• Bioshock: Rapture

  • Bioshock, Book 1
  • By: John Shirley
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2,245 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Bioshock: Rapture  By  cover art

Bioshock: Rapture

By: John Shirley
Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $31.49

Buy for $31.49

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

It was the end of World War II. FDR's New Deal had redefined American politics. Taxes were at an all-time high. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had created a fear of total annihilation. The rise of secret government agencies and sanctions on business had many watching their backs. America's sense of freedom was diminishing... and many were desperate to take that freedom back.

Among them was a great dreamer, an immigrant who'd pulled himself from the depths of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and most admired men in the world. That man was Andrew Ryan, and he believed that great men and women deserved better. So he set out to create the impossible: a utopia free from government, from censorship, and from moral restrictions on science, where what you gave was what you got. He created Rapture - the shining city below the sea. But this utopia suffered a great tragedy. This is the story of how it all came to be... and how it all ended.

©2011 Take-Two Interactive Software, Incorporated (P)2012 Tantor

What listeners say about Bioshock: Rapture

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,431
  • 4 Stars
    544
  • 3 Stars
    190
  • 2 Stars
    49
  • 1 Stars
    31
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,226
  • 4 Stars
    504
  • 3 Stars
    219
  • 2 Stars
    56
  • 1 Stars
    31
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,319
  • 4 Stars
    438
  • 3 Stars
    196
  • 2 Stars
    45
  • 1 Stars
    35

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

YAAY! Finally . . . Wait, What!?

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

Yes, for those who played the game it is essentially the prequel.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bioshock: Rapture?

Unfortunately, the ending. I don't do spoilers.

What about Jeffrey Kafer’s performance did you like?

solid and consistent.

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

No, it is vast, deep and sometimes cumbersome. The characters and happenings are so vast that there may be times you want to shut it off to try to absorb it.

Any additional comments?

I have waited for this book for years, since the first game came out. This is not a direct translation of the game. It is entirely the prequel. It describes the origins of Rapture and all of the major players.

It left me feeling empty. I can't see to play the game and I was hoping it was the direct game translation and would bring some of that excitement, it wasn't and really didn't. That is not to say it wasn't good. For those who played the game it will add depth and explanation. For those that won't play it, it is a foray into strange political intrigue.

The main character Andrew Ryan is obsessed with building a "utopian" world underwater to escape the dangers of living on the land post WWII. Once this is done, hIs failed leadership decisions turn the world into chaos and destruction worse than anything happening on land. A power struggle ensues and between Ryan and his two antagonists, Dr. Lamb and Fontaine, they provide an all-encompassing view of three types of societal living without regulation. Capitalism, Communism, and Anarchy are explored and it turns into an underwater hell that threatens to kill them all slowly.

In many ways this could be taken more like critical literature than just an entertaining novel about a video game story. Don't be fooled by the game or the title this subject matter is deep, no pun intended. If you are into political theory, sociology, psychology or just want to know how Bioshcok began, this is a very interesting read and you MUST read it to fully understand it.

60 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator has no clue who these characters are!

Kafer narrates this books as if he's recording a piece for Nightline. Every word has a phony breathy affectation that is obviously beyond his natural range. Perhaps Mr. Kafer has been watching too much Twilight Zone episodes as he sounds like a pale imitation of Rod Serling. More importantly, he has taken the central character of Andrew Ryan and turned him into a boring and uninteresting dullard with the exuberance of a signpost instead of the stern and impactful 1930's newsreel voice that we have all come to know from the games. His accents are god awful as Bill McDonough sounds like the spawn of a beleaguered cockney Brit that mated with a hillbilly Irishman. Then to make matters worse, he takes the tortured character of Sander Cohen and turns him into a 21st century joy boy instead of the early 20th century dark eccentric that he was intended to be. His sexuality was never discussed and it should remain ambiguous, but Mr. Kafer's voice work has left no doubt that Sander is floating a solid foot off the ground, quite contrary to the character's intended presence.

