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This Audiobook was provided by the narrator at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
A meteor causes a skunk and an aardvark to become super-smart and self-aware. The skunk, being in seclusion for most of his life, searches for acceptance from humanity. The aardvark (presented as more or less "a typical teen gamer") decides to just play an MMORPG (online game, in the vein of World Of Warcraft). Thrown into this mix are two date site chatters Marissa and Conley to ensure some romance is involved as well.
The book's beginning is very interesting but then suddenly the story seems to halt. The super smart Aardvark with its new found communication skills is a very passive creature, and barely does anything at all until the book's climax, the skunk, while much more active, spends too much story time on the computer and our internet lovers also seem to just 'go with the flow' with their actions having little to no effect on the overall outcome of the story - up till the climax.
The final hour or so of the book is great, but unfortunately very short, as things finally get more interesting the book simply ends (with a small cliffhanger which seems unlikely to get resolved).
The narration from Gregory Bratton is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand a LOT of special effects were added which I usually find very enjoyable, on the other hand the use of audio manipulation for the skunk and the aardvark were sometimes a bit hard on the ears with the low point being the 'monotonic robotic voice' at the end of the book where it was sometimes almost impossible to understand what is being said. The voice acting was mostly well done with the only oddity being Conley's 'boredom' on action intense scenes.
To summarize - Interesting scenario with mostly bland characters with a very nice (yet short) ending. The narrator does a fine job but should take it down a notch when using audio manipulation software.
I would rate this more of a 3.5 star experience overall.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I don't want to be too harsh, but I must have a masochistic side that I wasn't aware of or I'm overly optimistic because the narration was painful to listen to through the entire book. I kept thinking after hours of reading the narrator would relax and he'd settle into a more natural, less stilted, stiff and self-conscious delivery. Sad to say it wasn't so. The mispronunciations were rather distracting, too. That said, I made it through the whole book during which I developed a certain grudging admiration for the narrators stab at what must have been a daunting task.
What did you like best about this story?
I imagine I would have liked the book a little better in printed form. In my own head my narration is brilliant. Out loud, no so much, which is why I don't want to be too critical of Mr. Bratton's performance.
Would you be willing to try another one of Gregory Bratton’s performances?
Only after he's practiced on a few (several) other books.
Do you think Atomic Aardvark needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
I have no idea.