United States | Member Since 2012
I didn't think I could enjoy reading Gulliver's Travels more than I did until I heard this narration! If you are planning to read this novel, DEFINITELY download this one--the narration is crisp and pure, the character is well-developed, and the pronunciation is fantastic. I loved the fourth journey most if not for the story for David Pierce's awesome use of the foreign language.
I cringed when I heard the opening line of the novel and feared I was in for a generic steamroller. The first chapter did not make the uneasiness fade. However, once you're past the introduction and the story is rolling, Austenland becomes surprisingly well-plotted and incredibly engaging. Light-hearted for the most part, but heavier in moments of self-reflection and epiphany, Shannon Hale really does weave the protagonist through veils of fantasy and reality both artfully and intelligibly as she becomes more perceptive of the possible double-nature of each character.
The characters are well-constructed and I was (to my own surprise) shocked as personas began to unravel. I am certainly looking forward to the film adaptation.
And of course, a better narrator could not be found. Katherine Kellgren's talents with multi-character/multi-dialect voice acting, as well as inflection and general style is unmatched as far as I am aware.
... As an afterthought, an honest gripe that I did encounter though was that between each chapter is inserted a rundown of the succession of Jane's previous failed relationships, some of which are laughable, and some of which are not. I ended up rolling my eyes at a few of them, particularly the hyper-generic-can't-be-left-out "Boyfriend #7," which I thought showed a disrespectful and flimsy attestation of character for either the protagonist or the author. But, ignoring that, I thought the novel was altogether delightful.
I don't believe there could have been a better narrator selected for this work. Katherine Kellgren's genius sparkles as her inflections slip from one scene to another in rhythm with Seth Grahame-Smith clever blending of the 'proper' to the horrific.
I was discouraged to read this by my peers who thought it trashed Austen's original by riding its coattails, but I was immediately surprised and exhilarated to read through the first few chapters with a wide grin on my face. Grahame-Smith very ingeniously inserts and reworks the original tale with the same dry and brilliant humor that Austen herself had at her command. The characters are almost completely unspoiled, despite the drastic additions to their history and person, and the artistic changes to a couple of the side-characters (namely Charlotte and Wickham) fit into the tale with a whimsical charm.
This is altogether my favorite novel to listen to, and I have already read it at least a half dozen times in between others. If you are a fan of Austen scared to turn into this avenue, be assured that it is a faithful representation of the story and characters.
If by chance you have issues with Austen being juxtaposed upon, please forward to the final chapter (which includes an afterword by Dr. Allen Grove on the subject). I think the phenomenon is very well detailed thus.
Quiet is something that I feel every suspected and closet-Introvert needs to read. Much like others who have read this, I have always felt that I /have/ to be outgoing and obnoxious to get any respect, and I would feel apologetic when I acted with modest solemnity. Now and in part thanks to this reading, I am quite fond of my introversion and rather than apologize in public for my observation and modesty, I can smile and easily explain my inaction in a good-natured light.
The reading is very smooth and offers an insightful, very correct narration. Kathe Mazur is a marvelous spokeswoman for the introverted mind; her docile and subdued, but precise and powerful voice match very well with the tone of the writing itself. Quite worth the cost(or credit)!
As with every other review, I have to praise the narrator. Katherine Kellgren is as always a superb narrator with her characteristic knack for accents and complicated voicing. I don't think that any British-styled literature can be found lacking with her talents.
This novel is as you may expect a reworking of the Jane Austen original with, well, Sea Monsters! Warning: If you are coming this way because you read Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, take note that this is a bit different in style. Whereas 'and Zombies' was a faithful 'restyling' very close to the original tale, Ben Winters has taken some very broad liberties and turned the world upside down with the Sea Monster crisis and there are times when the story seems to go on a far tangent in the quirk--this may be good news for some readers, but I personally did not like the immodest additions as much.
But all-in-all, the story itself is entertaining and worth its cost.
This is a great reading of Jane Eyre. For my first few minutes I was a little doubtful with the strong, unique accent that Lucy Scott gives to Jane, but as the story continued it really grew on me and gave Jane a distinct flavor that I enjoyed overall. The voices for each character are also distinct and well-managed; I particularly loved hearing Mr. Rochester's dry wit so expertly voiced.
As for the story itself, well, it's a classic! I'm always surprised at just how strong Bronte's statements 'behind the lines' hit me. Between Jane's ideals, St. John's 'affectionate' oppression, and Rochester's lavishing fancy, I always have a lot to think about after I put the book down.
The actual reading of the theatrical work is superb and engrossing. Hamlet and the rest of the character cast as marvelously voiced and acted with such an energy and clarity of voice that you can't help but imagine the scenes in a vivid detail.
The guide portion, cleverly and discreetly inserted behind every passage that benefits from clarification, does not detract from the performance itself. The guide actually adds quite a lot to the performance, as she rallies you and inflects her own (merited) feelings as the play continues.
Overall, this is a great read for a novice Hamleteer as well as a seasoned veteran of the work--if you become bored with the SmartPass clarifications, you can simply switch over to the uninterrupted reading which is downloaded as a second file. Excellent!
Grover Gardner reads this autobiography splendidly as the voice of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin's dry wit and brazen sarcasm is captured with a charm that you can't help but grin at as you are listening. As for the biography itself, Franklin turns out to be a surprisingly interesting and innovative (as well as hilarious) spokesperson about his life and history. A fantastic read.
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