I first read this book as a kid and at the time identified with the teenage Mary Katherine, without questioning her as an "unreliable narrator." When I got the audiobook all these years later, I thought it would be fun to revisit a story I had liked. I was surprised at how Bernadette Dunne voiced the narrator character. She has a kind of tremor of fear in her voice right from the start. This isn't the quirky imaginative heroine who faces down the hateful townfolk and her encroaching cousin that I remember: this is a phobic young woman who tries to use to ritual to try to control her world, who is disturbed and disturbing!
After listening to this recording, I found myself questioning my earlier interpretation of the whole story. Though Mary Katherine calls her cousin Charles a ghost, this one isn't a ghost story. Though Mary Katherine believes in magic, and tries to create magic protection for herself, this one isn't a supernatural story. Still, the further the story goes, the further it is from reality. The ending is what I remembered, but I don't remember finding it so strange and unbelievable. This is a good thing, to me. There is so much more to think about and wonder about after hearing the recording.
This was recommended by a friend who has steered me to several books I have enjoyed, but I didn't like this one. The way this story is told, with the main character as narrator, there really can't be any suspense about outcome. He is a mostly bored and unimpressed by current events type of narrator by reason of his 2100+ years of existence. I found it hard to take interest in the fates of his friends either, even his best friend, the dog. I mostly just wanted the dog to shut up because of the way that character is voiced.
If the interest of the story is not whether the Iron Druid can survive, or how he does, which he is boredly yet exhaustively explaining after the fact, the interest might be his quest to discover/ unravel exactly what is going on. Mostly the other characters just stand there and tell him, leaving little space for mystery. It isn't suspense or mystery, so it might be action and comedy. There is plenty of fighting, blood and description of bodily injury, and there are some jokes. That might work on screen with a good soundtrack.
I have listened to a couple of other versions as well. I heard things in Prunella Scales's reading that I never heard before, and I think it is because hers is so clear and comprehensible. I enjoy her interpretation of the characters, especially Miss Bates.
There is something a little odd about the recording. It has extra long pauses between chapters, or just after the announcement of new chapters. The sound stops long enough for me to start wondering what went wrong with my device.
Seriously. After waiting all this time for the unabridged audible version, I finally got started listening to this and am now thinking abridgment might not be such a bad thing. I am pretty sure that fewer than 8 hours of time in the story pass in the first 8 hours of the recording. I got very impatient for the story to start moving, and when it finally seemed to get along, the multiple storylines separate and backtrack over the same time again. I am still only to part 3 of the recording, but at 16 hours in, it isn't too early to say that even fans are going to need a lot of patience with this book.
It has everything you expect from Heyer's romances and every possible Regency detail: fashionable talk, talk about fashions, balls, duels, gambling, town houses, country houses, London, Bath and points in between. This one has multiple story arcs and a sub plot to pull you along. I haven't liked ever Heyer I've tried, but I like this one.____
I have learned to check on what other customers say about the narration and the quality of the recording before I buy an Audible book and this one had a couple of scathing reviews right up top. I bought it anyway on the strength of other reviews and I have to side with those who find the narration and recording satisfactory. Eve Matheson differentiates the characters well and gives them voices to match each personality. I didn't notice any issues with the volume.
I read about 10 disappointed reviews before buying this title, so I was prepared and am not disappointed myself. It is what it is. The storytelling is repetitive from the backtracking, retelling and and catching up on characters' perspectives. The events are hinted, made obvious, and then directly spelled out for the inattentive reader. Delivery of the specialized information bit of the story is clunky.
Interestingly, the narrator makes the character Inoue Sato, Director of CIA's Office of Security, sound like Yoda.
I have enjoyed the the Fowl series and this 7th book is better than the last one. Obnoxious characters try to out genius each other, inexplicable technological wonders are patiently explained, whirling action scenes, fights and admittedly improbable escapes (and non-escapes) abound and, of course, there are dwarf gas jokes. Eoin Colfer tells a good story and Nathaniel Parker makes favorite characters sound how they are supposed to sound- that makes for an enjoyable audiobook this time around.
I usually love listening to Frederick Davidson. I think he has great timing with Wodehouse humor and his Jeeves is how I expect Jeeves to sound. On this book Davidson sounds like he has a sinus infection. The first few minutes are awful. I skipped ahead a few chapters then a few chapters further and his voice starts to sound better: bearable but not great.
I liked the recording. I am a fan of Frederick Davis as a narrator. The only problem I had with his reading was near the end, when the voice Davis uses for Helen in a serious conversation starts to sound like the voice he uses for reading comic/sappy female characters in P.G. Wodehouse stories.
I wasn't too satisfied with the story. The epistolary format, or I guess the occasional reminders that Anne Bronte was writing an epistolary novel, created unncessary interruptions to the flow, and seemed very forced and fake. The characters are all so flawed I couldn't like any of them, and that made it hard to hang in through to the end. After rising to a worrying/ interesting dramatic moment, the story flops its way to a predictible ending.
I think the reviews here are spot on. Both the positive and the negatives ones. Well read. Good characters. The story is interesting for the contrasting of a mini epidemic in a society where there are people who have literally never been sick a day in their lives with the implosion of a society under the black plague. But the text grows extremely repetitive- and not just because I kept dozing off and having to back up in the recording to see what I had missed. After every possible character suffers through whichever infection he or she happens to acquire, they all have relapses. For every boil lanced, there will be another boil. For every aspirin swallowed, there will be another. Still, I enjoyed the recording with its opportunity to lose hope and regain hope and see the hopes dashed and on and on and over and over through the whole tale. . .I think I got my money's worth. I just don't know if it will hold up for a second listen.
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