31 December 2014

Audiobook Review: "The Word of Promise: Next Generation New Testament"

Author: God (original text) / Thomas Nelson, Inc. (translator/publisher)
Starring: Cody Linley, Sean Astin, Marshall Altman, Tahj Mowry, Emily Osment, Martin Jarvis, et. al.
Published: 2008
Synopsis: The New Testament comes alive...with a plethora of young stars!  Listen as Jesus is born, lives, dies, and rises again, Paul does a complete one-eighty, and John foretells the Savior's eventual return...all in dramatic audio theater! Featuring several well-known young stars--Cody Linley, Tahj Mowry, Marshall Altman, AnnaSophia Robb, and plenty more!--and movie-style music and sound effects, this audio ICB New Testament will enthrall young listeners!

The Good: As a fan of the Disney Channel and other media intended for its target audience, something like this is right up my alley.  All of the actors did very well; my personal favorites were Cody Linley's performance of Jesus and Tahj Mowry's portrayal of John.  The sound effects and music were great, especially during the book of Revelation, which is a tough one to do correctly.  Most of the books in the New Testament are letters, which don't exactly lend themselves to drama, but this audio interpretation keeps things interesting nonetheless.

The Bad: Though this audio NT is great overall, there were a few issues.  The book introductions were so annoying, I ended up skipping them; though Max Lucado's reading was decent, his daughter Jenna's voice was rather ingratiating.  The reading of Hebrews includes some audio clips from the original Word of Promise, which use words such as "epistle" and "exceedingly" that will likely confuse some readers.  Why they didn't just have Sean Astin--who, as the narrator, was reading Hebrews, since we don't know who wrote it--or another actor read those parts, I have no idea.  The biggest problem, however, was the translation.  Written at a third grade level, the ICB simplifies things so much that it may be annoying to older listeners.  I'd have thought they'd use the NLT--which is at a sixth grade reading level--but, I guess they wanted this to be accessible to even low-level readers.  Then again, they could have used the ERV--that is, the Easy to Read version--but maybe they couldn't for some reason.

Conclusion: Despite its slight issues, this is a great audio New Testament.  Christians who are  young--or young at heart--will find plenty to enjoy about this dramatization of God's Word.  If you're looking to instill the Word into a young friend or family member, this would make a great gift.

Score: 4/5

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