Narrated by: Olivie Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Jonathan McClain
Duration: 11 hrs and 41 mins
I’m not normally a fan of audiobooks, for one most of the time, the narrator sounds nothing like I imagined what the character sounds like and second, one person reads the entire thing, for all the different characters which is annoying. There are a few exception, I thoroughly enjoyed the Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events audiobooks, and those are absolute jems, the other being Matilda by Roald Dahl, narrated by Kate Winslet, this is also a lot of fun and narrated wonderfully by Winslet.
However, with regard to Illuminae, I had no idea what to expect. I’d already read the hardcover version of the book and that had blown me away so, I figured that the audiobook was worth checking out and I am so glad I did.
Don’t let those 3 narrators fool you, Illuminae is read by a whole cast of actors, the actual list of narrators is close to 20 and this transforms the book from simply being read into an audio-play (well, almost.)
It is wonderfully cast and Dudley and Hoppe (and I’m assuming they play Kady and Ezra) were amazing as those two characters. Plus whoever played AIDEN and some of the afflicted were downright creepy. The words “Little Bird” are forever ruined for me and have never sounded so damn sinister and scary.
Listening to the audiobook, there were certain nuances that I missed when I first read the book. I loved Kady even more and was struck by just how much of a badass she is. She was single-handedly responsible for making sure that the Hypatia survived and was willing to die to make sure of that. The death of James McNulty struck me much harder than it did when I read it. One of the best characters in the book.
The other thing that really benefited from the audio were the surveillance footage analyses by analyst 7213. Those analyses were some of the best parts of the book and listening to that guy added to the fun and humour.
Also, as I listened and got close to the end, it struck me that perhaps the real love story wasn’t so much between Kady and Ezra as it was between Kady and AIDEN. I’m pretty sure that AIDEN did go partially insane when he made the decision to kill the command staff aboard the Alexander but you can see his thinking start to shift the longer he speaks to Kady. I think he falls in love with her, with the way she thinks and it genuinely troubles him to know that she hates him and would likely kill him if she could.
Illuminae is an amazingly well-crafted book and deserves to be read in the physical hardcover or paperback format, the ebook version is just woefully inadequate, and the audiobook adds to the enjoyment. It is exceptionally well-produced and acted and worth a listen. Give it a shot, you will not be disappointed.