Audiobook Adventures: All Systems Red by Martha Wells and narrated by Kevin R. Free

Copy of Book Review (52)

Hi Everyone!

Welcome back to Audiobook Adventures! A kind of post series that I started… ages ago… which shows how often I listen/read to audiobooks. Woops!

Anyway, I have (I swear!) wanted to listen to some more audiobooks, and I’ve also wanted to read All Systems Red for quite a while! It’s been on my TBR on Goodreads for at least over a year now. And I’ve heard good thing about the audiobook narration, so figured it was the perfect way to hit two birds with one stone!

All Systems Red is a novella about a self-aware robot/droid that has secretly been able to hack into its own Governor Module (which allows ‘the company’ to kind of tell it what to do) and has now been hired out as security to a group of scientists doing research on a distant planet. However, things start to go wrong and they have lost contact with another group of scientists on the planet. It falls to Murderbot and his team to find out what is happening!

Pretty sure that wasn’t the best summary, but it covers the basics!

One thing that always worries me with audiobooks is the narration. I just think that you could have a story, but if you got the wrong narrator then I wouldn’t enjoy the book, which would be a real shame. But, thankfully, the narrator here, Kevin R. Free, did a great job that really captured the right tone of Murderbot’s personality. Now Murderbot is a very sarcastic and dry character, and being a droid struggles with emotions and Kevin R. Free captured this beautifully with a a dry and slightly flat delivery. This was obviously a stylistic choice that 100% only works because of the way this book has been written and the character that Murderbot is, but it really does work. He delivers some fantastic one-liners in a deadpan way that I can fully imagine took multiple read throughs because, quite honestly, they’re very funny!

My only real issue with this as an audiobook is that it costs the same amount as a normal audiobook, but is only just over 3 hours long – bit hard to justify spending that much when you could get a 10 or 20 hour book for the same price, but the actual audiobook quality and narration is great in my opinion. Very easy to follow, get engaged in the story and, as a complete non-expert on the topic, I liked it.

Away from the audiobook elements, All Systems Red does what it does really, really well. The character of Murderbot is great (it would have to be as the whole story is first person in their head), is fast-paced and engaging, and the story leaves you with plenty of questions about the world-building and our character’s background in the best way possible. I would say that there aren’t any hugely unexpected twists and it doesn’t feel massively ‘original’ as a story, but hey, when you are doing what you are doing this well, who cares! I guess it feels a bit like the universe of Alien with exploration being led by big companies.

Overall, I would 100% recommend this book and will definitely be getting the next audiobook in the series. As I kind of said a second ago, I want to know more about Murderbot and the universe we have here. I know there are several other novellas, and that a full-length novel has recently come out, so there is plenty of listening/reading going forward!

6 thoughts on “Audiobook Adventures: All Systems Red by Martha Wells and narrated by Kevin R. Free

      1. I was going to read A Court of Broken Knives soon! Sometimes I think the expectations set things too high. Like, those might be good or great books if you’re not expecting the next best thing ever, but would feel disappointing if you get caught up in the hype. It’s tricky.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Audiobook Adventures: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (Narrated by Kevin R, Free – Book Reviews | Jack's Bedtime Reading

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