3 out of 4 stars
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Being an avid reader, I love the feel of a tome in my hand and the smell of the pages as I advance through a story; therefore, I have never sampled an Audible audiobook before and frankly, have never seen the benefit in it. However, when recently assigned to review the Audible audiobook service, I thought I could give it a try. To my surprise, I enjoyed the experience immensely.
I chose to download and have a listen to Lover Reborn, book ten in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. I knew the story was going to be great as the previous nine books in the series had been. I just did not know how Audible would handle the complexity of the world Ward has created in her Brotherhood series. Complex characters, battle scenes, sensuous love scenes, and a level of descriptive prose that enlivens the imagination would be very different when being read aloud versus read in the internal voice we all become comfortable with as we read our favorite stories. So it was with some trepidation that I opened the file and turned up the volume, settling in to see what Audible would do with this story.
Narrator Jim Frangione began in a somewhat monotone voice and I could not suppress the eye roll. I waited and the story began to unfold and the accents, inflections, and new tones of voice Frangione used with each character drew me in. I found myself smiling as he spoke the frank and sometimes vile language used by the Brotherhood, blushing and becoming hot and bothered as he read his way through a love scene, and tearing up as he described the Fade ceremony for the Brother Tohrment’s lost shellan.
I found that I enjoyed the Audible experience. I loved the fact that I could listen to the book while driving and while doing house chores. I felt that the characters were more alive to me as I listened to the various character portrayals. My internal voice never gives me the variety that I was provided by Frangione. I realized though, that to listen to a book of roughly six hundred pages was going to be a huge time investment: twenty three hours and thirteen minutes of time investment to be specific. This is a major drawback that I have with the Audible audiobook format. I can read a book much faster.
I would recommend Audible audiobooks to others and rate the experience as a 3 out of 4 stars. If a person is traveling, the many hours spent on the ride can be spent in the presence of his or her favorite characters, learning about a favorite nonfiction topic, or simply relaxing with a good story. Also, if vision impairment is a problem or a person has problems holding a book or eBook device, this is a perfect alternative.
I, myself, will have to do some soul searching to decide if I will keep my Audible membership. Money spent to continue the service is hard to justify since the time investment in the audiobook experience is so much greater than reading a book. Plus, the act of reading for me is something very visceral. The weight and smell of the book in my hands, the pictures that flash across the internal screen of my imagination, or the personal escape I find when in the middle of a different reality are things that I missed as I listened to Lover Reborn. Because I was free to do other things, I was not immersed as deeply in the story as normal and listening did not engage my mind in quite the same way as when reading. The novelty of the experience was enjoyable and if I plan to travel, then I may revisit Audible and see what is on the horizon.
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