I had never even heard of Sarah Vowell before downloading this book from Audible, but I am now a big fan. Ms. Vowell, with her dry delivery and ironic wit, is often compared with David Sedaris. The difference is this: Mr. Sedaris makes funny observations about his life, while Ms. Vowell is a literate and well-read humorous commentator on American history and politics. While Mr. Sedaris might make you laugh (if you can stand his voice), Sarah Vowell might actually make you think.
This novel was unbearable for me: simplistic plot, painfully dopey voice characterizations (the voice used for Peabody was cringe-inducing: where exactly is Peabody supposed to be from?) and, as has been pointed out by others, absolutely no thought given to the "50 years in the future" aspect. Skip it. Read some Elmore Leonard instead.
I have to admit that I've read a lot of "beach books" with simplistic characters and wooden dialog, but this one is special: it adds ham-fisted politically correct subthemes. Not worth listening to.
I was amazed to find, on listening to this audiobook, that the book was written recently, since the characters sound like they're from some 1970s sci-fi novel.
The narrator is entirely unconvincing as a child, and only a little less so when conveying an adult, and the story is filled with unrealistic ideas and characters.
-- Why does the population begin calling the field around the Earth the "Spin", anyway? It doesn't spin, apparently, but I guess that was just a cooler book name?
-- The idea that the wife of a former colleague of the elder Lawton would, on her husband's death, take a job as a HOUSEKEEPER for her husband's former friend beggars belief.
-- the boy genius Jason Lawton, a direct descendant of Tom Swift, sounds like he's the scientist character out of a Hardy Boys novel, mixed with some Robert Heinlein.
I should also note that all the female characters are basically weak. No female scientists, only alcoholics, religious fanatics, and housekeepers.
The whole thing is interesting scientifically, but an absolute failure as to character and plot, in my opinion. I could hardly finish it.
This is a terrific book that I'd read many years ago. One of the best sci-fi novels ever, and a great novel even outside that genre. This production is quite good, and most of the voices are terrific.
Very strangely, however, this production sometimes uses two VERY different voices for the same character! For example, Duke Leto is voiced by an American-sounding actor in one scene and then a Brit in the next. Later, it will be back to the American!
The same with the Baron Harkonnen: two very different voices.
This is a very confusing state of affairs and I can't imagine why it was done. Oddly, the two actors voicing the same character don't even try to sound alike at all.
The book is so good, however, that it still gets 4 stars.
As a fan of Michael Connelly's work, I was quite disappointed by this effort. Although the narration was adequate, the story itself is incredibly simplistic and implausible. I recommend you skip it and get The Lincoln Lawyer instead.
Another terrific book from Michael Connelly, well-narrated by Richard Davidson. Definitely recommended if you've enjoyed other crime thrillers from Connelly.
This was the first audiobook I listened to after joining Audible.com, and it is still the best. Terrific story, fantastic narrator who really makes it possible to believe you are listening to different characters. Highly recommended.
I've read many Robert Ludlum books in the past, and can generally count on Mr. L for a good vacation read; the equivalent of a decent movie. In this case, perhaps it is the cloying narration, or maybe it's just the incredibly cliched, wooden dialog, but I had to quit: I just could not listen past the first hour or so.
If you ignore my warning and buy this, you'll be treated to:
1 - hackneyed dialog like "but how could he have known?? How!?!" or "I'll need good men, the best in their field. And they'll have to be men I can *trust*".
2 - female characters of every nationality all speaking with similar accents
3 - characters you just don't care about
Stay away from this one. If you'd like a thriller, I'd recommend something by Michael Connelly, like the excellent Lincoln Lawyer, or Echo Park.
My first Michael Connelly book and it was just what I wanted: fast-paced, interesting characters, plot-driven. And great narration. Mr. Grupper was terrific. Best thing I could say: I could not put it down!
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