Someone who has no interest in character development, a semi-believeable plot, or anything beyond a superficial story may enjoy it. The premise is interesting, but the execution is awful.
The utter destruction of my suspension of disbelief was the most disappointing part of the story. I love science fiction, but it has to have at least an ounce of plausibility or else the reader (listener) is unable to remain immersed in the story. In addition to that, the characters were one-dimensional, boring, and not memorable. Major historical figures (FDR, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, even Adolf Hitler) were all caricatures that seemed to be created from superficial research of their personalities and histories.
His accents were pretty well done and his pace was good. I especially liked the voice he used for Einstein.
The main scene that pushed me over the edge from at least still being amused by the train-wreck of a story to actually feeling like I wasted my time listening to the book is when Svetlana, the mother of the boy with cancer, "repays" the main character for helping her son. It was over the top and borderline offensive. I only continued pushing through because I paid for the book, but I wish I had just stopped then.
I wish I had something better to say about this book because I was excited by the introductory synopsis. The premise seemed interesting and had so much potential. There are some interesting ideas in the book, but there aren't many and they are lost in the sprint from one ridiculous scene to the next.
I take some blame for not noticing the last line of the synopsis when I chose to give this book a try, "After the war, the lives of everyone on Earth are threatened by powerful aliens with their own designs for our planet." I either didn't read it initially or forgot about it because when the aliens showed up, I literally yelled, "What?" It was an unpleasant surprise and just made the story even more ridiculous.
I would absolutely recommend this to a friend. The plot is a bit fantastical but the passion and excitement in the storytelling and the enthusiasm of the characters involved overcomes any immersion issues.
I honestly don't have any other books to compare it to and that originality is one of the book's most redeeming values.
His vocal changes for each character were bright and clear. He added a level of tone and shading to the characters that I could never have hoped to by just reading the book. His voice for Mr. Penumbra was perfect.
I tend to listen to audiobooks as I commute to and from work and the sign of a good audiobook is one where I continue listening for 10-15 minutes after I arrive at my destination. That happened almost every time I listened to this book. So, if I had infinite time, I would have loved to listen to the whole thing in one sitting.
I'm a software developer by trade, so I have a pretty good handle on a lot of the technical details in this book. My best advice for anyone like me who understands the technology they talk about is to to just let go and try not to pick it apart. This story is a wonderful, optimistic look at the possibilities of the human race's technological advancement and if you spend too much time focusing on inaccuracies you'll miss the point and won't enjoy the story as much.
First off, do not listen to this version of the audiobook. Do not walk, RUN to the unabridged version. I listened to this version and my fianc?e read the actual book and we found that I had missed a lot in the abridged version.
However, I do have to say that the way the book was edited to provide this abridged version was very masterful. Even though I found out later I had missed much, without hearing it from someone else I never would have known. The narration is perfect and the story is riveting. I can't remember the last time I was able to dive so deep into a story and enjoy it so much and I can't wait to see another novel from Niffenegger.
The format of this story involves a lot of flashbacks to the main character's past with his wife with splashes of the present thrown in to advance the storyline.
Unfortunately, the actual storyline is not that interesting and I found myself growing anxious waiting to get back to the flashbacks. The flashbacks are wonderful. They are well written and well executed by the narrator.
Just for the flashbacks/backstory, it's well worth listening to.
It takes a very long time for the story to get going and even then it's still somewhat slow, but it is very charming and entertaining.
Some of the plot devices are a little too convenient, but it's well worth listening to.
While I think it's a great story, I would like to warn potential listeners that if they are truly interested in this book, especially if they have listened to another of Stephenson's wonderful creations, that they steer clear of the "unabridged excerpts" audiobook and pick up the real book.
Basically, the format for the "Unabridged excerpts" is that individual pieces of the story are read verbatim from the book, but then "bridges" are inserted between the excerpts to summarize the story that you're missing between the excerpts. The problem is that the execution of this is awful in this case. There were many significant events that were either glossed over or in some cases outright skipped. This left me confused and lost in a lot of spots and not really caring by the time I got to the end of the book.
The discontinuity of the excerpts and bridges really ruined my ability to immerse myself in the story and made it really hard to fully enjoy it.
So, think twice before you listen to this, you may be disappointed.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.