Full of interesting information, this audio book makes for a good introduction to Japanese religions and spirituality. I was looking forward to hearing Kingsley narrate but, for some reason, he adopts a tone right out of a British war-time newsreel which, while amusing, highlights when the script occasionally oversimplifies topics (carefully explaining them in "Western" terms,) and the piece slips into the patronizing. Nevertheless, the information is clearly presented, aided by voices other than just "newsreel Ben" for quotes from other scholars etc...
A small warning for those who are not used to listening to Japanese speaking with a heavy "Katakana English" accent - a few of the Japanese readers might be a little difficult to understand.
I usually enjoy Jim Dale's performances, he is an excellent, experienced narrator but he was the wrong choice for this book. I'm not sure why, but either Dale or the producer chose to have the entire book narrated in the same ominous, urgent tone - no matter the mood of the scene. Such a treatment would have been appropriate to Poe, or some melodramatic horror, but not this work of delicate whimsy. Perhaps it was particularly agregious to my ear because I bought the audio book having read a third of it in print, and then become too ill to complete it in that format, so I had a "pure" exposure to the prose already, but I could not let the reading ruin this wonderful book, and so stopped after a few chapters to return to the print version. Frankly, I was surprised any man had been cast to read it, it is such a feminine work. I certainly would have cast a woman.
Hmm, what to choose? I think I'd choose the moment at the very beginning when the ring is burned into Celia's finger.
Rebecca Macauley, Jenny Seedsman or Caroline Lee, but I'm an Australian Producer.
The book itself is absolutely wonderful - I highly recommend it to anyone who does not need an audio version.
Probably, I love Jon and the Daily Show, but someone needs to teach him how to sparkle on audio as much as he does when he can be seen - the rest of the cast wasn't bad at all.
Had a better director, there is no reason a performer like Jon should sound bored with his own words. I know what he was going for and it failed.
The performance came across as dismissive, bored with his own work. Also, I don't know WHAT the director/editor was thinking with those chapter headings, they pulled the whole mood into slightly patronizing academia every time.
The performances of the other cast members (unfortunately, it's mostly Jon)
Not even the text could redeem this one - the performance needed to redeem the text (and could have with a good audio book director. The letter to the aliens after the big Oops! was a potentially good concept but the information was elementary school level, while the language was for adults. I'll be returning this one, too.
That this book is credited with audio awards is proof that those awards are decided on the text and the celebrity of the reader, not the audio elements. I don't know who directed this, but they somehow managed to get one of the most energetic, passionate comedians to sound about as bored with his own work. There are one or two points when Jon goes into full performance, otherwise his performance is clearly going for deadpan, but deadpan doesn't work on audio, and the director should have convinced Jon of that. It was probably interesting, even amusing to watch Jon record it, and I'm sure it was giddy to have him in the studio, but that doesn't just magically translate to audio.
Flat, deadpan performance which did not, and does not ever work on audio. Unless Jon is a diva who refused to take direction, or had no director at all (self-direction is merely self-delusion in audio) then this is the director's fault, not Jon's.
The whole thing is the problem. If I'd been directing I'd have talked Jon out of the deadpan delivery - even if it was written that way, it shouldn't have been delivered to audio that way.
A great shame to make the audio book so much less than the printed version, when such performance talent was available. I mean, almost every author with no performance experience wants to read their own book, and most need to be talked out of it (delicately!) I know and love Jon's performance style enough to make reading the print book much more fun, if "Earth" sounds this flat in in the first few minutes, I'll get the print book so as not to be equally disappointed.
I'd not heard of the author or her series, so I thought this would be a good way to see if I might want to read them. Unfortunately, instead of the story about the 'fae' (a gaelic mythological world) that the blurb seemed to promise, I got a story about vampires and their universe simply titled 'fae'.
I did enjoy the narrator's timbre and performance - this particular piece was lacking in dialogue or audio variety and so might be soporific to some, but I don't think it was the fault of the narrator. The little opportunity the narrator had to "show his stuff" made me want to look for more books narrated by him - I hope he doesn't only do vampires!
I was already turned off vampire and werewolf stories - the mythology has been milked dry!
I enjoyed the timbre of Bray's voice, and what little dialogue there was in the piece was performed well, and without tag lag!
I'd suggest she just call a vampire a vampire.
No. The author dramatizes too much to which he could not have been privy and states his conclusions without attributing his sources, or justifying his opinions with unbiased information - this is not non-fiction, it's a fictionalization.
Only in as much as I will be avoiding this narrator and he does seem to be cast for quite a bit of non-fiction.
I found his accent and timbre a little too strident to be comfortable to listen to for long, but that's possibly subject. What isn't subjective is Lawlor's raging case of 'tag lag' - when a narrator allows the emotion of dialogue to continue into the tag so, " "Oh no!" she said." becomes " "Oh no," she said!" It's not a problem on occasion (though a good director aims not to let any slip through) but it's constant in this book (and probably made worse when the listener is already annoyed by the dramatization anyway.)
It would only be a MOTW and no.
I hate to say this (as someone who directed audio books for many years) but I think this book probably suffered for being made into audio :( I might have to get a print copy out of the library to see if it works better on the page than in audio - perhaps Stewart used footnotes to attribute/explain the liberties he took with dramatizations (though it should be in the main text.)
Utterly engrossing, and filled with information we should all know to combat all of the disinformation about Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Empire which still passes for common knowledge. I honestly believe that this book should be a standard text for all high school students, everywhere (at least, in my world where history is required to the end of high school, since it probably requires a 10th or 11th grade reading level.)
My edition was the audiobook and I must say that Davis was truly wonderful (and that’s a professional opinion!) His pacing was perfect and never once, during the 14 odd hours, did he sound as though he was anything but fascinated, which is essential for the listeners’ comprehension. There was the occasional strange edit or technical hiccough but only one or two that a layman would have noticed. All in all a wonderful production so kudos to author, narrator and producer/director!
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