Name:  Quarter Share
Author: Nathan Lowell
Read by: Nathan Lowell
Episodes: 14
Length:  6.9 hours
Podcast Feed:   http://www.podiobooks.com/title/half-share/feed/
Author website: http://solarclipper.com/
Print Status:  Published by Ridan Publishing

Normally when I write these reviews I have listened to the podiobook months ago and it is just on a long list waiting for review.  This one however is different.  In the comments of an earlier review William Pall recommended Quarter Share as “awesome”.  I am always looking for new podiobooks so I took his suggestion and set it to download that night.  As I looked into this book I noticed that it was the first in a series.  Typically I wait until I have listened to the whole series before reviewing the first book.  I guess this week’s review is going to be unique in a number of ways because I just listened to this last week and I’m currently only on book 3 of 5 written with a 6th currently underway.

I will admit that I was instantly worried when Quarter Share started with the line, “Call me Ishmael.”  I groaned thinking that I had just downloaded “Moby Dick in Space”.  Still I listened on and reminded myself that it typically takes 3 chapters to get me hooked into the story.   Simply put if a “space whale” popped up in the first three chapters this book was a corny knock-off and getting deleted.  I was pleasantly surprised to quickly find out that was not the case.  This habit of starting his books off with a famous line continues in the sequels and I have come to look forward to seeing which quote he will use and how he will work it seamlessly into the story.  In the case of Quarter Share the main character’s name really is Ishmael and this is due to his mother being an ancient Literature professor.

The story of Quarter Share is the story of Ishmael Wong and how he turned the tragedy of his mother’s death into a new life for himself among the stars.  Through the course of the first book he secures the lowest level kitchen position for himself about a trade vessel called the “Lois McKendrick”.  As he struggles to adapt to spacer life his common sense and lack of understanding of said life leads to brilliant solutions for ship problems.   This is one of the better coming of age stories I have listened to and I went from feeling sorry for Ishmael to admiring the character.

From a production standpoint this podcast sounds beautiful.  There are no pops, echoes, or the common duplicated line missed in editing.  The author does not try to overstretch himself with his voices, but he does do an excellent job using accents to ensure his important characters do have a unique sound.  The dialog flows smoothly and his music selections while being out of the ordinary have a certain quality that fits this story.  It is a story that could have been just as easily told on the high seas and the music emphasizes this.  Don’t get me wrong, the technology is certainly there and his take on space travel is fascinating.  This however is a story about characters and character growth.

Do not look for a complete story in the first Podiobook.  I reached the end and was left staring at my Ipod asking myself how it could be over.  Because this is a series there are a lot of loose ends and I immediately had to download the sequel, “Half Share” to continue the story.  Its ending felt a little more complete, but was definitely open enough that I had to grab its sequel “Full Share”.  I’m sure that as I reach the end of this novel it likewise will be open ended and lead right into “Double Share”.  This is working very well for me coming to the series after 5 books are out as I am completely drawn into the universe.  I can only imagine how frustrating it was for people listening to them as they released though.

At this point you might be asking the same thing I did when I downloaded “Quarter Share.”   Why do the titles all have share in their name and what does that have to do with a story set in space?  This is explained early in the book and is based around the profit sharing methodology used about trading ships.  The ship makes a profit and a portion of that is then broken up among the crew with each member getting a portion of that profit.  The crewman’s rank determines what portion of a share they receive of this profit.  A quarter share for example gets 1/4th of a share in the profits.

In closing I highly recommend this podiobook, but make sure you have plenty of time.  While the book itself is not that long in comparison with many others it is just the first in a much longer story and once you are hooked you will want to listen to them all.

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