The reviewer who mentioned Princess Bride was right. I bought this on a whim (and a liking for Bronson Pinchot's reading). I hated it at first - was very close to taking the return option - but I was trying to listen to it on a workday. Gave it another chance on the weekend - it is definitely a weekend or vacation or road trip book - then had trouble putting it down. It is very silly and the plot feels like it is being made up as it goes along, But its all a great romp with a reader who brings the bizarre cast of characters to life. If you like Princess Bride and/or the Jasper Fforde Nursery Crime books,or just want something very light to listen to, give this one a try.
I had planned to write to encourage any adult who likes Joan Aiken, E.Nesbit, Monty Python (the videos), & T.Pratchett to try this superior series. It's not particularly like any of their works - well maybe Aiken's "Serial Garden" - but plays to the same part of the brain through its overall sense of the absurd and superior wordplay. Not sure how it would plan with most YA readers, but seems great for the 7-12 year old set - and their parents - since it works extremely well at both levels.
I'm afraid to give any details because almost anything I would say would be a spoiler - just trust me that by piling hackneyed formula upon formula, and throwing into this in a set of totally recognizable stereotypical characters, and a great deal of slowly unfolding - and growing as it unfolds - mystery, the author creates an amazing and extremely amusing jumble. The reader is perfect - ordinarily I prefer deeper-voiced narrators, but I can't imagine this book without her rendition of the heroine's thought processes and the wonderful "voices" of the children themselves. Can't wait for the next one in the series!
I first read this book in 1963, and it was always a great favorite; the layers of Arthurian myth with White's dry wit and time-bending sensibilities as if Camelot were set in circa WWI Great Britain. This version is an admirable reading, Neville Jason provides finely-honed voices and the perfect slightly-ironic intonation that catches the tongue-in-cheek nature of this book. There is a chapter new to me, actually two. The "Mrs Mim" section was absolutely not in my edition, and features a wizard's duel between Mrs Mim and Merlyn. Reminds me of some other book about wizards I've read recently, can't think which one, though. And the Book of Merlyn is at the end, an addition to the version I read, advice to the king from his departing tutor. HIGHLY RECOMMEND this for the most enjoyable listening.