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The Ineffable Pangolin

The Empire State | Member Since 2012

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 176 ratings
  • 450 titles in library
  • 66 purchased in 2014
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  • Young Goodman Brown

    • UNABRIDGED (32 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Hawthorne
    • Narrated By Basil Rathbone
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    Basil Rathbone reads Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, set in Puritan New England, which addresses one of his common themes: the conflict between good and evil in human nature and, in particular, the problem of public goodness and private wickedness.

    The Ineffable Pangolin says: "Magnificent story! Exquisite performance!"
    "Magnificent story! Exquisite performance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Young Goodman Brown in three words, what would they be?

    Satire. Indictment. Classic.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Young Goodman Brown?

    The revelation of his wife's allegiance.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The part where the fellow-traveler laughs at Young Goodman Brown's hollow protestations.


    Any additional comments?

    Basil Rathbone performs this story in a way no modern performer could possibly hope to match. I have never heard a comparable performance of any work and will be re-listening to this over and over again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Knight of the Black Rose: Ravenloft: Terror of Lord Soth, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By James Lowder
    • Narrated By Danny Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    On the fabled world of Krynn, Lord Soth finally learns that there is a price to pay for his long history of evil deeds, a price even an undead warrior might find horrifying. Dark powers transport Soth to Barovia, and there the death knight must face the dread minions of Count Strahn Von Zarovich, the vampire lord of the nightmare land. But with only a captive Vistani woman and an untrustworthy ghost for allies, Lord Soth soon discovers that he may have to join forces with the powerful vampire if he is ever to escape the realm of terror.

    Jeremy R. Snyder says: "An adequate story, good voice, but bad reading"
    "Disappointing and Repetitive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    With less expository rehashings of previously-established material, more focus on description, and a more compelling plot, this might have worked.


    Would you ever listen to anything by James Lowder again?

    Maybe.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Danny Campbell’s performances?

    No. Campbell's performance was generally unremarkable, but he REPEATEDLY and CONSISTENTLY mispronounced words -- many of them quite simple. It nearly drove me mad.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It helped to further expand upon the Ravenloft setting.


    Any additional comments?

    So much wasted potential, it's almost heartbreaking.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Dr. Dolittle

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Hugh Lofting
    • Narrated By David Case
    Overall
    (659)
    Performance
    (565)
    Story
    (573)

    No one loves and understands animals like the eccentric 19th century physician Dr. Dolittle, who masters animal language with the help of Polynesia the parrot. After his human patients desert him, the kind-hearted doctor finds his calling in practicing animal medicine, and his fame spreads far and wide. When a terrible epidemic breaks out among monkeys in Africa, Dr. Dolittle sets out to save them, accompanied by some of his favorite pets.

    Stacey says: "Has racist undertones"
    "A Children's Classic...Marred By Racial Epithets"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Story of Dr. Dolittle again? Why?

    I would not. The reader did admirably, but the author's repeated use of racist epithets against Africans (specifically, three of the vilest epithets in the English language) utterly ruined the story for me.


    What could Hugh Lofting have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Completely omitting the racist passages and slurs is the only thing that the author could have done to redeem this book for me.


    What about David Case’s performance did you like?

    He did an excellent job carrying the different character voices throughout the narrative.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ellen Kushner
    • Narrated By Ellen Kushner, Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, and others
    Overall
    (716)
    Performance
    (636)
    Story
    (639)

    On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.

    Stacy says: "What a beautiful book..."
    "99% Kushner, 1% "cast", 100% adolescent fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Neil Gaiman seemed inordinately proud of the supposedly full-voiced production. Why, then is this 99% Ellen Kushner reading it? MAYBE 1% is performed by the actors (who aren't terribly good) they advertised, and sometimes even those scenes shift abruptly into Ellen Kushner reading it again, Kushner voicing the same characters they had previously had voiced by actors & actresses; after the mid-way point, even that 1% ceases and it becomes all-Kushner-all-the-time. This was a sham, a case of false advertising, a waste of my time and money. Either have a single person read the whole thing, like most other audiobooks, or have a full cast performing the whole thing. You can't get away with this sort of piss-poor production if you plan to advertise it as something else.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Ellen Kushner again?

