I'd never heard of John Finnemore before listening to this series, but I was intrigued by a comedy starring Benedict Cumberbatch [who was astonishing at the National as both Frankenstein and his monster, although more known this side of the pond for playing a contemporary Sherlock Holmes], Stephanie Cole [Waiting for God, Tenko] and Anthony Stewart Head [Buffy, Little Britain, Free Agents]. To my surprise, they do a beautiful job together!
Dame Cole has always played characters decades older than herself, and here she plays someone closer to her own age, owner of a struggling single-plane airline, and mother to the steward, the endearingly rattle-brained Arthur, played by Finnemore, the genius behind the entire series. Cumberbatch is the pilot [after seven goes at the pilot's exam] who works unpaid just to fly. His suave co-pilot is a demoted captain who knows all the tricks of the trade, but can't bear to tell his wife he's not #1 on the flight deck any more.
Each episode is a new and alphabetic destination, with some word games for the bored cabin crew, trouble and hijinks.
In Series 3, they veer from Paris to Ottery St Mary to Rotterdam, but the episode in St. Petersburg is worth the price of the whole set, with beautiful voice performances, wordplay, zaniess, and poking fun at the flight industry. Looking forward to Series 4!
An end to a guilty-pleasure series: [no spoilers]
Our part-fairy heroine Sookie is again at a crossroads in her life; her friends are growing up, moving away, getting married, having babies. After hearing her vampire boyfriend might be lost to a marriage of convenience, what's a telepath addicted to hot vampire sex to do?
Thuds of foreshadowing, lack of canon (why doesn't she get out of her predicament by using her powers and being less passive and more alert is a frequent miff) and some mispronunciation prevent it from getting 4 stars, but I was pleased to see many old favourites were brought back for a curtain call in this, the last Sookie Stackhouse book.
If you enjoyed any of her books, it's worth your credits. Thanks for the wild ride, Ms Harris: 3.5 stars.
I enjoy the Agatha Raisin franchise and think the choice of Penelope Keith as narrator is inspired, but this one is a disappointment. Is MC Beaton really a male who doesn't like his female characters, or females in general? And the deux ex machina of getting James out of his predicament was quite loathsome.
I hope the next one won't disappoint on either account.
I adore the prose of Pratchett, which is the only thing keeping the review from being 'one star'. It's sprinkled through this mess like curls of dark chocolate throughout a tall stack of cardboard.
It's almost painful to hear Sir Terry's voice in this dreadful book; he does have a dark side, and I much prefer his Discworld series to his juvenilia, but this simply can't have had much of his input.
An amazing concept of endless parallel worlds in which some humans can just step somehow devolved into this depressing mess, and concur completely with previous reviewers that the entire first half is redundant.
One of the many wonderful things about Sir T is his basic love of humanity, that no matter how far down we dig ourselves, there is always a hero, a Vimes or Sybil or Librarian with a handy ladder, but there is little such joy in this book; although there are glimpses with the cannonball bird and the frisbee octopus which alas are catalogued and listed instead of joyfully embraced and described, and instead of the possibility of freedom, we have female victims, HAL and 2001, weed addicts, and terra-ism.
In my hope for a happy ending, I could hardly wait for it to be over; how sad, and in so many senses and worlds.
If you're looking for a truly Pratchettesque take on evolution, buy 'The Lost Continent'.
Looking forward to Dodger, and won't read the sequel to The Long Earth.
Better than the previous couple of books in the series; how's that for praise?
This time Laurence and his beloved Chinese Celestial dragon Temeraire are freed from transportation in Australia and reinstated for a diplomatic mission to Brazil, to intercept Napoleon's envoys .
Are they too late? Will England now stand alone in the world against Napoleon? Will the supercilious dragon squabbling defeat their own mission?
Novik nicely adds some Incan history and geography, as well as a Patrick O'Brien-esque sailor flavour to their long voyage to South America and overland. According to the author's blog, there will be two more in the series; perhaps north to Captain Vancouver's Island next?
Simon Vance is an excellent narrator, and a joy to listen to: hopefully he can also complete the complete/unabridged O'Brian series.
I grew up in Mennonite country, so I was very interested to see a whole series devoted to the Amish, and on sale for $5!
