it all worthwhile.
The accents! My goodness, the man's accents are AMAZING. I wish I could read books to my kids like that. His reading of Gagool actually made shivers run up and down my spine.
I recalled reading and liking some of Crichton's books back in high school, so I thought I'd give this one a shot. The audio quality is good, although the narrator seems to be rather lost in some of the more emotional or excited exchanges -- his characters sound mildly peeved when they should be enraged, or slightly put out when they should be terrified.
I liked the science/philosophy sections of the book. Crichton's discussion of global warming, and his larger discussion of the manipulation of information, is interesting and worth consideration.
As a novel, however, I really disliked State of Fear. The characters are unreal, from the godlike Kenner to the disgusting Bradley. The plot is (in my humble opinion) ridiculous in the extreme. Characters don't die when real people would, they do things that real people can't do, and they generally operate on a level of skill and information that I have a hard time crediting. I suppose that's what thrillers are all about, but I find it easier to stomach in movies than in books.
Anyway, your mileage may vary. I suffered through the fiction to get at the philosophy.
This is my first review on Audible, but I had to write one after listening to this. The book is fantastic -- one of my favorite Dickens novels, with awesome characters and wordcraft (which is what everyone reads him for, isn't it?) -- but what really makes this audiobook worth it is the narrator. He breathes life into each and every character, and he reads neither too slowly nor too quickly.
Absolutely A+. I've already convinced a friend to pick this up, and she's enjoying it now.
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