LISTENER

Karen Williams

  • 17
  • reviews
  • 60
  • helpful votes
  • 27
  • ratings

Love the full-cast production

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-10-17

A lengthy but for me always gripping tale which ultimately resolves itself at multiple levels and cleverly weaves together gods from many different epochs and continents into modern American life. In terms of format, it follows the character Shadow on a meandering road trip that gradually introduces him and us to all the main characters. But although the pace is slow, it is never dull and nothing is ever superfluous. I really enjoyed the performances by all the narrators and in particular the personal contributions by the author. For him this is the definitive version of his book.
The only thing unresolved for me at the end were really prosaic questions such as how did Shadow get a passport and money after it was all over and was the Law still after him?
I highly recommend this book as a great story and excellent performance.

1 person found this helpful

Ruined by the ending

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-10-15

Any additional comments?

I willingly admit that I was gripped by this story almost all the way through and I thought the narration by the two readers was excellent. Even though the two main characters are unlikeable, I was hoping until the very end that Nick would redeem himself. However, I now feel positively angry with Gillian Flynn for rewarding my interest with such an abrupt and morally nauseating ending. In fact, I wish I hadn't wasted all that time listening! I won't try this author again.

Much darker than previous Night Watch novels

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-09-15

Any additional comments?

Having got used to Stephen Briggs in The Fifth Elephant, I really enjoyed his narration here but found the whole story a lot darker than I was used to with the Night Watch series. Pratchett has a lot to say here about torturers and murderers, which are of course no subjects for humour, and the whole premise of the book is somber. I felt there was an element of repetitiveness at times in some of the asides, but overall it is a fascinating backstory and grippingly read, even if not as comfortable and "easy" to listen to as some Pratchett novels.

A review about narrators, Planer versus Briggs

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-09-15

Any additional comments?

I am a confirmed Night Watch fan so I am not going to talk about the story. When I bought this download, I really wanted a review about the difference in narrators, which I couldn't find, so perhaps this will be of interest. My advice is: Stick with it, even if you have to grit your teeth for the whole of Part 1 because everyone sounds different. I very, very nearly gave up on Stephen Briggs and contemplated asking Audible if I could return the audiobook, but because I couldn't bear not to hear the story, I persevered - and as so often the case, I'm very glad I did. Of course Briggs sounds very different, and I still don't understand why ALL the accents had to change (surely he could have picked up some of the characters in the voices established by Planer?), but I can honestly say that I now consider him a far better reader in all respects. Just to warn you: two major stumbling blocks for me were (and to a degree remain) Carrot - now a rather whiny Welshman whose voice, to me at least, doesn't match up to his physical description - and Colon, who has stopped being a likable Irishman and become a pompous and (partly due to the story) thoroughly obnoxious, verging on Fascist Dad's Army-type idiot. Also, Briggs starts this story at a worryingly slow pace. Fortunately he then picks up the reading speed (presumably as he gets into his own Pratchett stride) without actually gabbling as Planer can occasionally do. On the plus side, Briggs is much more consistent than Planer, who (as we all know) tends to get his character voices muddled (very unprofessional).Most importantly in my view, Vimes is absolutely spot-on. Sibyl too comes into her own in this story. Briggs does absolute justice to all the humour in the story and his Inigo made me laugh out loud.
In conclusion, don't hesitate to buy this story despite the change in narrator and give Briggs the benefit of the doubt for the first few hours. By the end you will be a convert.

39 people found this helpful

Brilliant on all fronts

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-09-15

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed all the storylines in Jingo, and especially the larger part given to Leonard and the Patrician. I am an art historian and so I love the way that Sir Terry brings in LdaV's drawings and throws in in-jokes about them. I'm sure he does this in other areas of science and art that are totally lost on me, but on this occasion I was able to appreciate them! I thought it was an excellent story all round and as usual a brilliant (and biting) satire on a subject that is always topical. Possibly the best Pratchett I have listened to so far (I'm working my way through the Night Watch series). Lots of laugh-out-loud moments!

Slightly patchy Pratchett, very patchy Planer

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-09-15

Any additional comments?

I'm hooked on the Night Watch series but thought I'd try a new story line with Mort. Overall I was disappointed: although the humour is still there (of course), I found the storyline either too thin or too plain ridiculous and I never really warmed to the characters - with the exception of Death himself, who is utterly brilliant. Nigel Planer's reading was very patchy and I felt he completely garbled the ending, when he used the same accent (Mort's) for everything (including Death). Or was he supposed to? I don't have the book so I don't know, but it didn't sound logical, just rushed because he couldn't be bothered.
So right now I'm not sure whether to pursue any more Mort books, as this one just hasn't grabbed me.

First-class mystery and detective story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-15

Any additional comments?

As a huge fan of Dickens, I wanted to listen to a Wilkie Collins novel as the two men were very good friends. As part of the younger generation, Collins writes a completely different and much more modern story, immaculately plotted, with all the suspense and drama he could squeeze in (mad houses, usurped identities, unscrupulous husbands, secret societies, etc). Lots of twists and turns in which Collins catches the reader out, too. Collins uses the interesting device of different voices, all brilliant read by Ian Holm. Great entertainment and (spoiler) a happy ending!

Alan Rickman superb

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-15

Any additional comments?

This is Hardy, so obviously it's gruelling, relentlessly tragic, bleak and full of selfishness, but Hardy tries hard to show us that most of the characters are victims in their own way (he has to work quite hard when it comes to Eustacia). Alan Rickman's superb reading not only brings out the humour among the "rustics", but delivers the intimate dialogue between Clemm and Eustacia in a voice that honestly drips with desire - it stopped me in my tracks. So as a way to get to know classics of English literature, highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

Slow start, gripping finish - highly enjoyable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-03-15

Any additional comments?

Dumas manages to cover everything from base treachery, Bonapartists versus Royalists, deepest dungeons, incredible escapes, treasure, romance, poison and the immaculately plotted revenge of the innocent working-class victim who becomes the aristocratic Count of Monte Christo (allowing the author to take us into every echelon of early 19th-century French society). This was my first ever Dumas, and I confess I found it a bit slow to get going as the author has to set the scene for the second half of the book, but the pace then really picks up so I highly recommend sticking with it. Lots of French names to remember but John Lee does a great job of the characterisations. A rollicking listen and hugely entertaining.

Gripping biography, beautifully written and read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-01-15

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend this biography wholeheartedly to anyone who enjoys Dickens. Ideally you will already have read some of his books, as Claire Tomalin points up a great many connections between the novels and individuals, places and events in Dickens' own life. Much more than that, however, she paints an incredibly vivid picture of Dickens's life and times, about which I personally was completely ignorant. I had no idea e.g. that he was friends and acquaintances with fellow literary giants such as Dumas, Hugo, George Elliot, Thackeray, Longfellow etc. For me, the private, family side of his life was fascinating: Tomalin shows just how complex a man he was, giving insights into his unhappiness in his marriage, his dislike of the majority of his own children and his excruciating mid-life crisis (no spoilers), all of which make him flawed and very human. I also enjoyed the fact that Tomalin discusses each novel in its biographical context and analyses certain aspects in more detail. This has added to my understanding of the ones I know and whetted my appetite for others.Alex Jennings is one of my all-time-favourite readers (I highly recommend his reading of Nicholas Nickleby). Combined with Claire Tomalin’s fluent style of writing (and leaving aside the very occasional bits of repetition), this biography is as gripping as any Dickens novel.