Accepting employment as a governess after hard times hit her family, medieval scholar Rosalind Hawkins is surprised when she learns that her mysterious employer has no children and only wants her to read to him through a speaking tube.
©1996 Mercedes Lackey (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I too love this tale, as well as the rest of the Elemental Master series, and have read it a number of times in book format.
I cannot recommend this version of the book due to the very poor narration. As mentioned in a previous review, the narrator is wooden and does not clearly differentiate the various characters. Words are mispronounced throughout the recording and some are even transposed or changed ("appeal" for "appear", "or" for "on", "she" for "he"). Minor errors are to be expected in recorded books as an occasional typo might be found it the printed version. But these errors so permeated the "performance" that I was all-to-often jerked out of the world of the book.
Finding pronunciations is as easy as going to a dictionary website, where the word will be pronounced for you. I'm surprised the audio editor didn't pay closer attention, considering the number of production staff listed at the end of the book.
I will not purchase another book read by this narrator, and am very glad the rest of the books in this series have different performers. I will also preview books by this producer more thoroughly before purchasing.
(4 stars for the book, 1 star for the narrator for a total of 2.5 stars)
I have loved this adaptation of 'Beauty and the Beast' in the style of Lackey's Elemental Masters series for years, so when it came up in Audible's library I snagged it right away. Having listened to the first twenty minutes, though, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get through it. The narrator's reading is expressionless and wooden. It isn't only that Black-Regan doesn't "do the voices." Not everyone can convincingly pull off a voice of the opposite gender, and it's better that they not try than do it badly. But there is no inflection or emphasis in any of the narration - no emotion at all to reflect whether what is going on is exciting, or sad, or moving. It makes for an experience that bores me as a reader, and is not good for keeping me engaged. I was very disappointed.
"The Fire Rose" has long been one of my favorite novels. A rendition of Beauty in the Beast set in turn of the century San Fransisco, Lackey puts more than a few new spins on the classic fairytale.
Unfortunately, this performance of the novel leaves much to be desired. There are times when the reader does an excellent job. By the last two chapters, she really has her accents down pat. That's when the producer should have had her start over and record the book again. She mispronounces quite a few words, and seems to forget her accents now and then. And too often she lacks the necessary emotion, giving the performance a stilted feeling. (She needs to go listen to James Marsters read The Dresden Files.) It's not the worst performance of an audiobook I've ever heard, but it's far from the best.
All that said, I don't regret buying the audiobook. I still love this novel, and given how little time I have for reading right now, I'm thrilled to have a way of enjoying the book while I work. I hope someday it can be re-recorded with a superior performer. Or even better -- as a full-cast audiobook.
I'm an unabashed Lackey fan and re-read both the Valdemar and Elemental Masters series on a regular basis. This, my first audiobook by Lackey, is just as satisfying as the printed version. The narrator is not the most skilled I've come across, but has a pleasant voice. I'm off now to download more of the series.
For some reason I thought it was sci-fi when I bought it. A few minutes into it and I thought 'uh oh gothic romance'. But it did grab me and I did enjoy it, although it was of course very predictable and I would have preferred a better ending. The narrator can't do voices, so everyone sounded the same, but she didn't irritate me. I will probably read some more from this author, mainly because I enjoy lighter material sometimes, and being immersed in a slower, less frantic world.
Hard to shut off!Very interesting novel. Kept my attention throughout the book.Her voice is soothing and very animated.Enjoyed the story gretly. Very much like Beauty & the Beast.
The daughter of a professor and a scholar of medieval literature and languages in her own right, Rosalind Hawkins is uncertain as to what her future holds when her father dies unexpectedly and she learns his creditors intend to take everything he'd ever owned. The offer to become a governess to two children living in an isolated home north of San Francisco sounds almost too good to be true. When she learns that the children do not exist, but instead her new employer wishes her to read to him through a speaking tube she's not certain what to think.
Whom should she believe--her new employer's private secretary, who characterizes the master of the place as depraved, or the horse gifted to their employer who obviously finds the secretary less than trustworthy? And just what does she think about all the esoteric volumes she's expected to read?
Not a bad story, but the depiction of the lady's near-sightedness had me shaking my head with disgust. As one who's endured myopia most of my life, I'm here to tell you that we just ain't all that helpless without our glasses! Not the best in the series, but not the worst, either, and the narration is fine. Also, Lackey has used the Beauty and the Beast scenario before in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series with the same man-beast combination, and I think that she did better there than here.
The reader was excellent and storytelling great.
Rose - literature always needs self possessed women
The climactic scene
I did expected more from the epilogue. The story was so entrancing.
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I'm a fan of Mercedes Lackey and have always particularly liked this sort of precursor to her Elemental Masters series. I love the time period and the alternative reasons behind historical events. I also very much like the heroine, Rose, because she has spirit and doesn't meekly follow the roles set out for her. The romance is predictable but delightful none-the-less and the villains are appropriately villainous.
My only disappointment was with the narration. It is awkward in places to the point of being distracting. Though the narrator tries to give unique voices to various characters, most of them sound sort of silly. In a story that usually lures me in, I kept being jarred out by something odd in the reading. Perhaps it is because I have read this book in print previous to hearing it. I'm not sure.
The book is definitely worth your time. Even though the narration was disappointing, the story is good enough to overshadow the awkward places. But if you have a chance to read it in print, you are better off.
I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)
This is better written than the Element Master's collection M. Lackey is current but very much the same idea.
It's a nice love story with some magic.
I picked this as I'd enjoyed some of the author's other books as light, easy reading. This was just dull. The heroine was perfect in every way and the story had no excitement to it until towards the very end. I'll not bother getting any more of this series
I've tried all of the Elemental Masters books and although this isn't my favourite I did enjoy it. It's a young adult book really but an easy listen and great if you don't want to be too challenged. Set in 1905 California with the interesting twist of weaving in an exisiting fairytale. In this case Beauty and the Beast.
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