How to Write an Audiobook Review (featuring Zombiestan)

Ready to get inside my head? This is how I write an audiobook review (and, thus, what I expect to find in other audiobook reviews). Assisting me with this task is Zombiestan. First, the basics. In addition to the regular information I provide (title, author, etc), I add some extras.

Title: Zombiestan
: Mainak Dhar
John Lee
: Fiction; Post-Apocalyptic; Zombie
[I like to include this so you have some idea how long the print book is in comparison]: 202 pages
Audio Length
: 6.4 hours
: 2012
: Tantor Audio
: Personal Collection
Book Rating
: 3/5
Audio Rating
[giving two ratings is new for me but I think it’ll be helpful]
: 4/5

Then I include a summary of the book, just like I would in a print review.


When the Taliban accidentally unleash a zombie virus, the world becomes overrun with undead crying “Jihad.” Amidst the chaos, a 17 year old boy, a US Navy SEAL, an elderly woman, and a teenage girl caring for her three-year-old brother find each other. As the undead start to “remember” and become more organized, they discover a secret and set out on a mission to save the world.

Then I share my thoughts, just like I would in a print review (though I might mention something about the audio format here as well).

My Thoughts:

Combining terrrorism and zombies actually makes a lot of sense. There ended up being a political take on this zombie story that was a little different than others and the book addresses topics that are relevant to our (thus far) zombie-less society. And the ability to remember behavior is a fresh twist on zombies.

I went into this one with high expectations. Zombiestan, while enjoyable, did not live up to these expectations. And there might be nothing to blame for that except the high expectations. Although I did find it somewhat predictable (the love story, the sacrifices).

Overall, if you like zombies, Zombiestan is probably worth checking out. It’s quick and entertaining.

Finally, I share my audiobook specific thoughts. This is very important to me as an audiobook review reader. A separate section like this is not necessary, but if the review fails to mention the production or narration at all, I have no way to judge whether audio is the format for me for that book.

Audiobook Thoughts:

This was my first John Lee listen (I hear he’s a bit of a narrator rockstar) and I thought he did a good job with this one. He was able to switch back and forth between the accents (his Indian and his American were equally convincing to me). But where he really shined was in narrating the three-year-old. He gave him the optimism and innocence that the author intended. I found those scenes to generally be delightful (despite the zombies).

So that’s it. That’s everything I do for an audiobook review. As you can see, if you already write print reviews, there isn’t much to add.

What do you look for in audiobook reviews? Is there anything else you’d like to see from me?


Make sure you check out the other Audiobook Week discussion posts and audiobook reviews over at Devourer of Books.

17 thoughts on “How to Write an Audiobook Review (featuring Zombiestan)

  1. Twitter: youvegottaread
    OK I like the idea of two ratings. But that is going to make me have to think hard! I’m going to put some thought to that. I also like to say a little something about the narration…quirks, special talents, etc. I’ve never included pages and hours but I’m going to start doing that too. Great post!

    • It is much harder to come up with two ratings. And I already struggle coming up with one. We’ll see if I stick with it.

  2. Twitter: wheems01
    I think many of us have adapted similar ways of reviewing our audiobooks. I too, do a general review, and a separate section for the audiobook review. I think it is important for those of us looking for good audiobooks to be able to go quickly to that section of the review and find it easily. Thanks for sharing your methods and what you look for.

    • I assumed that everyone’s posts today would be the same but they do vary. I guess we all have our personal twists on reviewing audioboooks.

  3. Twitter: karenwhitereads
    I love how you did this post AS a post! Very clever. It is amazing how many audiobook reviews I’ve read where the audio part is not even mentioned, so I am glad you pointed that out. One thing I might suggest is talking about whether or why you felt it worked as audio vs. print?
    John is such an old pro. I love that he’s done a Zombie book (and he has a hilarious daughter so I can imagine he’d do kids well!)

    • Good point. I think I generally do that – state whether I enjoyed it as audio or why I would probably recommend the print.

  4. Twitter: guildedearlobe
    You have totally outclevered me with this post. It was wonderfully done. I humble myself in your presence.

    I’m amazed this is your first John Lee narration. Mine was the over 40 Hours long The Pillars of the Earth, which was brilliant. I liked Zombiestan a lot, partly because I believe it has Zombies in it, but mostly because it had zombies, and wasn’t like every other zombie book I read/listened to. Yet, I can totally understand the high expectations thing. I am go through that with my current audiobook. Expected brilliant, getting simply OK.

    • I’ve only been listening to audios for a few years, and only this year has it really been a significant amount of my books read, so there are a lot of narrators I have yet to try.

  5. I usually do two ratings as well (sometimes I forget to actually add the stars). But, even if I forget, I’ll usually either recommend the audio, or say to skip it and just do print.

    But, these are awesome tips. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Twitter: devourerofbooks
    You’re just so stinking creative with your Audiobook Week posts, even with a newborn! Also: I agree that the three year old was the highlight of Lee’s narration, not many narrators could pull that off!

  7. Twitter: Anitalovesbooks
    Very creative….have you been writing while nursing again…ha ha. I’m very impressed.
    I like to include the length of the audio, and add a bit about the narration, but I never considered doing two ratings…good thought.
    I need to expand my thoughts on the audio presentation, and what it added to or took away from the book in general.
    Thanks Michelle.

  8. Pingback: TSS: June 2012 Recap | my books. my life.

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