It’s been quite a while since I listened to an audiobook, but over the last week, Cameron and I have been on our anniversary holiday to Scotland which has involved a LOT of driving.
Rather than listen to the same music over and over again, we decided that we’d spend the time listening to a book instead, and since this one was on discount (and was one of the hardbacks that Cameron already had on his shelf), why not?!
Narrated mainly by Dennis Quaid (as the president), along with a host of other voice actors for the other main characters, the book was fast paced and full of twists. It genuinely felt like watching an action film while we were driving round the beautiful scenery of the Scottish Highlands.
I actually was struck with a really weird thought while we were driving, which is that although whenever you read a book, you always imagine it different to someone else reading that same book, it felt strange that we were both listening at the same time but probably envisioning completely different things in our heads – like watching the same film with a different cast.
When I mentioned this to Cameron, he obviously thought I was a bit strange, but we had a chat and whereas I thought the president looked a bit like Harrison Ford, Cameron was picturing him like the president from Independence Day.
As an audiobook, there are a few extra things to consider over a normal book. The narrators for me can completely put me off listening. I’d say that they were well chosen for this book, but some of the accents were a bit dodgy. If you’ve already gone to the expense of hiring multiple people to do the voices, at least hire someone who can pull off a convincing Russian accent. I cringed every time I heard the dodgy impression.
The other thing that was a bit off-putting was that whenever the character nicknamed Bach was narrating, she often talked about the music she was listening to (bet you can’t guess what it was?!) But rather off-puttingly, they played the music along with the narration, but often it was louder than the speaking and it made it really hard to concentrate on what was being said.
I thought the book itself was really well written though. Mostly fast-paced throughout, there were only a few places where I feel like I probably would have started skim-reading if I had the physical book. Like when they went into a long description about DDOS attacks and what could happen if computers across the world had their hard drives wiped. As a tech person, I didn’t feel like I needed all that and it got a little boring, but I can see why they needed to add it in.
I was also intrigued by all the little insider bits that you could tell had been influenced by Bill Clinton – it made the president feel more real and gave the situations more depth.
I’d say that this book wasn’t my usual kind of book – political thrillers are not what I’d usually pick up in a bookshop, but it translated really well to audio format, and made a lot of long drives feel a lot less boring.