I have listened with joy to every Aubrey/Maturin novel thus far and all read by Patrick Tull. The man continues his phenomenal performance in this 13th audio novel. I had the misfortune of listening to book four in the series read by an another narrator and it lost all the love I had for the characters and the series. So, then I found the book read by Mr. Tull and stuck with his narration ever since. Patrick Tull masterfully portrays each character and keeps them individual throughout the series. His Aubrey and Maturin are ideal to the image in my mind. Tull's Jack Aubrey makes Russell Crowe a pale shadow of the character.
Why is Paul Boehmer getting work narrating fantasy? I suffered through his inept performance of Brent Weeks' Way of Shadows Trilogy. I purchased the Dragonlance Chronicles out of love for the story and in hopes that Boehmer had gotten better. No such luck. Boehmer gives us a lesson in diction and pronunciation rather than a dramatic performance. His voice characterizations are weak and often don't fit the character as described in the text. Many are so similar as to confuse the listener about which character is speaking. His pacing is awkward and does not match the action or pace the story demands (i.e. scenes of relaxed conversation are performed with the same level of emotion as scenes of combat and suspense). He punches every word in a sentence as if he went to the William Shatner School for the Dramatic Arts. Arrgh! I love these books but cringe every other minute as I listen to Boehmer's precise recitation of each consonant in every word! I long for a performance of the Chronicles by Steven Pacey or Roy Dotrice, even the original reading by Peter MacNichol was better.
Brent Weeks has created an enjoyable, engaging story in his Night Angel Trilogy. However, and this is the crux of my review, Paul Boehmer's narration is terribly weak. Boehmer is unable to perform voice characterization. Conversations become convoluted due to his inability to give the listener distinct characters with distinct voices and emotions. Two of the main characters, Kylar and Logan, have almost distinguishable differences. He reads novels as if they were textbooks, providing no emotional flow to the narrative. Boehmer habitually emphasizes proper names by reading them louder then the surrounding text and by giving a pause after each. He reads each sentence as a separate entity, not part of a flowing story. His performance is focused on proper diction instead of giving the listener an engaging performance of an exciting story. He seems to think talking louder conveys intense emotion. That does not work when the performance itself lacks any form of emotional commitment. This is the fourth book I have tried read by Boehmer. Unfortunately, he seems to be the reader on many books that interest me (i.e. the Night Angel Trilogy, Solomon Kane, and The Heroes by Abercrombie). Weeks' books would benefit from being redone by artists like Steven Pacey, Todd McLaren, or Roy Dotrice or the creme de la creme, Patrick Tull (sigh).
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