I read this book twenty years ago, and it's always been one of my favorite "Apocalyptic" novels. I was so happy to see it released as an audiobook.
While some novels of this ilk don't stand up to the "technology test of time" -- written before the proliferation of cell phones and computers -- this one does, for the most part.
Niven and Pourelle's great characterizations make this a wonderfully compelling read, and one that is hard to put down. However, there are a LOT of characters, so it may help to go to a website that allows you to "look inside the book," and print out the beginning pages that list the "Dramatis Personae." Easier to jog your memory on a long listen like this one.
I loved the concept of the story, and while I am not an online gamer, I am tech-savvy enough to spot the realism in the story of T'Rain and the REAMDE antagonist.
What brought the low rating was what appears to be poor plotting on the part of the author. A third of the way into the book, he introduces a new major character and spends much time explaining her background. Would have been much more effective weaving her story in from the beginning and merging her into the main plot at the appropriate time.
After that, the story just seemed to meander, looking for a direction and eventual denouement; the latter of which was obvious several listening hours in advance of it actually happening. Throw in some heroic deeds by the most unlikely of characters, and I was ready for it to end long before hearing, "... we hope you've enjoyed this program."
I did REALLY enjoy Hillgartner's narration, however, and would be happy to listen to his narration again soon.
I really liked the core story of the book, and Jeff Woodman is one of most talented narrators in the business. We follow the story of Oskar Shell on his journey, and it is riveting. Not so much is the story of his grandparents. While I am sure that, taken by itself, it is entertaining to some, in this reviewer's opinion, it was more of a distraction than anything else. There is a connecting thread, but it is weak at its strongest point.
Very near the top. Suspenseful, exciting, believable story, wonderfully narrated. Caught myself in parking lots several times waiting for a break so I could exit my vehicle.
The fact that the author obviously did a LOT of research about the plausibility of this work of fiction, and left the educated reader with a feeling that this could have happened as described.
The ending was powerful and emotional. There were other moments that brought an unbidden fist pump from me.
I don't write a lot of reviews. This deserved one. The top of my list (after a couple hundred audiobooks) includes The Help, Water for Elephants, the Axis of Time series and this one. I will definitely give it another listen soon. If you're reading this review, just stop and spend the credit. You won't regret it.
If it had more drama or been less predictable. I listened to it twice but not intentionally... My mind kept wandering to other, more interesting things (like watching a fly crawl up a wall) and I would have to rewind a bit and listen again
The narrator chose the same voice for different bees, and sometimes it was hard to discern who was speaking. One time she used a unique voice for the main character (Fl;ora 717) and didn't go back and edit a change. Unthinkable.
Not so much. It wasn't horrible, it just tried too hard to force normal bee activity into human attributes and feelings, and it didn't work. It seemed to be well researched... as the offspring of a beekeeper, I recognized many of the activities described, but it just proved that though they may sound interesting, to live them as a bee is pretty boring.
To compare this to Watership Down is an insult to Richard Adams and the legion of fans who treasure that work. This wasn't even a shadow of that.
This is a new series to me (though I've read Forstchen's "One Second After" and recommend it to anyone and everyone) -- and it was an entertaining listen.
As several other reviewers mentioned, the author's choice of adverbs is a bit limited and repetitious. If it had been written in software that has a word search, one could eliminate abut 75% of the uses of "evenly" and not lose a thing.
There are some other "oops" moments, as well, as Forstchen seems to forget occasionally that the protagonist has but one arm, and would have a bit of trouble leading a charge on horseback while brandishing a sabre or firing a weapon. There are several instances in which characters of different cultures and different languages have no trouble conversing without an interpreter... But the striking omission to me is the lack of attention to the feelings of the regiment over losing the link to ALL their loved ones in the "tunnel of light" event. The author devotes just a couple of paragraphs to this, which would have an overwhelming effect on everyone in the regiment.
Despite all that, Forstchen really knows how to write battle scenes, and keep them exciting and engaging. Lawlor's narration is fine once you get used to him, and I liked the listening experience well enough to order the next one in the series.
Visceral. Profane. Gritty. Real.
This was a powerful historical novel by a prolific author who knows his stuff. The reading was beyond compare... Charles Keating brought life to the charcters in a masterful way and made me a fan of his narration. Not for everyone, but for anyone who isn't offended by the rough dialogue of 15th Century British warriors, this is a "can't wait to be in the car to listen to the next section" listen. One of my favorite downloads to date.
One caveat: Very annoying musical interludes battle with the narration from time to time for no apparent reason.
Maybe 60 years ago, this was a good book. In 2009, it's not a good listen.
Great start, but the protagonist turns out to be lazy and a bit stupid. The author gets us through the first few months after the Apocalypse, then skips through years, with the only description being the "naming" of each year. What? How about schooling the young? How about trying to rebuild civilization? How about making a effort to improve the situation? In thirty years of time, they never got around to building the pump house to give them running water.
The most difficult part is that the reader has no one to identify with or like throughout the entire book. I listened out of obligation to the purchase, but wouldn't recommend this "classic" to anyone I respect.
Just finihed my second listen of this. There will be a third.
This work of fiction should scare anyone who reads it, as it could easily be our future. Forstchen has done us all a favor with his research and compelling writing... this is a hard book to walk away from. The narration is first rate as well; Joe Barrett nails all the voices and remembers them. Quit hesitating -- spend the credit and LISTEN to this one.
Krakauer is a good author, Scott Brick is excellent at narration and characterization.
Krakauer states late in the book that this "isn't the book he set out to write," that it became quite different after his research. As the "reader," it wasn't quite what I expected either. Billed as an in-depth look into the murders Brenda and Elizabeth Lafferty in 1984, the book started out there, but quickly delved into a detailed description and history of the Mormon religion. After a tireless string of examples, I became tired, and it was a long time before we ever got to see how this affected the "incident" at the heart of the book. I know Mormons who considered this book an attack on their religion, and it is easy to see why, though Krakauer keeps his text accurate to history and published works. As a listener, I found the book very interesting and educational, if not a compelling listen.
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