I purchased this book to take on a trip. My 3 year old daughter hates travelling in cars (because we do not have one), and we had to rent a car for a trip this summer so I needed to find things to distract her. This audiobook was perfect! Not only in Jim Dale one of my favourite narrators, but the story and music are absolutely amazing! My daughter asked for the first song to be repeated over a dozen times. We did not finish the book until weeks later after our trip at home because she keep asking for the same parts. In the same vein as 'Peter and the Wolf" the story is told through song. Jim Dale, as usual, does an excellent job of all the different voices. I cannot recommend this audiobook enough! We have listened to the book repeatedly since I bought it in May (2012). And I imagine it is one that we will play for years! I love it!!
I very much like Katherine Kellgren as a narrator and her performance in this novel is very good. However, given that the characters in the book are flat (lack complexity, very predictable), Kellgren tends to over "act". I think she does this to give more energy to a dull, slow story. I kept waiting for something interesting and exciting to happen in the story, but it never did. There were many small climaxes throughout, but nothing to keep me interested. I listened to the entire book because I never like to leave a novel unfinished, but it was not as enjoyable as I thought it might be. All the characters were far too stereotypical. Indeed, Goodwin relies far too heavily on the traditional/modern binary between the UK and US (respectively) to frame her story and the characters. Modern, exciting, risky, and loud Americans; sombre, mundane, traditional, proper British. Boring.
Katherine Kellgren is an amazing narrator! She embodies Lady Georgiana Rannoch so well, that I had difficulty listening to her in other novels (but she is such a great narrator that I quickly got over it!). The story is okay - nothing complex and unfortunately predictable. But it is the perfect book to listen to if you need to do other tasks simultaneously. Indeed, I listened to all of the Royal Spyness audiobooks while working on one project. So while the story it is not amazing, I definitely recommend this book and others in the series! They are enjoyable and fun!
I tend to chose audiobooks more by the reader than the book/story (although this is not to say that the story does not count). Jim Dale is my favourite reader and hence why I bought "The Night Circus". The story is very good - not excellent nor very complex. It has vague similarities to "Harry Potter" (and given that Dale also read those, it makes the similarities seem greater). I would definitely recommend this book for those who enjoy fantastical fiction. Though keep in mind that "The Night Circus" seems to be more adolescent fiction.....not anything near the fantastical fiction of Le Guin!!!
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