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This is my second Audible book, and the first time I have been driven to write a review (of any kind). I have to say that this would not be my choice of book to read. Too big and not my normal genre. I have far too many books and not enough time to read them all ( oh woe is me!). I joined Audible to broaden my tastes with something different whilst walking the dogs, and I found that this lengthy (30 hours) story became an evening obsession for a month or so.
Yes, it is a dark tale of a post nuclear apocalyptic America and is sometimes difficult to hear of the destruction and long term suffering...but that really is the point. How can you explore the possibility of redemption and survival without the descent into evil and chaos in the first place?. And it is like The Stand in that it is an exploration of good verses evil, with groups of characters on each side.
But... the similarity ends there.
The author has created a compelling story where each of the 90 or so chapters follows the POV of groups of people on either side of the moral divide. The main characters soon become familiar, and their individual stories inexorably and sometimes painfully progress to a satisfying and exciting series of confrontations at the climax of the book. I liked the ending.
The big thing for me though was the experience of having this book, that I never would have read normally, delivered as a professional spoken performance through my earphones in the Ashdown Forest every day for a month. Really quite surreal!
I was not convinced at the start, but was soon drawn into the timbre of Tom Stechshulte's voice. His vocal interpretation of each of the characters became to be "just right". This is not simply someone reading aloud. (erm Librivox anyone?) This is a proper job! I could not wait for my next daily instalment!
Now...what to listen to next?
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
When I got this book in a special offer I didn't expect too much from it despite the positive reviews. However, when I got round to listening to it my expectations were far exceeded. Sadly for me several of the existing reviews make many of the points that I would like to make. It is indeed very much like Stephen King's The Stand in many ways. The post-apocalypse setting, the fight between good and evil. It's also similar in the large cast of characters and the depth which the author gives to them. They stand out because they are drawn from all levels of achievement within our existing society. They carry the burdens of how current society treated them into this post-apocalyptic world and some discover the merits and strengths that were buried under its negative judgement.
It's a harsh book set in a harsh world but it carries messages of hope both on a personal and global level. You'll have to listen to it though to find out whether those slender seedlings of hope triumph over the brutal evil of a lawless world.
The narration is very impressive, particularly for a book of this length. As a result of the fine writing and the fitting rendition from Tom Stechschulte the length of the book is a positive without doubt.
Try this one, it has real quality.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
Where does Swan Song rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I was hesitant on buying this book because of the mixed reviews and the length of the book. After the first part of of the book I was sucked into Swan and Sister's apocalyptic nightmare. The book is simply amazing, frightening, funny, sad, brutal, and inspirational. I am for once at a loss of words to describe this book of fear I might not do it justice. If you like The Stand by Stephen King you will IN FACT LOVE Swan Song.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Sister and Swan
What does Tom Stechschulte bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Listening to the tone of voice in certain conversations allowed me to experience the characters emotional distress, love, and sadness.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Both.....I laughed and cried...and sometimes yelled!
103 of 104 people found this review helpful
HIS EYES GLAZED OVER LIKE POND ICE
RM has divided this into 14 parts. Part one follows the President of the United States, who is a former astronaut who can't make a decision. Then goes to Professional Wrestler to a Bag Lady to a Trailer Park. I thought the characters were going to be cliche and that the writing was going to be very simple.
YOU AIN'T GOT THE SENSE GOD GAVE A PISS ANT.
Part 2, 3 and 4 got better, but I was thinking this was a cheap copy of "The Stand". Is there really an insect called a piss ant?
AS COLD AS A VIRGIN'S BED
Around part 5 or 6 they get to Matheson, Kansas. Holley crap the story really picks up then. From chapter 37 to 52 it is intense, it is scary, you will not be able to stop listening during these chapters. These chapters are some of the best written and scariest stuff I have ever read or listened to.
LET'S QUIT SHIRKIN AND GET TO WORKEN.
Chapter 54 till the finish is not as scary or intense, but is still a great listen. I am very impatient with most long books, but I found myself every morning, excited about getting to continue the story. Parts of this book will remind you of Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Robin Hobb, and or Road Warrior.
HOPE IS A DISEASE
This was my first McCammon book, but I see one of his books is on sale in a 3 for two sale, and I will be getting it.
FORGIVENESS CRIPPLES EVIL
I will give the narrator a 95%, he did really well on all the voices and he was easy to listen to. i did think he used the clenched teeth mad a little too often, when a different response was called for, but that could just be my opinion. I have no problem listening to him again.
104 of 107 people found this review helpful