April 12, 2009

Review: Drood by Dan Simmons

Courtesy of Hachette Audio

On June 9, 1865 Charles Dickens survived a horrible train wreck at Staplehurst. In the middle of the chaos he saved the lives on many yet watched as many more passed away right in front of his eyes. He also met the mysterious character Edmond Drood. A horrifying man who Dickens swore sucked the life out of the dying passengers right before his eyes. From that moment on Dickens became obsessed with the man and with the help of the story’s narrator, friend and fellow writer Wilkie Collins, he began a search of London’s most terrifying underworld.

For the next five years Wilkie acted as a friend, a collaborator and even a spy as he was in and out of Dickens’ life. Dickens evolved from searching out Drood to avoiding him when he learns Drood’s true intentions. Wilkie’s narration ranges from brilliant observations to laudanum induced paranoia.

Through the first half of listening to Drood I thought that I wasn’t going to enjoy it as much as I did after all. I started out with an unabridged library download and when that expired before I could finish I ended up listening to the rest on abridged cds. I think that may have been the key for me to like it more. To me the unabridged version just went on and on. I thought a lot of the narration had no place in the story and once I started listening to the abridged version the meat of the story was all that remained.

I loved the way that Simmons weaves an amazing story out of real people and real incidents. The ending was a bit unexpected but I loved the way Wilkie told it. I recommend this one on abridged audio but I’m not sold the book (784 pages) or the unabridged audio (24 parts).


bermudaonion said...

I really enjoyed this book - it does seem like the unabridged audio would go on forever.

Ladytink_534 said...

You're the second person who has said that the abridged is much better. Hmm, not really sure about picking this one up yet...