Narrator: Joshua Swanson

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman: Audio Review

Posted May 2, 2012 by Emily in book review, Uncategorized / 3 Comments

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman: Audio ReviewThe Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman
Narrator: Joshua Swanson
Series: The Klaatu Diskos #1
Published by Candlewick Press, Brilliance Audio on 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Family, General
Pages: 308
Format: Audio
Source: Brilliance Audio

I received this book for free from Brilliance Audio in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Kicking off a riveting sci-fi trilogy, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman plunges us into a world where time is a tool — and the question is, who will control it? The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished — only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness. But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing — one right on top of the roof — hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey — from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker’s actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.

Audio Review: Joshua Swanson did a fantastic job narrating. I was pretty excited after I read the back of the audiobook and saw the numerous awards that Swanson has won for his work narrating audiobooks. He does a great job with Tucker’s voice, adding a slight Minnesota accent. I really appreciate a diversity of voices in a narrator, and even Swanson’s female voices were very good. All of that made for a very enjoyable listen.

Review: The Obisidian Blade is a remarkably solid time-travel story. I’m not sure that I appreciated the intricate details that Hautman added to the beginning of the story at first, but by about the second half of the novel I was astounded by the way it was put together. Time travel can be so very tricky since every piece of the plot has to hold together in order to make it believable.

However, I’m going to be up front that this book is probably not for every reader. It’s a little heavier science fiction fare. But, honestly, I gobbled it up. Hautman introduces new civilizations with different languages and value systems. Some of them, like the Klaatu (for which the series is named), are a little abstract. But, I’m sure as the series continues, they will come into play in a more significant way. And, even though some of the concepts and civilizations are a little strange, they definitely add to the world, and are very believable.

Because Tucker’s father is a pastor, there are references to religion. This is something that I’m very sensitive about. I think that there is a fine line to walk when it comes to religion in young adult literature. I think it can be very important to the story, but I appreciate it more when it’s presented in a way that shows both the good and bad sides of religion. And this book is one of the best ways that I’ve seen religion portrayed in young adult fiction in some time. Tucker’s father loses his religion. But, at the same time, other characters in the story find theirs. And it’s just fascinating.

The Obsidian Blade is one of those books that really does get better upon reflection. If you are into science fiction, I highly recommend it. But, if you’re looking for a steamy romance, it’s probably best to move on, since there isn’t any of that here. There are a few references to alcohol use (not underage), but no language issues or anything like that.