I know it's been 25 years since this book was published, and being an unapologetic Stephen King fan, I'm ashamed to admit I've never successfully tackled the book until now. I wish I hadn't waited so long. This is truly one of his most "complete" books. For such a thick tome, it unspools with frightening rapidity. I found myself listening not only in my car, but between the ramp where I park and the door of my office. The characters are unforgettable and fully-fleshed. I have only two (very) minor observations:
The 11 and 12 year old children depicted in the novel seem too well-spoken and unusually mature for children of that age. Perhaps I was stunted and thick as a child, but I never spoke like the kids in this book do.
The narrator very precisely and completely reproduces all the nuances of "Stuttering Bill's" dialogue. After a few hours, I found this slightly irritating. It's the sort of thing you'd blast through when actually reading the novel, but you're forced to listen to every syllable in the audibook.
But these are VERY minor quibbles and should not detract anyone from this immensely enjoyable and satisfying book.
The crowning achievement of this audiobook is the narration. Steven Weber is simply phenomonal. I don't think I can point to another reader who does such an admirable job of conveying humor, gravitas, urgency, and outright fear as well as Mr. Weber. I've enjoyed his career as an actor and his narration of this lengthy tome only serves to grow my admiration for him.
If you're a King fan and an audiobook fan, this title is a "Must-Have."
I'd say it's in somewhere in the middle. I always enjoy Stephen King's stuff, even his less-inspired projects.
Bronson's rendition of various character's voices was the weakest link. Some characters had no intonation or accent to differentiate them from others...they were simply Bronson's normal narration voice. Others, particularly Flagg, I found downright annoying. He really went over-the-top with Flagg's "lisp" and gave him an annoyingly slow diction - at times dragging syllables out to a ludicrous degree. He also added awkwardly long pauses (which, in his defense, may have been in the book).I also felt that Bronson brought no joy to the performance. The entire reading (with the exception of the over-the-top theatrics of Flagg's character) sounded like he was bored and maybe just needed a paycheck.There are lots of Stephen King books with fantastic narrators - the great and greatly missed Frank Muller among them - but for my money, one of the very best is "It" narrated by Steven Weber. Weber hits it out of the park.. Pinchot gives us something more akin to a base hit. All that said, it is a serviceable performance and, if you're a King fan or even remotely interested in the story, you're unlike to put it down simply because of Pinchot's performance.
I've read or listened to nearly everything King has published. I am, unapologetically, one of his biggest fans. The man speaks to me. I found this book to be unusual in his pantheon. The plotting is good and the story is interesting. It kept me intrigued to the end but something about it just doesn't sound like "King-like" about it. Perhaps because this story is set in a fantasy universe with no ties to the modern world (as the Dark Tower series has) where his many amazing turns of phrase and metaphors would be out of place.It also has very little in the way of horror, terror, or even gross-out gore which we've all come to expect from Mr. King. It's written in a way that makes me think it was originally intended for children but then King just strayed from that path or it got to be too long.In my mind, this title just stands a little separate from most of his other fiction.
Christopher Moore might be my new favorite author. His skewed sense of humor had my wife and I in stitches for the entire length of the audiobook. If you laugh at things others cringe or gasp at, this book will be one of your faves. Highly recommended by a highly disturbed couple.
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