I love Hart's Hope. It's a glory among fantasy. No, it's not clean and pretty and sweet and upbeat, as some people expect after reading some of Card's novels. It is, in fact, dark-dark-dark, and the ending is ambiguous.
But it has one of the most intriguing story constructions you'll ever encounter, and a milieu so unique and deep, you'll never forget it.
I warn you again: This is DARK fantasy. But with lyrical, soaring prose that hypnotizes you from the first word, it's worth reading -- or listening to. Get it. You won't regret it.
Melisandre's, too, although her change in voice is a little easier to swallow. The rest of the voice changes were slight enough that I thought they could be excused. After all, it's probably been ten years or more since Mr. Dotrice visited Westeros to narrate audiobooks. He didn't do AFFC (alas) and it's been at least five years since that book came out, probably more. I'm trying to cut him some slack there, but Dany now having a wildling/Seaworth voice just isn't working for me.
The fault isn't Mr. Dotrice's, but rather bad production. Somebody should have done an accent check with this many characters and such a long time gap between this book and Mr. Dotrice's previous work with the series. The producer needs to be taken to task for such an obvious and easily avoided error.
If you are a hardcore fan of the previous audiobooks, as I am, I advise you to skip this one until or unless Random House does a re-release with the old accents more or less intact. In the meantime, buy the book in hard copy or ebook format. It's excellent, with new intrigues arising and plenty of Tyrion action, hooray! Plus the dragons got big while none of us were looking. It's worth reading, but for a fan, this particular production will only bring frustration.
Are you listening, Random House Audio?
2.5 hours into this audiobook, I shut it off, never to listen again. The subject had me very excited -- I am fascinated by the act of naming -- but the book is confusingly written. It goes in circles, never seems to make any kind of narrative progress, and in two and a half hours/three chapters an a prologue, the stupid fish thing was brought up at least a dozen times. Too frustrating and meandering to continue listening.
The narrator does a great job with her material, though.
I normally love historical fiction set in the Middle East, but I couldn't even get to Part Two of Sand Daughter. It was slow-moving, and the writing wasn't unique enough to hold my interest despite the lagging pace. It opens with a character who is gone by the second chapter, and doesn't appear to have any bearing whatsoever on the story -- at least up until the point I stopped listening, which was near the halfway mark. I didn't like it, I'm sorry to say.
With all the media attention the very shoddily written Twilight series has been getting, I was starting to despair for the future of YA genre fic. Not to worry--Collins spins an excellent tale in The Hunger Games. Fans of dark science fiction will eat this book up like a steaming dish of lamb stew. It touches all the bases with action, intrigue, and deep character development. And none of this gooey, sparkly, teenage-girl-esque writing. It may be written for a younger generation, but any adult reader will find it to be a riveting story as well, with intelligent craftsmanship and a reliance on pacing, not on cheese.
A rival with Libba Bray's series for the spot of Best YA Series Ever on my book shelf.
Wyrms is among the best and among the most obscure science fiction. Overshadowed by the "softer" (yet still brilliant) Ender's Game, in my opinion Wyrms really shows what Card is capable of when it comes to SF. This book is a perfect balance of soft and hard, with both the social and scientific issues of a colonized planet explored in Card's usual lyrical, dark manner.
As usual for OSC, the plot is tight and fast-paced, the writing is gorgeously spare, and the characters are unforgettable. From the royal court of Heptem to the caves of Cranning, you will never forget this book once you've read it - or listened to it, as the case may be. This book has had a permanent place on my shelf for many years, and I was thrilled to see that it's finally been released as an audio book. It will have a permanent place in my audio library as well, along with Card's other masterworks.
With her performance of Wyrms, Emily Card firmly establishes herself as a true equal to the other brilliant narrators Card audio fans know and love: Stefan Rudnicki, Gabrielle DeCuir, and Scott Brick. Ms. Card's reading and character voices are spot on and a delight to listen to.
Even if you've never read or listened to an OSC book before, but are a fan of science fiction, do yourself a huge favor and spend the credit or the cash on this somewhat obscure title. You will not regret it.
I find it difficult to believe that any person could give Lolita less than five stars, and the audio performance by Jeremy Irons is beyond masterful. Yes, this is a disturbing book - it is meant to be. Is it pro-pedophilia? Emphatically not. Any person who sticks with the book to the very bitter end comes to realize the true theme of Lolita, and feels the sadness of a lost chance at redemption.
In my opinion, there has never been a more beautiful, touching, shocking, and profound work of fiction than Lolita. Jeremy Irons as the narrator is just the icing on the cake.
This is the second time that I've tried and failed to finish listening to this audio book. It's too bad, because I'm sure it's a fine story, but the background sound effects are so distracting that both times I've found myself unable to follow the story when they are at their heaviest. I'm a great consumer of audio books and have had this one in my library for over a year, but can't seem to care enough about the story to stick with it. I don't think it's the quality of writing that's turning me off - it's the constant noise distraction.
Plus, the singing is incredibly discordant. It hurts my ears. It's not pleasant to listen to. My hope is that the producer either re-does this book without the background singing, or at the very least requires the singers to sing in the same key. As it is, the effect is like nails on a chalkboard.
I'm planning on buying this book and reading it. I have a feeling it's a nice fantasy story, if slightly cliche, and I'd like to experience the book as the author intended it to be experienced. I'm afraid I can only give the audio version two stars.
Seventh Son has always been one of my favorite books. I waited for a very long time for an unabridged audio version. I was a little worried that it wouldn't live up to my high expectations, but the cast more than delivered. All the readers are so very talented. My only complaint is that Rev. Thrower sometimes lapses in and out of his Scottish accent, but it happens at appropriate enough times.
Seventh Son is creative storytelling at its very best. As an "alternate history" of America, you can't beat this book for color and charm. The characters are thoroughly believable and sympathetic.
Frontiersy magic-stories might be a departure for Card fans who are used to his sci-fi works, but give Seventh Son and its sequels a try anyhow. Card comes through with his usual brilliant characterization, real dialogue, and perfectly paced plot.
If this is one of Ben Bova's best works, I will skip the rest. I couldn't even get halfway through this book, I got so fed-up with all the focus on who was dating whom and who was wearing what to the ball and how much weight whomever had lost and how. At least the first half of the book is severly lacking in sci-fi elements. I got to the point where I didn't even care about the probe anymore, I was so sick of wading through all the high-school drama. Reads like Cosmopolitan magazine in space.
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