Did this narrator consult any of the source material before recording this? There are literally hours of voice recordings available online for free that he could have used as reference for this project. It's this type of lazy work that gives me pause before buying audiobooks from new narrators. I would give the narration 0 stars if that were possible.

30 people found this helpful

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

This needs to be a movie.

I bought this book on a lark. I have heard of the game, but never played it. I quickly however enjoyed the story. The whole time that I was listening to it, I was envisioning this as a movie. It is a bit twisted and gory at times, but I still liked it.

I liked the narrator a lot. I have not listened to him before, and I have about 160 books. The only issue I had with him is his accents. One of the main characters, Bill, was supposed to have a cockney accent. Bill however sounded more like a Vermonter than a Brit. He also could not do a Brooklyn accent very well either. But I loved his voice and cadence. He kept me interested.

19 people found this helpful

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

So Much Potential gone to waste

I enjoyed the Bioshock video games and was really hoping to learn more about the lore behind it with this book, but instead I was disappointed. There was a lot of potential and it all fell flat. The climax of the book, the atrocities that occur fell flat, the blinding charisma of both Ryan and Atlas, even Sophia Lamb was dismal at best. The narrator was appalling and couldn't hold an accent to save his life. Absolutely awful. His British sounded Australian, his Irish sounded Indian. It was dreadful to sit through. Perseverance alone is what got me through this awful book and I'm upset I wasted an audible credit on it. I would never encourage anyone to read or listen to this book.

13 people found this helpful

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

Play the videogame, it's better.

Despite great perfomance, I consider this book to be below my standarts.
I understand that Sci-fi mustn't always have logic to it, but this book goes overboard.
The only reason I rated Overall with 3 stars is that I still have favourable impressions about videogame.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • AF
  • 02-20-13

Highly Recommend for Rand Fans Like Myself

Would you listen to Bioshock: Rapture again? Why?

Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is one of my favorite books of all time. The philosophy and story are at once complex and exhilarating, and have managed to inspire not only fans but generations of 'believers'. As an accompaniment to that book, I cannot recommend Bioshock: Rapture highly enough.Bioshock: Rapture has similar characters and themes to Rand's classic, albeit the author attempts to illustrate the dark side of how it would be possible for Rand's utopia, if it actually existed, to not work as she so eloquently depicts. And he provides many believable storylines and character developments to illustrate this.The story AS WELL AS the philosophy are very, very good. I will add that the first half was the best part, in my opinion, as the second half seemed to lose momentum and focus. But it was still a great ride.And I'll add that this book did not make me resign all of my affection for Rand's writings, rather, it provided a smart balance to the worldview. Yes, the book is based on a video game, and yes, it has some eccentric sci-fi elements as well, but what the author did with the material is just a few hairs short of what Rand did with books like Atlas Shrugged, and I consider that a surprising and wonderful achievement.The narrator was pretty good, he adopted a "film noir" tone that works for the material and the time period in which the material takes place.

9 people found this helpful

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

Ties in nicely with the games

The book fills in much of the backstory that was just hinted at in the games, and serves to tie together the plot from both Bioshock games. No real surprises, but it did make me want to go back and replay the first game, and finally finish the second. If you were a fan of the Bioshock games, then you'll want to buy this book. If you were not, its still a good read, though not very subtle or particularly well-written. That's not really a knock against the author - the story had enough twists on its own, but he's working within a very rigid framework, more so than other works set in rich IPs.

5 people found this helpful

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

Story and book are fantastic!

I love Bioshock, so this was easy to hear. The person reading it was by no means bad, but the accents could be improved. Still absolutely worth it.

4 people found this helpful

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

Finished for Story

Like other reviewers, I'll have to agree the reading is the hardest part to get through. Accents are all over the place and I sometimes forgot who was talking within a scene. His cadence is repetitive and it's distracting but I eventually got used to it although it was still noticable.

