I've loved this book for years for its elegant prose and detailed and interesting world and sense of honor, danger and romance. It is a great example of the 'show don't tell' theory of storytelling and really sets the standard for classic modern fantasy.
I've never been a huge fan of full cast recordings of audiobooks. I find many of them to be sort of overdone- all the background noise, various voice actors, etc. can just turn the story into a mish mash that can ruin the prose you enjoyed in the book in the first place.
So when I read that Swordspoint was being produced with a full cast, I was not enthused. Until I saw that it was being produced by Neil Gaiman and read by Ellen Kushner herself. I knew that if anyone could do it up right, it would be these two and my trust in them more than paid off.
This is simply lovely- deliriously fun and witty and clever to listen to. The background noise and actors are unobtrusive and a perfect counterpoint to Ms. Kushner's reading as well as the other actors who also portray the main characters. If you love fantasy, just get it and let yourself fall into Riverside. You'll be glad you went.
A lot of this book takes place in Chicago in the 1990s and I was in my 20s then and there, so I really appreciate the author's absolute command of that scene. The world Claire and Henry inhabit there is totally congruent with my memories. The two narrators do a beautiful job of handling their strange co-existence and bring great charm and incredible sympathy to both characters and their unique situation. This is a beautifully realized version of the book and I recommend it highly, whether you have read the book or not.
This book is a story of unexpected love, a love that comes along gradually and later in life to Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali, a widow whose husband ran the local village shop. The way their friendship unfolds, the common interest in books, small kindnesses, and finally a blossoming attraction and romance is completely compelling. The viewpoints of those around them, ranging from awkward discomfort to absolute horror at the impropriety of it all can be both funny and sad, but is always believable. You will find yourself rooting for the prim and proper Major and the kind and brave Mrs. Ali. I enjoyed this book tremendously and the narration, both accents and just the attitude of different characters was excellent.
This is such a wonderful series to read and the audio version is superlative. Andrew Naiper's narration is authentic, his accents are excellent and his characterization is totally believable. I am thrilled to finally be able to get this author's work in audio form. Her understanding of history and ability to narrate historical events in a way that makes them exciting and relevant while including fictional characters that catch your imagination and keep you listening/reading through long series and then going back to read them again makes Dorothy Dunnett the greatest author of historical fiction, IMO. I was fortunate enough to meet her in person before she passed away, and she was personally gracious and charming as well as being a fascinating speaker.
HOWEVER, I have to note that the first book in the series is NOT available on Audible. This is the second book of the series and although the quality of the writing, performance and production is so high that I think even a new listener could enjoy it, you will definitely not have the whole story of Lymond or the other characters in the book and their relationships to one another. I hope Audible will have the first book soon, because I would hate for anyone to get discouraged and not continue with this extraordinary series because they were a little lost from having to start with the second book.
Not only is Tina Fey hilarious, but she is also really, really smart. Every bit of this book is filled with humor and intelligence. But she also comes across as kind, thoughtful, and I think she is probably a really good boss. Listen to this book and the hours will fly by!
The narration is very good in the book and the appeal that the reader gave to the different characters kept my interest more than the story did. The author is not a bad writer- she does well with dialog and has some interesting ideas. But the actual story was lacking for me. Many things that were supposed to be big 'reveals' were so blatantly obvious from the beginning that it was just annoying to sit through. This book takes place immediately after the first one, but what I had hoped were just 'first novel' mistakes kept happening here. Tris continues to do things that are so just dumb, that I lost interest in her as a character. It isn't a terrible book, but I think it could have been a much better one.
This story of a Welsh coal mining family and the village they live in is lyrically written and beautifully narrated. It is not a fast book, it is a book you listen to carefully, for the sake of the language. It is an old-fashioned book, that allows you to listen to someone remembering a time long gone and a way of life that has disappeared. The Morgan family is loving and loyal and tries hard to stay true to themselves and the ideals they were raised with, even as the world is changing around them and their small village becomes a place that is filled with bitterness and poverty. But if you just listen to the melody of the language and let the story flow, I believe that this book will stay with you and move you more than you may realize at first. I loved reading it years ago and I loved listening to it as well. If you are looking for a slower-paced listen and want to savor the language and writing, give it a try!
I was afraid the book might be too much of a 'downer' but the nuance of the story is very balanced. A young woman who is bright and funny but without any formal education and who can't really seem to think of a future for herself becomes a caretaker and companion to a young man who is a quadriplegic. Although I felt great sympathy for Will (the young man) the character's personality is very well defined and forceful and I found myself really relating to the character as a person and not just as a 'disability character' set up for the purpose of the story. The voices are very well done, and a few chapters are briefly told from a different character's perspective- Will's mother, who appears cold and distant to the other characters, and also his male nurse. These glimpses into how the main characters and their situations are seen by others were enlightening to me and really rounded out my perception of the story as a whole. But mostly I just really enjoyed these people's lives and was completely drawn into what was happening to them and wanting to know how the book would end.
