I hate to harp on this but the new narrator really lets this book down. He is a fine narrator, but Roy Doltrice (who did the earlier books) owns this turf. Mr. Doltrice gave every character his or her own voice, accent and mannerisms that made it easy to identify which character was speaking. I got confused with who was speaking sometimes with Mr. Lee. If Random House reads this, please bring back Roy Doltrice for the next book.
Having said that, the book itself is excellent with no let-down from the earlier volumes.
The plot is ridiculous. The actors are over the top dramatically. The woman character basically justs screams. The dialogue is unintentionally funny sometimes. But somehow it is all a lot of fun to listen to. The ending is a bit of a let-down, as the main character simply explains all the mysteries to the other characters. But I still enjoyed it.
There is what seems to be a sales pitch to radio station managers at the beginning that lasts about 24 minutes. You might want to skip this and get on with the story.
This is a very enjoyable rendition when it is actually telling the story. The cast is great & the audio trick to indicate when a god is speaking through a mortal is neat. The problem is that the original multipart broadcast is presented unedited (as far as I can tell). That means that each episode ends with a preview of next week's episode & the credits. Then the next episode begins with a recap of last week. There are also interuptions to tell you how to get a free study guide (numerous times), and stuff like Ray Bradbury telling you that modern technology is great. There are also places where they pause to explain certain things in the text that might confuse a modern listener & these are welcome.
If this had been edited into one whole presentation, it would be 5 stars easy. But as it is, it is almost too annoying to enjoy.
I couldn't stop listening to this book. I stayed up late listening until I was a zombie at work. The narrator is perfect for the material & the material is facinating & emotionally gripping. There is a section after the epilogue where the author details his sources. Be sure to listen after that for an interview with Chatterton and Kohler conducted by the author after the print version of the book was published.
I must also point out that the recording quality makes the reader a little hard to understand, but once I got used to it, I was able to concentrate on the words. It starts with a short biographical sketch of the various people that were Inklings or sat with them at the pub that really tried my patience. I's rather hear Betty Boop read a phone book. But once the book proper started, it was very interesting. If you like C.S. Lewis (you have to get used to him being called Jack), Tolkien and the others, I think you may find this book worth the annoyances.
This series of books are very entertaining. Funny, good plot and characters. But Nigel Planer's performance is the reason that listening is far better than reading these books. He matches each voice perfectly with the character and reads the text in perfect harmony to the author's writing style. I can not imagine these books without him now.
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