I have been hoping for an audiobook version of this series for years. Now that one has been released, I'm so disappointed.
Karen White has a lot of books listed at Audible, but many aren't well-known, at least not to me. She narrated _The Hemingses of Monticello_, but those reviews reflect comments about the same sort of disappointing performance that I've been listening to.
Ms White has a very nice basic voice - the one she uses for the background, the narrative parts. She uses inflections, pauses, emphasis, all good. She got most of the character and place names right, including some very odd made-up-language words and phrases full of glottal stops. What she doesn't show in _Winds of Fate_ is a good repertoire of voices for different characters. Instead she chose to use differing accents for the characters, and she not only made some odd choices but wasn't able to do the accents consistently for each character.
So, starting from the beginning of the book, Kerowyn, a very strong, active, decisive woman, who has a background as a successful mercenary soldier, got an unsure, sort-of Irish accent that doesn't reflect her character. Skif, a young man who spent most of his early life as a thief and scrounger, but who has become a reliable, effective member of an elite group, has a sort-of lower-class British accent but sounds rather like a hick. Elspeth, the young female heir to the throne of Valdemar, has a sort-of snobbish upper-class British accent, and is probably the closest in reflecting the character, but it isn't used consistently. Darkwind, who is a young but mature and powerful mage, woodsman and fighter, started out with a somewhat thin, wavery voice; it got stronger over the course of the book (18.5hrs), but he never sounded decisive or strong. The voice Ms White used for the character of Need, an extremely powerful female spirit lodged in a sword who communicates via mind-speech (telepathy), often changed accent within a sentence or two, with a British-sounding beginning to the vowels and an accent from anywhere-USA at the end.
What's annoying is that the voices are partly right. Kerowyn is from a different country than Skif and Elspeth, and Darkwind is from yet a third country. So a different speech pattern or rhythm for each of them wouldn't be a bad choice. Skif was a street kid, so a lower-class voice was somewhat appropriate; Elspeth is from the noble class and should speak more elegantly than Skif, though they were both brought up in the same city of the same country and so should have some similarities in their speech, but didn't. But the accents weren't done consistently nor were they done very well.
It's especially disappointing because fans of Mercedes Lackey and this series of books have been waiting for years and years for these audiobooks. Of course we have some expectations built in from all the re-reads of the print books, the voices we've heard in our minds. But if the voices Ms White had chosen had been done a bit better, more consistently, perhaps with more practice, this would have been a much better audiobook. Another few months' delay would have been worth it to get it done with more polish.
I was all set to buy the other 2 books in this _Mage Winds_ trilogy as soon as they came out, but I'm not going to do that. Sadly, the comments about the next trilogy, called the _Mage Storms_, though narrated by a different person, have similar sorts of comments about a poor listening experience, and some of those shortcomings are evident in the samples. So I'm not buying those books either. I can't even give this book a 3-star rating, because I didn't like it. It's just barely OK, a 2-star deal. And that's with a book that's been a nearly 5-star read for years and years.
Grover Gardner's reading brings a lot of nuances to the story. I've recently read a few more of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances, and I have to say that the first 2/3 of the Alliance story (up till Tej's family arriving on Barrayar) is very much like a Regency romance. After that, it's a high-stakes caper all the way. Delightful.
And to top it off, it won the 2014 Audie Award in the Sci-Fi category.
This is a stronger story than the second half/sequel, Big Jack. Susan Ericksen is such a good narrator.
This is a 3.5 star tale; a few points off for the voice that was used for Megan, just something about it that wasn't right imho. Well-done, of course, Martin Jarvis is a really good narrator, and a good voice for this post-WWII story, with very little of Miss Marple in it.
Wow. This is almost as amazing as *Treasure Island*. Patrick Tull was a wonderful narrator (I have all his Brother Cadfael audios), and he's just right for this book, which is written as a retrospective of the great adventure, as if it were a tale told by the fireside, and in this context the mouth noises, as of an old gent were pausing to swallow or whatever, work.
I've been a huge fan of the Fuzzy books by H Beam Piper since the 1980s, and have read and re-read all of the books (his and others' work) several times. I was not sure about this re-imagining, though I generally like Scalzi's work, and it took me a while to finish listening. The courtroom appearance of 'Papa Fuzzy' is amazing, and Wil Wheaton really does it well. I promptly zipped over to Amazon and bought the ebook to read the story all over again.
This is my first Montalbano book, after many recommendations from friends. I'm a huge fan of Grover Gardner's narration, so, while the dialog seems a bit silly and overly dramatic in places, the voice is excellent. The rhythm and style of the dialog are unlike most English-language mysteries, which I have to think is due to the book having been written in Italian and then translated.
The attitudes toward Ingrid's rape by her F-i-l are shocking, but at least Montalbano has an effective solution. And Montalbano isn't fighting active obstruction by his superior officers, as Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti has to do in that series.
I can't give this 4 stars, but it is 3+; I think I'll listen further.
The narrator is OK, but I didn't think there was enough differentiation between Martha's voice and that of the Doctor. Interesting interaction between the Doctor and Robot Twelve, possibly better than Martha's role in this story.
Interesting premise, and a different take on the Sontarans, somewhat better than most, in fact. Loved the kids - very bright, and the Doctor actually acknowledged their help with things he didn't know. How often does that happen?
Didn't greatly like the narrator, though he did a good job; just didn't find that his voice/phrasing, etc for the Doctor was as good as it could have been. But part of that is just his voice. He gets 3 stars, the story 3+. (from my Goodreads review)
Bog-standard Doctor Who Three and Sara Jane adventure, this time with dinosaurs, being used by a bunch of crack-pots who want to take Earth back in time. Well read by Martin Jarvis.
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.
Report Inappropriate Content