I really liked some of these stories -- and a couple, not so much. I see anthologies as a smorgasbord, allowing me to sample the style of authors with whom I'm not familiar without having to commit to an entire novel which I may or may not like. I taste a little here, a little there, and then I can go back to enjoy more of the ones I favor.
The one thing I really did come away with was an appreciation for these three narrators. They are excellent. Eliza Foss' voice is similar to Kate Reading's (if you need a reference). British narrator Nicola Barber's Irish is impeccable -- and expressive -- and wonderful (her American accent isn't bad, either)! Richard Topol has done one other book on Audible, and I checked it out. It's nonfiction, and he maintains a very conversational tone in that, as well. Excellent first person storyteller. And speaking of first person narration, if there HAD to be a change, I wish he'd read Jim Butcher's Ghost Story. His voice has a similar tone & timbre to James Marsters', and his cadence/timing sounded familiar. I could imagine him telling Harry's tale as I listened to Elizabeth Bear's Vegas story. It may have made the transition much less (painful) glaring.
Conservative propaganda in an overly sentimental "future history" (self described). Tried to beat me to death with its POV, but I resisted. Narrator wasn't that bad, but not good enough to overcome the platitudes. Don't believe that it's syfy or waste your credit.
I waited a while to write my review because I've listened to it 7 times now & am still thinking, "WHAT?!"
First of all, thanks for a great book, Jim. Second of all, thank Santa James Marsters is back. I completely agree with the folks who've said you must have read up to this point before you can get into this book. It seems to me that there's just so much in it predicated upon previous knowledge. Of course, having that knowledge could be what's leading me to think in that vein!
Thirdly, how good does a writer have to be to lead us down the Primrose path (heh, heh) and make us love it and beg for more? Here we go, traipsing after Harry through 11 books, confident that we know our hero as well as Murphy does. We know his strengths and his foibles, his loves and his hates, his idiosyncrasies and peccadilloes. We've seen both his attitudes and language mature. We've grown with him: a year at a time, a book at a time.
Then Changes, and not just for Harry. Hints and clues (and red herrings?) to potential directions (exactly what position was Ebenezer's diary entry referring to?) the story might take, and then to bring Harry back from the (almost) dead in Ghost Story! And to find out in Cold Days ***the next paragraph contains spoilers***
>> what it really means that he claimed Demonreach (was that it, Ebenezer?), and to tie in the Hunt and bring everyone back to center only to find out that Molly fell into Lea's clutches to be potentially groomed for the Summer court but now she's going to be the Winter Lady? What?! WHAT?! >>
I'm amazed that after 14 books Jim Butcher can still surprise us and leave us wanting more -- NOW! I feel like I'm waiting for someone to come out & say, "And what about Naomi?" **grin**
I believe completely that Jim must have mapped this entire story arc out when he wrote Storm Front (as he has said) because there's no other way the story could have held together, much less held its audience. I am amazed at the scope of imagination and talent & glad to have discovered it (one of the many who found my way to Harry through James' outstanding participation).
And now for my caveat: The only thing I'm having trouble with is Murph's response to Harry.& his situation. It doesn't ring true because the Murph of the family picnic and the Murph of Cold Front just don't jibe. I am, however, suspending judgment in lieu of book 15. Somehow I just don't think that conversation is over.
I've read all of Connolly's available stuff, and am REALLY glad to see it finally getting some audible recognition. Ray & Annalise are great characters who are intentionally played against type. I like that there's more than one story line and, even though they touch each other very gently in one or two spots, that they're not interdependent.
Since I read all four 20 Palaces novels I had what I thought was a really solid Ray voice in my head, and although it didn't sound like Christian Rummel he quickly usurped it. His portrayal of Ray sounds believable - authentic, even. That description of a guy & his circumstance paired with Rummel's voice was great casting. Initially I wasn't too sure of how he portrays Annalise, even though he followed Connolly's description of her voice to a T; but he does a very, very clever thing as he characterizes her through the progression of the story. I don't like spoilers, so perhaps just listen to it thinking of how someone may seem to you when you first meet and how that perception may change what you hear and see as you get to know them -- even though they may not actually change at all. It's very subtle, and I love how it adds depth to the story.
I'm ready for the rest of the books now, thank you!!!
