Much as I love these tales, this is the weakest of the Elemental Masters novels. Most of the story involves Sarah and Nan, young, magically-talented girls who come to live at the Harton School in London, run by the also-talented Isabelle Harton and her husband. Sarah has been sent home to England "for her health" from her parents' hospital in Africa, along with her remarkably wise and capable African Gray parrot, simply called Gray. Nan is taken in from the streets, where she has been living a tenuous life with her drunken and drug-addicted mother, and she becomes a valued friend to Sarah and an asset to the School, even as she begins to learn how to manage her ordinary and extra-ordinary talents.
Also living in London is Lord Alderscroft, the so-called Wizard of London and a Fire Master, head of the Elemental Masters group. However, Alderscroft has come under the influence of Cordelia, a secretive and powerful Master. She has gradually cut him off from all of his ordinary enjoyment of life and his friends and surrounded him with a crowd of the politically influential, since she hopes to accompany Alderscroft as he rises to political power and influence. And then she begins to crave even more power, power beyond the usual reach of women in this Edwardian era.
This is a weak adaptation of the Ice Queen tale, with Alderscroft as the stricken boy, and while the adventures of Sarah and Nan are interesting, the story really hasn't got the weight of Ms Lackey's usual plots. The narrator does a creditable job with slightly different voices and reads at a reasonable pace.
Really, it's amazing how well this holds up from 40 years ago (pub 1971 or so). Set in 1963, it's a straight-forward narrative, the step-by-step tale of how the Jackal planned the assassination of Charles de Gaulle and how he was stopped by a police officer who just wouldn't give up and who checked everything. Very good story for knitting.
I don't know that an audio edition really adds much to this book, a long-time favorite. But this was better, in the sense that it didn't seem as silly/outdated, than *The Number of the Beast*, which was my first RAH audiobook attempt (returned that mess to Audible).
The narrator used more of a corn-pone/hick sort of accent for Lazarus than I would have preferred, but overall he did a good job.
Much as I love Suchet, I don't think he's got his best voices going for all the characters in this book, particularly Col. Race (who has a sort of wet lisp) and Miss Van Schuyler (whose voice is the least consistent, and quite harsh, a croaking rasp). The character of Jacqueline is given very dramatic lines, and a lot of them, which may be a large part of why this very familiar tale came off as just a bit too dramatic, too fraught.
Nonetheless, this is an ingenious plot, and so clever; despite knowing who did it and why, I still found myself puzzling about just how the deed was done.
So, for this recording, I give Suchet 3+ stars, the story 5, and overall it comes out to 4.
I loved the Lady of Devices stories in print and looked forward to an audio version. By and large, the narrator does a decent job, and she has some nice voice differentiation for the various characters, but she does mispronounce some fairly common words very badly - Hors d'oeuvres had the s sounded, viscount wasn't vy-count, etc. They're just enough of a bobble to throw the listener out of the story.
This has been a favorite book for many years, but I never seemed to get around to listening.
Ralph Cosham is really outstanding. As an example, when he's reading the part of the dog, Rowsby Woof, he uses a sharp speech pattern that almost sounds like short, sharp barks. And a perfect Scandinavian accent for the seagull, Kehaar. I'm sad that I took so long to finally listen to this old favorite, and I'm sorry that it's over. It will definitely be a favorite re-listen.
This is a scant 3 stars, though it was cute, and I do like listening to Alex Kingston. There is pretty much less than zero involvement of Doctor Who or any of the characters therefrom (though I haven't watched the last season or so of DW, so I may be missing some connection). But Alex K did a great job of the fun and innuendo of the story, and managed more-or-less enough voice differentiation; it's a story entirely from that character's POV, so the limited differences are OK. It's short, but I think that's about all the story there was. Not something I expect I'll re-listen. But it put a small smile on my face, and that's good. (GR review)
Elisabeth Sladen did a decent-enough job with the narration. I especially liked the high, squeaky-but-so-evil voice she used for the Spider characters. The plot and pacing clearly reflected the 20+ minute segments of the old, original Doctor Who shows, with lots of scene changes. I could almost see the old yellow flivver named Bessie that Jon Pertwee drove, as well as the Brigadier and the Sergeant from UNIT. Fun, likeable, not great.
(from my GoodReads review)
Another very enjoyable story about Corinna and her wonderful bakery, the great friends she has, and the odd little mysteries that fall into her life. Nice Christmas theme twining through, without being sappy; and of course there’s no snow, since Christmas happens in Melbourne in the middle of summer. The narrator, Louise Siversen, isn’t quite as multi-voiced as Stephanie Daniel, who reads Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher books, but she’s very good. 4 stars means I like it a lot.
I found that it was not possible for me to continue listening to this book, and had to get the print edition. It was nothing wrong with Ms. Ericksen's narration, which was wonderful, as always. It was something I cannot describe about this particular killer and the words that described his killings, that somehow affected me as an audiobook; as a print book, I could skim or skip the cruelest bits.
I am a huge fan of the Phryne Fisher mysteries, both in print and in audio, and this is one of the best. Stephanie Daniel is an excellent narrator, and I cannot say enough about how well she does voices and background, timing and emphasis.
I've recently listened to a couple of new audio versions of long-time sci-fi/fantasy favorites, and I wish the narrators had listened to Ms Daniel as a training exercise.
Very highly recommended.
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