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Publisher's Summary

The epic, multimillion-selling science-fiction series continues! The second Dune installment explores new developments on the planet Arrakis, with its intricate social order and strange, threatening environment.

Dune Messiah picks up the story of the man known as Muad'Dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to fruition an ambition of unparalleled scale: the centuries-old scheme to create a superbeing who reigns not in the heavens but among men.

But the question is: DO all paths of glory lead to the grave?

Listen to more of our titles in the Dune series.
©1969 Frank Herbert (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC

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Science fiction is a genre as diverse as you can imagine. There are stories that take place in deep space, often depicting teams exploring or running away from something; stories that focus on life at the most cellular level, such as a pandemic tale; and stories that take place in times that feel similar to our own. Depicting themes of existentialism, philosophy, hubris, and personal and historical trauma, sci-fi has a cadre of topics and moods.

What listeners say about Dune Messiah

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good-not-great book, not as fond of the narration

Dune Messiah is the sequel to Frank Herbert's masterpiece, Dune. As is often the case, it does not live up to the high standard of the first installement, but it is still pretty good.

First off: if you haven't read/listened to Dune, ignore this book until you've done that.

This book wraps up the story of Paul Muad'Dib Atriedes; 12 years after the successful war to capture the imperial throne, Paul is dealing (struggling?) with the issues of governance, the imperial succession and plots to overthrow him. The story deals with strategems, plots and plots-within-plots. For those who desire swashbuckling action, laser battles in space, exploring strange new worlds and menacing merciless malefactors will find this book disappointing....Dune Messiah is mostly conversation and internal dialogue. It's a slow-moving story...most of the action (and there isn't much of it) occurs in the final quarter of the book. (This style is common among Frank Herbert's writing.)

Dune Messiah is a bit more mystical than Dune, and focuses a great deal on some of the odder issues surrounding Paul's prescient visions and his sister, Alia, who is now in her teens.

Overall, I give the story 3 stars...it's not a seminal work, like Dune, but it does follow up the original and bridge to the next few works.

I am not as fond of the narration as I could be. There are several readers, and they each read a separate chapter. They are all great readers, and I love the idea, but it would have helped if the readers had some common ground rules. It's a minor quibble, but sometimes the characters (like Stilgar) have thick accents and at other times they do not. It makes it a little hard to keep track of who is speaking.

138 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Part IV of Dune

I’ve seen some critical reviews of this second book in the Dune series. But, having read it right after re-reading Dune, I found I enjoyed it. As another commentator says, it reads like the conclusion (or “Part IV”) of Dune rather than a separate novel that stands on its own. If you read it with that in mind, and if you enjoyed Dune, you will enjoy Dune Messiah.

Some have criticised it for getting off to a slow start with lots of dialogue and set up. I agree, but the ending was satisfying and I was able to overlook the start. Hey, there are a number of good books that get off to slow starts (Lord of the Rings, for example), right? And by the end of this one, though, I had a very hard time putting it down.

If you liked Dune and want to know how things pan out for our friend Paul, I recommend Dune Messiah to you.

78 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding

I don’t understand the negative reviews. I thought the narration was very good and the story was an extremely interesting follow up to Dune.
Highly highly recommended.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

A Great saga marred by odd production.

I would have preferred it if this was series was presented by a single talented reader narrating the books. I was however willing to accept what the previews state was done, a multiple reader version with different readers "performing" individual characters.

Unfortunately what is actually delivered is a confusing third option, where sometimes a single reader narrates, and other times (seemingly at random) actors read specific characters. This disjointed production method causes nothing but distraction and prevents the listener from full immersion in the story. I could only speculate on why this inconsistent pattern is followed, but whatever the reason, the result is a less than stellar product.

In addition, none of the actors really nails their respective parts. In fact, some are so distractingly bad (Piter for example) they cross over into embarrassing and cartoonish.

The original Dune Saga remains one of, if not my favorite books, but I am sorry to say that this production just does not deliver. I was hoping to acquire the entire series, but I am stopping here.

57 people found this helpful

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

better than expected

After reading a lot of the reviews here, I expected this to be pretty boring. And while I'd agree that it starts out boring, it doesn't stay boring. It picks up speed as it goes and I found myself enjoying it more than expected. I'd say the first hour is pretty boring. The second half of the book is better than the first half. Overall, I gave it a 4 as I really found myself enjoying it. I'd say it's a 3.5 but I don't see it letting me choose half a star.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

I listened to this book right after finishing Dune, which I liked a lot. Sadly, I found this book to be a letdown on two important fronts. Firstly, the plot was ultra-boring. I struggled to stick with it until the end, continually hoping that something exciting or interesting would happen, but it never did.

