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  • Anathem

  • By: Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, and others
  • Length: 32 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,316
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,041
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,050

In celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Unparalleled

  • By Baron on 11-25-08

Good book - avoid the audio version

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-17-16

Would you consider the audio edition of Anathem to be better than the print version?

Even with a great reader, this would be a challenging book to do well in audio format, because it heavily relies on a glossary at the back and a timeline in the front.

Instead, we are given a terrible reading performance. I gave up after 100 pages, and the book became so much better when I switched to reading it myself.

What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

The primary narrator's natural voice is very nasally - think "The Sicilian" from The Princess Bride. Imagine hearing that voice for 900+ pages. Even worse is when he does cartoonish affected voices - "Dave's not here, man!"

There are other narrators for various dictionary entries, delivered in a painful monotone. I get it, dictionaries are dry - but using zero inflection completely confounds any hope of the listener understanding what you're talking about.

One of these voices is probably Neal Stephenson himself. I'm enjoying his book thoroughly, but wish more care had been taken in his audio adaptation.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Darkness That Comes Before

  • The Prince of Nothing, Book One
  • By: R. Scott Bakker
  • Narrated by: David DeVries
  • Length: 20 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 590
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 530
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 529

In a world scarred by an apocalyptic past, evoking a time both 2,000 years past and 2,000 years into the future, untold thousands gather for a crusade. Among them, two men and two women are ensnared by a mysterious traveler, Anasûrimbor Kellhus - part warrior, part philosopher, part sorcerous, charismatic presence - from lands long thought dead. The Darkness That Comes Before is a history of this great holy war, and like all histories, the survivors write its conclusion.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Finally in audiobook!

  • By Andy on 06-28-12

Great Book, Poor Reader

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-23-15

What didn’t you like about David DeVries’s performance?

Yes, this book is challenging, but Devries' reading complicates, rather than clarifies. Very little distinction between different characters' voices makes it easy to lose track of who is saying what. Choices on inflection make it sound like he himself has no idea what's going on. Paragraphs are picked up with no breaks, missing the fact that a new idea is starting.

I would often listen to a section two or three times before going to the text and finding it much easier to understand.

Any additional comments?

I'm really enjoying this story, but I'll have to somehow find the time to read the sequels without audio.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful