I've been a huge fan of Lawhead since I was a teenager and enjoy revisiting his books every so often. This series is one of my favorite - along with the Pendragon Cycle. I can't say enough about this story and thought the narration was fine (although I see some people didn't like it) - the richness is in the story and I don't think the narration does any harm. HOWEVER - I did take a star off for performance because all throughout the story there is a background echo of the audio. I heard it on both the Android and iPad clients, so I'm sure it's not a glitch. Sometimes it's faint, sometimes it's distracting. I've listened to a lot of audio books and have never heard this. Don't let it cause you to pass up this book - it's worth putting up with the echo - but just a warning.
This was a great listen! Great stories of faith dispatched through a man who truly trusted the Lord. The narration was great also.
I really liked Sullivan's Riyria books - so much so that they are a new top-shelf favorite for me. So, I had high hopes for this book - I missed the kickstarter but would have been a backer. But overall I did not enjoy the book. The story was somewhat interesting and the narration was good. I liked how the story began - but it didn't really go anywhere special after that. And, it just wasn't that "awesome story" like every one of the Riyria books had been. Plus - *SPOILER AHEAD* - the weird relationship that came about at the end was awkward and made it feel that the book was less about what could happen to a society in the future and more about a hidden agenda and message on Sullivan's part - which I really don't think he had intended. I really like Riyria and Sullivan! I even emailed with him some (he's a SUPER nice guy and seems to work hard to communicate with his readers - plus how generous he is with his ebooks). I'll go back and listen to the Riyria books again and again. But, unfortunately, for me Hollow World is forgettable.
I enjoyed the first two books - of course they were a bit dark but I kept wanting to see a redemptive end. Well, without giving any spoilers away, I think it's safe to say that third book did not bring the redemptive, everything-tied-up-in-a-little-bow ending I was hoping for. Which is fine - it's Hoffman's story and he's free to write it how he wants - I'm just along for the ride. And, given how dark the first two books were, why would I expect anything different?
But, what was so frustrating was the narrator switch! (!!!) Steve West, who narrated the first two books was great - distinct voices for everyone and had just the right voice for the tone of the story. Sean Barrett was not only a less talented reader (a lot of times when Cale and Vague Henri or IdrisPukke were having a conversation you couldn't tell who was who - especially after being used to the distinct accent that Steve West had given IdrisPukke), but he did annoying things like pronounce IdrisPukke with an "uh" sound on the end of Pukke (Pook-UH) - and Henri like the french (?) pronunciation (Auhn-ree). Why do they let them do that when they do a narrator switch?!? The new narrator should be required to listen to the original and at least try not to introduce such blatant changes.
So, if you enjoyed the first two and need to know how the story ends, then go for it - just know what you're getting into. Otherwise, you might just want to skip the third one and read some synopsis somewhere to give you some quick and painless closure.
I grew up reading Lawhead books and this series was one of my favorite so it has been a delight to listen to again. The book/series/story/plot/etc all get 5 stars (more if I could). However, Robert Whitfield butchered the narration. I actually like his "narrator" voice - I really liked his reading of The Great Divorce - but in this book his character voices are horrible. He makes Scatha sound like a shrill drunk Indian woman, Tegid like an old wheezy, raspy man who's been smoking most of his life and everything he says is of dire consequence. I could go on... In fact, Whitfield's Scottish accents in general just hurt the ears. Also, uses different pronunciation for words. It's like he didn't even listen to Stuart Langston's performance of the previous books and instead struck out on his own course. I don't know who's pronunciations are more correct but once started they should have kept it consistent.
Maybe (but only maybe) it wouldn't be so bad if Whitfield had read the first two, but after getting so used to the previous narrator, Stuart Langston, it is hard to switch gears. Other reviewers said Stuart Langston was flat and monotone (I disagreed). Well, certainly no one will say that about Whitfield, but he could use some toning down.
Don't let it deter you from the story, though - it's worth the pain! I just wish they would re-do the narration and either get Stuart Langston back or someone who can at least try to mimic his performance so it isn't such a jarring transition.
It was a good enough book - the story moved along nicely and the plot was interesting. But one thing kept bothering me - Kyle kept wasting time - lots of it. He would have a breakthrough interaction with the ship and learn some valuable piece of info...then would seem to sit around and flirt with Sandra for 8 hours until the next crisis, then have to play 20 questions with the ship again while the fate of the earth hung in the balance. The world is at stake, man! Keep talking to the ship! Also, would someone really sit around that long without contacting some experts or government types? I understand the paranoia that they'd want to take your ship - but don't be so arrogant to think that you can figure out how to save the world w/o a little help. Stop and pick up a cell phone or walkie-talkie if nothing else. Even taking into account that this was a fiction book and of course we want to see a "hero" - his actions just didn't follow common sense for as bright as he was portrayed to be. And, finally - the ship kept saying the thing about "Command Personnel" - but Kyle didn't once try to make Sandra "Command Personnel". Sure, the ship may have rejected that - but at least try.
I guess I like it when the protagonist either A) does what I think I would do in that situation (my own arrogance, I guess) or B) does something that makes me say "that's a great idea". I don't like it when they continually do things that seem contrary to common sense.
So, in light of that - while the story was interesting - I think I'll pass on the rest of the series. I want to enjoy a book and get lost in it - not wish I could take over (either the writing or the character) and do things differently.
It wasn't clear to me (maybe it should have been) but this audiobook does not contain the complete set of stories that are in the print version. The list of stories in the description is complete and the length is correct (I doubted these because the print version has so many more stories). So, the stories it contains are unabridged in and of themselves, but really I think this audiobooks should be listed as abridged since it only contains a small subset of the stories.
As for the stories themselves - awesome! Ender's Game was especially fun since it's been so long since I listened to the novel. It was fun to hear the origin and “core” of the story. The Best Day was also fun and really thought provoking.
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