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(P) ISIS Publishing Ltd, 1996; Copyright © Terry and Lyn Pratchett, 1988; Cover Illustration © Josh Kirby
On an 8 hour car trip with my deaf/hard of hearing daughter, I popped the CD into the car stereo. My daughter, who had been reading her own SF book, sat up and started listening, then laughing. I agree, some of the timing was off - not how I'd read it, but it was good. When I relinquished the wheel, I expected my daughter to put in one of her music CD's. Instead, we listened until we stopped for lunch then resumed, stopping only to listen for traffic news.
One of my favorite books by Pratchett. Now which one is my next listen?
It is funny how much I am used to Nigel Planer reading Discworld books. This one at first was a complete turn off. I got 1/3 the way and started over because I had no idea what was going on.
I decided to throw away any expectation and assume that this was an alternate universe of the disc world... and that did make a difference.
I had built much of my concept of the world from Nigel's reading, and the difference in reading barred me from my expectation :).
Now, accepting the differences in narration, and allowing it to be, I am finding the book quite enjoyable.
The narrator reads Pratchett like one would read Narnia or the Bible or other book that takes itself seriously, which is not the way one needs to read Pratchett: many lines meant to be ironic or irreverent are read with high-minded seriousness or worse: read earnestly (shudder!).
Character voices are cliched to the point of embarrassment: Nanny Og's has the creaky, wobbly, ancient voice like might be applied by an unimaginative new parent reading aloud the witch's part of Handsel and Gretel (ie: terrible!) Pauses are too long, the audio quality is fuzzy, and overall, it sounds like a recording made by an earnest fourth grader.
This audible book will mislead new Pratchett readers to believe there's nothing special about Pratchett's prose.
Pratchett fans will most likely react like I did: with righteous indignation and a refusal to tolerate the butchering with a yank of the headphones out of the ears.
I was so desperate for a Pratchett story I hadn't already listened to, I forgot to read the reviews. My bad. $35 down the drain.
Any Pratchett book narrated by either Stephen Briggs or Nigel Planer (you will usually prefer whomever you first start with, but both are excellent) is a better choice.
Listening to a book you've already listened to would be a better choice.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
This one came highly recommended by a Library Thing friend as a possible starting point in the Discworld series (there are many, as the series need not be read in order, save for a few cases). This is a fantastic take on Shakespeare's Macbeth, and if you've actually read or seen the play, you'll get a lot out of the various jokes and insides made about that specific play and Shakespeare's approach to speech and playwriting in general. If you haven't, it's a jolly good story about three witches who decide to form a covenant to help the true heir to the throne take up his post, after a mad new king has done away with his predecessor to take power. The witches would have left well enough alone had the new king and his duchess been decent rulers, but the king is showing sings of advanced bipolar activity with lots of manic episodes and his queen is a power-hungry sadist, which puts the whole kingdom on edge.
"There are thousands of good reasons why magic doesn't rule the world. They're called witches and wizards. It was probably some wonderful organization on the part of Nature to protect itself. It saw to it that anyone with magical talent was about as ready to co-operate as a she-bear with a toothache so all that dangerous power was safely dissipated as random bickering and rivalry. There were differences in style of course. Wizards assassinated each other in draughty corridors, witches just cut one another dead in the street. And they were all as self-centred as a spinning top. Even when they help other people, they're secretly doing it for themselves."
Pratchett's humour is priceless in that he obviously has a vast classical culture which he blends with contemporary and timeless themes which result in a very clever commentary on our modern and very screwed up world, but all this done with very British-humour, which I simply can't resist. I can now be counted among the many Terry Pratchett fans and there will be a lot more Discworld in my future, and probably other non-Discworld books too. Strongly recommended, and yes, a good place to start with the Discworld, along with Small Gods (which is where I actually started) and Guards! Guards!, both excellent and very funny.
One comment on this audiobook is that while I loved Celia Imrie's narration, the audio track is very obviously dated and the quality has suffered over time. I hope the producers or Audible will take it upon themselves to remaster this series because they make for a fantastic listening experience otherwise.
I had a rollicking good time listening to Wyrd Sisters. Laughing out loud certainly eased the tedium of a long commute! I had read the book before and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. It's chock full of great characters; my favorites included the witches themselves, the foppish evil Duke going gradually mad, the ghost of King Verence and the persevering Fool. Only Pratchett could make the apprenticeship of a fool the world's most glum undertaking.
