I'm a big enough fan of fan of the books that the negative reviews of the sound quality didn't deter me from buying this item, especially given the low price. Yes, the sound quality is pretty lousy at times: on a few occasions the speech is garbled and/or muted to near-unintelligibility, and the interstitial music levels are way too high throughout. But rather than characterize the effect as being ear-bleedingly awful, I would say that it's a mildly irritating nuisance to the listening experience.
Apart from the lacklustre sound engineering, the adaptation and the performance are excellent. The amusingly futurismic musical effects are just as dated as the golden age SF motifs of the narrative, and so add subtext: the past imagining the future.
On the basis of great content with poor audio quality, I was going to rate it three stars out of five (three and a half, if I could). However, today I found out that the show is also available free of charge from another site, and judging from the reviews over there (and a cursory random listen on my part), that version does not suffer the audio quality problems that this one does.
Presumably somebody at ABN (the distributor) dropped the due diligence ball when acquiring the material from the BBC. If the series truly has been released to the public domain by the BBC (as claimed by the uploading party on archive), then it's ridiculous that a commercially distributed version should have inferior sound quality to the publically available one, $2 price-point or not. Even if the archive item is an illicit upload by a fan, the fact that a superior digital version exists at all should make Audible embarrassed to be hosting this one.
I have an eight-year-old who reads well beyond her age, so finding suitable books for her can be a bit of a challenge. Scott Westerfeld's "Leviathan" is one of her favourite series, so when I saw his endorsement on the cover of this book (and skimmed the synopsis on the back) I thought it might be one that she'd enjoy. To be safe, and thinking I might enjoy it too, I purchased the Audible version to have a listen before I bought her the physical book, and boy am I glad I did!
The opening chapter is a lengthy monologue about committing suicide, delivered in a way that falls just short of glorifying the action. The character in question comes across as very rational but completely resigned that this is their best option.
In the middle of the third chapter there's a rather vivid sex scene that I frankly wouldn't be comfortable with my daughter reading until she were at *least* twice her current age. Oh, and the sex scene involves a prostitute whose husband is sitting in the next room.
At this point I had obviously decided not to get the book for my precocious tween, but having never before quit an Audible title partway through, I kept listening for my own sake.
By the time (about an hour and a half in) that the narrative got into details of Jack the Ripper's particular acts of mutilation, I simply lost patience with the story myself, and the grandiloquent style of the audio performance was a major contributing factor to this.
Mea culpa for not reading the synopsis more carefully and for not recognizing from the cover that this isn't a YA title (which is where it had been shelved by the vendor).
Please take my three stars with a grain of salt, as I've listened to less than 10% of this title.
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