I was in my late 40's when I first listened to Artemis Fowl, and while it is a book targeted to the juvenile market, it is easily one of the most enjoyable books I have read in years. Besides having an intriguing cosmos in which fairies are real and living around us, Nathaniel Parker breathes life into all the characters. Each character's dialogue has a different style and cadence of delivery so that not only can I distinguish who is talking but also hear their individual personalities in their speech. Parker is one of the most gifted readers, if not even nearly unique, I have ever heard in that respect. For me, his reading is why I like the Artemis Fowl books so much.
The story is excellent too, though. Perhaps it is my Irish heritage, but Irish authors just seem to have a wickedly twisted, funny way of perceiving the universe that draws me into their stories. Artemis Fowl has a lot of wit and humor in it, often at the expense of the dour, controlled Artemis himself. There were multiple times when I am sure the drivers in cars next to me were wondering why I was laughing so hard. This book, and the others that followed, took me away from the drudgery of driving in rush hour traffic and made those hours fly by so fast that I was surprised at how quickly I arrived in my driveway. I can't think of higher praise than that.
There are flaws with the assumptions made by the main character, but Hobb does a good enough job with characterization that I felt more like smacking Fitz on the back of the head to wake him up to what he was missing. He's just a clueless person sometimes. I know people like that, so it kind of made sense.
The story starts out very slowly. You just have to accept that it takes time to flesh out the characters and that the action comes in spurts after long periods of quiet. I will be surprised, though, if the second book doesn't hit the ground running. This is definitely a trilogy, so wait until the third book is out if you like to read everything all at once.
The reader is very good in this book. By changing the timbre of his voice and the accent a bit, he is able to give each character a distinctive personality. I had no trouble keeping track of who was talking, and he never mixed up voices even when switching between a character's speech and narrative sections. The story was good, but I found the performance deserved 5 stars for its professional and consistent quality throughout.
I have never read Roald Dahl's books before, but I was of course familiar with the Willie Wonka movies and the Matilda movie. My wife recommended I listen to "Boy" as an introduction to Dahl's writing, and it was an excellent choice! Dan Stevens is excellent in his narration. He captures Dahl's wry wit and off-centered view of the world around him to the point where you can imagine Dahl himself reading this book to you. I am about an hour in, and I already am looking for more of Dahl's books on Audible. Dan Stevens goes on my list of recommended readers too. This book is highly recommended.
This series continues to be one of my favorites. Kevin Hearne writes good, interesting characters you kind of wish were real, and Luke Daniels does a fine job. He is one of my top 10 readers. If this is the first book you have seen in the series, go get book 1 and start from the beginning. These books are well worth the credits.
This is a filler story which fleshes out some characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it wasn't worth the cost. Luke Daniels does a fine job as the reader, and he is definitely in my top 10 list. It really boils down to the fact that the cost was higher than the enjoyment I got out of it. Others may feel differently.
If you have gotten this far in the Black Company series, you are listening because you are committed to finding out their final fate. In case you came to this book without reading the previous 7 books, this book is in the middle of a very long story line, and even though you can read it as a standalone book, much of the references to prior events won't make sense. As a story, this is not the best nor is it the worst of the series. It is certainly worth a credit. though.
My main problem with this book and its predecessor in the series, Bleak Seasons, is the reader. Jonathan Davis is not the worst reader I have ever heard, and I am not unhappy enough to stop listening. He is, however, uninspiring as a reader. There is very little nuance to his voice, and it is incredibly hard to tell when the main character is thinking to himself or speaking to someone. There is just no aural cue to distinguish between the two. There are some characters where he uses nearly the same accents, so telling who is speaking is only possible by context clues in the dialogue. I would definitely not seek him out as a reader in other books. That said, I haven't been so annoyed that I felt the need to read the paperback copy I have on my bookshelf. So maybe a 5 out of 10.
