Having listened to the entire series starting with The Hobbit, and continuing through The Lord of the Rings series, it is difficult to review each book only on its own merit, as they are each part of grand story. Truly an example of the sum being greater than its parts.
Bilbo's part in the tale of the one ring is over, and Frodo's begins. There is quite a bit in the books that the films left out, that add so much to the story. Characters that are far older than Sauron, Gandalf and Elrond. They have been largely forgotten by the realms in Middle Earth, but still have their parts to play (for good or ill) in the Fellowship's battle against the forces of Sauron .
Please indulge yourself and experience the complete unabridged performance of the beginning of the LOTR trilogy. Rob Inglis does an admirable job with both the narration and the songs. As tempting as it might be to skip over some of the songs, they do contain nuggets of information that hep to more completely flesh out the storyline.
The authors of this story are truly talented in their character development, and the artistry in which they weave the relatively simple, yet rich tale.
As many other reviewers have mentioned, Egert is the main character, toward whom, at the beginning of the book, I felt total justification in completely despising. After Egert murders Toria's fiance, I almost cheered when 'the Wanderer' goaded Egert into challenging him to a duel, and the contemptuous ease that Egert was beaten, and cursed. I reveled in Egert's fall into complete and utter disgrace, his shameful flight from his home, resulting in a wretched life of misery and fear.
This cursed punishment was only too fitting for the man that Egert had been.
When the paths of Egert and Toria crossed once again, I did not want there to be any chance of redemption for Egert. The skill of the writers is undeniable, as even I was compelled to begin to root for Egert as he strives to do the right thing. This struggle is in spite of the irrepressible cowardice at the dire consequences promised him, should he fail to incriminate an innocent whom he truly loves.
Jonathan Davis provided a very good narration, with dramatic (but not overly so) voices. His narration certainly added to the overall listening experience, and I would encourage you to try this non-mainstream book.
Since finding Brandon Sanderson when he began his work finishing the Wheel of Time series, I have been grabbing as many of his books as I can. With one exception, I have found his books to steadily increase my expectations for the next one. I have always shied away from novellas in the past, because they seemed to be incomplete fragments of stories, that served as lead-ins to a book series. This one absolutely took me by surprise with its freshness, and its ability to completely engage my imagination. While this story truly stands very well on its own, for attentive listeners, there are tie ins to the Elantris book. I won't expound on them here, but will leave the fun of you listening for them untainted.
I had not heard anything narrated by Angela Lin before this, but found her reading to be very well done, even comparable to Kate Reading. She helped make a great story even better.
Ray Cruz is following in the steps of his father, Bob Lee Swagger, the famous marine sniper. The story is fast paced, and shows several points of view of the events. While the story is decent, I found it to be basically an enjoyable, updated version of the traditional hero/villain storyline. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but if you are looking for a truly unique story, a little more searching will be required.
Phil Gigante did a good job with the narration, and I would not hesitate at all to listen to him narrate any other books that pique my curiosity.
The one thing about this book that I did not care for, was how some people that think that words mean more than action, and that by spewing all this political correct gibberish, everything will be all better. They continue to get promoted well beyond any measure of their competence. It illustrates all too clearly, an epidemic that we are seeing all to frequently now a days.
It is hard to believe its been over 75 years since this was originally published, giving birth to the high fantasy realm of literature. This is a timeless masterpiece that I would highly recommend everyone to experience in its written form.
Rob Inglis does a good job with the narration and I was surprised at the quality of his singing. However the task of singing these songs is a daunting one to say the least! I must admit that a few times I basically ignored the tune, and concentrated on the words themselves to grasp Tolkien's intent.
It seemed as though the actual recording of the reading could have been a bit higher quality, as there were several, albeit quite minor, issues with the recording that kept the performance from achieving its fifth star. This being said, even if you have read the book before, this recording is an experience that you should not miss!
Now that pretty much everyone has at least heard of Jack Reacher, thanks to the recent movie (based on book 9 of the series). This is the book that started Reacher's wanderings. The Killing Floor gives a good foundation for the rest of the series and starts to reveal who Reacher is and what makes him tic.
