This series has always been one of my favorites and I've read this book innumerable times. I was hesitant about the audio version, because it can change the way you perceive the book. My only complaint would be that the recitation of the poems/chants wasn't, to my opinion, done very well, but that is a minor complaint. I really enjoyed the addition of the correct accent to the way I've always "heard" the story narrated in my mind.
This is a great book with adequate narration. I read the print copy years ago and loved it, and have been wanting to listen to it on audio for a while now. Because several reviewers complained so much about the narration, though, I put off purchasing it. That was a mistake, because there's nothing terribly wrong with the narration. It's not the best, it could be better, but at no point while listening did I find myself becoming distracted from the tale because of the narration. The characters don't need different voices because their names are stated at the beginning of each chapter they narrate, and the author has written them different voices that can be distinguished in print. The narrator only speaks quickly in the sense that her rate of speed doesn't fit with the Southern accent in which she reads - there's a Southern accent but no Southern drawl.
While the narration could certainly have been better, it in no way interfered with my enjoyment of this excellent book.
The book itself is, of course, a true classic and a great read. I found it especially interesting to contrast the character of "Tom" with today's children, and our "ritalin epidemic." Tom was misunderstood by the common society and adults of his time, and based on how we treat modern children with similar characteristics as Tom, clearly we still haven't figured him out.
The narrator was neither exceptional nor horrible; he did an acceptable job. I would be interested to compare this reading to others, as there are apparently quite a few available.
I enjoyed this audiobook. It does have a fairy-tale feel, and you should be aware that it has a sequel, so expect a sudden ending with no conclusion. Unlike the other reviewers, I feel it is definitely similar to the author's other works, just not his most popular or commonly known ones. The unusual characters reminded me of "Cabal" and the overall feeling of unreality and the matter-of-fact transitions to & from the various islands and the "real world" felt like "Great and Secret Show."
This book wasn't fantastic, not the best book I've ever read, not even Clive Barker's best, but it was enjoyable and passed the time quite pleasantly. The book has a way of skimming over darker issues so that it seems like a light tale suitable for children, but in the tradition of all fairy tales, certain scenes still leave you with a feeling of unease, as if something more terrible actually happened but the author wanted to spare you the details.
The narration was the same, good not great, and nothing to complain about.
This book is so terrible, I'm not sure where to begin. Why is this book considered a "classic?" It's awful, both in narration and content. The best thing I can say about the narrator is that the person they chose is perfect for the part - he sounds every bit as pompous and full of himself as the way it is written. Narration complaints: he frequently stops sentences before they are finished, for example "...and we quickly climbed the tree. Delighting in our own ingenuity." You can also hear background noises like papers shuffling and I swear at one point he lights a pipe, which would actually be kind of cool had he done it in context.
As for the content of the book itself, I'm still in shock that it is considered a classic. It is absolute garbage. My usually willing suspension-of-disbelief is currently rioting over the blatant lack of knowledge of basic facts. Monkeys are called apes. Buffalo and penguins inhabit the very same ecosystem. Every useful plant known to man not only exists on this island but is also easily discovered. There are consistency gaps, and editorial issues that would be minor if there weren't hundreds of them. The only way I would let my children listen to this would be with an encyclopedia and directions to write a report on everything Wyss got wrong.
This is, however, an excellent example of the British attitude of the time, "manifest destiny," and "we will succeed in all endeavors because God is on our side." Mind you, I don't have a problem with the fairly heavy-handed Christian message; if it weren't so twisted as to be laughable it wouldn't bother me.
If you are interested in this audiobook because of a school assignment, it will do just fine. The narrator is fairly easy to understand, if rather unprofessional, and his voice suits "Father" absolutely perfectly. If, however, you are hoping the book will be a fun and educational way to pass time for you or your children, while catching up on your "classics," skip this
Based on the reviews, I was really surprised by the lack of quality in the narration of this book. It's extremely difficult to listen to. As another reviewer mentioned, there is virtually no transition when they switch from one character or section to another, and the narrator has an odd way of speaking that I have difficulty understanding. (I usually prefer narrators with accents, so it's not just the accent.)
As for the content, I didn't find anything outstanding. The characters seemed flat and were at times difficult to tell apart. Descriptions were few & far between, to the point that I had difficulty determining when a scene was set in the same place it had been earlier in the book. Dialogue - yawn.
Definitely not recommended. (Because I find that it's easier to determine if you have the same taste as a reviewer, here are some authors that I do enjoy: Tolkien, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Anne McCaffrey, Susan Cooper, Douglas Adams.)
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