October Audiobook Review: Rise of the Dead

Run time: 7hrs and 57 minutes, narrated by John R. Crosthwaite
In Jeremy Dyson’s Rise of the Dead, we find ourselves at the start of the zombie apocalypse. The story is in first person and we follow the plight of Blake, a man who finds himself separated from his family by the rapidly deteriorating world around him. He bands together with other survivors in an attempt to keep one step ahead of the dead, but their escape is leading them away from his wife and daughter.

What did I like about this story?
I enjoyed the fast-paced fall of civilization, how it fell apart so quickly and our main character who had led a life of controlled decisions found himself thrust into a world of unpredictable chaos.

It was tough(in a good way) listening along as his attempts at survival took him further and further away from his family. I could feel his frustration and fear, knowing that he had to do what he was doing to survive, but knowing that it could mean he’d never see his wife and daughter again.

There are some other interesting characters, Quentin, Danielle and Stitch who band together with Blake and help him in his travels. They added some interesting twists, especially the temporary salvation that Quentin’s father brings the group. This part of the story also helps to reveal just how bad things are becoming.

What didn’t I like about this story?
This has nothing to do with anybody but me, but I had a real problem with the narration and it severely affected my enjoyment of the story. I’ll cover this more in Narration below.

Narration:
Ok, so I’ll repeat, this has nothing to do with the story or even the narrator really, but I had a hard time listening to this book. The narrator did this thing with his voice where he would be reading normally and then would switch into a very husky demanding tone and that is the same voice I use to make my wife laugh. I call it my Batman voice. It’s a silly thing I do with her, but hearing it quite frequently in the story as I listened kept throwing me out of the story. I couldn’t stand it. It’s one thing when I do it being silly, its another thing when a good portion of the story sounded like it was being read in that voice.

Conclusion: (Aka: Would I listen to more by this author?)
Unfortunately, due to my struggle with the narrator’s use of “Batman” voice, I would not. This doesn’t mean that others won’t enjoy it just fine, in fact, they likely will, it’s just that it didn’t work for me.

I had a tough time deciding how to rate this. I’d give the story a 7-8, but as discussed, the narration was a real challenge for me and I’d give it a 4-5, so I’m going to average the two out and give it an overall 6 out of 10.

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September Audiobook Review: Speakeasy Dead

Run time: 7hrs and 35 minutes, narrated by Nick Podehl & Emily Beresford
In Vicky Loebel’s Speakeasy Dead we find ourselves in a most unexpected version of the 1920’s. Zombies, witches, warlocks, gangsters, ritzy movie stars and a dance competition? Yep, a dance competition. Oh and I forgot to mention ghosts, a djinn, a demon and probably more that I cannot remember. It was a crazy mix of characters in the familiar setting of prohibition era America. I didn’t know what I would think of this story, but I was actually quite delighted by it.

The two main characters, Clara & Bernie, who we follow in alternating narratives, reminded me a lot of characters from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Bernie, reminded me of Xander and Clara a cross between Willow and maybe a little bit of Buffy herself.

The book is billed as a roaring twenties paranormal romantic comedy and it definitely fits that description. There’s love brewing as well as potions, booze and trouble!

What did I like about this story?
I loved the way the story flowed back and forth between Clara’s point of view and Bernie’s, each with its own opening quote from either the “Girl’s Guide to Demons” or the “Boy’s Guide to Boggarts”. The characters are constantly in worsening peril right from the beginning and the heat just keeps getting turned up as the story goes on.

At times the differing points of view tell you parts of the same scene from their unique perspectives and at others, they are jumping off into a new direction for the story. This kept each chapter fresh, interesting and unexpected.

The world the author created around the prohibition era, filled with witches, warlocks and demons is also filled with possibilities for future stories, while I doubt they will be filled with more zombies, I hope more books are written because these characters were a lot of fun to listen to.

What didn’t I like about this story?
Ultimately, it’s very sparse on zombies, which is ok, but if you are reading this because you really like zombie books, especially apocalypse level books, you might not care for it. If you like fun stories with action and drama, with characters you can laugh at and root for, then you’ll enjoy this book.

Narration:
The narration on this book was done quite well, with each of the two main characters having their own narrator. It made it fun to listen to and also really helped with what can be one of the challenges of an audiobook, knowing which character is doing something.

Conclusion: (Aka: Would I listen to more by this author?)
Yes, I would. I really enjoyed this story. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that when I set out to listen to it, I wasn’t too sure I’d like it at all because it was so vastly different to everything else I’ve been listening to. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it so much, it was fresh and interesting.

I give this 10 out of 10 stars, which is the second month in a row I have given that rating and on two vastly different books!

Get a copy for yourself on Audible!

Check out our other audiobook reviews here!

Product links on this page will most likely take you to an Amazon webpage.

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