    No.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    I would have cast either a full cast or just Kushner. Make up your minds, folks.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No. It read like a female version of what women accuse men of writing when we write lesbians -- an adolescent fantasy. It's all fashion and parties and squabbling over status, with action sequences that usually occur off-stage or crawl along at a snail's pace, set in a world in which every man is only one meaningful glance away from hopping into bed with another man. It read like the sort of terrible Harry Potter slash-fics my female friends wrote in high school and college - a girl's fantasy of what men get up to when women aren't around.


    Any additional comments?

    I regret buying the sequel at the same time I bought this book. I anticipated loving this, since everyone seems to, and instead I find myself despising it.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By H. P. Lovecraft
    • Narrated By Felbrigg Napoleon Herriot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (53)

    FNH Audio presents a complete and unabridged audio book of H.P. Lovecraft’s novel "The case of Charles Dexter Ward". Charles is a young man, a young man with a passion, a driving passion, a love of the past. What starts as the curious interest of a young boy, growths up with the youth to become the obsession of the man. His friends turn their back on him, he becomes reclusive. His few new friends are dark and mysterious, ominous even.

    Steffen says: "Narrator"
    "Classic Novel, Horrible Reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from H. P. Lovecraft and/or Felbrigg Napoleon Herriot?

    From Lovecraft? Absolutely. I am a long-time fan. Read by Herriot? Absolutely not.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is one of Lovecraft's strongest novels, with a mounting sense of dread and perpetual mystery that builds to a masterful climax.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Felbrigg Napoleon Herriot’s performances?

    No. I have listened to two of his performances ("The Case of..." and "At the Mountains of Madness") and the man CONSTANTLY mispronounces words (palimpsest, paroxysm, alembic, Adirondacks, Metatron, and many, many more) and then continues to mangle them throughout the reading. What is more, while his voice is not unpleasant, there is no variation in his tone and no emotion. All characters sound the same, and he sounds like he is simply reading the text without being aware of what is being read. It was alternately infuriating and tedious.


    Did The Case of Charles Dexter Ward inspire you to do anything?

    As a boy, it inspired me to study antiquities and ancient religious and magical practices in my professional life.


    Any additional comments?

    Lovecraft forever! Herriot never!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Ethan Hawke
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2432)
    Performance
    (1139)
    Story
    (1154)

    Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

    William says: "What more can be said?"
    "Tiresome"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Kurt Vonnegut and/or Ethan Hawke?

    Written by Vonnegut? Absolutely not. Read by Ethan Hawke? Absolutely.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye".


    What about Ethan Hawke’s performance did you like?

    Ethan Hawke is a masterful reader. He is capable of differentiating between the various tones, voices & narratives without skipping a beat, and his tone is often conversational or intimate rather than the flat, often-affectless pronouncements given by other readers.


    What character would you cut from Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade?

    All of them.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is tiresome, tedious and convinced of a cleverness and depth which it simply does not possess. Some classics are classics for reasons immediately discernible, some require thought and analysis to reveal the reasons for their place in the canon of literature, but others seem to be classics simply because someone at one point decided to declare them such and subsequent readers, for fear of being mocked for "not getting it", just play along and claim to see the value in the work. This book is one of the latter and is little more than empty literary calories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shades of Milk and Honey

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (212)
    Performance
    (173)
    Story
    (173)

    The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

    Fionna says: "Jane Austen with magic"
    "Delightful story, Awful reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Shades of Milk and Honey? What did you like least?

    This was a light and frothy alternate-universe take on the Jane Austen formula, artfully weaving a single fantasy element into the familiar setting of Regency England.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    This audiobook is narrated by the author, and while her reading is actually quite good, her insistence on using a TERRIBLE faux-British accent nearly ruins the whole thing. She is American, as American as apple pie and trillion dollar debt, and her attempt at a British accent is so horrible it's not even laughable. She weaves in and out of it, sometimes reverting to her American voice then afterwards reasserting her faux-British voice with a vengeance, but the fact that we as listeners hear how this book COULD have sounded had she simply narrated it without attempted embellishment -- well, it makes it very hard to focus on the narrative or the characters. They either needed to get her to stick to her American accent or hire a proper British woman to narrate in her stead.


    2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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