Saturday, September 5, 2015
Audiobook Review: The Quiet a Novella by Robert S. Wilson
James Benton might be the last man on earth. Racing to get to work, he finds random abandoned cars, smoldering pile-ups, and something even stranger. Everywhere he goes there's no grass, no people, not even a bird in the sky. Alone in a barren world, James travels west in search of someone, anyone who might have survived The Quiet.
As with Life After: The Arising there are two covers to this book-the one shown here and a PDF version with a black cover. The black cover is more fitting in the context of the audiobook, but as for the cover itself...it's okay, but a tad spoilerish as to what was behind the disappearance to almost every single person on Earth. It was perhaps a small mercy (and much to my embarrassment) that I was listening on a tiny enough mobile device that I didn't have a chance to really look at the cover until now. Professional reviewer at work I know....
Since this is an audiobook there will be no analysis on any technical details of the writing itself, although the narrator does outline the book without any clear errors and there is no stilted writing at all that I could hear-in fact there is a great amount of detail and character development packed into this novella. Admittedly I did like the second half better than the first half, which was James exploring the city and trying to find out what happened. Since I didn't take a good look at the cover, I was genuinely worried that this would be a rapture-type book, but thankfully that turned out to be not the case and the author also leaves a few subtle clues in the beginning to keep the reader guessing.
The second half, when James actually runs into more characters, was a tad more interesting for me and I was able to immerse myself in the audiobook quite a bit at that point. That being said, the ending seems a bit rushed and comes out of nowhere. Without spoiling things, having a second point-of-view from Barber's perspective would have helped considerably, as the character will do something that will leaving the readers going 'wait, what?'. As this is the expanded version, I have to wonder what was lost in the original.
FINAL GRADE: 4 out of 5. Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable expectation which left me guessing in the first half, and entertained in the second. The narrator's voice was also fitting for the audiobook and didn't grate on the ears in the slightest.
The Quiet is available here.