I topstarred this b/c Tim Curry is so amazing. It's not his fault Handler is so committed to a formulaic schtick whose charm wears thin. But the books are a bit of genius because everything that annoys me about them is also what made me fall for the series in the first place. Slyly jabbing at children's readers vocabulary building, moral dilemmas and shifting perspectives, ridiculous repetition and the classic "adults are so stupid and never believe children" of children's media to ludicrous extremes, and the occasional line which is just perfectly placed in the created mood and resonates as A Very True Thing.
In the end, the books are about the nature of people and the nature of storytelling vs. "real life." This is one of those books that improves as you take it apart and you see how things fit together under the gooey layer of schtick, but while you're experiencing it you can't help but entertain the notion that the author is a hack and the ending is a cop-out.
Tim Curry is amazing and listening to the books is more entertaining than reading them, although you do miss out on some things: the illustrations, and if I remember rightly in one of the books there is a gap of several pages, several blank pages creating a white space of suspense. I believe in the audio it's interpereted as a very long dramatic pause. So it's kind of a radio drama trick taken into a book for dramatic effect and transfered back into the audio, terribly meta. ;p
But the experience of it when you are holding a book halfway done in your hands and seeing blank pages is different from having to pull your ipod out of your pocket to confirm you've still got four hours (or whatever) of audio left differs. And sometimes you miss out on Sunny's puns/wordplay babble because they work better on the page.
With mysteries, and mysteries in a series with such tried and true (still enjoyable but nevertheless) formulas, I often find myself skimming. This is the first Nevada Barr book I've downloaded on Audible, and I'm tempted to go back to the beginning and work my way through again, this time in audio form.
The narrator does a great job pacing and creating the moods that I often rushed through --without even realising or meaning to. When I think back on all the Pigeon mysteries, I can't really remember whodunit, but I remember the scenery and feeling of the parks. With this book and narrator, I feel everything is painted more fully in my mind and the feeling of actions is more enduring, and I was swallowed up by the story and imagery not just the compelling descriptions and love of the scenery, which previously were sufficient reason enough to grab each new book of the series.
The narrator's voice is pretty much exactly how I hear Anna's voice and speech patterns in my head, so that's always nice. ;)
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