I have tried to listen to this book 3 times now, and the last two times I get so frustrated with not being able to follow the dialogue that I quit in less than 30 minutes. I gave the story 2 stars but, honestly, I don't know whether it is good or bad. I'm going to borrow the book from the library and read it so I can listen to the other 2 books in the series which are read by Jennifer Van Dyck.
Susan Ericksen is on my list of never listening to ever again. In fact, she is the first one on the list. All of her characters sound the same, the women sound like men, everyone sounds like he has angry all the time, and there's as much nuance to her reading as a reading of names at a high school graduation. Don't get me started on her lack of preparation for reading the **fourth** book in a series after the first 3 were so capably read by JVD. If nothing else, she should have learned how to pronounce names the way a listener of the first 3 books expected them to be pronounced. Maybe she will be a good reader someday, but I will never know.
If you liked the first 3 audio books in the series, my recommendation is to skip this one and read a print copy. Then pick up the audio books for books 5 & 6 which have JVD reading them.
To the publisher: Don't change the narrator for a series - ever. We'll wait for the audio book if there is a scheduling problem. Look at the reviews for Jim Butcher's "Ghost Story" audio, which did not have James Marsters reading it. John Glover isn't bad, but he isn't the guy who has read the 12 books before that one. Someone in management made a dumb decision when he or she decided to replace JVD with S.E., and I personally think you should have JVD read "Kings of the North" and then give it for free to all the people who bought this awful version.
This series continues to be one of my favorites. Kevin Hearne writes good, interesting characters you kind of wish were real, and Luke Daniels does a fine job. He is one of my top 10 readers. If this is the first book you have seen in the series, go get book 1 and start from the beginning. These books are well worth the credits.
This is a filler story which fleshes out some characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it wasn't worth the cost. Luke Daniels does a fine job as the reader, and he is definitely in my top 10 list. It really boils down to the fact that the cost was higher than the enjoyment I got out of it. Others may feel differently.
If you have gotten this far in the Black Company series, you are listening because you are committed to finding out their final fate. In case you came to this book without reading the previous 7 books, this book is in the middle of a very long story line, and even though you can read it as a standalone book, much of the references to prior events won't make sense. As a story, this is not the best nor is it the worst of the series. It is certainly worth a credit. though.
My main problem with this book and its predecessor in the series, Bleak Seasons, is the reader. Jonathan Davis is not the worst reader I have ever heard, and I am not unhappy enough to stop listening. He is, however, uninspiring as a reader. There is very little nuance to his voice, and it is incredibly hard to tell when the main character is thinking to himself or speaking to someone. There is just no aural cue to distinguish between the two. There are some characters where he uses nearly the same accents, so telling who is speaking is only possible by context clues in the dialogue. I would definitely not seek him out as a reader in other books. That said, I haven't been so annoyed that I felt the need to read the paperback copy I have on my bookshelf. So maybe a 5 out of 10.
I read the book on which this radio play is based about 15 years ago, and so I wasn't really critiquing all the short cuts they did. Still, the scene transitions are abrupt and unexpected, and the plot is better suited to a show on Nickelodeon. For example, in the first scene, Perry says he hopes the guy he's been talking about comes to see him soon. Then 2 seconds of silence later, that guy knocks on the door. It took me awhile to figure out some time had passed, and silence was the scene transition. There's lots of jarring transitions between scenes where one set of characters is talking and then a couple seconds later a completely different set is talking.
If the acting were good, maybe I could make allowances, but it's not. While the dialogue is similar to what Gardner wrote back in the 30's and 40's (It's nothing like the Perry Mason TV series with Raymond Burr.), it is delivered like bullets fired out of a machine gun. No pacing, no nuance, in short, no acting - just delivery of their lines. Coupled with the confusing production cues,this is a total failure to bring Perry Mason to audio.
