I got into Audible for this exact book. I was reading it one day and wondered how the song went, and wondered if an audiobook narrator would tell me. Tony Robinson did not disappoint. I first met him as Baldrick in Blackadder, and he has outshone himself. He has given each character a life of his/her own, instead of just sounding like a man doing women's voices, etc. Kudos. He got me hooked (:
The Curse of Chalion is one of two of Bujold's books that I truly love, the other being its sequel Paladin of Souls.
Lloyd James has Murdered it. When 'Teidez' is pronounced "tee-DEHZ' and 'Lupe' 'LOOP-ay', I can write it off as creative license, despite the shudder going down my spine. But when 'Betriz' is pronounced 'bee-TREHZ', alarm bells start ringing at deafening tones. The characters' accents are cliche, and sadly, adhering to the wrong stereotypes for the respective characters. There are random halts in the middle of sentences, and he insists on pronouncing 'wh-'s as 'hwh-'s, e.g. 'wheezing' as 'HUH-wheezing'. PLUS you can hear him swallowing his spit and drawing breath between chapters and sentences.
To sum up - EURGH.
Wheaton outdid himself with this one. With such a varied cast of characters, he nevertheless manages to give each one a distinct voice that fits. Little Bo Peep and young Peter Piper made an adorable pair, and older Bo and Peter showed us the bitter sadness that had crept into their lives. It's not easy to do this, as other narrators might show you, but they achieved it here. I do not own the book, and I did not know the story prior, and that he kept me listening was a vast achievement indeed as I have been known to zone out even in the middle of books I'd loved when reading.
After three Pratchetts read by Robinson, I took a break and explored other authors, other narrators. Some were brilliant and others not quite so. But coming back with Men at Arms - and picking one to revisit was difficult, trust me - was like coming home to a familiar world with its many and sundry characters. What I love about him is that of the three City Watch novels I've listened to, all the relevant characters have remained consistent - something I've discovered which a lot of other narrators have trouble with, even within the same book.
This was an experiment for me. Prior to this, I'd already read the print version of every book I'd downloaded, and to the point that when listening to an abridged version, I'd know precisely where the editor had cut and pasted. This was the first bok I hadn't yet read, and I have to say, it did not change the level of enjoyment one bit. Tony Robinson was brilliant here, as always.
It is Pratchett writing about the City Watch, read by Tony Robinson. It can do no wrong except...
I downloaded my previous Pratchett City Watch Novel - in fact, got into the whole audiobook thing - because I wanted to know how a song sung by the characters went. Here I was curious how they'd read 'Where's My Cow?', and not just in that first scene. I wanted to know how they'd read 'Where's My Daddy?' and I wanted to know how Detritus would do the hippo, and Cheery and all the others would do the other animals. To my horror, it was All Cut Out. So while it was still immensely enjoyable, and an absolute laugh, I would suggest that prospective buyers consider the unabridged version, even though it is impossible that it might be in any way superior to this one as it is not read by Baldrick.
I liked the stories; I have the hard copy. But as it says in the title, it wasn't made to be, well, audible. I suspect this applies to all erotica.
I cannot fault Janet Evanovich. I have been a fan since I picked Seven Up off a library bookshelf because it had a pretty cover seven years ago, and I wager I always will be. If I were rating the print book, I'd have given it five. However, Lorelei King just killed it for me. I could tolerate her interpretation of Stephanie because hey, allow the woman some creative license, no? Grandma Mazur and Lula made me cringe but I sucked it up. But what killed it completely, and put me off female narrators for the longest time, was her trying to do Joe and Ranger. BLEURGH. I'm currently listening to another of Evanovich's works - Full Scoop - also narrated by King, and though less cringe-worthy, I still bite my lip everytime Max or Zach have something to say.
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