I've been listening to audiobooks for over 5 years, and this story is in my top 5.
This book is extremely well-written, with a narrative that moves you along like a good adventure story, but has elements of mythological tales, murder mystery, suspense drama, and historical fiction all worked in. The setting is fascinating - 1800's naval exploration of the NW Passage, and the characters are complex and interesting (though not all likable).
It's a dark tale, and doesn't necessarily all wrap up cleanly or as the reader would want, but it's nice to listen to a story that is not predictable.
I cannot say enough good things about the narrator. His style, cadence, characters, EVERYTHING is spot-on, and moves the story forward to where you more experience it than listen to it.
Overall, I highly recommend this book.
This story is amazing. It is a blend of an edge-of-your-seat disaster story, fascinating science, completely engaging characters and humor (yes, humor; I laughed out loud time and time again) that is utterly compelling. There is nothing about this book that I didn't absolutely love.
R.C. Bray is one of the most skilled narrators I have heard in any book I've listened to. He moves from accent to accent (Indian, Chinese, German) so well it sounds like a different person, but his portrayal of astronaut Mark Watney, is absolute stand-out. This character is a nerd and a smart-ass, and the narration gets every nuance of this guy across.
You will need to have at least a passing interest in science, and astronomy, and physics to really get the most enjoyment out of this book. The story stands on its own, but the science specifics are so wondrously and meticulously detailed, that I feel by the end I've taken a course on astrophysics - which is one of the many appeals of this book.
As my title says, I've downloaded over 250 audiobooks over the years, in pretty much every genre (history, fiction, non-fiction, mystery, crime, fantasy....), and this (so far) has been my favorite (and my only triple-five-star review).
I have listened to over 200 audiobooks, and can't figure out why I didn't like this story more.
The narrator was excellent, among the best I've heard at producing exactly the right regional accent as well as voicing different characters independently.
The story setting was compelling, and gave some disturbing insight into Louisiana post-Katrina.
The plot itself seemed to have the elements I like: deep characters, thought-out plot, enough action to keep things from being too dull.
But despite all this, the book just never really set its hooks into me. I didn't have any "driveway moments" with it, and didn't find excuses to listen like I have with other books. The plot and especially the numerous characters are a little difficult to keep track of, and maybe if I had really concentrated on identifying everyone and their back story I may have found the story more compelling.
If you're good with multiple characters and following a plot closely (mystery fans?), or want a story set in the unique post-Katrina south, give it a try. If you're going to be multi-tasking while listening, or want a hard-driven plot line, this is probably not the book for you.
I've listened to 100's of audiobooks, this is my first "Zombie" genre, and I LOVED it. The story is set as various 1st hand accounts from around the world, and the myriad of actors in the audiobook lend a fantastic authenticity to the story as they speak English in their native accents.
I tend to like unabridged versions, and would love one of this, but I'll take even 7 hours of this tale.
Of all the audiobooks I've listened to, I would rank this in the top 10, probably the top 5. You won't be disappointed.
This is Marcus Luttrell's story, and it's his absolute right to tell it in his words. And while his particular political views are an integral part of his experience, they are a distraction from the narrative. His ordeal and bravery would be no less significant if he did not frequently drop derogatory epithets about the enemy, gush praise for political leaders, or blame the "liberal media" for decisions he made in impossible situations that later went bad.
The author's writing style was also distracting. He would emphasize powerful situations that needed no emphasizing with over-the-top comparisons (a time of heightened awareness: "I could have heard a goat fart from a mile away") or employ misstated analogies ("you couldn't have pried me off with a chainsaw").
Books like Black Hawk Down tell a compelling story, give a basic political background, but do not get bogged up in extreme political opinions to the point where it detracts from the story.
This is as much a story of Marcus Luttrell and his particular history and beliefs as it is a story of battle and survival. That is fine and legitimate, but it is not made clear from the book's title or publisher summary.
It is a compelling story, but it is hard to follow the events with the frequency of the author's political interjections.
The narrator reads well, and seems to have been picked for a down-home, Southern drawl to match the author's East Texas roots. It grated me a little that certain military words like Chinook were mis-pronounced (chin-ook instead of shi-nook).
Overall, the story told about the author's amazing heroism was too hard to find amid the other commentary.
I really wanted to like this book. I'm a fan of Friedman and his writings, but this book was just too redundant and dry. His points are valid and important, but the presentation in this book did not carry me along.
There seemed to be little editing. Points were made over and over again in the same way. In an effort to neatly compartmentalize things Mr. Friedman seems to forcibly categorize broad events and overstate the importance of certain dates while minimalizing others.
It seemed as important as conveying the significance of globalization was the effort to have us adopt the language ("flat world", "globalization 2.0") Mr. Friedman assigns to it.
This is one book where I think I might actually prefer an abridged version.
There were a lot of good reviews for this book, so I bought it. I was not disappointed. The story moves along, and the settings and characters are rich. The narrator does accents and voices PERFECTLY; this is exactly what a great audiobook should be.
Excellent audiobook!! I've listened to about 6 books this year in this genre, and this is by far the best.
I, like others, found it hard to stop listening and get on to other things that I was supposed to do.
The narrator does and excellent job, the story is fast-paced, believable, and well-crafted.
I can't imagine anyone regretting getting this book; it's everything an audiobook should be.
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