I've been waiting for a long time for Audible to offer this audiobook, which I think of as the second half of the book started in "Shards of Honor." "Barrayar" is everything that makes for good listening--a fascinating plot and great characters. In this book, Cordelia must protect both the child emperor and her unborn son while her husband, as the new Regent of Barrayar, struggles to end a Pretender's civil war to take control of the throne.
Penguin Audio should have waited until James Marsters no longer had a scheduling conflict with recording this book. I own every Harry Dresden book in audio, but I won't be buying the one recorded by John Glover. I gave the sample reading by Glover a try; and, the longer I listened, the angrier I got. Marsters' abilities as an actor really make Harry Dresden come alive. Glover's voice is too light and overly stylized and reminded me a bit of an old-timey radio show. The publisher is going to lose guaranteed sales, if they don't release another version of this book recorded by Marsters.
I have no excuse for waiting so long to listen to/read this book. But it all worked out in the end, because this 20th anniversary edition of the audiobook was brilliant. The narrator was simply perfect, keeping me entranced throughout the whole book. Mr. Card can write, oh, yes he can.
This is one of Georgette Heyer's best novels--full of mystery, sly humor, and romance between usual characters. I've listened to this book several times, and it still impacts me. One note: I put off buying this audiobook for a long time, even though it was one of my favorite paperbacks, because I didn't like the narrator's voice when I listened to the sample audio clip. After I bit the bullet and bought the audiobook, the narrator's voice grated on me for the first chapter. After that, I really grew to enjoy his voice and characterizations.
(Contains spoilers) I purchased this book because the premise seemed interesting; and, indeed, the initial chapters describing the hero's childhood, discovery of the sleeping heroine, and return to the forest to awaken her created a nice setup. However, after the hero has gone back in time, the book became gruesomely slow. It was annoying to hear the hero whine and whine. Both the heroine and most of the secondary characters came off as easily manipulated primitives. When the heroine started to change her mind about the hero, I was startled because there was no reason for her to do so. I kept listening to this book as long as I could but stopped when it became too punishing. This book irritated me so much that I deleted it from my laptop and ipod to make space for better books.
For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of reading the Miles Vorkosigan books, this is the first in the series, which introduces Miles' parents, Cordelia Naismith of the planet Beta and Aral Vorkosigan of the planet Barrayar. I originally read "Shards of Honor" and the second book in the series, "Barrayar," in a compilation book called, "Cordelia's Honor." Reading these two books as one made more sense, as "Shards of Honor" is a reasonably good story that builds to a whale of a good story in "Barrayar." Have patience with the slower pace of "Shards of Honor" (and Bujold's early writing skills). They are critical to your enjoyment of the full impact of "Barrayar," which the publisher's website states will be released in audiobook on 11/1/09. "Shards of Honor" is the only book in the Vorkosigan series which isn't the best of the best. However, you will enjoy the series all the more if you understand how Miles came to be. Look at the number of high-starred reviews Audible listeners have given to the Miles Vorkosigan series, which has also won a number of Hugo and Nebula awards.
This is my favorite book in Sharon Lee's and Steve Miller's Liaden series. Er Thom yos'Galan is a master trader and pilot in the powerful clan Korval on the planet of Liad. Before entering into a contract marriage with a Liaden woman to have a child, Er Thom's feelings compel him to return to Earth to visit Anne Davis, a Terran professor of Liaden literature who he briefly met a few years ago. Er Thom discovers that Anne has had his child, a delightfully charming, intelligent, and psychic boy not yet three years old. Er Thom convinces Anne to travel with their son Shan to Liad to have the boy recognized by the delm, or head, of clan Korval. Once there, both Er Thom and Anne struggle with Liaden customs and codes of behavior which would prevent them from staying together. Like all the Liaden books, "Local Custom" creates a fascinating look into the nuanced world of Liad, where discussions between Liadens are like intricate chess moves. I understand that the narrator is an actor; it shows in his gift for narration. I know that this audiobook will give me my money's worth, as I will be listening to this story many times.
I stuck it out, listening to this audiobook for about an hour before I had to call it quits. The premise of the book was interesting, but the writing was immature to the point where it was annoying. For example, there was way too much focus on the heroine's AI attributes. It was irritating to have the story continually interrupted to explain how the heroine's AI attributes were making minor adjustments to her body while she was going through normal life events, like riding a motorcycle. This detail added nothing to the plot, not even a "wow" factor. Worst of all, the heroine simply wasn't believable. I want my credit back.
It's fortunate that an actor as great as James Marsters is the continuing narrator for the Harry Dresden series. Marsters (who played Spike in the Buffy TV series) does a fine job of personifying Harry and the other characters in the series, including the women. These Dresden audiobooks are worth listening to multiple times.
This is a great book, ruined by a horrible narrator. I've read the paperback versions of both of Linda Howard's books about Blair Mallory, and they are a hoot. Some time ago, I bought the audiobook for the second book in the series, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and the narrator was wonderful. Stupid me, I presumed that the narrator for the first book, To Die For, would be the same person. Big mistake. I literally couldn't listen to the narrator for To Die For more than a few sentences. She had a horrible, fake southern accent and spoke in overly dramatic tones. Even worse, her voice was thin, thready, and wobbly, which made her sound like a 70-year-old woman. Since the heroine in this book is 30, the disconnect was too awful to listen to.
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