I am really disappointed with this book which I was primed to enjoy. I like urban fantasy & had heard the series was great, but I'm two hours into the first book and fighting to stay awake. It's obvious exposition after obvious plot device after obvious obscure data waving. Repetitious much? No subtlety or humor to the story and stock hero / bad guys. Narrator doesn't help much with the hound sounding like a caricature and no voice work to speak of on the other characters. Not for me.
I live in Hawai'i. This historical fiction contains many elements familiar to even a casual student of Oahu's history, while using a picture bride as his plot device emphasizes the cultural aspects of our local story.
I found the narrator's mangled Hawai'ian very distracting. Especially in a historical fiction containing place names still in use, one ought to make an effort to pronounce words correctly. Listening to Pa-LAH-muh mispronounced PAL-a-ma and LILY-ha used instead of Lee-LEE-ha, to point out only two simple examples of many, was very irritating; It was distracting to the point of turning off the book several times and not returning to it for weeks. I do have to say, though, that she sings a couple of little tunes within the narration, and has a very sweet voice.
BTW, it's HO-NO-lu-lu (long O sound), not Hon-a-LU-lu (short O sound) and Ha-VA-ee, not Hs-WHY-ee. If one cannot get these two primary pronunciations, what chance does something like Kawaiahao or Kahahawai have?
Fortunately, I don't speak Korean, so I can't comment on any of those words,
**for anyone who might think this is nit-picking, think of how it might be listening to a book if Penn-syl-VA-nia was constantly pronounced Pen-SYL-van-ia or FLO-ri-da was Flo-ri-DA or WASH-ing-ton was Wa-SHING-ton? It is grating and distracting, partly because it is so easily preventable.
I first experienced the wonder of On the Road in 1969 and deemed it "far out" (along with just about everything else!). Listening to it these many moons and schools and experiences later I found it just as mind blowing as that first read. My great joy this time was listening to Will Patton's magical interpretation. His melodious, southern-tinged voice is perfect for the ra-ta-tat-tat rhythm of Kerouac's words, pulling me into Sal's world in a way my old 17 year-old brain couldn't possibly have understood. Thanks, Will. Beautifully done.
I imagine some people may be put off by the F word, but if they just omit that one and listen to the rest, EVERY parent has thought/felt this very poem. Thank you! IActually, now that I think about it, every morning person with a partner who is a night owl has BTDT -- WITH the F word!). LOL
When I first heard about the scheduling conflict, I knew I'd be reading the series until the PTB came to their senses. I held out one whole day & then I gave the freebie a shot because I'm a sucker for instant-gratificationization. So, here endeth the lesson.
While John Glover is a talented actor and a versatile reader, Harry Dresden he just isn't. These books are written as a first person narrative -- a guy telling his story in the aftermath. Over the course of TWELVE books that voice has come to belong to James Marsters. This storyteller has BECOME the voice of the character for audio followers. Glover's voice isn't even close. It's too high pitched and nasal, Carmichael sounds like a caricature .. okay, play nice. My point is there is a dedicated following here that has been lost to incompetence. Sound familiar? Recall a TV show that could have had serious longevity if they'd given Paul Blackthorn any help at all. For people who are supposed to be in the "giving the public what they want" business, media executives are surprisingly dim. They make the same mistakes over and over again while expecting different results. In some circles that's a working definition for insanity.
I have the other anthologies (Wedding, Honeymoon), and I enjoyed the stories; however, the Dresden stories weren't Harry. The Files are not stories "about" someone, they are a first person narrative. As such, they are a guy (who happens to be a wizard) recounting the tales of his adventures as a detective, and Mr. Marsters *is* the voice of Harry Dresden. He's the storyteller. When he reads a statement like, "Hey, don't look at me like that," I know he is talking to me (the listener), because (in my suspension of disbelief) there's no question that he saw that "What the..." reaction coming. Whether I am reading or listening, it is very important to me (and my hard earned dollars) that the voice of the story's narrator come across clearly and strongly. Well, Mr. Butcher (in the writing) & Mr. Marsters (in the telling) are doing a bang up job & I look forward to the rest (8 -- 10 -- 12...don't make us beg...) of the series. p.s. Thanks, Jim, for the "tide you over" novella. Hope our lovely weather sneaks into a tale somewhere!!
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