The writing itself is somewhat repetitive in it's discriptions but otherwise it's good enough to paint the picture in your mind.

As a lover of the Bioshock game franchise I've always wanted to know more about the beginnings of Rapture and this story did that for me. It's the only reason if completed the audio audiobook.

Overall, an almost average experience that I initially struggled to finish.

3 people found this helpful

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

The book the fans have been waiting for

What disappointed you about Bioshock: Rapture?

It was kinda of dull at points. and if you havn't played the game you are kinda left out.

What was most disappointing about John Shirley’s story?

At points you kinda forgot it's in Rapture it could be any big city. He needed to go into more of building the world of Rapture

Which character – as performed by Jeffrey Kafer – was your favorite?

good reader I will be picking up more of his work

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Just this guy, you know?
  • Just this guy, you know?
  • 07-07-21

Would you kindly get a narrator who can do accents

If you are a fan of the classic BioShock video game series it's worth getting to see rapture from its start to its downfall. But the narrator can't do accents at all he's attempt at a Irish one is laughable which is even worse than Atlas in the game and if it wasn't the fact the book tells you one of the characters is from London you wouldn't be able to tell he's doing a "Cockney" accent. The book is saved by the story just wish they took the the time to get a better narrator.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Wilson
  • Wilson
  • 02-06-21

Honest gamer review

Good story, good at filling in the blanks from the game made me more feel for the characters in the game but the narrators voice is bloody annoying terrible accents considering bill is meant to be a cockney and the women’s all make me cringe. But the story is well worth hearing.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ibragim
  • Ibragim
  • 05-06-21

Really enjoyed this book. Prequel for Bioshock.

Could not stop listening to it. Describes the story of Rapture so well. I will replay Bioshock 1 and 2 now. A lot of things in the game makes much more sense now. Amazing story and concept.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kirsten
  • Kirsten
  • 01-31-21

Good story, awful accents

The story is really good but the narrators English accent is shockingly bad. Sounds like a bad American parody of an English accent and is genuinely difficult to listen to.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David
  • David
  • 10-30-21

Great story, poor narration.

If you like BioShock, this is a must read/listen.

Unfortunately you will have to be able to look past terrible narration but the world and characters are enough to do so

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-09-21

Thoroughly enjoyed!

A great job of explaining Rapture, it's rise and fall. Bioshock fans will love this.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mowgli
  • Mowgli
  • 09-03-22

bad accents, great story

i love the games so this was awesome, i have listened many times even if the accents suck.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Eliot S
  • Eliot S
  • 08-22-22

great prequel

great story that really adds to the bioshock world. shame bioshock infinite burial at sea kinda screws with some of the details. but if you ignore the DLC and just take this as a start to bioshock one and two then you will love this book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Toby C.
  • Toby C.
  • 07-26-22

A Rapture Backstory

Great book, gives backstory to side characters from the games.

The story is more about the rising of rapture, which isn't covered as much in the games which is great.

The accents can sometimes be a little hit and miss but overall, a solid performance.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mrs Amanda
  • Mrs Amanda
  • 07-01-22

Great prequel to the game

Great story. lots of references to things in the game, make me want to replay it. overall voice acting was good the English and Irish accents were a little off but not so bad that it make it u listenable.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John Meyer
  • John Meyer
  • 08-27-21

Straight into the world of Rapture

Excellent book. Anyone disliking this must not actually enjoy the world of Rapture. You get a satisfying, sad and fascinating look at the beginning and end. The book essentially starts from conception to the beginning of the first game. It's such a great immersive supplementary experience to the game and it'll make you wanna replay it. I actually already started another play through.

Though the performance is laughable at times, like wow there's a lot of accents in this book, but the narrator tries and does so many different voices I gotta give him props for that.

Would recommend 100% for anyone who is genuinely interested in the world building and philosophy behind Bioshock.

1 person found this helpful