I have been wanting to try audiobooks for a while now, and this was my first choice. I got it free from Audible, the story seemed like something I would enjoy and it was only a little half an hour long, so why not?
I can tell why people say the narrator is very important to the enjoyment of an audiobook. Since I have no basis of comparison, I cannot tell if Ms Melody Grove is considered a good one or not, but I enjoyed it. Her voice was soothing and I could tell when the voices changed and the emotion behind the characters’ lines. So yes, I think I chose a good one to start with!
I have to admit I don’t find it as easy remembering things to write a proper review later on, though. I remember I thought it was interesting that Lalla, our main character, would realize there are differences between history and stories, which is to say from truth and make-believe. Her mother told her many marvelous things, but not all of them were true, or so she thought. Kind of like finding out there is no Santa.
So 11-year-old Lalla is our narrator, and she lives in a post-apocalyptic London, where an event called the Collapse had taken place and left people extremely poor, at the mercy of a seemingly ruthless government.
The world creation appears interesting, though I could not tell what exactly had happened. The story is faithful to what an 11-year-old would say and think, but at times it does not serve too well to set context. For instance, we are told that Lalla’s father goes away a lot, but not why. I could only tell that people were extremely poor and that some could live in flats, like Lalla’s family. But I could not figure out if they had jobs, for example. Other things I collected from the story was that there were no children around, and that everyone’s main focus was to make sure they renewed their requests to get food and that they always carried their id cards or they would be shot by the armed forces.
I especially could not figure out how computers seemed to run fairly efficiently in a world where so much seemed to have been wiped out. Even though I kept in mind that this story is a prequel to The Ship, I could have used a bit more information. But I guess that will have to wait.
As the story progresses, we find that little Lalla is tired of having no one to play with, and wants to move to Regents Park after watching a movie about it showing all kinds of wonders. You can tell there’s something fishy about it, especially when Lalla’s parents vehemently tell her she cannot go there, though offering no explanation. But you can tell why it would be so appealing to Lalla. And here the narrator is able to convey her emotions quite well. Lalla will do something silly as all kids must, and it will pique the reader/listener’s interest to find out more about this world, which is the job of a prequel, I suppose.
I guess this story had the opposite effect on me though, since I feel that if I had read The Ship and had more context I would have perhaps appreciated it more, and it would have served to complement an already well established concept.
It’s still an enjoyable listen and I recommend it.
Read on March 16, 2015