First, I want to say that, reading others' reviews, it becomes clear how very subjective preferences in narration style and voice can be. Some people ..Show More »love Mr Beierle's interpretation; some really don't.
Myself, I'm in the former category. These audiobooks (for I've listened to the whole series, now) do a remarkable job, for me, of bringing the stories to life in a new way, having read and reread them over the years. While it's true that his accents shift around a bit, and not all of his interpretations match what I had in my head, by and large I find his reading excellent, for one key reason: it sounds very much like these are stories Mr Beierle truly enjoys, and understands, and wants to share; and not just like something he's reading as a job.
The stories themselves are layered. On one level, they are quite simple, but there's some complex ideas floating around at deeper layers. What I've always liked best about them is that they aren't black-and-white. The "good guys" all have flaws and occasionally do some unpleasant or unflattering things; the "bad guys" all have reasons for what they do that make perfect sense to them.
These are not, perhaps, "classic" literature, but they're good reads, and as audiobooks, well read. The characters and their interactions are memorable and entertaining and occasionally insightful. Definitely worth your time!
I stand by my statement in my review of Pawn of Prophecy. The best narrator for the Belgariad novels, for me at least, has always been and will always..Show More » be Jon Beryl, who narrated the Talking Book versions. But Cameron Beirle does a better job of giving the characters personality. The problem he sometimes has is that sometimes multiple characters sound exactly the same. He also still often has difficulty pronouncing the same names the same consistently. But as I said before, this can perhaps be excused. Not only does he have to try to give voice to names that are difficult to read let alone say out loud, but I suspect that English wasn't his native language judging from his accent. That would make it harder on anyone. But he tries and he does a good job despite these difficulties. I've always wanted the Belgariad and Malloreon to be avaible in audiobook form commercially, but for years nobody seemed interested. Thanks to Books in Motion I got my wish.
As for this book, Cameron has some more new characters to deal with. He did a good job capturing the ancient sorrow of the god Mara and the evil of Ctuchik, as well as his fear and panic in the final moments of his cofrontation with Belgarath. He also does a good job on the emotionally conflicted Relg. I said before the Cameron was beginning to find his footing with Queen of Sorcery and he does seem to be improving with each book.
As I said before I think Cameron Beirle consolidates his footing better and better with each novel. This is no exception. I noticed fewer and fewer in..Show More »consistencies with his narration, particularly in this installment.
Having regained the Orb of Aldur from Ctuchik, the now-vanquished disciple of Torak, Belgarion and his companions must escape from the crumbling city of Rak Cthol, pursued by the soldiers of the maniacal king of Cthol Murgos as well as by the sinister arts of the now-leaderless Grolim priests. Only then can they return the Orb to the Hall of the Rivan King, which Polgara reveals must be accomplished by Erastide. From there Belgarion must set out to meet a destiny beyond
Belgarath the Sorcerer is one of the books that fueled my love of modern fantasy, so when I saw it released by Audible Frontiers I leapt at the chance..Show More » to revisit the oddball immortal sorcerer and his world.
I can't recommend this book enough. It's meant as a prequel to Eddings's Belgariad and Mallorean series, but I actually read it before reading those books and still enjoyed it immensely. I missed some of the explicit and implicit foreshadowing, of course, but this didn't impede my enjoyment of this fantasy autobiography.
Unfortunately, this edition is hobbled by lackluster narration. Belgarath is an enigmatic character with a wry and sometimes acerbic wit. This comes through only occasionally in this telling. The original audio I listened to--I'm legally blind--was Recorded Books for the Blind's cassettes read by Roy Avers, and they were brilliant. I've also relistened to those recently, so it's not just my nostalgia talking.
By the way, the Audible Frontiers edition of Polgara the Sorcerer also claims to be narrated by J. P. Linton, with perfect female pitch. Either J. P. Linton has an INCREDIBLE vocal range, or one of the titles is mislabeled.
Don't get me wrong. I'm usually a big fan of Audible Frontiers work. This is just sadly the exception that proves the rule. The narration is certainly listenable, and I'd still recommend it if this is your only access to this great novel.
After reading (listening) to The Belgariad and The Malloreon I thought I would download and listen to the prequels (addendums), Belgarath the Sorcerer..Show More » and Polgara the Sorceress. The two, five books series are all read by the same narrator so, the pronunciations and character voices are consistent and well done. Belgarath the Sorcerer is read by a different narrator, the pronunciations are all consistent, but obviously the character voices have to be different, and they were. This wasn't distracting and you became accustom to the new narrator quickly.
Polgara the Sorceress, however, has a poor narrator. She clearly has not listened to any of the previous books, or if she has, she ignored them completely! The pronunciations of: character names, place, and titles ignores all previous narrations. Her syntax is awful, it sounds like a female William Shatner is reading complete with weird and arbitrary pauses, and bizarre dramatic inflections. Her typical reading voice is pleasant, but some of the character voices are so irritating that it's distracting to the story. In addition to this, the audio editing of the reading isn't helping her; many of the stops and starts are very abrupt and are distracting.
This aside, the content of the story is good. It gives you another point of reference for Belgarath's history and reveals interesting things about Polgara and her motivations. I enjoyed the story and suffered the narrator.