Friday, January 6, 2012

THE SKIN MAP by Stephen R. Lawhead - An Audio Book

I’ve never read any of Stephen R. Lawhead’s other books, so I had no expectations for this one. It was the concept that excited me. When given an opportunity by Thomas Nelson, Inc. to review an unabridged audio version of this novel, I jumped at the chance and appreciated the opportunity.  

The first in the Bright Empires series, and written by a British author, this audio version is also read by someone with a British accent. Nowhere on my CDs, or on the case, does it tell whose voice is recorded. At the beginning of the first CD, I think it says, “Read by Simon Bubb.” However, “Bubb” could actually be something that sounds similar.  

I found the British accent sometimes difficult to understand and often too much of a monotone. As the novel progressed, and I became more familiar with him, it got better. The reader also seemed to add more voice inflections farther into the narrative. I suspect I’d have enjoyed reading this book more than listening to it, however.  I had some difficulty following the story lines and found myself backing up the CD to re-listen on several occasions. It’s easier to do this by turning a page than searching on a CD.  

The concept of time travel via ley lines was intriguing. The historical settings were interesting too. I wanted more time with the man who sported the tattooed skin map. He and the Asian woman he loved were more interesting than the main character, Kit, or his great grandfather. Kit never really appealed to me. He wasn’t fleshed out enough.  

On the other hand, Kit’s girlfriend, Wilhelmina was very likeable. Her adventures were fun to listen to and I hoped she’d fall in love and marry the Austrian partner she opens a bakery and coffee house with. Will that happen in a later book? Better him than Kit.  

I was disappointed by the deaths of two major characters, and even more so in the way the novel came to an abrupt halt. It didn’t satisfy and left everything unfinished. Okay, so there will be other books in the series and I’m going to want to read them. But, I wish it had not left so many loose ends. If only the author had at least tied up some of them.  

In the next book, I hope we’ll be shouting, “Go Wilhelmina!”
—Gail Lewis  

Product Details: Audio Edition
Listening Length: 11 hours and 24 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Language: English

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