Enough as been said about the actual book being good. I'd like to chime in that the production quality is great! The reader is good and the sound quality is great!
I bought and listened to all 5 volumes of this series recently. I was pleased to see that Roy Dotrice was returning as the reader for book 5. That was until I began listening. I can only assume that Mr. Dotrice and his director chose not to reacquaint themselves with the voices he used for various characters in the first 3 books. Is there a more egregious audiobook flaw than to have the same performer radically change voices for characters across volumes?
I wondered how this could happen. Looking back over the audible.com descriptions, I see the first 3 books were published by Books On Tape with Random House audio while books 4 (narrator change!?) and 5 (return of Dotrice but no voice / character continuity) were Random House only.
I give book 5 4 stars for story but only 1 star for shabby audiobook direction/production. I think Dotrice is a fine reader but the change in character voices is unforgivable. If I was in charge I would have Books On Tape re-record books 4 and 5 with Dotrice as narrator but make sure the director takes care to maintain voice / character continuity.
I have actually listened to this book from Recordedbooks.com on cassette several years ago and enjoyed it. The sound quality with the original cassettes was never great but the audible.com sound quality is very disappointing. While making the book available in format 3 or 4 might provide only modest gains in sound quality, any improvement would be worth the increase in file size. The poor sound quality makes me wonder how audible.com digitizes the original recordings: does recordedbooks.com provide high quality master tapes or does audible.com simply take any old consumer cassette and digitize that.
The story is a great one (although it doesn't really take off until a few chapters after Sam Weller joins the story) and Patrick Tull is a great reader. If you can stand the poor sound quality this is a great (although uneven in parts) Dickens book and one of my favorites.
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