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Publisher's Summary

In this classic fantasy novel from author Michael Ende, small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there.

Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

©1979 Thienemann Verlag (Thienemann Verlag GmbH), Stuttgart/Vienna (P)2012 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    528
  • 4 Stars
    332
  • 3 Stars
    197
  • 2 Stars
    54
  • 1 Stars
    24

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    500
  • 4 Stars
    314
  • 3 Stars
    145
  • 2 Stars
    42
  • 1 Stars
    18

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    513
  • 4 Stars
    247
  • 3 Stars
    167
  • 2 Stars
    67
  • 1 Stars
    31
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterpiece of Fantasy

First of all, please don’t judge this book on its movies. The book is split into two movies. While I liked the first movie (which was close to the book), I thought the second movie (which wasn’t close at all) was a bit of a joke. I also felt like Bastian in the movie was almost useless, and I wanted a better conclusion.

The book is a completely different matter. Never before have I cared so much about a character in a book. Bastian is a self-conscious, unpopular kid who makes up stories all the time and wants nothing more than to escape the humdrum of life to live in fantasy. I was exactly the same as a kid, and I read every fantasy book I could get my hands on. When I couldn’t find the story I wanted, I made it up. Sometimes, I wanted to hug Bastian, and sometimes I wanted to smack his stupid face, because he could be such an idiot, but he just wanted to help everyone.

My favorite part, and the one that made me care about him, was when Bastian said that he didn’t like books that tried to convince him that it was real; he wanted pure fantasy. Life was full of boringness. Nobody understood why I never read anything but fantasy, and the less believable, the more I wanted to get lost in it. And that is exactly what this book gave me. It is absolutely, utter fantasy. It’s a journey.

I liked Atreyu as well, as he is consistently brave and heroic, yet mortal, throughout. There wasn’t a single character or creature that I thought was unnecessary or underplayed. I disliked a number of them, but they made the story better. The writing was excellent, especially for a book translated from German. The scenes were well-done.

The narrator did this book justice. Except for Atreyu and Bastian, I could always tell everyone apart. Again, there were voices I didn’t like, but that was because of the characters/creatures themselves. He even did the rhyming, poetry, and singing better than I’ve ever heard from an audiobook. Fortunately, there was no music in the background. There were some times when the characters were whispering when I had to sit there with my thumb on the volume rocker, turning it up and down, but the story was just too good to let that bother me.

Overall, in the top ten books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It doesn’t matter if this book is meant for children, because it reminds me of the utter freedom I felt when I was a child and discovered a masterpiece of fantasy.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • MILLEDGEVILLE, GA, United States
  • 08-28-13

So much better than the movie

If you could sum up The Neverending Story in three words, what would they be?

Story is so much more than the movie. Until you have read the full story, you cannot say you have fully enjoyed the Never Ending Story.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mike
  • Newark, Ohio
  • 07-16-13

Good book but

Any additional comments?

In parts the volume was to low and as I drive I have to fumble with the controls. Besides that Great book.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

THE NOTHING

Kids will enjoy this, but most will not understand it. I enjoyed the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show as a kid, but did not understand the adult messages. This is full of a lot of abstract ideas, such as The Nothing and a creature who is a voice only. This was the top selling children's book for three years in Germany.

Movie ends in the middle.
One main difference between the book and the movie is the main character. In the movie he is a normal looking boy. In the book he is fat and sort of dumb. He is an outcast who is made fun of a lot. This was an important part of the first part of the book, but Americans could not handle a fat hero. The movies stops in the middle of the book and in my opinion that is were the book should have stopped. In the second part of the book the main character gets skinny and becomes a super hero. I think the story was heading toward the message that no matter what we have we want more. A good message, but I was getting pretty bored. The first part of the book was four stars, but the second part was two and heading down. The second half seems to lack a plot.

The narrator is good, but I also had trouble with the volume. There are characters who talk softly, so softly you can not hear them.

You might enjoy listening to this with your children, but I don't think as an adult by yourself it will be as good.

30 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

captivating!

my son and I loved this book. the narrator was amazing! the story. ...much better than the movie.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Normalization needed

The performance and story are both good, but I found the sound level inconsistent, which was particularly annoying while driving. It would suddenly go softer and I'd have to crank up the volume just to hear it over the road noise. A few minutes later it would come back and I would find myself frantically reaching for the controls to turn it back down. A bit unhappy with that, but I've been a fan of the story since childhood and still enjoyed it.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Love the story, hate the volume problems

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The volume level throughout the story was inconsistent. I had to crank the volume way up to hear one character and way down to save my eardrums from the next during the same conversation in the story.

Any additional comments?

I had to stop listening to the story because the constant changing of the volume was so ridiculous.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful story, beautifully written

Any additional comments?

Word of caution: if your only reference point is the movie version of this book, you might be like me and make the mistake from the outset that this story is about saving Fantastica. It is not. Rather, the story is about Bastian and his journey to become a better, and whole, person.

This focus means the story follows a fairy story arc you might find in something like George MacDonald or even T.H. White -- a sequence of almost fever dreamy adventures, whose seeming randomness is linked only by the successive impact they have on Bastian's soul.

I didn't get this at first, and so was a bit lost during the majority of the second half of the book. Gone is The Nothing. Gone is Gmork or any mention of the power which commanded him. Gone is Moonchild, for the most part. It felt like we had entered an entirely different story. It was a bit jarring, frankly.

But near the end I got it, and I'm so glad I did. The ending is beautiful and, in retrospect, so are the events leading up to it.

I was very impressed with Ende's prose and Gerard Doyle -- who's a bit of an all star in the audiobook world -- does not disappoint.

I heartily recommend this audiobook to anyone willing to come at it with a set of ears unfettered by expectations born of the film version of the story. I firmly believe you will not regret it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story

I never read this before. I just saw the movie and really didn't like it that much. The book is totally different and really good! Love the detail!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Familiar yet not the same

Any additional comments?

I loved this movie growing up, and still have a spot for it as an adult. I think because the movie storyline is so set in my mind, I actually like it better. So much more happens in the book. The book doesn't end where the movie does. When the book continued on, it felt like the mood changed to become more aimed toward an older audience in my opinion. I would compare it to how The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had a really storybook feel and how The Magician's Nephew and others of the series had a what was this guy smoking vibe Haha.
I enjoyed it very much, and I'm very glad I took the time to read something so monumental to several generations.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful