I bought this title because I had enjoyed Hobb's Farseer trilogy -- but with the first words out of the narrator's mouth, I wondered whether I had made a terrible mistake. Anne Flosnik's reading seems (to this listener, anyway) affected and lugubrious -- the variety among character voices is slight and not always right for the person. The story was good enough to keep me listening, though I kept having the uneasy feeling that I didn't really like any of the characters all that well -- though that may have been a function of the narrator. I'll probably listen to the next book (this one does leave a lot of unanswered questions!), but I'll also be wishing it had been read by someone else.
I am delighted to (finally!) see Barbara Hambly's works appearing on Audible. She has a wonderful feel for fantasy, character, suspense, and the books are great reads/listens. BUT the narrator for the Darwath series is TERRIBLE. Not only are the voices she uses for the characters unconvincing and stilted, her basic delivery is incredibly annoying, containing, as it does, not only strange mispronunciations, (long a instead of the schwa sound in words like away and about, accents on the wrong syllable, etc.) but also a peculiar interrogative inflection in the middle of statement-sentences, and idiosyncratic (if not unintelligible) word emphases. Honestly, she sounded like a third grader reading aloud (oops, long A-loud). What WAS the producer THINKING? These books certainly deserve more deft handling, and I hope Audible will consider reissuing them with someone who can really read aloud!
Interesting premise; thin characterizations; story doesn't quite fulfill its potential.
I liked the interactions between the main character and the desert people, though it left me wanting to know more details of that culture. Overall, I thought the different strengths/gifts of the different "families" was interesting, but needed to be explored at a deeper level.
The narrator has a great, deep bass voice; I think the voice in my head is usually more of a tenor, but I liked his voice for Lannik Mueller.
I *wanted * to be moved by the final confrontation between Lannik and his "brother" -- but when we got to it, there just wasn't enough emotional depth. It felt too easy and facile -- and too convenient, especially after all the trials/tribulations it had taken to get to that point in the story.
Despite my somewhat negative comments, I enjoyed this book. It's clearly an early work of Card's, and lacks the emotional depth of some of his later books; but it was a fun listen -- and I'll definitely look for more by Stefan Rudnicki.
I generally am very fond of historical fiction. It was clear the author had done her research. She chose to write about the seamy underbelly of Victorian England, and portrayed it very well. But I also prefer books with characters who are sympathetic. They don't have to be perfect (in fact, perfect characters are usually annoying) but there has to be somewhere I can connect, on an emotional level, with the people the story is about. I didn't like any of the characters in Faber's book, so by the (extremely unsatisfying and inconclusive) end, I didn't really care what happened to any of them.
I found the author's use of the present tense in the narrative voice distracting and affected. I also hated the "dear reader" style interjections into the narrative. I could see that the author might have been trying to evoke a Victorian prose style, but again, it just didn't work for me. A straightforward, omniscient narrative voice, in the past tense would have helped -- though with such a dearth of sympathetic characters, even that wouldn't have saved it for me.
I liked none of the characters. The least detestable were Henry and Emmaline Fox, but even they were not sympathetically portrayed. I thought the narrator did a decent job with the material -- at least, her characters were relatively easy to tell apart, and not annoyingly affected (I do hate it when narrators use inappropriate regional accents to differentiate characters -- especially when the people are members of the same family -- and Tanner doesn't do that...)
I did plow through to the end. But that's fairly faint praise. I don't have any desire to seek out the television version, nor to read the next book in the saga (if one is ever written).
I haven't read the print version, but listening made the story very immediate -- and the narrators' voices made the point of view completely clear.
I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't read the book, but there were several points in the story that moved me to tears, or shocked me breathless. The author creates a vivid picture of WW II, and it was particularly neat to get a war story from two women's points of view -- and from women who weren't sitting on the sidelines, either!
The historical detail and the characters were wonderfully realized; the narrator was very good, managing distinct voices for the different people without being distracting, or relying too heavily on different accents.
She also narrated the first book in this series, London in Chains, which was also excellent (both the story and the performance).
I love historical fiction, and Gillian Bradshaw is one of my favorite authors. I wish Audible had performances of all her books!
Lively, fun, satisfying.
As a reader, my sympathies were engaged most by Andi (the main character). She was resourceful, interesting, and empathic. I loved the way she connected with and defended the two kids in the story. In some romance fiction, I feel like taking the two main characters and shaking them until they TALK to one another, but Crusie does an excellent job of making the obstacles to the relationship believable, yet still resolvable. Andi's temperament was beautifully depicted. It seemed very consistent with her character both that her marriage would have gone down in flames, and that a second try (with the same guy) could work.
I loved the way Dawe handled the two kids -- distinct voices that nicely matched their (difficult) personalities, and none of the sugary-squeakiness some narrators use for children.
I usually listen in the car, or when doing chores, so I'm not usually sitting, but I did find myself stacking wood for longer than I intended a couple of times!
I love Crusie's work and I'm glad Audible makes her books available.
I loved the story. McKillip's remarkable characterizations and her elegant use of language work very well to evoke a world. Her deft handling of archetypal characters and fantasy literature tropes neatly avoided predictability, while managing to resonate on many different levels (as the best fantasy should).
I liked the idea of two narrators, but I wanted to hear more from Charlotte Parry -- and maybe less from Marc Vietor. They both turned in satisfactory performances, but for a gem of a book, like this one, I was hoping for something well beyond adequate.
All in all, The Bards of Bone Plain is a good read/listen which I recommend to any fantasy lover.
This wonderful fantasy novel makes for excellent listening. McKillip's use of language and fine characterizations carry the story, and makes the world she invents believable and interesting. Gabrielle de Cuir's nuanced narration is clear without being distracting. Highly recommended.
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