I found Robin Rowan's narration difficult to listen to. Part of this is due to my hearing, but the annoying aspect was the rhythm of her speech, which sounded staged and artificial, making it difficult to take the book in. In terms of content, Wood' book is a good, albeit biased in sympathy of the Anglo-Saxons, overview of the history surrounding the Battle of Hastings. I particularly liked the context she sketches in for 1066. Her handling of sources, however, became very odd near the end, where she began relying on sources that earlier she had criticized as being unreliable--and doing so without offering a justification or her reasoning for why those sources could be relied on that instance. Overall, it left me doubting her handling of the rest of her source material.
Jonathan Davis' narration of Bacigalupi's story is a joy to listen to, and I found 'The Alchemist' engaging--a story where it is easy to identify with the character and the world is interesting in its own right. Similarly, Katherine Kellgren gives an apt performance for 'The Executioness', and I enoyed Buckell's character. But his writing felt awkward at points, especially earlier in the story: odd phrases and sentences of info-dump dropped in between things characters were saying; slow pacing; lackluster character motivation. It picks up after the first third, about the point that the Executioness begins combat training, and I really liked the ending and the conflict resolution.
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