This is an introductory novel to the then new campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons. Every now and then, mixed with and in explanation of some parts of the plot, there are excursions on the races, societies, and magical aspects of the world. The way the story and the explanations mingle together is well crafted (a long way since the Forgotten Realms and better than Dragonlance).
The heroes of the story are all interesting. Maybe my favourite is Daine, probably the main male protagonist. I like that way the character has religious doubts and doubts altogether on what to do next, after the Last War. That's the kind of character I like best.
Certainly a professional, maybe his voice sounds too "old" for these characters (all young or young-ish). Nice rhythm.
I'd suggest this book to any D&D geek, like myself, or to anyone who wants a good introduction to fantasy fiction. The narrator has certainly done his job, but I would have preferred a younger voice. He tries to give each character their own unique voice, but sometimes the effect is slightly comical (the warforged and occasionally Lei). Still, the narration is smooth and the audiobook is certainly worth its credit!
This is a very interesting book, well written and well performed by the narrator. It ranks pretty high in my collection of historical biographies so far.
The author, even though certainly supportive of the empress's achievements, is not overall biased and is frank about certain decisions Cixi had to make in order to preserve her power and the Chinese empire.
It's funny the way the narrator switches to "chinese" English pronunciation when "performing" the empress in some of her letters or alleged sentences spoken to Ministers or Grandees or other.
"The Dragon Woman"
This book is a cohesive overview of 19th century China and establishes Cixi as the real "maker". So, it makes an interesting hearing not only for people interested in the Empress tout court but also for people interested in Chinese history. Contrary to many biographies, Ms Chang doesn't give in to gossip. The performer, Jolene Kim, does a very good job (rhythm of the narration, clarity, even "performance" of some of the personages).
I've already done that in the headline. Of course, there's more, but this is a action-packed novel, suitable to anyone who's into D&D or into combat-oriented fantasy. There are of course other themes here as well, but they are just tackled with no real intention to go deeper (gender situation, friendship, family ties, etc.)
This novel is not a chorus of different characters, all equally important. Here there's a clear distinction between main characters and extras. Of course, the reader is strongly encouraged to like the protagonist and the mentor, that is to say his father. There are a couple of other interesting characters (the masked wizard, Drittz's sister Vierna) but they are underdeveloped.
Bevine did mostly a good job. He's a pro, so he knows his craft. Still, sometimes he reads a little too fast, even though the reason is comprehensible (an action-packed novel calls for... well, action). As in this trilogy Drittz is very young, I would have preferred a younger voice but that is a matter of personal preference, no fault with the performer.
I'd reccomend it to anyone who likes the TV show in particular and the comics too. The book evokes the world of despair and
Brian, its "descent" into villainy. Philip is just a tad too crazy.
His performance as Philip was too much "cooked", if you get my meaning. He seems always on the point of breaking, it's just too much. Well done as for Nick and the Chalmer sisters. The Penny-Brian relationship too.
No, please... I'd be seriously worried if it had!
OK the southern accent: marked but still understandable for us not US residents. Berman's a professional, of course, and he does his job with a certain skill. His Philip was really annoying, sometimes too much.
It is the first installment of the second Dragonlance trilogy, probabibly better written than the first. It's less heavily game-oriented (D&D) and, as such, give room to the authors to better explore their fictional world.
Ax Norman should have paid more attention to characters. Sometimes, it's difficult to tell Raistlin and Caramon apart. Even though I'm not overly fond of "uber" character personification, he should have paid more attention to that. Still, I like his diction and I wouldn't mind if he rerecorded the books with that goal in mind.
This is a great Dragonlance story, a must for every fantasy and D&D geek reader/listener.
The performing of the stories is quite good. Ms Zackman is certainly a pro who know what she is about. Listening to audiobooks and reading a book are two such different things that I cannot compare them. In my opinion, they are two different ways to enjoy the same medium.
It's interesting the way she portrays some of the characters: she gives them voices that fit. I like the way she goes from "narration" mode in descriptions and introductions to "interpretation" mode in dialogues and stream of consciousness.
It got me interested, which is the main objective of an audiobook.
In the metatags, I'd add "Dragonlance" to the titles of the book, which in fact is following "Dragons of Spring Dawning" and just before "Dragons of Summer Flame". I'd insert it between those two.
Absolutely. The performance is excellent and the plot is engaging. Maybe this novel doesn't shine like Pillars of the Earth, but it's worthwhile to read it,
Its predecessor, "Pillars of the Earth". Same pacing, same kind of characters with motivations and psychological background.
The women in general. Gwenda, Caris, Lady Philippa, the abbess... he has a certain skill to make them alive and real while his voice is definitely male.
"What Real Aristocracy Is", or something of the kind. One of the themes is the downfall of aristocrats and peasants, the ascendancy of some and the despair of others. Ralph has his own notion of what being an aristocrat is, his brother Merthin another. It's interesting to see the "new" mentality develop (and we are still struggling today with this idea that there's a "divine" right to something... people would not acknowledge this, but they behave like Ralph most of the time).
Great performance by John Lee. A must if into Ken Follett or historical novels.
There's something different in this new trilogy from the "classical" ones, the Chronicles and the Legends. The authors evidently decided that something different must be done to revitalize the brand. Herington's performance is very good, even though her portrayal of some of the elves is slightly comical (Samar for instance).
My favourite character is, and always will be, Laurana. Since the first trilogy, she stands apart because she grows as a person in a "believable" way. From elfmaiden to general and first class politician,
Too long. But the performer's reading was just about right, It is a pleasure to listen to.
I'll certainly buy the other two titles in the series. Eagerly anticipating Ax Norman's new versions of the Chrinicles. I'm sure he's done an excellent job.
This is a nice listening for everyone who loves the tv show, not the novels. L. J. Smith's work is always very good: there are interesting characters and situations, descriptions are apt without being overwhelming, and the pacing is the right one for a vampire story.
The narration though is not a great one: the performer is almost always using the same tone, his portrayal of female characters is sometimes comical (Stefan's fiancee for instance) and overall he doesn't create the same sense of foreboding and despair that Rebecca Mozo provides in her performance of the main novels.
It's OK if you love the tv show, but for the original series reader it's rather disappointing (though not seriously so).
No, I wouldn't. Martin has done a geat job with this series and the great success of the TV show is just a confirmation of it. The audiobook makes up for a nice listening as the performer did a great job with Matin's words. I am not overly fond of his voice, too husky in my opinion.
For me, the Lady moment (I won't be specific in order not to spoil the book to future readers/listeners). It's the first time that a certain "pettiness" of a certain character is shown. When I got to that part, I knew that I was reading not only a fantasy novel, but a "mature" fantasy novel as well.
A certain objectivity. I am not an impartial reader, I take side more often than not and it's very easy to do this with this series. Dotrice's reading is flawless this way, he doesn't give away any particular emotion unless it's expressed by the character or intended by the author.
Probably one of the best fantasy series so far, the world of "A Song of Ice and Fire" is brutal, unforgiving, and full of unresolved situations. Dotrice's reading of the book gives the story the correct aura, in my opinion, even though sometimes can be a little comical (the portrayal of the Imp, or Lord Varys for that matter). Still, thousands of pages, hundreds of characters... he's done an excellent job. I would have preferred a younger voice, but this is just a personal preference, nothing to do with the quality of the performance.
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