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  • The Vondish Ambassador

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Lawrence Watt-Evans
    • Narrated By Scott Slocum
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Once, not so long ago,a warlock named Vond built an empire in the southern part of the Small Kingdoms. Vond is gone, but his empire survives under the rule of a seven-person Imperial Council and a young regent named Sterren. The Empire of Vond was hardly trouble-free after Vond's departure. Its neighbors are understandably wary of further expansion, there are questions about how Vond's magic became so potent, and so on. Most of the World, though, doesn't care - Vond is off there in the southeastern corner of the World, far away from anywhere important.

    James says: "Finally, an Ethshar audio book"
    "Finally, an Ethshar audio book"
    Would you listen to The Vondish Ambassador again? Why?

    I'd probably listen again as I pine, wishing for more books in the series to appear in audio. I've been reading Watt-Evans' Ethshar books for 20 years and about seven or eight years ago even emailed the author to ask if any audiobooks had been produced. He replied that as far as he knew, a few had been made as part of a "talking books" program for the blind but weren't available to purchase. I was elated to hear about this audio version, but there is some indication that due to complicated publishing rights issues this may be the only one in the series to become available.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ethshar of the Spices. Although not anthropomorphized, the city still feels like a character.

    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    He tried a little too hard to differentiate characters so the voices were a bit exaggerated and therefore sounded forced. Also, it's pointed out in the story that Emmis is relatively young so the gruff voice didn't really seem to fit. Didn't really bother me; it's just something I noticed.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If I had that much free time, yes.

    Any additional comments?

    Read all the Ethshar books. They're smart, funny, and entertaining. The worldbuilding and magic systems are very consistent and although there is a definite chronology and some connections between books, they don't have to be read in any particular order.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ender’s World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender’s Game

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card (editor)
    • Narrated By Gabrielle de Cuir, Janis Ian, Arthur Morey, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is a science fiction classic. In Ender’s World almost two dozen writers offer new perspectives on the 1985 novel, along with insights gleaned from other Ender stories that fit within the Ender’s Game chronology. In addition, military strategists Colonel Tom Ruby and Captain John Schmitt offer insight into the human-Formic war.

    Matt Z says: "Just let Stefan Rudnicki read... Seriously."
    "Great book, only one pet peeve."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ender’s World to be better than the print version?

    The essays collected here are very good and cover a variety of aspects of the Ender books with a concentration on Ender's Game.

    The only real problem I had was that one name was consistently mispronounced. It's not the narrators' fault; most people would pronounce "Bonzo" like the chimp that acted with Reagan, but as Petra clearly pointed out in Ender's Game: "Not bahn-zoe, pisshead. bone-so. The name's Spanish. Bonzo Madrid. Aqui nosotros hablamos espanol, senor gran fedor."

    The producers* should have known this and told the narrators. Normally audio versions of Card's work are exceptionally good so an obvious error like this is particularly jarring.

    *Especially if Stefan Rudnicki produced it since he read the above line himself in the Ender's Game audio. Can't remember if he did this one, but he's produced several of the Ender titles.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By William Gibson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The award-winning William Gibson goes beyond science fiction to the broader mainstream fiction audience. His unique world features multinational corporations and high-tech outlaws vying for power, traveling the computer-generated universe.

    john says: "Narrator is Fantastic"
    "Great series. Average narrator."

    There's not much point in commenting on the story. If you're listening to this, you're (hopefully) at least somewhat familiar with Neuromancer and Count Zero.

    As for the narration, it's fine. Neither outstanding nor abysmal. His Japanese isn't as good as his French, but it's not bad or jarring. My biggest problem (as with many audio books) is the lack of preparation. If I knew I was going to be narrating books two and three of a trilogy, I think I'd be sure to listen to book one first, particularly since Neuromancer was read by Gibson himself* so I would know he pronounced all the names the way they were intended. Had Jonathan Davis done this he'd know that "Armitage" isn't pronounced Armitahj (just one example). This happens far too often with audio books, as if the producer hands the narrator a book at random and says "Here, read this" without ever checking with the author or publisher to make sure they get the names and accents right.

    *A true pity Audible doesn't carry it and evidently can't acquire the rights to produce their own recording.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Prism

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Brent Weeks
    • Narrated By Cristofer Jean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals. But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

    Lee says: "Big fan of Brent Weeks but..."
    "Not his best, but better than many."

    This book has great characters, a well-defined magic system, political intrigue, and lots of action. It's a great selection, but still not nearly as compelling as Weeks' earlier Night Angel trilogy, all of which are also available from Audible.

    The narrator does well enough, but has a tendency to raise the pitch of his voice at the end of sentences, making everything sound like a question.

    The sound quality and production were fine...except that, for some inexplicable reason, the pauses between chapters are much longer than with most other audio books. Several times when I encountered long silences, I would get to the point where I had decided that it wasn't just terrible editing--there must be a problem with my player. As I reached for it to check, the next chapter would finally start.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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