As a Shakespeare aficionado, I appreciated all the in-jokes from Macbeth, Hamlet, and even a bit of Henry V. The theater scenes were among the best in the book.
Others have criticized Celia Imrie's narration compared to Nigel Planer. Since this was my first Discworld listen, I had no one to compare her to. I thought she did a good job, particularly with the witches' voices.
Bought this without listening to the sample assuming it would be the same as all the other Pratchett books; It isn't the narrator is terrible and hard to hear much less understand. I found myself continually turning up the stereo and jumping back to listen to bits again so i could hear what was being said. Its really a shame they used this narrator as the book is really quite good.
Loved the book. Hate the narrator. I can understand her fine, I listen to a lot of British humor, but by god her voice puts me to sleep. Like she is reading just a bit too slowly. My mind tended to drift off and I found it very difficult to keep listening.
I don't understand where listeners find the narration difficult. All I hear is a typical British accent. Clear and concise!
The book is full of whimsy and humor. One of the few books I have listened too and broke out in histerical laughter. The characters are more colorful than a mega-box of Crayolas.
Beautifully writen and beautifully read.
If you watch British television and have a difficult time understanding the dialog then you will have problems listening to this. If not, you can't go wrong with this title.
Wyrd Sisters is a hilarious and unforgettable classic among the Discworld books and Celia Imrie does a first rate and delicious job voicing Granny Weatherwax, easily one of Pratchett's most beloved characters. Her voicing of Nanny Ogg (my personal favorite) was not as I had expected, but it grew on me quickly.
As with Equal Rites, the audio edition is hampered by poor recording production. There are shifts in volume and even background noise and on a few occasions it sounds as if the reader is wandering back and forth away from the microphone. Overall it is an improvement over Equal Rites, but it still strikes this listener as shameful that such a great story and such a great performance would be treated so shabbily.
Whether you are a newcomer to Discworld books (this book is a great place to start, especially if you like no-nonsense witches!) or a long-time lover of the series, you would still do well to listen to this audio edition. Just be prepared for odd shifts in the volume and tone of the recording and don't let that spoil the experience for you.
I've now read or listened to six Terry Pratchett novels, which makes me quite a novice I know! I found Wyrd Sisters to be an amusing story but not one of the best. The most important thing to know about this audio book recording is that Celia Imrie's narration is very flat and uninteresting. I was excited to see that she was the narrator for this book because I love her as an actress in Kingdom, Doctor Who, Marple, Poirot, and so on, but there's something about the way she reads that makes it very difficult to listen to the book and almost puts you to sleep. Her reading isn't very expressive and feels monotonous; it also sounds a little too "soft" and muffled on every device I used to play it, as though the sound weren't engineered quite right. I would recommend that people buy and listen to Hogfather instead, which I thought was a much more interesting story and a better-read and better-produced audio recording.
OK so I'm a Pratchett Fan, but Wyrd Sisters is for me one of the best of the earlier Discworld books and well worth a listen. The more Shakespeare you know the more references you will find, and its a great introduction to the Witches, who feature in a number of other books after this. Much of the joy stems from Pratchett's use of language - I have long used the opening to Wyrd Sisters as an example of why I like Discworld, with its description of a storm over the Ramtop Mountains that combines evocative description and plenty of humour.
I'm more used to Nigel Planer as the reader of Discworld books, and was keen to see what Celia Imrie was like. Once I'd got over the fact that she wasn't Planer, I found that she was actually not bad at all: her voice for Granny Weatherwax hits the spot, and she really brings something extra to Nanny Ogg, with a voice that hints at the character's rather colourful outlook on life. If there is a criticism to be made, it's that she occasionally seems to lack a bit of 'ooomph' - it's too much like her voice is caressing your ears when sometimes a little more harshness may be appropriate; the opening section is a good example, some of the descriptive stuff would benefit from being a little less soft in my opinion. Perhaps wisely therefore she doesn't do a voice for Death: however, the use of the recorded inserts for Death mean that the sections (only a couple admittedly) when he is present don't quite flow as they might do. As a result, I'm giving this four stars rather than five - but it's still a good reading of a favourite book.
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