This story is very interesting to listen to. The narrator does an excellent job of capturing most of the characters. The story itself is well written and the pacing is good.
If you're interested in technology, then this story will speak to you directly. If not, the mystery itself may interest you.
The only weakness to this tale is the very end. I don't want to give anything away, but it feels like the author is in a bit too much of a rush to wrap everything up. Even so, the ending is still satisfying.
Personally, I group this book with Ready Player One. That isn't because they are exactly the same, but the mystery and focus on technology means if you like one you will probably like the other. Plus Ready Player One is narrated by Wil Wheaton. What's not to like?
This is a very good book. If you like your sci-fi mixed with liberal doses of '80s pop culture, you will think you've died and gone to heaven. The characters are all fleshed out and believable (assuming you accept the premise of the book). The author very clearly loved the 1980's and was probably in the nerd culture during that time (because he picks up on a lot of detail you generally wouldn't know about unless you'd lived through it or knew someone who did.
The choice to have Wil Wheaton read this audio production is absolutely perfect. Not only is it great considering the subject matter and Wil's own background, but Wil does a really great job of reading the book and bringing the characters to life.
The only issue I had with the book was that after the author clearly established that the main character is an 1980's scholar, he continues to have the main character rattle off various facts and tid bits about the 80's even when the info really isn't central to the story.
However, I can forgive that because it wasn't too badly overdone. Overall, Ready Player One was a book I just couldn't put down.
I like the Covert One series, and this is a good continuation. If you liked the other novels, this will be a decent read as well. However, Kyle Mills is not quite up to Ludlum's standards as the writing itself goes. There are several times in the book where the characters are left in a precarious situation and then when we finally get back to them, we find them out of danger miraculously with only a sentence or so explaining the "miraculous" thing that happened to save them from certain doom, without going into any real detail.
The voices I have in my head for the characters don't match this narrator, but he's really not as bad as some of the reviews make him sound.
I do hope this series is going somewhere, though. I hope they don't try to add book after book with no real plan on how to end things. I think these characters are probably just about "done." They've been through too much for it to be plausible that they will continue like this indefinitely.
Neil Gaiman's writing is masterful. He has a way of taking familiar things and turning them on their ear. Not only is the novel itself a good one, but this new audio version of the book makes the original story even better, with a full cast reading the book (and Neil reading parts before and after the main story. Neil is one author with a great voice, so it would have been good if he read the whole thing himself, but the full cast really adds something. Trust me, you'll enjoy it!
Normally, I don't like abridged audiobooks. I make an exception for this one, however. A Christmas Carol is one of Patrick Stewart's favorite stories and it really shows. Although this edition does cut out some of Dickens own commentary and small bits of the story, it does not cut out anything critical and stays 100% true to the original. Patrick Stewart's narration is absolutely masterful. He does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of each character.
If you only listen to one version of this story for the holidays, make it this one. You won't regret it.
If you listen to two versions (as I usually end up doing), pick this one up and the unabridged version by Jim Dale.
Every story was interesting and they wove together rather well. The first story was probably the weakest in my opinion, because it never really explains itself to the listener very well. Still, even that story was fun to listen to.
I'd really like to see more stories written in this alternate future world.
This book isn't nearly as bad as some reviewers might lead you to believe, but it clearly isn't as polished as his later work. What really hurts this book is the recording itself. I don't know if Audible is to blame or if this is the way the publisher recorded the title, but the audio is very poorly recorded. At the beginning, the recording is too slow. I keept looking at my iPod to see if I accidentally put the book on slow speed. In other parts it is too loud, so the audio distorts regardless of your listening level. If you are interested in the book, I suggest you go get a physical copy or e-book and read it, don't bother with the audiobook version.
They actually read this book in some high schools, which surprised me, since I had read it on my own many years ago. I was happy to see it being offered here at Audible because it's been quite some time since I last read this book. I find the story compelling (although it doesn't really break "new" ground).
A few words about the audio production:
There are some authors that have pleasant speaking voices and read their own works well. Ursula K. LeGuin is not one of those. Thankfully, she only reads the beginning and ending of this book.
The fellow that reads most of the rest of the book is OK, but he overacts which takes something away from the power of the story itself. You will find yourself shaking your head sometimes at the overacting.
If you've never read this book, go ahead and get this book. If you've already read it there is no reason to inflict the poor reading style on yourself.
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