Secondly, the narration used a different style than in Dune. In Dune, Simon Vance was the primary narrator, and other characters were acted by different narrators. I'm a big fan of Vance and the division of roles in Dune worked well. In this book, however, the narrators took turns reading. So, for example, Vance would read for a while non-stop doing every character, then the next narrator would take over. For me, this style of narration didn't work quite as well. Every time the narrator would change, I noticed it and it took me a while to get used to how the new narrator played each character. It ended up being a distraction. Too bad.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A nice continuation

I really did love the first title in the series, and plan to continue through the rest. There are 2 parts to any review of an audio book, the story and the narration, so let's break this into two.

1. The story. It was slow to get into, especially for a short book. It starts as a series of meetings, and slowly start pulling the story together. By about 3/4 of the way through you start to get back to what you excepted from Dune. It does a nice job telling the story of Paul, and over all was an enjoyable story. 3.5 stars.

2. The narration. I found it more than acceptable, and much better than many books. I was a little hesitant after reading some reviews, but it was no where near as bad as I had feared. It wasn't fantastic like the first book which truely is stellar. So I can understand how this would be a led down compared to that book. Over all it worked well and was an enjoyable listen, and it did not get in the way of the book, and may have even helped. When compared to other books 4/5 stars.

66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very bad fall from Dune

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Dune was wonderful. if you can forgive a terrible book 2 because book 1 was fantastic, then this is for you.

What was most disappointing about Frank Herbert’s story?

Story has no heart. In Dune, characters developed depth as the story progressed around them. In Dune messiah Paul sits in his throne room as a crappy story is narrated to you. There is no story that unfolds around that action of the characters. For example, The Fremen jihad is unleashed across the universe. Oh how awful. Yet there are no good storytelling examples. There is no plot that makes you feel there is a jihad. You just have to believe there is an awful jihad.This book is full of this. You are told about things but never feel it. Imagine if in Dune all that was said about Baron Harkonnen was that he is a very bad man who is evil. You don't feel it. Dune was good because you knew Baron Harkonnen was evil by a storyline that showed he was evil.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Worthy Sequel

So much plot expansion happens in this installment of the Dune series, and it's amazing. Truly a case of plans within plans, feints within feints.

I wish the narration had been kept in the same format as the first book because there were so many more characters and events in this sequel that the changes in voices for narration became a little muddy. Other than that, this was expertly read/performed.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

AudioBook Review Only -- Disappointment after Dune

The first audio book in the series is completely engaging. This one is a bit of a let down. Reading the book is enjoyable. Listening to this one is almost painful at times. The changing narrator is an interesting idea, but doesn't come off well in practice.

Also, the voices this time just don't capture the story this time. Likely this book was just too much exposition for the format.

Overall, good story, but not a great listen.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 10-06-16

What Matrix Revolution/Reloaded is to the Original

We all loved The Matrix the same way we all loved Dune.

The exact same thing happened in Messiah as it did in Matrix Revolutions and Reloaded. It got waaaayyy too preachy, mystical and messiahry with no real thread to keep it held together.

It seemed in Messiah, Paul had just become a pain in the arse teenage with too many powers where no conversation was straight forward, it always had to mention "the infinite opportunities or prescient vision" in some manner, by the end of the book it got tiring.

Duncan - "Paul, would you like porridge for your breakfast?"
Paul - "I must meditate on this Duncan. The endless outcomes from the smallest minutia of mundane choices will echo an eternity like the muddied sands flowing through the giant mouth of mystical beasts, the Worms"
Paul sat quietly focusing all his attention on whether to have porridge for breakfast as Bene Gesserit mother had taught him.

This is essentially how the book went.

63 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alex mason
  • 01-11-17

A narrative bridge, not well executed

What did you like most about Dune Messiah?

The source material isn't as good as the first book but still a very worthy read. Sadly the decision to share the narrative between the voice actors makes the experience confusing and distracts. The original has a set actor for character and one narrator, which is much more immersive.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Stuart
  • 07-30-12

Too much melange by the author?

