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Publisher's Summary

All new narration adds sound effects and eliminates issues noted in reviews. To obtain new version, remove old one from device, download new copy at no charge.

We colonized seven hundred planets. Humankind enjoyed the benefits of expansion and the end of wars. We disbanded our military.

Then the Krall found us.

The Krall have used thousands of years of combat to select the genes of the strongest and fastest warriors. They are a species determined to dominate the galaxy, through annihilation or enslavement of every opponent.

Koban is an uninhabited high gravity planet with impossibly fast savage animals, which employ organic superconducting nerves. This deadly world is where the Krall are testing humans for fighting capability. We are useful only if we can fight well. If not, they will destroy us swiftly, as they have other species. They have slaves, and we’re poor tasting meat animals, so we fight or die. The Krall will use us, if worthy, seeking physical perfection through attrition of war, one planet at a time.

Growing weary of our failures in testing, the ruthless Krall are on the verge of a decision to eliminate our species. A ship carrying bio-scientists is captured for combat testing. The choice for Captain Mirikami and the scientists is simple: Prove we can produce better, smarter fighters quickly, or humanity is doomed to rapid extermination.

But the Krall are only half the problem. We must survive Koban's gravity and superfast animals. The tiger-like rippers with skin contact telepathy are predators too fast and powerful for the Krall to face. Our solution is genetic: If you can't beat them as you are, become human rippers.

The Krall will learn another species can bypass natural selection.

©2012 Stephen W Bennett (P)2013 Stephen W Bennett

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    62

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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  • Overall
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  • Story

Good Story, dreadful narration.

Would you listen to Koban, Book 1 again? Why?

Like many of the other reviewers, I found the narration dreadful. Each time the narrator use a chuckle in his voice I would cringe. Unfortunately, he did that a lot. But, I trusted the other reviewers and stuck with the story and listened to all of it. <br/><br/>This is a well written book and worth the read. I'm looking forward to the other books in the series.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Koban, Book 1?

The testing day.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His intonation and inflection was entirely wrong for this type of book. People are dying left and right and he would use a chuckle in the main character's voice. It really made my teeth grind.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Worst Narrator Ever

Any additional comments?

I read the reviews of this book before buying it. Although it seemed as if everyone acknowledged the poor quality of the narrator, I figured i could struggle through and appreciate the story. After listening to two hours of this book, I find myself unable to due to the overwhelming annoyance with the narration. The narrator seems to choose a word out of every sentence at random to emphasize in his incredibly nasal voice. I would recommend reading a hard copy of this book for the story, then move on to the vastly superior narrators of the rest of the series.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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I feel sorry for the author.

Bennett wrote an an enjoyable book that suffers because of the narrator. I've listened to more audiobooks than I can count, and I've never heard worse. Character voices are cheesy, he doesn't pronounce words correctly and puts emphasis on the wrong words. (The sound effects and fake laughter have to go) All that being said, the story has me hooked and I will download the next book in the series.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Truly enjoyable story - except for the narrator

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Mispronouncing approximately 20% of the words, adding an annoying chuckle to half of the dialogue. It really distracted from a great story. I rarely write reviews, but this narrator must be stopped! Some comments indicate that there may have been an improvement in the narration; I shudder to consider how it could have been worse before.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • M.
  • 07-18-15

Good Story, Horrible Narrator

Would you consider the audio edition of Koban, Book 1 to be better than the print version?

No. No no no no no no no.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

In a world where book narration is done in the movie announcer voice, Patrick Freeman leads you through a space opera about humanity's first contact with an alien species while making the journey about as enjoyable as dancing barefoot on broken glass.The narrator places peculiar emphasis on words that don't need emphasizing. His voice is grating an nasal, at times he uses unnecessarily elongated S sounds (even when not voicing one of the aliens). He often ends sentences by making it sound like he's asking a question. He does manage to do well on the dialogue, but every other word that flies from his lips is like a dagger in the ear.

