The well-described locations and complex relationships among the many characters gave this story a solidity that I appreciated.
Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!
Unlike most of the other reviewers posting early, I had never read (or even heard of) this book. I scooped it up based on (1) Neil Gaiman's recommendation and (2) the presence of Simon Jones, my all-time favorite narrator, in the cast.
The story is offbeat, as one might expect from Gaiman's choice of it, but is fast-moving, enjoyable, and thought-provoking, with drama, action, and an undertone of humor. The production values are great; it combines the soundtrack elements of a radio play with straight narration, and does so with superb dexterity.
Sexy swashbuckling politicoes
Richard and Alec are kind of terrible but I love them in spite of themselves. Although hmm, the Duchess might beat them.
Well, I've heard Ellen read in person before, so sort of? She's a fantastic reader, and loves her characters and her settings so much. This was a great performance, and the sound effects and other actors for the dramatized scenes really added such richness to the recording.
Oh, those mad, bad boys.
I read this book a few years ago, and just loved it then. Having such a fantastic audio version made me wriggly with joy. The last line of dialog is so simple and, out of context, utterly mundane, and the fact that it made me weep into my steering wheel is a testament to Kushner's ability to make a reader care so much about the characters that all of the context can fit into such a short line.
Swordspoint is one of my all-time favorite books--one I re-read every few years. I find it exceptionally compelling as a story, and I love the complexity of the plot and the intricate maneuvering of the characters. Ellen Kushner is a superb writer, and I have read all her work, including the other tales of Riverside. Swordsman Richard St. Vier and his lover Alec are two amazing fictional characters and I love being a part of their world. The audio version of the book is terrific: Kushner and her supporting cast make the ten plus hours fly by. Congratulations to everyone involved in the production, and thanks to Neil Gaiman for selecting it.
I have read this book in Japanese more than 20years ago and this was the first time "reading" it in English and let me tell you...Wow
The audiobook version of this book was given as a gift to me and it was such a jewel. It is actually read by the author with the casts including music and sound effects. I was not only able to experience the original English version, but also could enjoy the nuances and the richness of the dialogues as well, through the wonderful narration by the author.
The experience of listening to this production was like watching (listening) to a classical Shakespeare-like periodic play. If you are a fan of this book, don't miss the experience!
I have read the original book several times and never dreamed I would get lucky enough to have the author herself read her work, with selected dramatization in parts. It's wonderful, it's fantastic, it's...well...it's Richard and Alec, the quintessential couple. And once again they are coming alive in my life, but this time via my ears instead of my eyes. I couldn't be much happier.
Neil Gaiman seemed inordinately proud of the supposedly full-voiced production. Why, then is this 99% Ellen Kushner reading it? MAYBE 1% is performed by the actors (who aren't terribly good) they advertised, and sometimes even those scenes shift abruptly into Ellen Kushner reading it again, Kushner voicing the same characters they had previously had voiced by actors & actresses; after the mid-way point, even that 1% ceases and it becomes all-Kushner-all-the-time. This was a sham, a case of false advertising, a waste of my time and money. Either have a single person read the whole thing, like most other audiobooks, or have a full cast performing the whole thing. You can't get away with this sort of piss-poor production if you plan to advertise it as something else.
I would have cast either a full cast or just Kushner. Make up your minds, folks.
No. It read like a female version of what women accuse men of writing when we write lesbians -- an adolescent fantasy. It's all fashion and parties and squabbling over status, with action sequences that usually occur off-stage or crawl along at a snail's pace, set in a world in which every man is only one meaningful glance away from hopping into bed with another man. It read like the sort of terrible Harry Potter slash-fics my female friends wrote in high school and college - a girl's fantasy of what men get up to when women aren't around.
I regret buying the sequel at the same time I bought this book. I anticipated loving this, since everyone seems to, and instead I find myself despising it.
I remember loving this book when I first read it and it was just as good the second time around. Brilliantly complex take on the swashbuckling story. The only negative is probably personal, I didn't care for the sound effects, some were just off, and others pulled me out of the story.
Overall it was an excellent listen and if you like sound effects it will be splendid.
There seems to be lots of great buzz and reviews about this book, so I had some high hopes going in. It wasn't that I was completely disappointed with the book, but I don't think it lived up to the hype.
I've listened to the novel several times in an attempt to figure out what exactly I dislike about it, but I still can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was the rather disjointed plot. Lots of things happen in the book that don't necessarily have much to do with any of the other things. The author mentions in her discussion of the book that it started as several short stories. You can tell. The storylines seemed jammed painfully together, resulting in some problems with timing (ie. look at the discrepancies in the passage of time in the Richard is first hired by the dragon chancellor and Michael Godwin's decision to take up swordsmanship).
Maybe I didn't like that you never really understand what's going on. It's hard to get too worked up about political plotting and rivalries when you get absolutely no explanation of any of the government system or positions. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Gene Wolfe fan and if there was ever an author who didn't feel the need to burden the narrative with explaining himself, its Wolfe, but Kushner's novel just didn't cut it for me.
I didn't mind the multiple narrators so much as the stupid sound effects that accompany the narration. The addition of things like the sound of spoons stirring when characters are having tea, is so juvenile a technique that it takes away from the book.