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  • Kim

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Madhav Sharma
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Set in the days of the British Raj, Kipling's finest novel is the exciting and touching tale of an Irish orphan-boy who has lived free in the streets of Lahore before setting out, with a Tibetan Lama, on a spiritual quest. Kim later enrols in the Indian Service and simultaneously embarks on an espionage mission of supreme importance.

    Carol says: "Fabulous Narrator"
    "Fantastic narrator!"
    What other book might you compare Kim to and why?

    Kim is incomparable; it stands alone. (An interesting piece of trivia: Kim Philby was named after him.) But one thing that struck me while listening this time (I've read it several times) is that Kipling's strength in his books about India was the ability of a great newspaper reporter. He stands outside the action and records it without personal commentary. I think this is why he sometimes has been labeled racist--because he recorded India exactly as he saw it, and the British of the time were frequently racist, so there are scenes showing blatant disrespect for the "black man."

    Which scene was your favorite?

    There is one scene where an Indian-born Englishman--who is clearly bilingual in English and Urdu (or is it Hindi?)--trades colloquial, good-humored insults with a cranky old grandmother who is in fact the wife of one of the small hill rajahs. She loves a good battle of words, but what really wins her heart is the clearly over-the-top praise of her beauty. "O, pearl of perfection, etc." She laughs, but you can hear the wistfulness when she says, "Once upon a time, maybe, that was true." (These are not exact quotations; my memory is not that good).

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Heavens, no! I think it's 14 hours long. Over 10, anyway. But when I was listening I was immersed in India and the story. And when it was over, I wished that it had been longer.

    Any additional comments?

    Madhav Sharma brings Raj India in all its variety to life. There are almost no women characters (the old grandmother is the notable exception) but he does teenage Kim's voice beautifully, as well as the lama, Mahbub Ali the Afghan horsetrader/spy, and Huri Babu, the self-described "fearful," and certainly fat, Bengali whose feats in espionage actually are more like James Bond's. Well, Mahbub is probably James Bond, since they're both incredibly fond of guns. But "no hurry for Huri" is still my favorite.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Far West

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Patricia C. Wrede
    • Narrated By Amanda Ronconi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Eff is an unlucky 13th child...but also the seventh daughter in her family. Her twin brother, Lan, is a powerful double seventh son. Her life at the edge of the Great Barrier Spell is different from anyone else's that she knows.

    Marcus says: "A Mostly Satisfying Conclusion"
    "Patricia Wrede is always just plain fun!"

    This is the third in the series and wrapped it all up brilliantly. Since each book is short, I listened straight through, and I did get tired of all the recap at the beginning of each new novel, but it does mean you don't have to start with the first. Though I'd highly recommend doing them in order.

    Amanda Ronconi did a good job of narrating. I thought she slightly overdid the accents, however. I got very tired of that folksy, frontier accent and with the Scandinavian accent of the Vinland professor. On the other hand, I thought she did great with Wash's southern drawl.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Toll-Gate

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Daniel Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Captain John Staple’s exploits in the Peninsula had earned him the sobriquet Crazy Jack amongst his fellows in the Dragoon Guards. Now home from Waterloo, life in peacetime is rather dull for the adventure-loving Captain. But when he finds himself lost at an unmanned toll-house in the Pennines, his soldiering days suddenly pale away beside an adventure - and romance - of a lifetime.

    Yvette says: "Great book - reader only OK"
    "Really, really annoying narrator"
    What didn’t you like about Daniel Hill’s performance?

    I thought his presentation was very cartoonish, and disliked the "voices" that he chose for most of his characters. He made the action scenes sound like someone broadcasting a sports event.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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