Two Audiobooks: “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan and “You” by Caroline Kepnes

A couple weeks ago, I decided to give audio books a shot. Many readers find it a convenient way of reading in this busy world that we live in. With audio books, we can read while exercising, driving, and even working. We don’t have to carve out time to read, we can read as we go about our day.

For me, it was convenient but ineffective because I didn’t glean much from the stories other than having something to occupy my mind while doing repetitious tasks. The audio books I read were a middle-grade fantasy story, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and an adult thriller, You by Caroline Kepnes. Both were rereads. I’m a visual learner so I retain materials better when I see it, in this case, when I read the physical book. I easily forget things I hear so listening to an audio book doesn’t work for me. However, because of the praise audio books have received, I decided to give it a shot. Maybe I am mistaken in assuming that they won’t work for me, I thought.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief 10th anniversary

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, narrated by Jesse Bernstein

Quick summary:

Percy is said to be troubled kid. He’s always getting in trouble at school and always has difficulty with schoolwork because of his dyslexia. But one day, he’s attacked by a harpy, which sets off a chain of events that leads Percy to discover who he is and learn that his world isn’t as it seems.

My thoughts:

I was in the mood to reread Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series so I thought it would be interesting to try it in a different medium. I enjoyed the story the first time I read it but such wasn’t the case this time. I’m not sure if my reaction is because of the voice used for the characters by the narrator or if time and development has caused me to lose interest in the story. Either is possible.

The different voice tones the narrator used was sometimes annoying because they sounded more like a character whining rather than the voice of a young person. I preferred when the narrator relayed the story using his normal voice. As the story progressed, I started losing interest and would sometimes fall asleep or tune out and daydream. Because of that, I missed some of the story, which to me is similar to skipping parts of a book, and it was difficult to find the spot where I left.

Overall: ★★☆☆☆ 3/4

I usually only work with half stars but this is a little more than 2.5. The story is good but I don’t like the audiobook and I didn’t enjoy it much this time. I plan to continue rereading the series but will read the physical books instead to see if I’ve really lost interest or if it was just the narration of the audio book that turned me off.

I also realized that there’s no way to mark a passage or quote I like while listening to the audio book. I highlight things as I read either because I like it or because it will help me to recall the thoughts I had when I saw it (I hate writing in my books), but that can’t be done here unless the reader is good at recalling things.

So basically I don’t recommend the audio book, which I rented from the library. The physical book is much better.

You

You by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana

Quick summary:

Meet Joe. Joe works in a bookstore. Enter Beck. Joe sees Beck. Joe likes Beck. Joe wants Beck. Joe stalks Beck.

My thoughts:

THE AUDIO BOOK IS JUST AS GREAT AS THE NOVEL!!!! If you’ve read this book and enjoyed it as much as I did (which I really, REALLY did (I read it last year.)), then I urge you to try the audio book. O.M.G!! The narrator captures Joe’s voice perfectly. I even love the voices he uses for other characters and he paces it all so well.

When the narrator, Santino Fontana, reads the story, it’s as if I’m hearing Joe. It’s so creepy and unsettling, but it’s perfect. I even forgot that someone is narrating the story; it’s as if it’s Joe telling me all the crazy stuff he did to get Beck. It’s as if this story was written to be listened to rather than read because much as I’m not a fan of audio books, I think the best way to experience this story is to listen to it.

I listened to this while riding the train, walking to work, and while working. Joe’s a funny guy and sometimes he says some crazy shit so the majority of the time I listened to this, I was either chuckling or had a stupid grin on my face. I’m sure people wondered if I’m okay. The only drawback to listening to Fontana’s narration (and it’s not really a drawback) is that I have his voice filed in my head as Joe. If I listen to him narrate something else, I wonder if I’ll be able to switch and be convinced it’s a new character and not Joe talking about something else (that sometimes happens with actors too when they do an awesome job as a particular character). I think this because he did an interview with Caroline Kepnes and I kept thinking it’s Joe that’s interviewing Kepnes and not Fontana.

Overall: ★★★★★

This was great. Go listen to it.

I used a 2 month free deal from Audible that I saw on Groupon because my library didn’t have it.

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12 thoughts on “Two Audiobooks: “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan and “You” by Caroline Kepnes

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  4. It’s interesting that you had two completely different experiences. Audio books are real hit and miss depending on who reads them. I started listening to short story anthologies while I’m making dinner – perfect length. Good recommendations.

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    • Yes, it was odd. Just shows that audio books have a range, like books, in how well they’re done.
      I’ve found myself listening to podcasts these days, which sometimes remind me of audiobooks, and I recently discovered Hardcore History by Dan Carlin, which is fun to listen to while working.

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  5. Great reviews. Coincidentally, I just got a copy of The Lightening Thief from the library today for my first read(I have never even read anything in that genre before). I’m sorry that the audio wasn’t that good.

    I enjoyed You and Hidden Bodies so I will definitely look for the audio. Glad to hear that you liked it.

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