My one complaint about this audio book is that the narrator is all over the map in his pronunciations and accents. Where he was very consistent in the first three books, he pronounces names multiple ways, sometimes even in the same paragraph. His voices are pretty limited too, and he'll switch accents for the same character between chapters. It's pretty obvious that he didn't do his homework and review his previous 3 recordings before he started this one. I fault the editor and director/producer too. He/she should have caught the inconsistencies and corrected them early in the production.
The story takes awhile to get into. The narrator seems to be plodding through it too. There isn't the same depth or color you get from the first three audio books. Still, nothing is bad enough that I won't finish it and listen to the 5th one.
The book itself is a continuation of a larger plot line,so it doesn't stand alone. It is a good story, although it is a bit one dimensional in that the characters are running from death the entire book. What makes the book enjoyable is the fact that the characters besides Atticus are becoming 3 dimensional. As part of the whole, it is a satisfying read. If you like the Iron Druid series - which you must if you're reading book 6 - this one is worth a credit.
Also, I have to give praise to Luke Daniels. This is definitely *not* an easy book to narrate. There are lots of characters, lots of nationalities, lots of personalities, and lots of interplay between them. Daniels does a superlative job keeping all of them straight and making easy to know who is saying what, even when there are complicated conversations between multiple characters. He has gone to the top of my list of preferred readers, alongside Nathaniel Parker (Artemis Fowl series) and James Marsters (The Dresden Files) as a result of this book. I am now looking at other series just because he is the reader.
After 2 decades and 14 books, the Wheel of Time series reaches a conclusion. It's a satisfying conclusion too. There are characters who I was sad to see die, and some that made me cackle in evil glee when they got their just reward. All of the Forsaken have their stories concluded in appropriate ways, and the yin-yang of Life returns to a balance after so long being out of balance. And for closet sentimentalists like me, there were some happy endings in the wake of the Last Battle.
Brandon Sanderson did a fine job concluding the series for Robert Jordan. If perhaps more of Sanderson's style than Jordan's can be seen in A Memory of Light, I think it worked well. The chapter "The Last Battle" was an inspired piece of story telling. I have never seen any author take such a complicated set of scenes, locations, characters, and plots and weave them into a cohesive whole. He was working with all the aspects of the One Power at once.
This book makes me want to start the whole series over again.
This is not one of E. E. "Doc" Smith's best works, but if you have read the 3 previous books, it you will probably want to read this one to complete the story. My one main gripe is that after awhile "incalculable" becomes cliche'd, and running back and forth all over the entire known universe in short periods of time becomes hard for even a diehard sci-fi fan to suspend disbelief.
Reed McColm does a good job in this performance. He provides a lot of energy to the reading, and I kind of found myself eager to get back to the car to pick up the story because he reawakens the wide-eyed wonder of my childhood reading these old stories from the early days of pulp science fiction. It is obvious that he enjoys these stories himself, and that redeems this audio book to the point where I am sure I will listen to it again in a few years.
Overall, as an audio book performance, this book is an enjoyable listen. Just don't expect great depth of character or ideas that make you stop and think. It is worth a credit, though.
I am just now reading Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mysteries after close to 3 decades of my wife recommending them to me. With the discount, they are under $10, and after listening to "The Mysterious Affair at Styles", I was hooked. The stories are well written with no "secret doors" to foil the listener's attempt to solve the mystery before the detective does. "Murder on the Orient Express" is a classic, but Christie's books are still in print as much as 70 years after they were first published for good reason.
David Suchet is a marvelous reader! His accents don't sound contrived, his voice is excellent to listen to for hours, and in this particular book where there are multiple characters speaking in a conversation, he excels at providing each character with his or her own personality. He ranks in the top 10 readers out of the 150+ audio books I currently have in my library, and it was his performance that convinced me to buy more Agatha Christie audio books.
This book has laugh out loud jokes, subtle pokes at various people that you'll miss if you aren't paying attention, and rich characters that make you want to look at the Flagstaff phone book to see if they're real. It was a very entertaining way to spend my time.
Luke Daniels has risen in my list of preferred readers. He did an outstanding job in this book.
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