Title: Omari and the People
Author: Stephen Whitfield
Narrator: Curt Simmons
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
Copy: Audiobook (11 hrs and 17 mins – unabridged)
Omari and the People is a wonderfully written, epic adventure centered on a notorious, thrill-seeking thief named—as the title suggests—Omari. After unintentionally burning down an entire city, Omari, in an effort to redeem himself, deceives the displaced people into believing in the existence of a safe haven which only he can show them. From there, the readers are taken on a captivatingly narrated, arduous journey and personally, the more I travelled alongside Omari (so to speak), the more compassionate I felt for his character and his attempt at repentance for all he’s done in the past.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post (and on Twitter), Omari and the People is the first audiobook I’ve read. Admittedly, I initially struggled early on my experience with this audiobook partly because I was not used to listening to books and partly because I tended to be very easily distracted which compelled me to rewind scenes every now and then. However, once I started getting used to it, it became unconsciously effortless for me to immerse myself in the story.
Curt Simmons did a remarkably fantastic job as a narrator. Throughout the novel, his accent never wavered. I think his accent made the story all the more compelling and effectively highlighted the richness in his voice. Curt’s storytelling reminded me of a sweet grandfather reading to his little grandchildren. It was very soothing, and I really appreciated the timbre of his voice as he read.
As for the content itself, everything was, to put it simply, on point. I love how realistic and flawed the characterization was. I particularly adored Umal – that woman never failed to surprise me and to keep me on my toes. Despite the slightly confusing names, all the characters (even the secondary ones) left an impression on me. Omari’s gradual development into a better person and road to repentance and redemption was handled so beautifully it was genuinely awe-inspiring and moving.
Moreover, I greatly admired Stephen’s willingness to push his characters’ limits. As the novel’s author, he ensured that the journey the people experienced was not easy and smooth-sailing at all. In fact, he threw in obstacles that forced Omari to make difficult decisions and sacrifices, which effectively unearthed the goodness of his less-than-likely heroic character. It was very powerful to witness.
Overall, I think the word “powerful” sums up the story quite nicely. Omari and the People has certainly left a distinct, unparalleled impact on me. Although the writing style itself wasn’t quite spectacular, the narrative remained solid and the storyline was interestingly inventive. This is definitely what I’d recommend for people who are looking for cultural, adventurous fantasy reads.