The narration of Reptile is disappointing. One of the narrators (authors) is excellent. The content of the book is outstanding. However, the other narrator is so substandard that he deteriorates the quality of the presentation from that of an A+ to a C-.
Both of the authors narrate the book. As I do not know the voice of Mr. Keenan nor the voice of Mr. Ball, I cannot be sure by name as to which narrator is excellent while the other is deficient. Thus, I will identify the narrators as A and Z. “A’s” voice is that which reads Chapter 1, the Science. “Z’s” voice is that voice which reads Chaper 2, the Reptile speaks. The narrators, readers, alternate throughout the book. Half the book is read by A and half by Z.
It is obvious that A has prepared. He narrates, or reads, his portions with proper emphasis. His delivery is smooth, confident, and flowing. From his delivery, I would have thought that he was a professional reader. A is a delight to listen to.
The exact opposite is true of Z. His delivery is often choppy and hesitant. There is uncertainty in much of his delivery, as if he is reading the text for the first time and without previous practice. It is as if he is winging it.
Z’s uncertainty is highly distracting. It detracts from the content of the message to be communicated by the book. This is no different from that of an eloquently written closing argument but which is delivered by a lawyer who is seeing it for the first time, never having rehearsed it, and is representing a client towards whom he is ambivalent. The substandard presentation overwhelms the content.
This deficiency can be, and should be, easy to overcome. The solution is simply to have A read or narrate the entire book. A only needs to read those portions read by Z and then digitially substitute this second reading in place of the reading by Z. There is no need for two narrators. In professionally read books, such as one would find at audible.com, there is only one narrator for the entire book. Nothing is lost with just one narrator. Alternatively, Z’s portion can be narrated by a professional reader.
The content of Reptile is outstanding. In addition to the audio version, of which I have just written, I purchased the paperback book. This publication should be given the kind of audio presentation that it truly deserves.
Reviewed by: Thomas Spielbauer from Santa Clara, CA.