Sadly, the narrator gives everyone who talks a brooklyn accent. His nearly monotonous tone of voice also makes it difficult to follow rapid verbal exchanges between different characters in the book.
Awesome book, subpar narrator.
(from my Goodreads review)
The story and narrative style is crisp and wastes little space. The scope of the story is breathtakingly immense. Ten thousand years since the man-machine wars-- and those are only hinted at by reference to the Butlerian Jihad. Act I is the Atreides taking possession of Arakis. Act II is the fall of House Atreides and the rise of the lisan al gaib, Paul Mua'dib. Act III is the culmination of the legend wherein the lisan al gaib takes possession of the position of the imperial emperor, the landsraad, Dune and the future of humanity. (Although that is another story.)
A huge cast of narrators retells this story lovingly. There's little more that I can say about this story than what I said about the paperback version (above)-- I do wish to note that the primary narrator is sometimes tasked with reading lines from characters who have been previously narrated by other narrators (e.g., sometimes there is a different narrator for the Baron Harkonnen-- and sometimes the primary narrator reads the Baron's lines.) I am pretty sure that Paul, Jessica, Chani, Stilgar and Gurney are all voiced by the same narrator throughout the audiobook.
Despite the oddity of inconsistant narrator selection for a single character, the primary narrator is skilled enough at narration that it is easy to tell the difference between his general narrative voice and the various characters he narrates for.
I highly recommend both the paperback and this most recent audiobook from McMillan audio, released in 2007.
Believe it or not, this is my first read of the "immortal classic, A Christmas Carol." I've seen 5-6 variations of the Charles Dickens classic starring various personages, including versions with the redoubtable Patrick Stewart and George C Scott-- not in the same version, of course. I've even seen a reimagining of this classic tale (Scrooged with Bill Murray, or some of the Walt Disney versions with Mickey and Scrooge MacDuck).
Truthfully, I was blown away by the clever yet pithy narrative style invoked by Dickens. And Tim Curry, as narrator (I got this as an Audible audio-book) is truly fantastic. This will definitely become part of my annual Christmas celebration.
Was this rape porn, and plot just filler? Or was this a serious attempt by the author to consider real consequences and reactions to the traumatic transformation from human to Vampire?
The protagonist is raped, beaten and nearly killed. And she's struggling to balance her human boyfriend with the new sexy, vampiric doctor who want to mentor her (and bed her). Wait, what? Wouldn't you think she'd hate to be touched, at all, after such a traumatic experience? Apparently, according to Stein, being raped, beaten and nearly killed doesn't create trauma (or at least, not just trauma)-- it creates arousal.
Considering the protagonist's reaction to being brutually transformed into a Vampire, it should be easy to understand why I walk away thinking the story is a rape fetish wet dream. Had the story been authored by a man (and to be honest, I wonder if it was... and the author just used a woman's pen name) the feminists would be up in arms about the author making rape sexy.
The narrator does an excellent job of narrating, has believably different voices for the various characters, and imparts drama to this otherwise flaccid story. Pearlman is definitely on my "would listen to again" list. Stein is not.
Butcher provides a transitional story for Harry Dresden, the series protagonist. Ghost Story continues the enjoyable but formulaic three-act structure. You have the over all story goal, Dresden must discover who killed him in Changes (the previous novel). Each act focuses on a theme: ghosts, physical, ghosts and physical.
I'm frustrated by the need to retcon Changes to make the plot work in Ghost Story. In fairness, the omission of a scene in Changes was necessary for dramatic tension, but it's not a story telling technique that I like. (i.e., going back and changing the readers understanding of the chain of events) But, it works for Ghost Story. I don't like it, but it's necessary.
John Glover is an excellent reader. Glover does have a rougher, older voice, and his enunciation is strange after so many books with Marsters. Still, like the reviewer who said that it took them several books to stop hearing Spike and start hearing Harry, I think this is largely an issue of narrator and listener comfort. Glover has more experience with narration than Marsters did when he first started the series, and it shows in the narration of Ghost Story. I have no doubt that John Glover would do an excellent job with the series, if he were to take over, but I miss James Marsters! Like most other reviewers, I would have preferred a delay to the audio book rather than a change in narrators.
A note for the audiobook producers (and Audible)-- if you have a series, and you change the narrator, I'm likely going to stop buying the series in audiobook format.
The story conclusion was immediately obvious. I knew how it would end before I'd finished Chapter 3. Of course, I also knew before reading the book that there's supposed to be like 20 books in the series. It'd be pretty difficult, I think, to do the remaining books with Harry as a ghost... ergo, conclusion = obvious.
The most memorable part of the book for me really has to be the Act 2 interaction between Molly and Harry, during and after the Leanansidhe's training session with Molly. The diner scene, after Molly's training is especially effective for its mundane setting.
This story provides the transition between Harry-as-he-was and the Harry-as-he-will-be. I couldn't put my finger on it until the second re-read. It felt transitional, but I didn't know why. After the second time through the story, I realized the inability to interact with the physical forces Harry to become more introspective, and to think before he acts (which isn't a strong suit for him). This is a transition for him, setting up a much needed change in his personality for the next story in the series: Cold Days.
One of my top three favorite stories in the Dresden series, but sadly lacking in the production department. James Marsters' inability to read in much more than monotone and the production company's tendancy to ignore mispronunciations and grammer mistakes detracts from the audio series. I debate whether I will continue to purchase the rest of the series in audio, although I strongly encourage everyone to pick up the print version of these stories. Jim Butcher's writing is delightful.
Sadly, while I love this book, the reader leaves much to be desired. To me at least, there is little if any difference in voices between different characters, even those with male and female voices, making the narrative and conversation run together. The lesson learned: Don't just buy an audio book because you like the book, listen to the free previews first.
This is the first audio book that I have purchased where I have no first purchased the printed copy first.
While I find the narrator annoying (he seems to have a limited range of voices for the characters, and all the dwarfs, wier cats, dragons and shades sound alike) the story is strong and the author uses internal dialog for the protagonist which lends a greater sense of depth and realism than I normally expect from a kids book.
All together an enjoyable listen despite it's flaws and I look forward to the continuation of the story.
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