Inception meets Neverending story meets - Tron? Quantum Leap? Willow?
The Edge of Nothing – by Crystal Crawford & Narrated by Ben Gilliam Book 1 of the Lex Chronicles
I started listening to this book a couple of weeks ago. I finally finished it today, which is substantially longer than it normally takes me for a book of this length. Part of the reason is definitely because of my current workload, minus my former commute time, minus the other time that I used to be able to listen to audiobooks that I wasn't working on myself due to quarantinish stuff. But part of the reason I didn't finish it sooner was because I had to force myself to listen to it.
I'm conflicted about this book. I really enjoyed the plot, and the writing was good. Not amazing, but engaging. The characters were interesting & the amount that you continue to discover the truth about the characters kept me listening. It did take some time to get into the plot itself though based on the similarities to Inception. Lex, the main character, is constantly shifting from one body & perspective to another. I got a little tired of the phrase “the world tilted.” My initial listening was taking place while I was doing some grocery shopping & it probably affected my initial impression. You don't know what is reality, how anything is connected, and Lex has no memory of who he was before the beginning of the story. You eventually get answers to these questions but not until MANY chapters in. Unless you are able to focus solely on this audiobook to begin, it might be better to read the beginning.
And sadly, that's what I'd recommend based on the narrator's overall performance as well. Gilliam's characterizations are adequate & you can differentiate between the characters fairly easily, but every sentence seems to have the same rhythm. And then there's the emotional range. Its either mellow, conversational, or if a character is in any kind of anxious situation, he's yelling. Quite literally. The author doesn't even have to say “they shouted” and he's shouting. In your ear. Again and again. And again. Tense part? Time to shout. Action scene? Yelling scene. Don't worry, if the author says "shouted so and so," he lets you know too. And when he's yelling you really can't tell one character from another. The sound quality, when not yelling, is decent. I also wasn't fond of how exceedingly caricatured he did Nigel. Reminded me of the teacher who catches Daschel Robert Parr on film putting a tack on his seat.
I enjoyed the story & if it were available narrated by someone else, I would continue the series, but for someone who listens on nice headphones... I can't recommend it at all, and as Gilliam narrates at least the next book in the series, I'm afraid I won't find out what happens in Aremeth.
I did like the way that Crawford treated magic in this world & found the ideas intriguing. I'd be willing to read or listen to more by her any time. Just not with Gilliam as a narrator.
I received a promotional copy of this audiobook from the author via story origin. My opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by receiving the promo copy.