I am a huge fan of the Discworld series, and I love listening to Nigel Planer as he does the narration, but the static and poor audio quality was barely tolerable, so I took off a star for that.
Even though the listing shows the audio format is 'e' quality, in reality, it seems like it's the same poor quality recording from years ago that was wrapped in a higher bitrate wrapper.
To hear the difference, listen to the sample from Discworld, Book #8 - Guards, Guards! I believe that book comes from a new, higher quality source. Sounds clean and well recorded, whereas Witches Abroad is compressed and full of static by comparison.
As to the content of the book... if you like the Discworld series, then you'll love this book. It's a 'Witches' book, all about Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat, and the power of stories. It's setting is a loose blend of Disney World and New Orleans - of which Terry Pratchett wrote "...in one, you go there and Fun is manufactured and presented to you, in the other you just eat and drink a lot and fun happens." Having just come back from a Disney World vacation, I totally agree.
The quality of this recording is probably one of the best of the Discworld series that I've heard from Audible.com. I noticed the cover was new - a mostly black design. I suppose that means the source is from a newly released, remastered version. There is no hiss or pops or other technical glitches that mar the other recordings in this series.
The story itself is great and marks the point at which the series becomes really enjoyable and fun. The very first books in the series where good, but looking back, you can see how awkward those first few stories where, and the living background of the Discworld hadn't yet come into its own. The Discworld and its history go from being randomly thrown together references of other genres, and establishes a consistent history of its own that all the following books fit into.
Pratchett loves detective stories, and that becomes obvious when you listen to this fantastical mashup of Columbo, Hill Street Blues and a little Dirty Harry thrown in. I think the books that focus on the Watch are probably my favorite - at once the most 'modern' feeling, and the most filled with references and hilarity.
I liked this detective novel set in a future, alien-filled world, but like a previous reviewer had pointed out, there is a problem with the basic premise of the world in the book - that is that human beings would be part of inter-alien treaties that would turn humans into the victims of every other alien race. No matter how good the story is, or how good the character development is, or how good the descriptions of the aliens are or how good the narration is (which is absolutely superb!), I just can't believe it, and it breaks the enjoyment of the story for me.
Overall, it's great, but as a reader, you should see this whole book as a precursor to the rest of the series. It's really only setting up the main character, defining his motivations, and giving him a richer backstory to justify his actions as he makes his final choice at the end and continues on with the books in the series. I think its somewhat obvious plot construction lends itself to this purpose.
My other MAIN problem with this book is...it's missing a chapter. Somewhere in part 2 of this book, near chapter 4 on my iPod, the story takes a sudden jump - Flint is suddenly in the old retrieval artist's office. No explanation on how he got there. I finally figured out that an entire book chapter was missing (probably chapter 25 or 26), which would have filled in the details. It's not a reason to throw out the book, but it bothered me.
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