An interesting premise, but plot holes aplenty, female characters are sexless servants and passive victims, and the prose is so grey, dusty and redundant that I counted ten repetitions for a single plot point. This is a tale that could have been told in 30 minutes, so if you're listening to this audiobook over a lot of ambient noise or fall asleep, don't worry, you haven't missed much, it'll be hammered back in your skull in the next three chapters or twelve.
The narrator is earnest and articulate, but there's not much to be done with the material or characters. There's no beauty here.
So don't bother. Read the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths or 'Plain Girl' instead.
Ever wondered how great narrators remain suave? I'm happy to report they don't.
I adore having audiobooks, which I credit keeping me from road-, air- and queue-rage many a time. Most audiobooks in my library are really good, some are great, and there have been a few stinkers. How can narrators say some of those lines and keep a straight face? Well, they can't.
It also made me think of authors from previous centuries who designed their works to be read aloud, and how few of the recent ones have. Or are they sadists, writing lines like 'slicked back into a sleek chignon' to bedevil our heroes and turn narrators into mere humans, who can trip over tongue-twisters.
And how can they narrate goopy or ungrammatical or gross lines, without vocalising 'eurgh'!?
Well, they can't.
Nice to know!
A charming little diversion which I have yet to finish, but I needed to refute the previous review ASAP, and this is made to dip into for a laugh. Some snippets made me wish for a menu and who's who of both authors and narrators, but I understand how some may wish to remain anonymous.
And now I'll never be able to say the word 'phenomena' without singing the Muppets 'Mah-na-ma-na' refrain after it. Sing it with me: 'Phenomena. Do doo do doo!'
I adored Gerald Durrell's autobiographic tales of his humorous exploits as a naturalist, so was pleased to find this selection as an adult. His skills of observing human [and animal] foibles is a joy, but the tales in this collection drag on too far and/or too long, and in some cases, with clanging epithets against women, races and classes, although one must remember his words and worlds are from decades ago. Younger brother of Lawrence Durrell of the Alexandria Quartet fame, perhaps he always felt he had to compete. However, the tale of the truffle-pig begs to be an animated film.
Nigel Davenport is a perfect choice as narrator, and kept me rapt.
To be read by those who enjoy BritWit, post-WWII history, zoology, and biographies, but would suggest starting with his 'My Family and Other Animals'.
This is better than the last several books, but it still reads like a short story en route to the finale.
The narrator has her vision, and makes it clear when a different character is speaking, which is appreciated. Again, her director should correct her pronunciation: 'ADjuvant' was 'uhJEWvent' which went CLANG in the middle of the narrative. Where can I apply for that directing job?!?
These novels are literary potato chips: you know they're bad for you, but they're tasty and addictive. I love the premise, but the characters are so passive, and the danger and solution are so obvious, they annoy the cornpone out of me. But still I want to know what comes next.
Warning: spoiler alert! Don't read further unless you want the ending.
I can't believe the police didn't just charge and confine Eric: they had no reason NOT to. And Sam as her true love? I hope it was more fraternal, and her true love still awaits her.
Personally, I hope Sookie ends up with her happy and polyandrous home, with brains, brawn and beauty, Bill, Sam, AND Eric, and she has a litter of her own and becomes the Fae Queen of Louisiana, and they all unlived happily ever after. But with the author's traditional roots, and all of Sookie's inadvertent murders and guilt, I don't think we'll get that.
But the author even used the phrase 'deux ex machina', so perhaps we will get a happily ever after, after all.
As stated in the introduction, Wilde's play is the precursor to Wodehouse, screwball comedies of the 30's, and Python. Absurd coincidences are the foundation of Wilde's stinging class commentary, pithy asides and yes, witty epigrams, amidst abandoned babies, adult christenings, instant love and loathing, and happy endings: hurray!
Some of the Britishisms seem beyond the audience [or the person running the laugh track], so it's weird to hear some of his best lines sail past without a murmur or pause.
Marsters keeps up with the born-Brits who shine in this production, doubtless from their stage training.
However, the pivotal role of Lady Bracknell is played by Charles Busch, a dude with an affected voice, which clangs with the superb voices of the rest of the cast. If the casting director still wanted a guy, they should have at least got a Great Brit or a yank who can do the accent and pitch, but Dame Dench would have done the part justice!
Credit-worthy, even if it weren't free.
Will look for [and buy!] other Audiobook performances by the cast.
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