The history's decent, although it does remind me of 8th grade history more than college history - everything is neat, has obvious causes and effects, and can be summarized rather briefly. Certainly not a bad review for those of us who haven't thought of the Revolution for a while, but no replacement for *real* history study. The author reads his own work and perceives himself as very clever, which may not be warranted. He uses "obviously" a bit too much. The end felt a little abrupt, he's "obviously" planning a sequel.
I'd place the cutoff for this one somewhere in the 8-10 yr old range; the "adult" stuff is rare and relatively tame, but it was surprising given the "family friendliness" touted in the official summary. I wouldn't play it around my five year old.
This review is focussed on the audio aspects only; the story is epic and widely regarded as Gaiman's best work. So let's just take that part as read and move on:
I have both versions of American Gods as audiobook, and I must admit approached this version with trepidation. If you have listened to the BBC radio Hobbit or Hitchhikers Guide or Gaiman's own "Plays for Voices", you know there is a pretty stark division between excellent audiobook and excellent audio theatre. Multiple voices in a reading verge *close* to performance, but then have all the "he said" and "she admitted"s that you'd think would break up the flow. Which it did. But only for about the first 10 minutes and then it just WORKS. The voices are dead-on perfect, you'll find things in the story you didn't find your first time (two times... five times....) through. I highly recommend this version, even if you already have the other one! Definitely worth the listen.
The coda at the end for the cut scene is also fun.
You know the material is funny and biting enough to make you cry. But darn-it, the stage directions distract without adding value. There are maybe *two* places where we need to be told someone is entering or leaving. The rest is really obvious from what the characters say OR could be made obvious through a touch of audio staging (door or walking sounds, for example). The intrusion of the superfluous narrator just ruined this one for me.
This is a marvelous (and relevant) political thriller and the cast are first rate. BUT it sounds like it was recorded with a cell phone. This is particularly challenging in scenes where many characters are present - the sound quality obscures who's speaking.
For many books, the audio format is merely a convienience - I can listen while driving, while it would be a very bad idea to try for text while reading. THIS edition is a marvelous expansion of the original due to the narrator's attention to dialect, accent and nuance. Anyone who's spent time in NO will recognize the vocal work. Nicely done.
This is a magnificent story; great for the whole family, particularly if you have little Star Wars addicts like we do. Excitement, adventure, and a richly imagined and researched alternative history. In brief, this is a "young-orphans (not really, but they think so) make-good in the British Empire" story, with the added twist that, in place of the usual sea adventures, we have space adventures. HRM Victoria's empire includes the moon, Mars, and various Jovian satellites. Wow. The author manages to capture the speech and manners of Victorian England while still communicating to a modern young audience - no small feat! Fans of "real" history, particularly the history of science, will find fun tidbits scattered throughout for their consumption. Reeve does his homework.
In the words of the narrator: Huzzah!
I must admit that I was a little dubious about this one. If you've seen the actual book, you know it is full of tables and lists and lots of other things that would seem to make for a truly horrid audiobook. What a great surprise! The audio version of "Areas...." is *completely* reworked, absolutely hilarious, and an excellent example to anyone who would like to work in this medium. Hodgman adds examples, music, and stories to replace the most of the hopelessly complex tables. This obviously took more effort than the typical "sit down and read it" audiobook, and it was well worth it. This is very very funny.
Don't play it for anyone under 13; there is some risque language, and they won't get it anyway.
The Magic Treehouse series is aimed at early readers. As such, the audio version is best for kids just on the cusp of reading - four and five year olds who can't yet tackle these books on their own. Kids love these stories. The reading is pleasant.
However, these books make an excellent argument for getting Junior his own iPod.... they're mind-numbingly formulaic and represent research in such a simplistic way that it makes my teeth itch. It's like *listening* to an episode of Barney. If you want something the kids AND mom and dad can all agree on, I'd suggest trading up to Dragon Rider.
The source material is unquestionably good; the readings are *mostly* very good; the music is intrusive, superfluous, and frankly, grating. Dustin Hoffman is the best of the bunch, showing incredible class and demonstrating that he is an Actor (capital A) even when reading "Horton Hears a Who". Not bad for a car trip, but you'll miss the pictures.
This, as you all should know, is a wonderful book. Eric Idle's reading is supurb. He uses several different flavors of British and American accent to bring the characters to life. There is never a dull moment. My only dissapointment was that Idle speaks (rather than sings) the songs; perhaps there is some legal sillyness behind that, but I had rather hoped he'd sing.
Just remember, if you are listening to this with your kids on a car trip, bring along a Hershey bar - you're going to need it by the end!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.