Any additional comments?

The story itself is a good one, which makes me sad that I can't actually recommend this production. Definitely listen to the audio sample before purchasing the audiobook. If you can tolerate Patrick Freeman's horrible performance then purchase it. Otherwise, definitely buy the physical book and enjoy it without the headache.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Good story - not so good narration

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator constantly put emphasis on words that changed the meaning of the story and it just sounds wrong... It's like the reader tries to emphasize something in every sentence and that's just not how people talk... Annoying to me.<br/>

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan
  • Queen Creek, AZ
  • 07-18-16

Not the Worst Narrator

The story was really good but the Narrator/sound effects were awful. The publisher summary says they did new narration, but all the reviews seem to reflect this version. This includes the stupid laughing the main character does after his own "jokes". That being said, it isn't the worse narration. Check out "Test of Magnitude" where ALL the reviews are padded with fake feedback praising the narrator. With this one you can just set your speed to 1.25 and it make the problem tolerable.

The story itself is good. The main idea is that Earth is getting sucked into a war where its advanced cunning and primitive technology are going up against a primitive species with advanced technology. This book sets the foundation that leads to a awesome series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Narrator ruined my Enjoyment

The story was worth listening to, but the narrator portrayed every character as chuckling or laughing in embarrassment, fear, nerves. you name it! Very distracting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • CS Guy
  • Orange County, CA, USA
  • 12-31-15

Cornucopia of Narration Blunders Grates

Would you consider the audio edition of Koban, Book 1 to be better than the print version?

No

What did you like best about this story?

The story was imaginative but rationally consistent.

How could the performance have been better?

Considerating that the narrator has worked on eleven other books, not all of them authored by Mr. Bennett, I find it most surprising that the narration includes more mispronunciations than those in any other book I've audited. And I've audited many, many books. I wish that I could provide helpful advice but it's hard to know how to help someone who, for instance, mispronounces debris as "debreeze." Perhaps continued education and auditing more books would help. That said, the voices of the Krall were scarier than I could have imagined so I think that the narrator has considerable talent. Perhaps the narration could be edited by someone who has an extensive vocabulary. Doing so might provide listeners with access to the narrator's talent but escape (another mispronounced word) the narrator's auditory blunders.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The voices of the Krall in the early chapters

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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New, Revamped, Narration is MUCH Better!

I listened to the samples of this book back when the all of the complaints were being written about the narration.. I admit, just from the sample, I passed on this audio-book the first time around because of the bad reviews on the Narration, and from the sample I listened to (Even the sample was enough to let you know how bad it was).

I stumbled back onto the first book of this series the other day, read the reviews as late as just a few months ago, and thought "Yeah, I remember this one", and started to click my "Back" button on my Browser... THEN I saw the New note from the publisher saying the Narration had been redone, and even sound effects added.

...So I took a chance...

The NEW Narration is VERY good!!! The background sounds are subtle, and don't come anywhere near being a "Performance", and they ADD TO the book, rather than distracting from it! I started hearing this slight "Rumble" early in the book and at first thought "Oh no, Bad recording with a hum in it", but then I realized it was just the low background Hum of being inside a Spaceship! The Low "Spaceship Hum" (MUCH lower than the Noise inside a large Commercial Aircraft that you learn to tune out), drops out when the People hit Planet-Side! The Low Hum lets you know each time you're on a space craft.. along with lightly hearing digital buttons being pressed, "Acceleration Gongs", "pops and pings" as metal cools, the noises made as enemies cut into a space craft hull, etc... ALL of which are LOW in the background so as not to be annoying, and DO compliment the overall story.

The Narrator does SUCH a much better job doing THIS book, than he did previously on the first attempt... I was impressed by such a radical turn-around in the Narrator's style.

As for the Writing of the book itself, it's kinda long winded in some places, and slows WAY down in many action scenes when you really want the speed to pick up and get on by the sections that clearly have WAY too much unimportant detail...

