I'd prefer the audio version, mainly because of Vanna Bonta's exceptional talent in bringing to life--through her voice--her characters. the audio version is also perfect when you're lounging on the couch and you just want to "listen" to a story instead of reading it.
I can't say there's a single character that should be set apart from the rest--I love how Bonta has painstakingly developed each of the characters--Mendle and Aira are foremost examples--so that the whole story is enjoyed as a whole. The characters complement one another in such a way that the story is even more alive and compelling.
That would be Aira Flight, of course--the narrator succeeds in conveying a sense of "tabula rasa" through her voice--need I mention that Bonta, after all, is a talented voice actor.
'Flight' is too rich to be finished in one sitting--it is more the kind of book you'd like to enjoy in several installments, if only to prolong the experience as much as possible.
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