I read the book on which this radio play is based about 15 years ago, and so I wasn't really critiquing all the short cuts they did. Still, the scene transitions are abrupt and unexpected, and the plot is better suited to a show on Nickelodeon. For example, in the first scene, Perry says he hopes the guy he's been talking about comes to see him soon. Then 2 seconds of silence later, that guy knocks on the door. It took me awhile to figure out some time had passed, and silence was the scene transition. There's lots of jarring transitions between scenes where one set of characters is talking and then a couple seconds later a completely different set is talking.
If the acting were good, maybe I could make allowances, but it's not. While the dialogue is similar to what Gardner wrote back in the 30's and 40's (It's nothing like the Perry Mason TV series with Raymond Burr.), it is delivered like bullets fired out of a machine gun. No pacing, no nuance, in short, no acting - just delivery of their lines. Coupled with the confusing production cues,this is a total failure to bring Perry Mason to audio.
My one complaint about this audio book is that the narrator is all over the map in his pronunciations and accents. Where he was very consistent in the first three books, he pronounces names multiple ways, sometimes even in the same paragraph. His voices are pretty limited too, and he'll switch accents for the same character between chapters. It's pretty obvious that he didn't do his homework and review his previous 3 recordings before he started this one. I fault the editor and director/producer too. He/she should have caught the inconsistencies and corrected them early in the production.
The story takes awhile to get into. The narrator seems to be plodding through it too. There isn't the same depth or color you get from the first three audio books. Still, nothing is bad enough that I won't finish it and listen to the 5th one.
The book itself is a continuation of a larger plot line,so it doesn't stand alone. It is a good story, although it is a bit one dimensional in that the characters are running from death the entire book. What makes the book enjoyable is the fact that the characters besides Atticus are becoming 3 dimensional. As part of the whole, it is a satisfying read. If you like the Iron Druid series - which you must if you're reading book 6 - this one is worth a credit.
Also, I have to give praise to Luke Daniels. This is definitely *not* an easy book to narrate. There are lots of characters, lots of nationalities, lots of personalities, and lots of interplay between them. Daniels does a superlative job keeping all of them straight and making easy to know who is saying what, even when there are complicated conversations between multiple characters. He has gone to the top of my list of preferred readers, alongside Nathaniel Parker (Artemis Fowl series) and James Marsters (The Dresden Files) as a result of this book. I am now looking at other series just because he is the reader.
After 2 decades and 14 books, the Wheel of Time series reaches a conclusion. It's a satisfying conclusion too. There are characters who I was sad to see die, and some that made me cackle in evil glee when they got their just reward. All of the Forsaken have their stories concluded in appropriate ways, and the yin-yang of Life returns to a balance after so long being out of balance. And for closet sentimentalists like me, there were some happy endings in the wake of the Last Battle.
Brandon Sanderson did a fine job concluding the series for Robert Jordan. If perhaps more of Sanderson's style than Jordan's can be seen in A Memory of Light, I think it worked well. The chapter "The Last Battle" was an inspired piece of story telling. I have never seen any author take such a complicated set of scenes, locations, characters, and plots and weave them into a cohesive whole. He was working with all the aspects of the One Power at once.
This book makes me want to start the whole series over again.
This is not one of E. E. "Doc" Smith's best works, but if you have read the 3 previous books, it you will probably want to read this one to complete the story. My one main gripe is that after awhile "incalculable" becomes cliche'd, and running back and forth all over the entire known universe in short periods of time becomes hard for even a diehard sci-fi fan to suspend disbelief.
Reed McColm does a good job in this performance. He provides a lot of energy to the reading, and I kind of found myself eager to get back to the car to pick up the story because he reawakens the wide-eyed wonder of my childhood reading these old stories from the early days of pulp science fiction. It is obvious that he enjoys these stories himself, and that redeems this audio book to the point where I am sure I will listen to it again in a few years.
Overall, as an audio book performance, this book is an enjoyable listen. Just don't expect great depth of character or ideas that make you stop and think. It is worth a credit, though.
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