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Mairead O'Sullivan

Washington, DC United States | Member Since 2012

  • 3 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 128 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015

  • The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Derek B. says: "A grand literary adventure!"
    "Great story, occasionally painful reading"
    If you could sum up The Hobbit in three words, what would they be?

    "Please. Stop. Singing."

    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Granted, it's very hard to deal with a cast of 14-15 characters, but many of the characters' voices made me want to stop listening altogether. The narrator's default voice for every person other than most of the dwarves is a stuffy, old-fashioned sounding affair. Think of how you would imagine a stereotypical, British, upper-middle class grandfather of the 1940s to sound. Congratulations. You have heard Bilbo, Elrond, Gandalf, the LakeTown Master, and pretty much everyone over 4 feet tall. Thorin gets more of the same, but with an extremely affected, trying-to-be-posh inflection to top it off. However, on the dwarves, the narrator goes to the opposite extreme. Every single dwarf has his own "unique" voice, and most of these are incredibly annoying. Fili and Kili sound like idiots. They speak in a veeeerrrrrryyyy slllloooowwwwww, overly deep voice and mumble through consonants. They sounded, actually, rather like Crabbe and Goyle from Harry Potter. The voice made me think that the author was implying that they were extremely stupid goons.I would have preferred less "personalization" and more "reading what Tolkien actually wrote," as he's pretty good at identifying the speaker. The mixed-up, everyone-is-arguing parts are supposed to be muddled, so it's extremely unnecessary to inject a separate voice for everyone.This became utterly unbearable during the singing portions. In the narrator's defense, it is hard to come up with tunes for Tolkien's stuff, and it is acutely awkward to expect someone to sing a page's worth of unwritten melody, but augh! I had to fast forward through the elf songs. Rather than "elvish" or "merry" or "different but appealing" or anything Tolkien implied, the elvish music is closer to, "stuffy old guy blissed out on something very relaxing and probably illegal." By contrast, the narrator seems to be trying to rush through the dwarf songs, setting them at an overly brisk cadence and singing them as if he wants to get through as quickly as possible and is rather bored of the song. Awful stuff.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No; I liked parts of it, but the songs always made me abandon the story for at least a day or so, and the voices grated on my nerves.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Star Wars: Dark Force Rising: The Thrawn Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Timothy Zahn
    • Narrated By Marc Thompson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The dying Empire's most cunning and ruthless warlord - Grand Admiral Thrawn - has taken command of the remnants of the Imperial fleet and launched a massive campaign aimed at the New Republic's destruction. With the aid of unimaginable weapons long hidden away on a backwater planet, Thrawn plans to turn the tide of battle, overwhelm the New Republic, and impose his iron rule. Meanwhile, Han and Lando Calrissian race against time to find proof of treason inside the highest Republican Council.

    Tyler says: "Marc Thompson Delivers Again!"
    "A fitting tribute to both the book and the movies"
    What did you love best about Star Wars: Dark Force Rising?

    Fair warning: I am a huge Star Wars nerd and love the print versions of these books. This set the bar EXTREMELY high, but the audiobooks are arguably better than the print version. (Yeah, really.)Between the narration and the touches of the original soundtrack that the editors wove in at key points, it really felt as through the book was part of the Star Wars universe. Better yet, the music made otherwise unlikeable characters more understandable. I didn't think it would be so compelling, but small details such as throwing in the sad music from Darth Vader's funeral as the narrator spoke of Captain Pellaeon's memory of watching the Executor crash into the Death Star made his mental anguish seem substantially more sympathetic. (Considering that he's one of the "bad guys" and not entirely likeable, getting any sympathy is tough.) Star Wars wouldn't be the same without Williams's soundtrack, so it was a good play to incorporate that.

    What about Marc Thompson’s performance did you like?

    I really enjoyed his take on the characters' voices. I was terrified that he would mess up Thrawn, but Thompson made Thrawn seem cool, calculating, and impeccably cultured to the point of being utterly alien. (Convenient, that.) His version of Captain Pellaeon is also very well done. Thompson aced the loyal, highly military, bright-but-not-bright-enough, Empire's man who is totally aware of his lack of genius. He injected the right tough of awkwardness into interactions with Thrawn, making it heartily apparent how utterly out of his depth the Captain knows he is and how totally flatfooted most of Thrawn's decisions make the Captain feel.I also really, really, really appreciated that Thompson managed to convey "this is a woman speaking" without falling into the trap of affecting a high pitched, squeaky voice. (Ahem, Jim Dale.) Leia actually sounded Leia-ish in inflection.

    Any additional comments?

    My only real criticism of the book is that Thompson's read on Mara made me really dislike her. He took the "bitter" thing and blew it up to mammoth proportions. Yeah, she's a bitter character, but ai! Enough!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By H. P. Lovecraft
    • Narrated By William Roberts

    At the heart of these stories, as with all the best of Lovecraft’s work, is the belief that the Earth was once inhabited by powerful and evil gods, just waiting for the chance to recolonise their planet. Cthulhu is one such god, lurking deep beneath the sea until called into being by cult followers who – like all humans – know not what they do.

    Katherine says: "Required reading"
    "Excellent Mood"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories to be better than the print version?

    In some ways, yes. The narrator did an excellent job of capturing Lovecraft's somewhat hysterical, overblown, exaggerated writing style without excessively dramatic flourishes. (I was pretty worried about that -- most stories do revolve around characters going insane, and Lovecraft's descriptions are sort of over the top, so I was expecting a multiple hour verbal freakout.)

    The touches of soundtrack also added to the mood. The music isn't constant, but there are occasional snippets of spooky music.

    Any additional comments?

    Listeners should note that this work dates from the 1920s. Every now and then, Lovecraft will throw in a description that is not exactly polite by today's standards. (For example, his descriptions of voodoo rituals are definitely not PC.) It's not malicious; it's just the style of the time. However, be warned.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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