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(P) ISIS Publishing Ltd, 1996; Copyright © Terry and Lyn Pratchett, 1991
Wow! Great narration. I love Pratchett's books and had doubts that it would work as an audio-book. Those doubts are overcome. This was wonderfully fun to listen to.
This was a good story about stories, disguised as an homage to a famous travelogue. That's it for the plot summary - plenty of those online. I really enjoyed the way the book unfolded and found the thoughtful satire and philosophy a welcome change. I thought the reader did a great job with voicing the women and all the other characters.
I am a huge fan of the Discworld series, and I love listening to Nigel Planer as he does the narration, but the static and poor audio quality was barely tolerable, so I took off a star for that.
Even though the listing shows the audio format is 'e' quality, in reality, it seems like it's the same poor quality recording from years ago that was wrapped in a higher bitrate wrapper.
To hear the difference, listen to the sample from Discworld, Book #8 - Guards, Guards! I believe that book comes from a new, higher quality source. Sounds clean and well recorded, whereas Witches Abroad is compressed and full of static by comparison.
As to the content of the book... if you like the Discworld series, then you'll love this book. It's a 'Witches' book, all about Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat, and the power of stories. It's setting is a loose blend of Disney World and New Orleans - of which Terry Pratchett wrote "...in one, you go there and Fun is manufactured and presented to you, in the other you just eat and drink a lot and fun happens." Having just come back from a Disney World vacation, I totally agree.
I'm a Terry Pratchett fangirl. I adore almost everything he writes. He's witty and clever, and knows things about Story that amaze me.
This book is about Fairy Tales, and how a fairy godmother may not be who you think she is.
Pratchett narrators are generally excellent. I love Nigel Planer's way with voices.
I listen to this one over and over again.
I am an unabashed Terry Pratchett fan, and his three witches are among my very favorite Discworld inhabitants.
Nigel Planer's reading of Witches Abroad is absolutely spot-on. He brings just the right quality to each character and the entire book comes to life for the listener.
Highest recommendation for this one!
Using the words of Magrat Garlick, "There must be witches abroad..." - in your library.
The voice characterizations are so perfect I feel like I can picture these witches just as well as my great great aunt Tillie, only with greater enjoyment. (Don't worry we love aunt Tillie and her one eyed pug dog with the missing toes. Come to think of it, even she would love this book!)
"Being normal isn't necessarily a virtue. It rather denotes a lack of courage." - Practical Magic
The story is great, all about the witches, so if you're fans of Granny, Nanny or Magrat you're in for a treat. Narration was passable, although since this book is peopled by women, I think a female narrator would be a better choice. The gentleman doing the narration isn't bad...he just seems to lack an understanding of how women relate to each other - which influences how he reads passages when the witches are interacting with each other. Even so, it's a great story and tons of fun!
As much as I like Nigel Planer as a reader, I don't usually like how he handles female characters -- I feel like his talent seems to suddenly dry up on females. However, he is utterly FANTASTIC at handling the witches! His voices for Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax are truly spot on. Some of the others in this book . . . well, I don't mind so much, purely because of how brilliantly he does the witches.
Now onto the story itself:
At a few points in this novel, I think Pratchett got a little heavy-handed with the exposition, which is really the only shortcoming he ever had as a writer, in my opinion. The story itself is marvelous: Magrat Garlick becomes a fairy godmother and embarks on a journey to save a Cinderella-esque young lady from the fate of storydom, accompanied by Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax (two traveling companions whom we can all be very grateful we've never had to travel with). One neat thing about this particular novel is that you do get to see a bit more of Discworld than you typically get -- most novels are just set in one location, typically Ankh Morpork or perhaps Lancre. It's a very fun travel story blended with spoofs of a few different fairytales. Definitely a novel that I enjoy rereading and listening to over and again.
The audio quality is surprisingly poor. A great postmodern story. The actor reads well, but a second voice with a New Orleans accent for some characters would be a nice improvement.
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