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DarcyB

Melbourne, Australia | Member Since 2011

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jon Stewart
    • Narrated By Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, and others
    Overall
    (1873)
    Performance
    (932)
    Story
    (928)

    Where do we come from? Who created us? Why are we here? These questions have puzzled us since the dawn of time, but when it became apparent to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show that the world was about to end, they embarked on a massive mission to write a book that summed up the human race: What we looked like; what we accomplished; our achievements in society, government, religion, science, and culture - all in a lavishly produced audiobook.

    Lee says: "Good book, not great. But let me explain."
    "As bad a production as America (The Book)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jon Stewart and/or the narrators?

    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.


    What could Jon Stewart have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    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.


    What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

    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.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The performances of the other cast members (unfortunately, it's mostly Jon)


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6158)
    Performance
    (5471)
    Story
    (5469)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Pamela says: "The circus of your dreams"
    "Wonderful novel but wrong casting!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Night Circus?

    Hmm, what to choose? I think I'd choose the moment at the very beginning when the ring is burned into Celia's finger.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jim Dale?

    Rebecca Macauley, Jenny Seedsman or Caroline Lee, but I'm an Australian Producer.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book itself is absolutely wonderful - I highly recommend it to anyone who does not need an audio version.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Audiobook): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jon Stewart, The Writers of The Daily Show
    • Narrated By Jon Stewart
    Overall
    (3627)
    Performance
    (573)
    Story
    (562)

    Jon Stewart, host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show, and his coterie of patriots deliver a hilarious look at American government.

    Connie says: "Runs hot and cold..but when it's hot...it's hot"
    "Dreadful Performance therefor dreadful audiobook"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Audiobook)?

    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.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    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.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Audiobook)?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dominion

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By C. S. Friedman
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    Overall
    (1218)
    Performance
    (1078)
    Story
    (1087)

    Four hundred years after mankind's arrival on Erna, the undead sorcerer Gerald Tarrant travels north in search of a legend. For it is rumored there is a forest where the fae has become so powerful that it devours all who enter it, and he means to test its power.

    DarcyB says: "Warning, vampires within!"
    "Warning, vampires within!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Dominion?

    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!


    Has Dominion turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I was already turned off vampire and werewolf stories - the mythology has been milked dry!


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I enjoyed the timbre of Bray's voice, and what little dialogue there was in the piece was performed well, and without tag lag!


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Dominion?

    I'd suggest she just call a vampire a vampire.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • DisneyWar

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By James B. Stewart
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (608)
    Performance
    (243)
    Story
    (244)

    Once upon a time, one man ruled America's greatest entertainment company. This is the untold story of his triumphs and failures, and of the revolt that cost him his kingdom.

    Christine says: "Utterly fascinating"
    "Too much dramatization, poorly produced"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    Has DisneyWar turned you off from other books in this genre?

    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.


    What aspect of Patrick Lawlor’s performance would you have changed?

    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.)


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    It would only be a MOTW and no.


    Any additional comments?

    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.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3563)
    Performance
    (2168)
    Story
    (2188)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "Utterly engrossing, gripping narration!"
    Overall

    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!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Shinto and Japanese New Religions

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Professor Byron Earhart
    • Narrated By Ben Kingsley
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    The traditional religion known as Shinto was present in Japan from prehistoric times, long before Buddhism and other traditions arrived from the Asian continent. Shrine Shinto, centered around local shrines and seasonal festivals, has greatly influenced Japanese culture. Sect Shinto is characterized by more highly organized institutions, which attract many members; folk Shinto consists of beliefs and practices apart from these institutions, especially in the home.

    Sam says: "Interesting, at first."
    "Kingsley's 'newsreel' tone a touch distracting"
    Overall

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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