Some of these stories may have been told before but The Old West Collection offers details that make them come alive. The stories are told through different narrators, as well as from readers of actual diaries and letters of the period.
The only problem is the very intrusive music which never goes away, and is played as loud as the narration. Apparently the term "background music" was lost on these producers. If only this book could be recorded again, without the music, then it would be perfect.
I loved the way this book was written - as much for adults as children. The author explains the impossible in a carefree and easy way so the reader (listener) can accept it and just enjoy the story.
However...I was jarred by hearing the N word. It was not said in anger (an animal is the speaker) but as a description; nevertheless, it was a shock to hear. It just dates the book so much as well as causing a slight unease for the rest of the story. And then there is the plot point which has an African prince yearning to have white skin. There is no antagonism or ridicule of the Africans in the story, it is merely a reflection of the times. Still, perhaps not the best recording to share with an impressionable child. Apparently there are other versions where these racist items have been removed.
Libba Bray's trilogy that begins with A Great and Terrible Beauty was wonderful. I've read, and listened, to each book many times. Her next offering, Beauty Queens, was the worst book I've ever listened to on Audible since 2003. And this, The Diviners, is the second.
The main character is unsympathetic, to the point of being unlikable. Most of the other characters are flat. Apparently the author thought so too because in the end, there is no explanation of what happens to them.
Its not frightening. Though there are two scenes that are sickening and unnecessary - a wife being beaten (graphically and at great length) and an animal being sacrificed. Shame on the author for trying for violent titillation in a book that's supposed to be for young people.
The narrator is okay when just narrating but she contributes to the unlike-ability of the heroine, her very high voice with no emotion persuading the listener how shallow the character is. The two main male characters have apparently had lobotomies, they are performed with such tedium.
Do try Ms. Bray's trilogy but give this one a miss.
Dracula by Bram Stocker is a wonderfully written, riveting story that holds up perfectly today. Alan Cumming is brilliant as usual, as is Tim Curry. I wish the narrator who portrayed Mina would have taken her cues from those great actors, who let the author's words be the stars. It is the words that show the reader/listener the character, not the narrator's bizarre idea of an accent. Alan Cumming never changes his accent when he is reading the speech of another character (though he has toned down his own Scottish accent for the entire reading). The narrator playing Mina reads the part of a man telling a story in the deep, gruff voice a child would use who was imitating a grownup. It's her interpretation of Van Helseling that is the most annoying. Suddenly this Dutchman is Russian, in an accent so thick its almost not understandable. So amateurish in what should have been the most professional of products. I couldn't wait for her parts to be over and fast-forwarded through many of them. That said, Alan Cumming, Tim Curry and most of the other narrators make this a must-listen.
The narrators give an great performance. The story is probably well written but its so disturbing I question the sanity of the author. She makes Stephen King seem like Santa Claus. Wish I had read it instead of listened - I would have read less than halfway, then gone to the end to see what all the fuss was about. Saved spending all those hours with psychotic characters that I cared nothing about. If you have a sensitive nature at all, skip this one.
I love all of Kathy Reichs novels of Temperance Brennan. And this narrator, Linda Emond, is my favorite for the audible versions. However, this book is chock full of history lessons and geographical info that in my opinion serve no purpose. Almost makes me wonder if the author was padding her pages. Combined with the very bad southern accent (more Amos & Andy than Southern) from the usually talented narrator, this is my least favorite of the audible Bones books.
This was torture to get through. I was determined to listen until the end, thinking it had to get better. It never did. The characters are stereotypes of the worst kind with absolutely no dimension and performed in stereotypical accents. The narrator ( the author) delivers the text with a nudge-nudge quality to her voice, letting the listener know how funny it all is. Though the story is way too long, it is padded with * commercials* and dream sequences that have nothing to do with the plot. Worst of all is the beauty queen contestant who is deaf and has lost her hearing aid in the opening plane crash. The narrator/author shouts at the top of her lungs to illustrate her deafness all through the book, requiring constant volume adjustments. I got it the first time.
Libba Bray is a fine author; I've enjoyed other books she's written. Something went very wrong here.
The author did a great job combining historical figures with the prominent characters from Bram Stoker's Dracula (including Stoker himself). If the reader is not very familiar with the story of Dracula or such personages as Queen Victoria, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Jack the Ripper, the book may be less enjoyable.
The narrator was perfection. Don't be put off by the accented narrator in the clip that Audible offers - that's only the short preface.
My only complaint was the ending, which seemed to come suddenly, as if the author was tired of the whole thing. Given the excitement of the denoument, which got all my attention, there were more interesting stories to come. And then it was over.
I've read every book about Louisa May Alcott I can lay my hands on. While this story follows her life faithfully, the author's addition of a romance somehow turns Louisa's fascinating life into a giant bore. The narrator has the tone of a cheerleader, which is about as far away from the real Louisa as possible. The bouncy tone was tedious for an 8 hour book, and not even appropriate for the story. I couldn't wait for it to be over.
Practically perfect in every way. Historically accurate, well-written, the narration makes it more like theatre than a book. This is fantasy that is totally believeable and enjoyable every step of the way.
In the two years of being an Audible subscriber I've heard a lot of books and this one is the very worst. The narrator sounds like a high school student called to read her boring report in front on the class - no emotion, hard to understand her words, and lots of long pauses for no reason. The book itself is one cliche after another. Cliched characters, cliched dialogue - not a fresh thought to be had. Reviews posted on a popular bookstore website all say that the book gets better about half way through. I did not have the patience to get that far.
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