When I first looked at this book, and read the other reviews that had been posted, I could see that the overall impression wasn't all that favorable. So did I take what they had said and skip over this one? Not at all. The story itself was actually pretty good, even if the beginning is a bit shaky at first, and there were several moments that I was strongly reminded of the episode "Waters of Mars." The author did a splendid job keeping the characterization of Amy and the Doctor true to form, and there were some instances that actually did make me laugh out loud (which led to several strange looks from the other students in my art class.) The ending, which I won't spoil here, felt a bit rushed to me, and there were some gaps in storytelling that could have been tidied up a bit better, but overall, a good Who read.
James Albrecht did a great job narrating this book, with good timing and a solid range of emotion apparent in his voice. Best of all, he was one of the few readers of the Eleventh Doctor's stories (that I've listened to, that is) that actually got Amy's Scottish accent right! There are several accents that were prevalent throughout this story, and Albrecht did a great Scottish accent, and wasn't too far off on the majority of the American accented characters either. The only thing that really got to me though, was that while he had a very fine British accent, he didn't really pick up too many of the inflections and cadences that make Matt Smith's portrayal of the Doctor so amazing and fun. Despite that, I did find myself rather enjoying the story and performance. As a whole, I'd say that Apollo 23 was a enjoyable read/listen, especially if you're into secret bases, alien invasions, or just a bunch of Doctor Who related silliness. If I could, I'd give it 3.5 stars, however, the rating system only goes in whole numbers, it seems, so 3 stars it is.
Now, I haven't listened to every Doctor Who audiobook out there, but I have read enough books and listened to enough audiobooks to know a good one when I hear it. Although the science behind it isn't top-notch, it doesn't detract at all from the story, after all, when is Doctor Who scientifically stringent?
Since the Doctor and Amy get separated rather early on in the story, the narration switches back and forth between the two parties, which the author uses well to build suspense at critical points in the plot. Additionally, I applaud Llewellyn for writing the characters so well to form, especially the parts from the Doctor's point of view, which fit the Eleven's character so perfectly.
The narration was, if anything, even better. Arthur Darvill absolutely NAILED the Doctor's inflections, and when I say nailed, I mean it! He put plenty of character into every voice and even sounded great when reading the parts that were told from Amy's viewpoint! The Scottish accent was done well, even if it wasn't completely held through the whole performance, but the fact that she was discernibly Scottish was an improvement from other audiobooks I've listened to of late. Honestly, after listening to this audiobook, I want to hear Arthur Darvill read more audiobooks...a performer at his finest!
Overall, a very, very good read/listen. I actually listened to this one twice in a row, for sheer enjoyment of the story and the quality of the production.
I've found that when it comes to Orson Scott Card's writing and I, it's a bit of a love/hate relationship. I find myself, over and over, coming back to his books because of the crazy ideas that they embody, but then at some point or another just want him to skip the pages of pondering a character does before acting on something. In the case of Pathfinder, the story was very enjoyable, and I loved how the two stories that were running parallel for the majority of the book were woven together. Something I don't understand is why there are so many narrators, since they just took turns reading the whole part. This is something that I've noticed in other audiobooks of Card's stories, such as Speaker for the Dead. For the most part, I didn't notice when one voice gave way to another...but there was one change around chapter 17-18 that absolutely took me out of the story, it was so drastic. Suddenly, characters like Loaf and Umbo were being portrayed with totally different inflections and voices that it took me a long time to settle into the new narrator and fall back into the story.
This is a good read for any sci-fi fan, or anyone that's into time travel or fantasy in general.
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