Having heard so much about Asimov, I was expecting to thoroughly enjoy Foundation. Having finished the book, I wouldn’t say that I hated the book or even really disliked it so much as I simply wasn’t impressed. I don’t plan to listen to the rest of the series. Over and over again as I was listening, I thought that the book simply has not stood up to the test of time. It just felt dated and old, like watching a classic movie comedy that never makes you smile, even though you know that it was really funny back when it first came out.
The writing style was not very engaging to the modern reader. Two quick examples:
1) Almost zero character development. Foundation actually functions like 4 mini-books within the larger book and I never found myself caring for any of the characters. You are with each for a short amount of time and then you can forget about them entirely. The plot is the only thing that matters.
2) Very little action. I realize I’m from the Nintendo generation and that might mean my attention span is lacking. But seriously, can’t we get a chase scene or a fight or something? There was a military coup that we actually didn’t get to see and even a hostage situation on a hostile planet never got my blood racing.
The narration was adequate but nothing about it made Scott Brick seem particularly noteworthy. Perhaps this is not the best book on which to to judge Brick since Foundation is such a marathon dialogue session. You won’t like the book any less because of Brick’s narration, but I suppose you won’t like it any more either.
If you enjoy science fiction and are interested in reading a classic work, by all means, dive right in. Also, if you are the kind of person that enjoys old things and are able to appreciate them for what they are without being distracted by the additional flaws that come with age, you might also enjoy Foundation. Otherwise, you are likely to be disappointed with this read.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Name of the Wind the whole way through. Patrick Rothfuss painted an interesting and vivid world. His descriptions are great throughout the book and he has the ability, along with other great authors, to make the world he created come alive through the narration. The story itself was very engaging and I had no problem with the fact that it moved a tad on the slow side. Not ever book needs to have the pacing of a thriller and I thought this worked just fine.
While there is plenty to like about this book, I do have a few complaints. First, I had a hard time getting over the arbitrariness of the whole story. Throughout the book, I often wondered what the point of the story was as there seemed to be no overarching plot. It was just a guy telling a story about himself. And when the larger plot points finally came out, they were underwhelming to say the least.
There were also multiple times throughout the book where I felt like I was smarter than the characters. It's never enjoyable to listen to two characters talk or even argue about something who's solution is completely obvious.
Nick Podehl was a wonderful narrator. Definitely one of the better I've heard.
Watership Down was a classic that I had often heard of but had never read. It was well worth checking out and I can't wait for my son to be old enough so I can listen to it with him.
The story was very engaging throughout. It definitely takes it's time as compared to modern popular thrillers but I never felt like it got bogged down. I would compare the pacing to The Lord of the Rings (and that is a good thing). The main characters were very enjoyable (Hazel, Bigwig, and General Woundwort especially) and it was great to see them grow and mature throughout the book. The tales of El-ahrairah were wonderful and only added to the flavor of the world of Watership Down.
The narration was was positively top-notch. I can't imagine someone doing a better job. Great as a narrator, superb as a voice actor, Ralph Cosham really knocked it out of the park. Each character had an incredible amount of life and energy.
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