Overall I enjoyed this book highly with the new narrator, and I think any flaws in this Audio-Book now have to be laid at the writer's feet... But it's well written except for the Constant (out of place) chuckles and the CONTINUOUS forced laughter when it's not Really appropriate, and the delays in "Getting on with the action" by putting too much unimportant trivia in SOME of the action scenes.

In the Future, the Gender Roles are reversed since men become nearly extinct in the past a few hundred years before this Book's Time Period takes place... Females may squeeze a Man's Butt, or "Pat his Package", by surprise, as has LONG been the case with men doing the same to Women in Sexual Harassment matters... Not to mention Men hitting "The Glass Ceiling in their Careers" due to their Gender... That whole concept is VERY well done! It gives men a glimpse of the CONSTANT crap that women are often forced to "just deal with".

If you listened to this book with the old Narration and couldn't get through it, or HATED IT, yet you still have in your library, just delete THAT copy, and download the new one.. According to Audible, replacing the old version with the new one is absolutely free!

48 of 60 people found this review helpful

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  • Terrence
  • 12-16-14

An excellent first story!

I had to write a little something here about this audiobook, I was just getting ready to buy the 2nd and 3rd audiobooks because I absolutely loved the build up in this first one. I noticed the narrator had changed on the second and third books so I went along to Mr Bennetts FB page to see what caused it?

Seems there were some issues people were having about Patrick Freeman's narration, which in turn affected sales? Seriously? I mean seriously? I don't get it, I really don't. I absolutely loved what Patrick Freeman did with the narration here? There was a hell of a lot of tension in this story between species, Patricks methods of reading totally nailed that tension in my ears and in my visual imagination of what was going on with the Krall.

I've just taken a chance and bought the other two books because I'm totally hooked to the story and universe Mr Bennett has created, so yes, another new fan to his universe. I just hope the narrator of the other audiobooks, (Eric Michael Summerer) can nail the vibe that has been created in this first book. I got burned really hard with the change of narrators with Peter V. Brett's (The Demon Cycle) audiobooks, he dropped the narrator Peter Joyce and replaced all the books with Colin Mace and for me, killed the 'feel' of the audio story dead in the water.

Anyway, it's been a while since I've enjoyed a good long bit of audio Sci-Fi like this, the last time I got a feeling like this was listening to Peter F Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga. What ever the other books hold for me, this is a great story and a great bit of narration no matter the negative comments thrown out somewhat unfairly to Patrick Freeman (in my opinion).

If you are thinking about getting this audiobook and are taking in some of the negative comments about narration, don't listen to them. Get it the audiobook, judge the audiobook for yourself, it's a great rollercoaster of a ride.

For me 5 stars all round.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr H. Teph
  • 06-02-15

Abysmal narration

What didn’t you like about Patrick Freeman’s performance?

This is the worst narration I have encountered, odd intonation and slurring words, mixed with overly clear pronunciation of "complicated" words ruins the rhythm of the reading. I breaks further by the overlay of another actor reading some lines (possibly to "cover up" even worse performances of the original reade).

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It may or may not be a good book, I don't know. I couldn't continue listen as I begun to fixate at the lisp(?) of the narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • a j kember
  • 12-22-14

If you like having your intelligence insulted....

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Young teens could enjoy this book

What was most disappointing about Stephen W. Bennett’s story?

The pace of the plot line really drags. There's nothing surprising or unexpected in the story direction. It's all very clunky.

What didn’t you like about Patrick Freeman’s performance?

It's like having a 'voice over man' reading to you. The phrasing of the sentence is repetitive, and rarely matches the actual world being said.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed, and slightly amazed that this had got good reviews.

Any additional comments?

