Reviews,  SJardine

Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini : An Audiobook Review

July 25th, 2234: The crew of the Adamura discovers the Anomaly.

On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII:a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide.

Its curve not of nature, but design.

Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why.

But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space.

For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe.

Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last.

And the ghosts of their past follow.

Despite my familiarity with Christopher Paolini’s works, I still find myself surprised by the unexpected twists and turns in his stories. This was particularly true for Fractal Noise, which shares the same universe as To Sleep In A Sea Of Stars. While I was initially anticipating a politically charged and action-packed adventure, the novel instead delves into more philosophical themes, pondering our purpose in the universe, our interactions with other sentient beings, and our place in the cosmos. Despite this shift in tone and focus, I was thoroughly captivated by Fractal Noise from start to finish.

At first glance, Fractal Noise may give the impression of a seemingly straightforward tale, centered around the discovery of a sizable and unnaturally perfect hole on an apparently deserted planet and the strange signal that seems to be emitting from it. However, it really seems to me like the story is more about the characters themselves than anything else.  Within the pages of Fractal Noise, Christopher Paolini has created a story where the depth and complexity of Alex and the other characters truly shine, propelling the story forward. As they are forced to land far from the enigmatic hole and undertake a demanding journey on foot, the characters become the driving force behind the plot. This character-driven approach really makes Fractal Noise stand out when compared to a lot of the science fiction books I’ve read so far this year.

I must confess though that I might be slightly biased in expressing my enjoyment of this book. I opted for the audiobook format and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was narrated by the extraordinary Jennifer Hale. For those unfamiliar with her work, Jennifer Hale stands as one of the most exceptional voice artists of the past 25+ years, lending her talents to portray some of the most iconic characters in television and video games. Her narration of Fractal Noise was nothing short of fantastic. In fact, knowing that she was the narrator alone would have been reason enough for me to choose this book.

In summary, my overall experience with Fractal Noise was immensely enjoyable. From the compelling storyline to the remarkable narration by Jennifer Hale, every aspect of the book left a lasting impression on me. I found myself completely absorbed in the characters’ journeys and captivated by Hale’s exceptional talent as a narrator. Without hesitation, I would highly recommend this book to anyone in search of a captivating read or a mesmerizing audiobook experience. It is a great addition to the genre and I can’t wait to read more in Paolini’s Fractalverse.

 I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

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