I have to disagree with some of the previous reviews. I had only read one of the previous books and it really affected my enjoyment of this book. Excellent narration and probably a good book; but there's a lot going on with some of the backstory events. You're definitely going to want to figure out what's going on with some of the previous books.
From what I can tell, it's not a bad series - but definitely don't judge the series by this one alone. Hopefully Audible will get a few of the earlier books in to fill in the gaps here.
If you know what you're getting into, this isn't that bad of a novel. It is paced EXTREMELY slowly - the language evokes a time that we have long rushed past. However, I just couldn't stand the shoddy production values. There are numerous 'flashbacks' where the reader/editor repeats the last sentence or paragraph. It almost seems like every break the reader took shows up in this doubling. This was very irksome. It throws off any sense of pace that you were developing while listening. I would only recommend this to fans of period-pieces or die-hard fantasy readers with an urge for something old-fashioned - die-hard enough to ignore the annoying editing.
Do NOT judge Jordan's books by any of the abridged versions. I've tried several of them and was horribly disappointed. Granted, Jordan writes REALLY long books and they must be awfully difficult to edit - but these leave entirely too much actual story lying on the cutting room floor. I've read this book several times in hardcopy and even I was confused at certain points in the audiobook.
There are a number of unabridged Jordan books here at Audible that are much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, they're the most recent of the books in the series. If you don't already have an idea of what's going on they can be difficult to follow.
Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. I listen to audiobooks quite frequently and I can honestly say this is my favorite. A reasonably intelligent use of sound effects and excellent vocalizing make this a joy to listen to. I had originally read this in paperback and was quite suprised to find myself identifying MORE with the characters through the audiobook than I had in my original reading.
While this IS considered sci-fi and/or cyberpunk, don't let those terms scare you off. The envisioned future is pretty realistic and just 'gritty' enough to give you a good feel for it. Most of the technology is pretty conceivable and easy to understand - and very little of it is thrown in just because the author's supposed to be writing 'sci-fi'.
The audio version does bog down a bit in one or two spots. Some of the religious lingo/jargon/names was a bit easier to absorb in hardcopy. It's a lot easier to look back a page or two - or know you read that name just a minute ago and glance back over a paragraph or three - than it is to zap your MP3 player back 6 or 7 minutes. You might want to bookmark the beginning of such sections if you're either a die-hard fan or a theology major... Otherwise, listen through it and absorb what you can. You'll get a good idea where things are heading in short order.
Personally, I much prefer unabridged audio versions. While the previous reviewer felt there was 'too much dialogue', in my opinion, the dialogue or commentary is what provides a feel of or connection with Ms. Milhone. If you're just wanting an overview of the alphabet series, there are a number of abridged versions that might be better suited for you. But once you really get involved with the series, you're going to want the unabridged.
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