I have read several books in the series now, and while they all have fortunate circumstances helping things out, I found this one to be a touch too convenient. OK, Reacher is the main character, hard as nails, smart, an ex-MP officer (13 years of military service), and trained in investigation procedures; but having him taking the lead in the investigation from a very good, Harvard educated, Boston detective with 20 years experience? That stretched things a bit for me.
I had listened to Dick Hill narrating many of the Harry Bosch series before I started listening to the Jack Reacher series, and he continues with a very solid performance. His name as the narrator always makes the purchase more appealing.
If you are looking for a book (or series) that has a gritty, larger than life protagonist you can root for, and like to see justice prevail, regardless of any laws that the guilty and corrupt hide behind; you wont be disappointed with this one.
I found this book to be enjoyable but many of the events I found too predictable. Because of this, I wasn't able to become as immersed in the story the way I wanted to. Perhaps it is just me, but I thought some of the coolest characters in the book were regulated to supporting roles. The main characters just seemed too idealistic or something for me to really become invested in them.
There were several points of the storyline that to me were quite original, and well thought out. These kept things interesting throughout the listen, even though I saw a fair number of events coming. I must confess there were a few events that totally blindsided me though, so the story does make you stay on your toes.
Jack Garrett preformed the narration quite well. He does not try to stretch his vocal range on the women to the point where it sounds like a guy making a farce of women's voices. He imparts a good amount of distinction to the distinction of the various characters in the story.
Overall, I did enjoy the book, although I am not sure I would continue to the next book if this was the first int he series. Fortunately, this book stands very well on its own, and reaches a natural and satisfactory conclusion.
As you can expect, especially if you have taken some time to read other reviews of this book, the narration of Sir Ian McKellen is absolutely top notch. He flows through the text as though he were born to it, with no pauses at places where the order, and choice of words, show how very long ago this was written. His inflection help make the story become larger than life, and showcases why this is considered to be such a grand, sweeping, epic.
I have read an account of this book as a child, but wanted to experience the epic in its full timeless glory. I have to admit, I was a little surprised at how many tears were shed by practically everyone included in the story. They do not detract much from the deeds of the most unlucky of heroes, Odysseus; but there were times in which they did not seem to enhance the story much either.
There were a couple of places where there seemed to be minor technical issues. A word clipped, resulting in missing perhaps a second or two of reading. Later, a section of narration lasting several minutes, where it seemed the speed of the recording was reduced by a small percentage. Just enough to lower the pitch of Ian's voice and make him sound a bit tired. Based on the rest of the narration, I am confident that this was not the case, but rather an unfortunate effect of the audio editing.
I highly recommend this audio book, and can see it as a wonderful supplement to a high school or college course in which the Odyssey is required reading. I am glad that I finally made the choice to experience this ancient classic.
After listening to some other Brandon Sanderson novels like the Mistborn series, and the Way of Kings, I was all set to settle in to another great listening experience. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
The narrator read this as though he was half asleep, or this was some punishment he was forced to undertake. The limited inflection was mildly disappointing, but the pauses between the sentences were almost unbearable after the excellent narration I had listened to in so many other books. I somehow struggled through the first part, and either the narrator picked up the pace a touch, or my mind became numb to the slow pace of his reading.
At that point, I was able to actually enjoy the book a little, although some of the character's reactions to events left me shaking my head at their absurdity and naivety. It seemed that the characters bemoaned the same gripes repeatedly, and I was wishing they would just suck it up and deal with things.
I would say that while this is an OK book, it does not measure up to the standard I had come to expect from Brandon on his more recent novels. If I ever see James Yaegashi's name as the narrator on any book I am considering in the future, I will have to pass on it.
Opens the door for a potentially interesting series based on the main character.
Takes what we would normally classify as a disability or handicap and shows a possible positive spin on it. Of course, there remains a lot of unanswered questions regarding Steven Leeds. But I would expect that from a novella introducing a new character.
Given the brevity of the book, events were forced to unfold very quickly, at times a bit too conveniently for my taste.
I had not heard Mr. Wyman prior to this book, but I had a good reaction to his narration. Perhaps not superb, but definitely positive.
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