This story is one some people will love and others will hate. Think X-men plus Alias plus Men in Black. I enjoyed it.
There have been lots of criticisms of the narrator, and I don't understand it. I can be picky, and I thought she was fantastic. One of my most important assessment points for good versus bad narration is whether the narrator's differentiation of the voices of characters helps me keep them straight, or confuses me who is talking. I thought this narrator assisted me greatly to get to know the characters and keep them clear.
This is a good story, similar to SM Stirling's other books. Narration is competent and does a good job of differentiating the characters. Unfortunately, I found it so hard to follow, I broke down and bought the print copy so I could go back and forth. Within chapters, the book transitions from one storyline to another. In the print book, there are no subheadings, simply a few extra blank lines to show the transition. In the audio, these transitions run together giving almost no indication that a transition is happening. If you are doing anything at all that means you are not paying total attention every second, you will find yourself rewinding often to figure out what you missed. In combination with the print book to refer back to, I did really enjoy this book.
I purchased both the Kindle version and audio version of this book, and I'm glad I did. This story was very difficult to follow with only the audio book. I believe it was difficult to follow for these reasons: 1) the beginning of the story jumps around to different time periods with no explanation why or early assistance understanding how the story's pieces fit together, 2) for an American reader, the Norwegian names are difficult to differentiate when spoken, so it takes quite a while to keep the characters straight. This markedly increases the difficulties caused by #1. Seeing the names written in the Kindle version helped a great deal, and 3) because of #1 and #2, if you are doing anything else while listening and lose your concentration for a second, you can miss very important details of the plot.
I did enjoy the book, found the story to be well crafted, and finished it. I'm certain that without the written version to refer to, I would have given up early on.
This is a well written book and the performance of the readers enhances its value. I cannot disagree with most of the positive reviews of this book, yet I did not enjoy this book at all. All of the characters in this book are unlikeable and shallow and elicited no connection for me. I did finish listening to Gone Girl Gone, but I cannot recommend it. It passed the time, but that was about it.
I'm writing this review primarily to provide balance to the group of very negative reviews about the narrator. Those reviews almost stopped me from buying a great book. After listening, I found the criticisms of Mr. Baker's narration to be overdone. As a mainstream person who knows about as much about Mr. Jobs as most, I didn't find anything offensive in the narrator's reading of quotes from Jobs. I think this book is well worth the credits and the time. It made a very long drive to Florida tolerable!
Simon Prebble is my favorite narrator, so this clearly must have been my reaction to the book, not the narration. I found the book sloooooooow with not one single character that I liked or identified with.
I had to work really hard to get into this book. I found the narrator's consistent over-enunciation of the lead character's name: "Mma Ramotswe", was almost enough to make me give up. Imagine that every time the main character's name is said, and it is often (!), the narrator takes an audible deep breath and then give an exaggerated pronunciation. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. Someone else said it was like tripping repeatedly on uneven tile, and I agree!
That said, the book was enjoyable and aside from the complaint above, the narrator fine.
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