The story carries on from the end of The Fifth Elephant but, as with almost all Discworld stories, can be read independantly. There are far more tangential references to other books than before but they are easily ignored. The story features Vimes but is not a mystery like Men At Arms.
We learn more about a formerly minor character (as we did in Thief of Time). I enjoyed the voice of the character as well as the additional information. Vimes continues to grow as a person but is still far from being without prejudice.
I can't say more about the story without giving away details. But I can comment on the narration: although the Pratchett-reading community owes much to Stephen Briggs, and he is a good narrator, for the most part I prefer Nigel Planer. Some of SB's characters sound the same as those of other characters in his previous readings, and his Death voice cries out for (if you'll pardon the pun) enhancement with special effects.
Thud was the first book I ever listened to all of without having read the dead tree version first. I found it a little annoying because the listening is so much slower than my reading but I could not easily replay the last few seconds if I missed something (I'm using iTunes) or pause to savour a particular passage. Some of the puns were much harder for me to recognize when I heard them rather then read them, e.g. the rock types that trolls are made of (don't ask me to spell it!).
Of the 150 items I've bought from Audible (including several recordings of Clue) this is the very best ever. If you are familiar with the show then you will be delighted with it all. If you are not then there are a few jokes that you won't get in depth but still you will smile, laugh, and chortle.
About the story:
I like Count Zero best of Gibson's first trilogy but MLO is the happiest of the three stories and I like it too. I've never been happy with the weaving of different characters' stories into one plot.
In case you don't know, this story depends very much on events from the first two books. CZ can be read alone but this is not a wise idea for MLO.
About the reading:
The reading of this book is enunciated with great care. But some of the words are so badly pronounced that I had to laugh. Gibson's reading of Neuromancer which clearly exposed his Southern/Cajun roots was as confusing as it was interesting. This reading is similar: foyer for example is pronounced as though it meant more foy.
The most important problem with the reading however is that Gibson's narrator often speaks for the characters using their 'voice'. In the reading the switches are inconsistent at best, and the voices and accents chosen for some of the characters are just plain jarring.
This isn't Pratchett's best writing, but it does include some interesting background for the later Vimes & The Watch series.
Nigel Planer's narration makes this performance great. The tones of voice don't come across on paper but they are fabulous in the performance. It makes me laugh out loud again and again.
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