First off, I must say that this audio rendition of Ender's Game was very well done. The acting, the sound engineering, the inflections, they were all very, very good.
The story was compelling, and while I know some people find the concept that Ender is a genius is a bit of a stretch (they don't find his tactics that amazing), I prefer to look at the way the concepts are brought into the book, and this is well done.
I did not feel this was an audiobook, more like a radio theatre production of a book. There are no "he said" or "she said" lines in the book, and description is given by characters doing exposition for the benefit of another character. I find that in the more whimsical parts of the book, such as the Giant's Drink portions this becomes somewhat awkward as you wonder why they are speaking about something everyone is seeing.
I also felt that any group laughter, especially when it was a large group of people such as a class, felt forced or artificial. Again, it's the nature of the beast, you can imagine things to sound as realistic as you want it but when you need to show someone, they will inevitably feel let down.
On the whole, however, I feel this was extremely well done. The sound effects were not overplayed, the exposition was handled as well as it could be, and while some of the detail must have been lost in the format used here, it was to be expected and was handled gracefully.
The reading by Scott Brick was well done and, as I mentioned in my last review, fit the pacing and tone of the story. No fake accents, no overacting and he changes his voice to suit the passage he is reading. The rest of my review will be concerning the content of the book which dampens my liking for this fine narration.
While not anti-religious, Edgar Rice Burroughs was worried about what he saw as religious fanaticism and the dangers that lay within such blind devotion to an institution. This is an interesting theme and the plot points that tie this story together are rather interesting, but I feel that much of the story was being used to bash this over the readers head.
Take the words "religious fanaticism" and write them thirty times in a page and then fill in the blanks with dialogue, that is what reading this book feels like at times. The concept of being careful about who or what someone is devoted to, and the way in which we as humans express our devotion is an engaging theme, but I find it annoying when an author tries to cram an allegory down my throat.
JRR Tolkien said that he has despised the allegory since he became old enough to detect it, and for my reading I tend to steer clear of any work that keeps repeating the message over and over throughout the text in bald repetition to make sure the message got through.
Still, there are still enough adventure and story points that make this an exciting story and worth the time to read it. I don't know that I would relisten to the whole thing again, perhaps just excerpts while reading on the kindle.
I really enjoyed this version of the book, the reading what pleasing to the ear. I listened to the excerpts of other readings of this book, and I felt put off by the (probably) fake Southern accents being used for the title character. Some didn't fall into the trap, but they don't continue on into the series as yet, and I prefer to stay with the same narrator if possible.
For this book, I feel that Scott Brick did a wonderful job. Some people have decried his reading as monotonous, but I would characterize it as plain and calm, until we get to a point in the book where action or drama is taking place. At those moments his voice changes pitch and he begins to speak more forcefully, making the moment more poignant and exciting.
As for the story, it is what it is. Pulp fiction with a message the author wanted to send to his audience. I felt that quite a few of the events were stretching the credulity of the reader and were just a bit too convenient, but it was a gripping tale and kept me gripped to the end, excited for the next book.
Read by the man himself, this audiobook takes what is a slightly choppy book and makes it into a personal series of stories told directly to you.
I may be slightly starstruck by this, and it may be affecting my judgment but I really enjoyed this tale of space and humanity. The book version is very much written in the style of speech, that is to say it writes like you would speak, not as a formal writer. It is a stylistic choice that grammarians decry, but coupled with this audiobook it works beautifully.
The recording begins slightly choppy, as if there were a few stumbles before Mr Hadfield got into the rhythm of recording this book. As I read along, I noticed a few times words or the order of sentences did not match up to the printed version, so I assume he used one of the final proofs or these small issues were deemed not worthy of editing the tape, which I understand. The room or mike seems to have an airy feeling to it, like there was a hollow space around the mike, but again, that's a little problem.
The story is not linear but follows the theme of the book, that of learning to learn or to be a better and more useful person.
"This is my review of Fuzzy Nation," Luke said. "A very interesting book with a few flaws."
"What flaws?" the reader said.
"Nothing much," Luke said.
"Then...?" the reader said.
"They say 'said' too much." Luke said. "It feels like an hour of the recording could have been saved if the sentences were slightly longer and people 'said' less."
The reading by Wil Wheaton was amazing, he really carried the roles he needed to play, and was able to vary the tone and sound of his voice to allow for each new character to feel different. No overacting, no silly tricks, this is a great reading.
The source material, however, made even this reading slightly annoying. It might just be my personal preference, but the sheer amount of people saying things as read in this book was staggering. People would say a word, and then you'd hear "he said." After three hours of this you start getting really tired of this.
Still, the story was fairly compelling, and the main character, while a rapscallion and a liar comes off as personable and has his heart in the right place, even if his motives are self-centred at times.
Perhaps the book itself allows you to gloss over the "he said/she said" stumbling block, but for me the recording's greatest downfall was this slight annoyance that is like a pebble in my shoe as I walk through this fascinating world.
I remember reading these books a long time ago and enjoying them quite a bit. Sadly, times go by and you forget about your favourite books and time is short and you don't feel you have the time to reread them.
Recently I discovered the joy of audiobooks and had been churning through some rather long and at times dull tomes by vaunted authors. While these are certainly worthy in their own right, it's nice to cut loose and pick something funny. I saw the Bunnicula collection by happenstance and hopped on it.
The books are, if anything, funnier than I remember. They are repositories of such gems as "Why does a chicken coop have two doors? Because if it had four, it would be a hatchback!" The only downside to this is I would be walking down the street and would spontaneously break out into laughter.
As for the narration, it was very good. Each voice is distinct and you don't mix up one character from another. My one tiny gripe is that one character, Max, who showed up in the second and third book had a slightly different voice, but his voice was similar to the original and it was different books so you wouldn't notice the change if you weren't listening back to back as I was.
Here is a breakdown of the large sections of the book:
Book 1 starts at the beginning.
Book 2 starts at 1:33:23
Book 3 starts at 4:54:14
Author's Note starts at 6:33:58
The only thing I really wish was that there was whispersync with this collection, but that isn't available as of yet (2013-10-22).
In summation, this was a hilarious series and well read. The voices of the main cast carried through well on each book and were distinct and fit the character well. The writing was amazing and funny and with just enough twists and turns to not be wholly obvious without being so complicated you were worried you'd get lost.
Very much so. While I do not wish to judge the story as it is a classic and has some very good parts to it, I find that the story tends to drag in places and focus on the science and geology of the setting, not on the more fantastic nature of the story.While I understand that this is a style of writing some enjoy, I cannot but feel that it makes the story feel longer and dwells on things that most readers wouldn't care for. However, the reading itself by Simon Prebble is first rate and really carries the story.
I found the ending to be a bit abrupt, we were at one place then suddenly were in another and everything worked out.
Since this was told in the first person, this is a bit harder to decide. I will say that each of the characters was distinct and well defined, you wouldn't mix them up.
The narration of Simon Prebble was very good. The story itself is slow at times, but I can't give less than five stars overall for this narration.
There was some mention by others that there was an error in which recording was being offered, however as of this review this has been rectified.
I had previously purchased the Tim Curry reading of the same book and found it immensely dull. The pronunciation was careful and measured, but rather slow and didn't seem to have much excitement. I found that there were odd pauses in his speech and it threw me.
Report Inappropriate Content