I listened to the first book and loved it. Although I found the first book hard going at the beginning you drop into the new words, and now 50 years on a lot of the Arabic words the author drops in a more familiar to westerns - Haj, Jihad.

I can't help thinking though that this book is slightly addled and more of it's time - 1969! Book one seemed timeless and I was amazed that after 50 years it still felt fresh and relevant, but this one felt like something from the height of flower power and hippy trippy acid frenzies. The author seems to jump from event to event, with little to interlink the story and long, rambling, impenetrable, and frankly nonsensical passages that drift off to nowhere describing the nature of Paul’s visions of the future with a torrent of words that seem thrown together and make little sense. Maybe the author is genius and the nonsense of his passages were meant to reflect the confusion of Paul trying to read the right path in the future … but frankly I got bored of listening to long passages of babble and garbage thrown together with little attempt at a coherent story thread.

Here’s just one extract (and I could find many) that will give you an idea of how mind bendingly nonsensical it is

“He became a motionless chain of relative existence, singular, alone. Old memories flooded his mind, he marked them, adjusted them to new understandings, made a beginning at the integration of a new awareness, an new persona achieved a temporary form of internal tyranny, the masculating synthesis remained charged with potential disorder, but events pressed him to the temporary adjustment, the young master needed him.”

I won’t be listening to the rest of the saga, this just disappeared up it’s own behind. I found myself listening to it more, just so I could get it over with faster. Thankfully it was under 10 hours so less than a week of my driving schedule, if it had been longer I'd have just ditched it.

47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-12-08

Great Book, Great readers

Great reading. clear and easy to understand. while the reading does change a few times to different narrators i found this a good thing. A superb book explaining what happened 12 years after Paul Atreides took over Dune. As gripping as it is intricute. This is a must read for those who want to know what happened to Paul, channi and the others in the royal court

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Roy
  • 10-01-08

Not as good as the original book

I had heard that this book was a bit of a week link in the Dune series so I was a bit apprehensive in ordering it. However, after listening to the original Dune audio book I knew I had to find out what happened to Paul and the others.

It was always going to be a hard act to follow but the production of this audio book is not as accomplished as that of Dune. I think this is mainly because many of the more distinctive characters from the first book do not appear in the sequel. The plot starts very very slowly and the clue is in the title - it is very Messianic and almost spirtual in the descriptions of the 'oracular vision'.

That said, there are some superb original concepts in the sequel, including the ghola 'Hate' and the descriptions of the Tleilaxu culture. The book also ends very well.

I'll certainly be downloading the next one.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Stonehouse
  • 06-13-19

Dune fans only.

It's good. But a bit dry and with less colourful description as the original and best. I'm a dune fan so I enjoyed it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Count Wilhelm
  • 01-27-19

Patchy narration and not well acted.

A difficult story to follow at the best of times, the narration company tries to Jazz things up a bit by moving the narrative between many different people. They ultimately fail to make it either more interesting, or easier to follow.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michal
  • 06-20-21

a downgrade from previous audiobook

More actors and music in the last audiobook but it doesn't affect the quality of the book

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott McDowell
  • 05-02-20

Good sequel but narration is lacking

After really enjoying Dune, and the narration style of the Audible version despite its mixed reviews, I was not a fan of how Dune Messiah devoted entire sections of the book to different voice actors. Simon Vance is amazing, everyone else is lacking. The context, and pronunciation, shift and differences were too jarring and at times really took away from what is a good sequel. While I would recommend the story I can see why some people say to stop after the first book. If you loved the first book then don't let this put you off, but be warned that the narration leaves a lot to be desired.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew M.
  • 11-28-21

The impossible sequel that shouldn't exist

Sometimes a work exists that is perfect within itself and any sequel or expansion is a fruitless exercise. Dune is such a work. Messiah is what happens when you try to write. a sequel when you never had a plan past the first book, it doesn't link up well and forgets much of that which was established such as the voice. There is no through note that explains how we got from a young man trying hard to prevent a Jihad to one who has so casually had billions killed in his name (something that said almost as a throw away to establish size of the act but not the enormity). Herbert is a good enough writer that listening to this was pleasurable enough experience but the whole thing sounds like a first draft that he had to turn in before it was even close to being finished. There is a plot, but it feels like a skeleton that has had elements stuck on not crafted to fit it. So much of it hangs off and is never really as taut and well designed as every element of the first book was.

There are good ideas in here but they struggle to get out under the pressure to be Dune again.

