Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi were made for each other. No, not that way, you twisted people, but artistically.
I am a fan of Mr. Scalzi's works, with the occasional misgiving over the frequency of profanity; I would not hand a Scalzi work to a child, but a teenager I would have less issues. He has excellent pacing, his stories gleefully dance down a plotline with the sporadic hard twists and turns, and humor abounds even while a serious story is laid down.
I have now heard three of Scalzi's works narrated by Mr. Wheaton, and his voice fits the tone of the books like that oft mentioned glove. So perfect is the match between authorial voice and narrated voice, I find myself hearing Wheaton's delivery even while reading Scalzi's Whatever blog. Scary, eh?
I've listened to this one twice now. I think I'll have a third helping.
Split Infinity was released in 1980. While the core story remains a classic hero's journey of discovery and rise to power, the carrier novel for the story does show its more than thirty years.
Some of the dialog is heavily stilted for the ears of someone who is used to modern fantasy from authors who built upon frameworks like these. There are times it's difficult to really empathize with the story, and there are more than a few moments where I was booted right out of suspension of disbelief. If this were a modern story, just released today, I'd have to call it an amateur work from a raw author.
This book was NOT released today, however. And despite its faults, artifacts of its age and not the author's skill, it is still a good story and an solid piece to drown out the monotony of one's workday. I would note here that the entire Apprentice Adept series is almost perfectly sized for one per (extended) workday; handy, that.
Traber Burns did an excellent job of breathing life into the moments that threatened to fall flat, with a sort of steady voice that allowed me to paint a mental image of Stile in a way that reading them so many years ago did not.
Taylor Anderson nailed this first book. From the first moment, the crew of the USS Walker come alive. They are their own people, with concerns and beliefs and feelings separate from one another, rather than just being background details and storyhelpers.
The details and language of setting are excellent, and the explanations for terms a modern reader might not understand are skillfully inserted without being obvious.
William Dufris took these real, living characters and made them pop. Without needing tags I can tell who is speaking, through everything from accent to pacing.
I bought this off a jacket description that grabbed my attention, and now I'm busily plowing into the rest of the series. Fantastic fodder for walks or runs or doing mindless work around the house.
Elantris is not my first Sanderson work. I started with Mistborn, after hearing him on the weekly podcast Writing Excuses. Elantris came up frequently, including mentioning it's avalanche ending and it's raw length for a breakout novel.
As I am going back to school, I don't have time to read long novels that require me to really -think- about what's going on, much to my dismay. With this in mind, and wanting to read Elantris (because I enjoyed Mistborn) I picked up the audiobook.
Jack Garrett did an excellent job of reading the text. After the first part was finished, I had a solid enough idea of how each character sounded, and the voices were consistent enough through the rest of the text that I didn't need any of the "he said, she said" to understand who was speaking. His pacing was good, allowing me to even skate through some of what would have been the more boring bits of narration without my attention wandering away. Mr. Garrett, four stars for your excellent job.
The novel was quite a good story, especially in the context of a first book published by an author. As mentioned above, there are improvements that could have been made, polishes applied, but as a first sold work it's quite good. There were elements in the book where things seemed to drag on, and there were times that Sarene came across as a bit cliched. The ending, infamous for it's avalanche quality of resolution upon resolution, was smoothed by the audio narration, but I can imagine it being much more difficult in text.
All in all, a solid book, an excellent read, and something I have not in the slightest regretted purchasing.
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