I am a big fan of Humphrey Bower and have downloaded and listened to books I would not normally consider due to Humphrey being the narrator.
However I think I must have heard to many because Humphrey does not have the range of voices and accents to differentiate characters across books, especially in the Bryce Courtenay books, the Chinese characters in this book sound exactly the same as the Japanese characters in Persimmon Tree, the ladies are always the same plummy English accent across all the books, and the Australians are so stereotypical it is a little annoying, even for me as an Englishman abroad.
Having said this I will still actively search out books narrated by Humphrey and only hope he can develop some additional character voices in the future.
In the same way, Bryce Courtenay needs to refresh his approach to his novels, again I would suggest he tries to expand beyond the narrow view he has of what he wanted to be and trying to realise this through his writings, we all know of his amazing life story which we all wish we had, but some may consider it is just that a story developed in an active mind that is able to translate this to paper. I think the line between Mr Courtenays real life and written life through his novels have blurred into each other to the point where one cannot be sure of the sincerity in either. Yes his books are fantastically descriptive and I cannot help myself but download any offering by the Courtenay/Bower partnership, but I do become more cynical with each tome.
So in Summary, a great book well narrated but maybe just a bit to much like all the rest for the avid, long term listener, if this is you first book by the dynamic duo then you will get great pleasure by spending the next 20 plus hours immersing yourself in the wonderful characters. If, however this is your sixth or seventh by the Courtenay/Bower team be prepared to have heard it all before (I bet like me you still get it though)
I chose this series as a alternate genre to normal and not least because of the narrator, the first book was entertaining and original with a good use of character. The second, however, has shades of Harry Potter and is trying to hard to invent new names for everyday items, the use of a single location with secret passages and an ongoing battle between good and evil within. fought by two understudies supported by a well meaning head and undermined by senior individuals could easily be mistaken for Hogwarts. I hope the third book moves away from this and regains the originality of the first instalment. For those that enjoy fantasy and want another version of the Potter series, this is just the book for you.
I am a devoted listener to books narrated by Humphrey Bower and would suggest to anyone that they should focus on his renditions, this series does however show his limits with many of the accents no different to those used in his Bryce Courtney books, I feel it is time he learnt some new characters to add to his repertoire.
Having listened to all available books by Bryce, this is the first time I have had a slight issue. Before that the good stuff....As usual Mr Bower is superb in the delivery of this novel and the novel itself is another masterpiece.
I did find however that there was a little to much of Peekay in this book, and in fact great tracts of it could have been in Power of One.
This still will not stop me from checking every month for the next BC/HB journey to download.
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