The narration was excellent and made me feel as if I really knew the main characters. The descriptions of the just everyday difficulties of Will's life really made me examine my own life and how I react to people with disabilities, as well as just thinking about some issues I had not previously given much thought to.
I've seen some reviews here that complained that Will is made a 'token' character- the guy in the wheelchair- because none of the chapters are told from his point of view. I have to disagree completely with this. For me, this was a key part to the understanding of the story and Will's entire situation- the main crux of the book is can Will live- does he want to live- while having to largely participate only vicariously in what was once a very active life in every way. Sexually, physically, etc. he no longer has access to the things he once did. IMO, the author tells the story through other people's perceptions in order to school the reader somewhat- I found myself trying very hard to understand Will's perspective, in part BECAUSE he never speaks in first person. That said, the character of Will is very complete and his speech, personality, etc. shine through. I had no trouble at all coming to know him or realizing his charisma or frustration through the third person perspective. Just as Will, the character, ultimately keeps much of his illness and inner emotions private from his fellow book characters, those things are also private from the reader. I felt it added to my understanding and did not detract from the book or my involvement with it.
The narrator seemed to get Zelda Fitzgerald's 'voice' spot-on. I am very familiar with many writers and artists from this time period, and Zelda Fitzgerald is often dismissed as a sort of appendage to her husband, or as someone who held him back. While both of these things are at least partially true, this book helps to give a much more nuanced portrait, not only of Zelda herself, but also of her husband and the world they lived in. It made Zelda not just sympathetic and likable, but also really gave me some insight into the qualities that made her so irresistible to her husband and the generation she came to help represent.
Zelda! Scott doesn't come off at his best here, I've always thought Hemmingway sounded like a jerk, and although all of these Jazz Age people are very well-drawn, it is a book about Zelda, after all, and her perspective is really interesting. There was a lot more to her than I had realized.
If you enjoy reading authors of the 1920s or that period in history, you may already be familiar with many of the characters here and I think you will find a fascinating interpretation here of their personalities. If you have only heard a little about Zelda Fitzgerald, as the famous flapper married to the brilliant and troubled Scott, you will find a much deeper portrait of her as a person. Either way, it is a charming and engrossing listen.
I felt that the author managed to convey a lot of information about how our military and our attitude to it as a nation and a government has changed- and that those changes have not been accidental. I felt that the book was mostly very non-partisan and feel that a person of any political opinion could read it and find the factual information fascinating. Also, it was pretty funny in some parts- definitely not a dry, dully recited history.
I have seen her show on tv a few times, but have not heard her read before. She reads very clearly and with great humor and character. She is able to deliver facts and history in a lively way that really shows how they relate to current real world situations.
I believe that anyone, of any political persuasion, could not fail to be moved by her final chapter of how the lives of our soldiers have changed and the negative effects on they and their families. Her points about how much easier it is for us to go to war and how so many of the 'improvements' of the military complex have not really made things better for our serving military personal and their families was deeply touching and disturbing to me.
I think a lot of people might automatically not want to hear or read this book because of the author and pre-conceptions about her positions and political views. All I can say, is I encourage you to listen to this book, no matter what end of the political spectrum you sit on. I believe there is information here that is important for Americans especially to know, if you are interested in how your country is run and goes about the business of going to war. It is much more than black and white ideology and Maddow does a very good job of showing that with both humor and seriousness. I believe there is a lot to absorb and discuss here, and that people of all political beliefs will find a great deal of information that may be new to them and give them a broader perspective.
Not better, but the closest thing to reading it that I have found.
I think in many ways, you cannot compare Tolkien to other fantasy series, because so much of what has been written later is based, however loosely, upon his ideas, which have become fantasy 'standards. Listening to this book is almost more like hearing a work of history- Tolkien seems as concerned with the history and reality of his world as with the story.
I have not listened to him before, but his rich voice give this performance a gravitas that works very well with the material. You are at once both hearing a story and feel as though you are listening to something of great importance. His character voices are good and his descriptive reading is a pleasure to listen to.
No, I have been listening to it in stages while driving, which has been perfect for me.
This brings back to me the importance of these books, both as literature and to me personally. It is a pleasure to hear someone else read a book that I am so familiar with. Not only because it is so well read, but also because of the little differences in how things are read, and to hear remembered phrases or sentences that come back to me. Overall, no Tolkien fans should deny themselves the pleasure of listening to this edition.
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