The performance was good but lacked the overall care and polish of the first effort. The chapters lacked the lovely musical sting from Dune that made them so definitely a starting point, even though they used the same quote format at each one.

Overall this was a disappointment after the towering first work and I suspect this is where I will end the journey. A shame but I'm glad I gave it a go, at least I know I've not missed out on something special.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-26-20

Better than the first Dune book

The writing of Dune Messiah is, in my opinion, much more consistent than the first instalment of the series. A well-constructed narrative, it avoids the pacing problems I had with Dune and presents an engaging story of political intrigue.

Although the character’s and their development is interesting, I will caution that I find none of them particularly likeable. The characters in the Dune series are not just flawed, if they don’t lack empathy they instead exhibit “by hurting you I’m helping you” tendencies to a disturbing level. I am well aware that consideration of the degradation of blind faith and fanaticism is a core aspect of the series, but I don’t find the exploration of the topic particularly compelling in this instance.

The narration is, just as the first book, inconsistent. Again, the main narrator is good, but it would have been nicer to have either different voice actors used for specific characters all the time, or not at all.

All the above being said, I think Dune Messiah is probably my joint favourite of the Dune series alongside Children of Dune.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • helmand mandozay
  • 12-26-19

plants, mushrooms and remembrance

yep. if you're hesitating to listen to this one, don't. it's a classic; beautifully written; it reeks of plants and mushrooms and remembrance.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • patrick
  • 06-01-15

great read for those who loved the first book

Loved it but not for everyone, light on action, heavy on politics and philosophy.

Reading the original, although I loved it, some parts were a bit monotonous. I found that audiobook format fixed that problem.

Voice acting was great and appropriate.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • brspencer
  • 10-04-21

More questionable narration decisions

I really don't mind having multiple narrators read for different characters. The decisions made by the production team for this book and the last continue to confuse me.

It starts off with the main narrator reading a chapter, switches to a narrator that is Paul's primary voice, then back to the main narrator, then to Iralan's narrator, then main narrator for a majority of the other chapters, then back to Paul, with no rhyme or reason.

The difference in narrative voices for the same characters are jarring and the inconsistency of it is so confusing it distracts me from the wonderful book by Frank Herbert.

Whoever made these decisions should never make another audiobook.

That said excited to listen to the next audiobook, most likely unfortunately produced by the same group.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-03-21

fall of the dmt space wizard

it was tragic to hear the downfall for Paul but also pretty fun at the same time

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-05-21

Multiple narrators confusing

This is read by multiple narrators, but without any obvious pattern. All are good, but it's just a bit confusing to hear the same characters being spoken with different voices.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linsul
  • 05-17-15

An excellent audio version of the original

I love this series - I think the number of times I have read this series must be in the double digits now. However, this is the first time I have listened to the series. The audio version gave me a better insight into why Paul makes a series of key decisions at the end of the book. I read text very fast and I think that being forced to slow down to the pace at which the book is read aloud gave me more time to think about Paul's possible motivations.

There are several voice actors involved in the production and I found all of them very good. There is a large cast of characters and I always knew which character was speaking.

For those readers who have never read or listened to this book, this is very different from the first book in the series ("Dune"). "Dune Messaiah" focuses on the implementation of a vision and the consequences. One of the themes is the balance of power between the ruler and the religious and political institutions that help the ruler to rule. Unsurprisingly, another theme is the nature, potential and limitations of prescience - in particular whether the oracle chooses the future or whether the future chooses the oracle.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-02-21

Well done!

First time hearing the story as I am working my way through the books. my only disappointment is that there wes fewer voice actors but the performance was still great. The story is unfolding amazingly and I am eager to listen to the next installment! thank you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Casey
  • 11-30-21

More!

Wish this book was as long as the first. Such an incredible extension of the original.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Garaya
  • 11-05-21

Disappointing but story still holds up

The shifting performers were less distracting than the earlier volume and the story is great and worthwhile listening to even after having read it. I just wish they had a better idea as to how to dramatise these. Or just using one narrator to get used to. The fault is neither with the performers nor with the story but the direction and editing. For example having introduced female characters with a female performer sounds very distracting to hear the male narrator make an attempt to declared love and passion of the female character on the next chapter. Then go back to the female narrator to tell the story of the male characters. Also the attempts to change inflection and voices by the narrator was overwrought at stages and characters sounded the same. Not satisfying.