While some of the stories in this anthology are extremely well written, others are not. Sadly, the first story is just such one firmly in the not category. An obvious poorly executed retelling of Dracula (poorly handled with a slight Indian twist), the story sours the listener right as the book begins. Other stories, such as the one by E.H. Heron, go a long way to make up for the few poor ones. To be fair, i purchased this book while it was on sale, and for the small amount of money I spent (it wasn't worth wasting a credit on due to the slight cost), I got what I paid for, so to speak. If it again is on sale, Vampire fans may wish to pick it up to see how early twentieth century writers dealt with the rise in popularity of Vampires after Dracula. However, if you want a really good Vampire story, once that is vastly superior to Dracula (and preceded it) get J.Sheridan La Fanu's excellent Carmilla.
I have read all of the Dresden Files books, and love them so much I wanted to get a copy I can bring with me to listen to anytime. James Marsters truly brings the world of Harry Dresden alive in his readings of Jim Butcher's works. His voice is now the one I associate with all the characters. Great job on this one and all the ones he reads. I am hoping that he will get a chance to read Ghost Story, as I will not get the audio version of the book without him as the voice actor.
Tim Curry shines as the narrator of this beloved short story, doing the justice Dickens' tale deserves. His voice acting skills have always been top notch, and here they shine. Unlike abridged versions of this classic tale, he preforms the entire book, giving the story its depth sorely lacking in many other audio book, and most movie/TV adaptations. The Alastair Sim move version comes closest to the story, and remains a favorite of mine year in-year out, but Tim Curry's narration has taken its place as the best "performance" of this story ever. Bravo Mr Curry!
I will be honest up front, I really only got this book because I saw it had a Dresden Files short story in it by Jim Butcher. I won't spoil things, but fans will find it a very interesting story, and one they might not (I certainly didn't) expect. I found his wife's story to also be very good, and P. N. Elrod always writes excellent stories. I didn't listen too carefully to most of the other stories, and I will likely go back and do so, but as I picked this up in anticipation of Jim Butcher's fourteenth Dresden Files novel, Cold Days, his was really the only story I was interested in listening to at the time of purchase. Sharron K Butcher's story was a very different type of story, but a pleasant surprise. I hope we will see more of this from her. Thus the above ratings is only for the stories I listened to, and not an overall rating. Id rate the Jim Butcher story five stars, with a solid four and a half stars for the narrator. He does an excellent job, but James Marsters has ruined other narrators telling of Jim Butcher Dresden Files books/stories as he is so damn good at it.
This has been my all-time favorite Yuletide book/story for many, many years (A Christmas Carol comes in second). The story is brilliant (and this is from someone who dislikes the Oz books L. Frank Baum wrote), but the narrator lacks the depth to do this justice. She is OK, but she tends to sound too much like a grandmother telling the story to her grandchildren far too often to make the book truly come alive, especially when trying to voice the male characters (then it sounds just awful). This book should be narrated by a male and female, both with rich voices and a good talent for voice acting.
Of special note for me, as I come from a family (my mother's father's side) who never gave up, fully, the Celtic "Christian" religion, having parts of both the Pagan Irish Traditions and the Roman Catholic ones, and chose at age 16 to go fully Pagan, is the fact that this story works equally well for both Christian and Pagan readers (or in this case listeners).
Anyone looking for a good story about "Santa Claus" for both themselves and their children will find this book wonderful. A new version, though, with a male narrator and female narrator for the numerous female characters, would make this a five-star book across the board, but I can only give it four-stars as Ms. Killavey simply isn't up to the task this story requires. She's not a bad narrator, just not the one for this book, and a strong male narrator to do the male voices is sorely needed. However, the story by itself is five-star all the way!
The fourteenth book in the Dresden Files series lacks only one thing to make it a six-star worthy book, and that is the sequel ready to go! James Marsters once again is at his best in the reading of this masterpiece of modern alternative/supernatural mystery. His ability to do the voice acting is spot on, as is his clear, crisp diction couples with the right inflection. It is obvious to anyone listening that Mr Marsters has, unlike so many other narrators for Audible book, not only read the book ahead of time, but is a fan as well. Jim Butcher has been my favorite modern (1980-present) author for some time, and his Dresden Files novels continue to be fantastic for their gritty realism of the characters, his continued adherence to the "laws of magic" he has set down, and for the fast pace at which the action happens. I have now read the book once and listened through twice, and it is still a book worth reading and listening to again. A true delight for any fan.
Max brooks is truly gifted at story telling and also is a fine voice actor as well. He has put together a fantastic, and realistic story of a "what if" scenario of the popular "Zombie Apocalypse" that has been part of our culture since Romero's groundbreaking "Night of the Living Dead". Better still is the cast of voice actors whom he has been able to assemble to voice the characters. their skills, both individually and collectively, along with a rich story, combine to make this one of the finest audio-books i have ever listened too.
I only wish it had been unabridged, but word is that there may yet be a "Director's Cut" version.
First off, I am a huge fan of the Weird Tales and Horror genres that started in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century, and Ambrose Bierce's stories are some of the best in both categories. However, I found that while an able reader, Flo Gibson wasn't up to the task of evoking the stories ambiance(s). She has a good voice, and likely would do well with other books, just not in stories such as these, or in the two above mentioned genres, especially since so many are written in the first person, and the teller of the tale is male. However, that aside, I loved this audio book version of some of my favorite tales. As a predecessor of such greats as Howard and the giant himself, Lovecraft, Bierce is fantastic at both storytelling and at invoking both horror and the Weird feelings that the former two would become so well known for doing in their tales. Anyone who loves the Weird Tales from the 1920's - 1930's (and that continue still, such as by Stross) should get this book.
My one great disappointment with this book, though, is that one of Bierce's finest (possibly the finest) "Weird Tale" was left out - his "That Damned Thing". Off-hand I don't recall which one, bit one of the nine Doug Bradley's (yes, Pinhead) "Spine Chillers" anthologies has the story. I highly recommend both the series, and the volume that contains this story.
All in all, a good solid book of Bierce's horror work. He has many more stories in this genre, but those selected are some of his best. Perhaps one day Audible.com will come out with a comprehensive anthology of all his Horror stories, and should they, I will be the first to buy it.
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