“Eyewall” written by H. W. “Buzz” Bernard and narrated by Marshall Seese is a natural disaster story in the likes of “The Poseidon Adventure” or “The Towering Inferno”. This story takes place during a hurricane that rapidly increases in intensity and goes off course decimating an island off the Georgian coast. The author wraps in various relationships that are not directly related to the story. If you are someone who enjoys book of the natural disaster genre or likes learning a great deal about weather, Eyewall might be a good book for you. I was amazed by the amount of research and depth that went into that part of the book. If you decide to pick up this book, I recommend you do it in digital format and not the audiobook for reasons I will cover later in the review.
The author did a great job of telling this story and educating the reader on the complexities of weather forecasting and the wonderful people who chase hurricanes and report on these massive storms. The author clearly understood his subject matter around weather related details and you can clearly see it is his passion. I did find the relationship and romantic aspects of the story lacking and rather forced or flat compared to others I have read. I did not find myself attached to any of the primary or secondary characters so I found it difficult to sympathize with their situation apart from it being another human facing tragedy. I just did not feel attached to any of them.
I wanted to really like this book, but I found it too flawed to recommend at least the audiobook edition. I was also somewhat disappointed at the amount of vulgar language used by almost all the characters; often when there was no need to be expressive where other words could have been used instead. I never pictured the characters speaking that way and it often cheapened my view of their level of education. Not only did the book contain strong language, it cannot be recommended for younger readers, it also included some graphic or crude sexual scenes or language that was not relevant to the story in any way. Again, most of this seemed flat, forced, and unnecessary. If you are easily offended by either of these, I would say that you may want to choose a different book.
Let me turn to the one aspect that ruined the book for me. First let me acknowledge that I know how difficult it is to narrate and record an audiobook, but I have listened to more than my share and often I do not come across one that has been so poorly edited as this one. There were issues with volume consistency, pauses not removed, page turns in the background, and often issues with the use of inflection. Again, these could be tolerated if you were talking about one or two events. That is not the case with this audiobook, almost every chapter has one or multiple and noticeable audio artifacts.
Still on the narration portion of the book, the multiple characters were at times confused and/or their accent changed mid-sentence. For a book that also has many female characters, I would rather a narrator not use a falsetto voice, but instead use a more normal voice (even if it is lower) for female characters. Often the female voices were painful to listen during long dialogue periods. Lastly, the inflection was often off or questions not read as a question. It seemed the narrator did not know the content until he turned to the page he was reading. For me, all the narration issues made the book one that I could hardly complete, but I wanted to see how it ended; and in some ways, I was happy when it did.
If you can suspend belief quite a bit and tolerate relationships that seemed flat, the book is quite exciting and it may be more enjoyable in its written form.