Losing one star on the rating for the recording and narration . . . Having read and listened to a number of Terry Pratchett's later Discworld stories, as well as the non-Discworld, "Nation", I decided to begin catching up on earlier stories. I listened to The Color of Magic and the Light Fantastic, and now this one. I have noticed a definite maturing of flow and humor from the early books to later ones, and the same applies to the reading by Nigel Planer. (I think I prefer Stephen Briggs, who does the Tiffany Aching Discworld stories.) This particular recording seems second class. The volume and tone quality from one (apparently) recording session to another throughout sections of the book are far from consistent. And, the hollow -metal-room effect of the reading of footnotes is unnecessary and weird. There was a bit of this technic used for the voice of Death in The Color of Magic, too. I think it's a distraction rather than an enhancement. Still, it's tolerable, and as always, Terry Pratchett is amazingly skilled and perceptive, so purchase this one when it's on sale and you won't be wasting any money.
I never thought I'd have reason to say I love Death, but Pratchett's imagined characterization makes me so empathetic with DEATH. I think Nigel Planer's voice is spot-on for this character. And truly, since no one really knows about the afterlife, whether there is one or not, the idea that there might be and that Death is only the non-judgemental doorkeeper, presents a moral lesson, in that what one does in the mortal life just might effect what comes in the immortal one. This is a great story.
I thought this was indeed an excellent Discworld story, but I don't think it was one of Nigel Planer's best narrations. There were a number of mispronounced words that bothered me a bit (synapse, baroque, ululation) that I don't think were merely a difference between British and American English, and there were the audio editing error and quality that other reviewers have mentioned. I DID like that the narration was not as frantic nor accents quite as hard to hear, as in the case with some of his Discworld narrations. I think I prefer the narrations by Stephen Briggs. This was my first listen/read of a story with Captain Vimes as a main character, and I'm eager to visit him again. I DO wish the Discworld audiobooks were not so pricey!
I am only about an hour into listening to this book, and I'm not sure I can endure another 15 hours of this narrator based upon how it starts out. First of all, the pace of the reading is almost plodding. Secondly, the character voices as the narrator does them are very close to being piercing in tone quality. Thirdly, the narrator's attempt to sing the "songs" is appalling. (If you'd like a example on this can be well done, listen to some of the Redwall stories by Brian Jacques. Not only is the singing better, but the poems/song texts are so good that you can almost hear them without anyone trying to sing them.) One final complaint (and this just might be only my problem) is the narrator's sound on words ending with the letter "g". It sounds to me like she's swallowing her tongue and once noticed, it became very distracting.
I read and listen to a lot of young adult, and even some children's stories, and the plot idea seemed appealing, combined with a number of positive reviews of the story. I did not realize, however, that this story may not be concluded in just the first book of the series. I don't know if I want to waste time listening to it if I'm already unhappy with the narrator on the first book.
I did not especially enjoy this audiobook and will not buy the sequels nor printed versions.
The author's style is very prosaic, with long-winded anthropomorphic descriptions of scenery, weather, light, etc. I might enjoy those in a book of poetry or prose, but not so much in a novel. The entire plot could be covered much better in a short story and I found I was impatient to learn what will happen. There is potential in the plot, but it takes too long to hear how it develops. Also, this novel is much more a sequence of fairy tale stories and myths with lots of creepy, scary or disgusting ghosts and fantasy and fairy tale creatures.
The reader has a pleasant voice, but the frequent mispronunciation of words makes me wonder if she should be a professional reader at all. (For example: demesnes, not do-men-ses; mischievous, not mis-chee-vee-ous; and what is "grammarie"? - did the author write that, or is it grimmerie?) I found her mispronunciations to be distracting. Some of the heavily accented words as read for various characters were difficult to understand.
The sound of the recording had an odd metallic, "boinging" quality to it, as if it was recorded inside a stainless steel room or the microphone was covered with an aluminum pot. I tried various different earphones, earbuds and speakers but the odd quality persisted.
If you don't mind a lot of descriptive prose and not so much plot and character development, I would suggest you might like reading the hard-copy rather than listening to this book or its sequels.
I can't believe this was narrated by the author! One would think an author would make it as exciting as possible, but this reading is annoying to listen to - fluctuations in volume, odd voices for characters, no audible break between changes of scenes - sounds like he connects every word together with an underlying drone. I do have published copies of the 4 books in the series, and may listen again to the first one with book in hand. However, although the story seems decent enough, I will not purchase the other Audible books in this series because the audio version is so terrible.
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