*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY AUDIOBOOK Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny #BrainfluffNETGALLEYaudiobookreview #Roadmarksbookreview

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This is the first time I had picked up an audiobook arc from Netgalley, and not being of the generation that grew up with all this techie stuff, I was a bit apprehensive as to how easy it would be. But downloading the Netgalley app onto my phone and then listening to the book is actually more straightforward than loading an ebook onto my Kindle. I was also very happy with the clarity and quality my far-from-new iphone produced when listening to it, too.

BLURB: The Road runs from the unimaginable past to the far future, and those who travel it have access to the turnoffs leading to all times and places–even to the alternate time-streams of histories that never happened. Why the Dragons of Bel’kwinith made the Road–or who they are–no one knows. But the Road has always been there and for those who know how to find it, it always will be!

REVIEW: Roger Zelazny is one of those authors that other writers speak of with huge respect and affection, therefore is someone I have always intended to read. So I was delighted to encounter this newly released audiobook, narrated by Matt Godfrey, who does a very good job at portraying the fragmented action and providing a suite of nicely different voices for the character cast.

It took me several goes to get into this one, as initially I assumed I’d begun listening somewhere other than the start of the book. Zelazny drops us right in the middle of the action – in media res if you want the correct literary phrase. It didn’t help that the book starts at Chapter 2 and then moves onto Chapter One. And I had to pay close attention, as the narrative timeline jumped all over the place – and as I was listening, it was quite a hassle to flip back and forth to remind myself exactly where I was. Fortunately the narrator’s recitation speed was on the slower side of normal, for which I was thankful – I frequently slow the narration speed by 0.25 or 0.50, particularly if the reader isn’t using a British accent.

The story is about travellers on a road that takes them through Time as well as Space. There are only two chapters in the book and Chapter One features our main protagonist, Red Dorakeen, who has been on the Road for a long time and is clearly looking for something or someone vital. Zelazny is a writer with talent and the confidence to break all sorts of rules that are designed to help the reader – and a lot of the time, he triumphantly succeeds. I was quickly hooked and quite happy to spend a lot of the time not really sure exactly what was going on. The scene setting, characterisation and fluidity of the writing was sufficiently skilful that it was an enjoyable experience following the fractured timeline and going with the flow. I’m definitely going to be reading more by this talented writer. It didn’t hurt that there are some lovely flashes of snarky and dry humour in amongst the tension and danger.

It would scored higher if I didn’t feel that the ending was rather sloppily executed. And as I tend to have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about disappointing endings – I have knocked off a point. It wasn’t that it was the wrong ending exactly – but I sensed that by the time he’d got there, Zelazny’s attention and creative energy had been diverted to another project, so he didn’t show the same care and attention in the writing that was evident at the beginning. But I’m still mightily glad I picked this one up and it comes highly recommended. While I obtained an arc of Roadmarks from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
8/10

3 responses »

  1. My only Zelazny book is Damnation Alley, and I read it long ago, so my familiarity with his style is lost in the fogs of time :-D. but this novel sounds intriguing, even though the ending did not prove to be on the same level of the rest of the book…
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’ve read Zelazny in my late teens (a few books of Chronicles of Amber and one standalone whose title I don’t recall), and this one sounds interesting. But given your struggle with the audiobook, I might pick up an ebook instead. Some books, I believe, are better experienced read than listened to, and this might be such a book. 🙂

    • Yes! I think you’re right where this one is concerned. Mostly, I’ve found audiobooks work really well – but I think cris-crossing over the various timelines would have made more sense if every so often I could have flipped to the top of the section and actually seen how it fitted within the narrative arc.

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