Fortunately for me, Dan Z has provided a wonderful review of Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Life Debt, which you can read here. That leaves my task at hand to discuss Marc Thompson’s reading of this novel and the production value of the audiobook itself. In full disclosure, I have not listened to an audiobook in many years, so this was a wonderful treat to be able to experience the medium at its finest.
Aftermath: Life Debt built on the foundation of Aftermath, making so much of that novel even more relevant. (Who knew that many of those interludes would serve to provide more depth to the main narrative of this particular story?) Marc Thompson’s reading of Aftermath: Life Debt was nothing short of incredible.
Every character’s voice in the story was given a unique, and distinguishing voice by Marc Thompson that made listening the story easier and more enjoyable. He matched the pacing of the action and emotional tone of the moments in the narrative passages. The majority of Wednig’s passages takes the exclusive point-of-view of one character, and he changes that viewpoint at almost every section. You could always tell what that point-of-view was based on Thompson’s reading of the passage, always mirroring the attitude and perception of that character with his inflections
I am sure voicing these characters proved more of a challenge with this novel as some many familiar characters who have been portrayed in live action. His take on Han Solo had all the right inflections, with the swagger we expect from the smuggler. Occasionally it was a little less Harrison Ford and a bit more Patrick Warburton, but he never lost the attitude. A bit less successful was his reading of Leia and Mon Mothma, who came across a bit more forced. However, the main cast of characters from Norra Wexley to Sinjir Rath Velus were voiced with tremendous sensitivity and were excellent reflections of their character.
In addition to the reading, the audiobook was full of sound effects that enhanced narrative, bringing you right into the action. Speeder traffic noise put your right in the middle of Chandrila and the forest critters transported you to Kashyyyk. What would Star Wars be without the sound of blaster fire or the familiar hiss of a door sliding open?
Many of the music cues were just as effective. On occasion, music was selected that has such a strong visual from the films that it was more distracting than effective, especially when using music like “Across the Stars” from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, which accompanies a story that has no real correlation to this novel. However, when the action was accelerated, more generic battle music was used from the vast library of Star Wars soundtracks that it amplified the excitement of the moment successfully.
If you have not yet read Aftermath: Life Debt, this is a great way to experience the action. The reading is emotionally charged and follows the tone of Wendig’s writing to perfection.
Penguin Random House Audio provided an advanced copy for review.Powered by Sidelines