I'm obviously not the target audience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. R. Chvapil
  • 04-12-14

Harry Harrison feel

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I liked the story line. As hinted in the headline this book recalled memories of Deathworld Pyrrus. This book however adds more ideas and twists. Due to it's length (excellent) the author covered many side stories that helped paint the picture but never losing the sight of the main storyline. I also liked the characters and clear effort that went into creating the social relations in post gene war society. And of course I will never get bored of the old line of humans as underdogs fighting against the odds and standing triumphant in the end(?)...hopefuly in future books.......fingers crossed

What was one of the most memorable moments of Koban?

Mental shift of all the Primes and newly arrivals becoming Kobani. .....United we stand.....

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Many scene were enjoyable. There isn't a favourite one but I liked the moment when the native tigers established mindlink with their human victims. The potentional richness of what could develop from this in future books is obvious and I can't wait....

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

the beast within

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the narration once I got used to it. However I think few characters, mainly the the women and characters in charge were little unnatural. Overall good and enjoyable performance. Thank you

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jez Cajiao
  • 05-06-15

Very poor narration

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

A decent narrator, I turned it off after 20 minutes in disappointment

What could Stephen W. Bennett have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Choose a different narrator

What didn’t you like about Patrick Freeman’s performance?

Clunky, poor performance, with a slight lisp, that appears and disappears in unconnected places

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointed, and annoyed that I wasted a credit on it.

Any additional comments?

Never again with this narrator!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • I. Fenton
  • 12-14-14

I was hooked from chapter one.

What made the experience of listening to Koban, Book 1 the most enjoyable?

The sound effects enhanced the great storyline.

What other book might you compare Koban, Book 1 to, and why?

I'd compare this to David Weber's writings because of the detailed descriptions and in depth analysis during the narration. Just my kind of reading.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had a visceral reaction to the fighting etc. and loved the detailed descriptions of the dangers the characters faced.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Katie
  • 07-30-15

Gave up after 2 hours

Any additional comments?

Obviously since I didn't finish this, it may have gotten better, but what I heard was not very good. It reads like a strange period drama almost - formal address and gender bias (though in women's favour). Almost like it was trying too hard to be something it wasn't. Now I usually love a good bit of science ficion and also period drama, so you'd have thought this might be for me, but seemingly not. <br/><br/>It didn't really seem to go anywhere much in the time I listened for - even when something finally happened, I just couldn't raise enough interest to follow what was going on, so decided to give up (which I don't often do). Badly written and not very well performed in my opinion...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Anthony Geoghegan
  • 07-08-14

I'm bored with it already

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

A less hackneyed plot and a narrator who can enunciate more than 6 syllables without pausing for his reading to catch up would have really improved this read for me.

Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen W. Bennett? Why or why not?

I'd be dubious now as I've been burned.

Would you be willing to try another one of Patrick Freeman’s performances?

Not a chance.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Koban, Book 1?

The Krall are boring and predictable. I find it completely unlikely humans would colonise some 700 worlds and end up in a state of internal peace. Talk about not understanding human nature.

Any additional comments?

I like escapism, it's not the escapist nature of the book I have an issue with. I'm just bored and not interested in finishing it. Plus the tiny hint of lisp the narrator has is starting to bug me. His characterisations are good though.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-30-17

not enjoyable

very poor descriptive storyline. couldn't get further than first chapter before grimacing and removing content.

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  • KES Halstead
  • 08-25-17

Story marred by the narrator

An ok book marred by the narration; mispronounced words (ie "mccabree" instead of macabre) had a jarring effect, the pacing was odd in places and strong characters seemed whiney and annoying.

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  • Dean
  • 09-04-16

Great story and sound effects, but...

The story has a good steady pace to it, and i enjoyed the turn around where males almost died out and seemed to have come around to be seen as the warmer sex, but the narrator's style of talking just kills some of the story. He has weird pauses that make it seem like the end of the sentence and then just keeps going. And he constantly talks as if he is explaining something amazing and only just realized - in a way that makes it seem like he is giving too much detail - and that just the talking. I really struggle to listen to the book for long periods of time like I usually do with audiobooks because I really don't enjoy the narrator.

BUT - it is a really enjoyable story!