I tried to like this book, it had a great concept and it's a genre that I like. The story was fine but I just couldn't tolerate the narration by the Italian woman reader. Because her accent was so strong you had to concentrate all the time just to get the words she was saying. Plus she had zero animation in her voice, maybe because it wasn't her native language. If had gotten to the later parts read by someone else I might have liked the book more. As it was, I just couldn't stand it and quit in the first segment. Absolutely don't buy this one.
Carlotta Montanari ruined the book for me. She destroyed the English language. It seemed clear she is not used to reading English and didn't always, if ever, understand what she was reading. I just couldn't understand her and had to stop listening. She is one of the worst readers I have heard so far.
I came to care about the characters and the underlying mystery once my ear adjusted to the accents!
Can't think of any I would compare it with-maybe The Name of the Rose?
Although the idea of using Italian readers to provide atmosphere is laudable, the accents (especially of the female reader) were so thick that it took some time to adjust. The male reader used some really odd voices to differentiate characters-DaVinci was particularly odd and funny.
The story itself is quite interesting and the atmosphere of Renaissance Italy is exciting once you get past the accents.
This is a partial review, commenting only on the performance. I hope to be able to find and read a print copy of the book so I can comment on the story as well. The reviews of the story intrigued me, and it sounds as if it could be a good historical fiction thriller.
But at the moment, I am so put off by the female narrator that I don't think I can continue listening. WHO HIRED THIS WOMAN? She is clearly not a native speaker of the English language; perhaps she is Italian. She almost swallows Italian phrases and proper nouns (as I am guilty of doing with my own name when I introduce myself...because it's so familiar).
The majority of the text she reads is English, but her incredibly poor pronunciation makes me miss about 1 word in every 5. And since I'm listening on my iPod, I can't back up just a few seconds, I have to jump back to the beginning of a chapter. So I just let her go on and on, wondering if I am getting enough details to follow the story. Even the words I do understand are mangled. For example, the word "purchase" comes out "poor CHASE" with a long A.
Occasionally I hear a sentence that makes me smile in pleasure at the clever writing, the unexpected phrase that communicates beautifully and adds a bit of humor or insight. That's why I want to read the book in print, now. It just isn't worth it to struggle through this abysmal narration any more.
The Carlotta Montanari portion of the narration has such a heavy pseudo-Italian accent that I can barely understand it. The story may be interesting, but it is just to hard to concentrate ALL the time to get the meaning of the words. Why not just read it in unaccented English?
This technique of using the accent of the language that the character would be using at the time makes no sense, because the person is speaking English, which they would not because they would speak their own language. But, they are speaking not their own language, but English, which they do not speak, so why ACCENT it at all.
It is used often when the characters are not English, but they would NOT be speaking English, so why accent it at all. Makes no sense to me.
I can't judge the story since I could not tolerate listening since the Italian woman was going to be narrating all the way through to at least Chapter 6. Had to give up.
I was really looking forward to this book--and was really disappointed! The narrator sounds like she's a non-English speaker reading phonectically. No emotion, no excitement. Sounds like she's reading a grocery list.
I still wanted to try to get through the story, but just couldn't get through the lackluster performance of that female narrator.
The female non-Englsh speaking illiterate narrator destroys this possibly interesting book. What a disaster! Who on Earth chose this woman to read in a language she does not understand? "The nobbles........" I think was supposed to be "nobles." I could not coninue. " The nobbles....." " the nobbles....." Argh. Shame. A total waste of a credit.