The story definitely improved with Kobna’s reading. It took me a long, long time to get to the audio version, having bounced so hard off the hardcover.
The narrative time shifts that make up the first third of the book remain challenging in audio, but having read the book previously, I was prepared and this time, they made more sense. Still, it is worth noting that I found myself consulting Audible’s ‘chapters’ page more than ever before, double-checking the time period
In terms of audio quality, in parts Kobna’s normally smooth voice sounded a little rough and gravely. I think the timing on this one happened right after he was on stage as Ike Turner, and I wonder if he was suffering from vocal strain. It didn’t seem to impair his accent abilities, as I thought Reynold’s American had notably improved, and a couple of brief appearances by the Irish were delightful. Ben seems to be getting a little annoying, however–at one point, he says something about a ‘mid-Atlantic’ accent. Ben, I live in the States, and even I’m not sure how you would tell that one. Stop fucking with Kobna.
Near the end of the book, I started to alternate again between book and audio. I can see again why the book was such a struggle: even in the ending chapters, there are long passages of description about computer rooms, or warehouse districts, and I find myself wondering, where’s the dialogue? The actual battle is over in three, four pages. Where’s the editing? Honestly, someone needs to keep Ben in check on description, because this story had a lot of false value. Still, utterly redeemed with Kobna.