It's not just that Roy Dotrice has done a fabulous job of narration on the other books, but it's also that John Lee sounds like a novice actor reading his first Shakespearean role. This isn't narration; it's pompous oratory. He seems to love the sound of his own voice, at the expense of murdering the underlying text with his bombastic delivery. This is the weakest of the five books, so it didn't need much help being a disappointment on its own. John Lee makes listening to this book sheer torture.
It was a big let down.
One more chance.
He's a little smoother. His accents are inconsistent.
I was so eager since the Dig was innovative and exciting. This felt like a lot of somewhat irrelevant filler was used to increase page count. It was depressing, tedious, meandering, repetitive, and full of logic holes. It wasn't any fun, and there were too many nasty people, illogical behavior and decisions, and gratuitous deaths. The biggest part of the fun and fascination in the first book was the past history. In this book, even that was disjointed and dull. Also there were far too many pointless chases and fights and shuffling from place to place. Not to mention the utter downer of an ending.
Sheffield yes, Dikeos never.
Anyone over the age of seven.
Anger and disappointment.
The narrator reads in an excruciatingly slow, halting voice with completely illogical pauses. His dialog is stilted and simpleminded. Peopleceother all spund tnevsame or sound ridiculous. Every time I think I've encountered the worst possible narrator, I find a new low. This is it. Sheffield's book are usually idea-rich, but with slow pacing. A narrator like this turns a potentially interesting book deadly.
Someone who likes ugly mean character studies.
That it went on and on and it never went anywhere. And it was nasty and depressing the whole time.
None of them.
All of them.
I wasn't expecting a light Harry Potter book, but this book made me wonder if Rowling thought most people were like the despicable characters in her book. You could see touches of her wicked wit in the story, But it's all so nasty and unpleasant that it wasn't enough to justify the book. The characters were well-observed and well-drawn, but you wouldn't want to invest any time reading about them.
Someone else mentioned restarting the book several times. I did too. It's never a good sign.
The story kept me at a distance
I'm invested in Harry Dresden, but in addition to the disappointing narration, I felt the story was weaker than others in the series. I know it was supposed to represent a shift in narrative direction, but I'm not sure I'll like the new direction.
In addition to all the comments about the inconsistent narration, there is one glaring flaw that needs to be highlighted. When the voice actors are reading their portions, there is minor abridging of the text.
For instance, they may use their voice to illustrate anger, but there is no narration describing the voice as angry, nor the intensity or shadowing of the voice. Since, the voice actor may not always convey the subtleties that Frank Herbert intended, the listener may not correctly discern the proper mood. Also, stage direction gets lost during the voice actor presentations. Movement, facial expression, and gestures often get skipped.
Other books with a full cast (like the Dark Materials series) do retain the original narrative that occurs between the lines of dialog delivered by the voice actors.
Simon Vance is a terrific narrator, they'd do the listeners a favor and have him record the sections he didn't read. They could always sell it as a separate edition, hoping to make money off both version.
Alternatively, they could simply repackage the original Scott Brick version. It also has the extensive appendices that come with the book. The full cast version does not.
This was one of favorite books, so I have no qualms with the heavyhanded plot. But this was the worst audiobook I have even listened to. The cast was amateur and the delivery was way over the top. The soundtrack was so bad that some key dialog was even drowned out.
I don't think it even deserves the one star I gave it
The idea was compelling, but it jumped around a lot and this is very confusing in an audio book. It meandered and spent way too much time dwelling on meaningless details in descriptions. I can see how the Sheva children would pay attention to smells, but he even excessively described smells that only the humans were present for, and would not normally be noticed by humans or worthy of description.
I also thought the children were rather odd as mutants go. Why would an enhanced sense of smell be an evolutionary advance? It went overboard on the role viruses would play, instead of giving them an expanded role in genetics, he gave them the entire role in genetics and reproduction.
Then he threw in stuff about one of the characters having a deep religious epiphany and went on and on about it. It made no sense in the plot and must have just been something he wanted to share.
The characters spent too much time in maudlin navel-staring. And the language was frequently overwrought and melodramatic.
This was my first Greg Bear book and it will be my last. I don't like his style--way too much superfluous descripion. I'm not rating the book lower than two stars because it had an interesting idea, even if I hated how he executed it. I also cared about some of the characters.
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