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Brilliant rich fantasy, the voices are great

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

Reviewed: 21-09-17

This is a fantastic world to sink into, full of clever and original details and a great melding of science and religion. Lyra is very well written as an eleven year old who is full of un-jaded self-certainty and who remembers concepts and knowledge and navigates social situations in a realistically patchy way, she's not a freaky super-kid as you often get in this genre, she just gets through with a mixture of kind heartedness and curiosity, chutzpah. This recording uses a full cast of voices for any direct speech (curiously this is not mentioned by audible) but it is not really a dramatisation and the voices are well chosen and well performed throughout. I was nervous it might be annoying but the production is excellent and in fact I felt it was like listening to a deluxe version. Phillip Pullman is an excellent and relaxed narrator.

A beautiful layered book beautifully read

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

Reviewed: 07-08-17

This book is full of that gossamer dream logic that can carry you into realms of thought and imagining. Deftly written, it could have been confusing and frustrating and yet never was. The narrator has just the perfect tone and cadence with barely a missed step. Overall this is something I could recommend to anyone.

strong, nuanced, frustrating and hard

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

Reviewed: 13-07-17

this is a hard book, especially at the start, it just feels like everything is checkmate, or maybe stalemate, and nothing is possible but stick a it. Sadly it suffers from Tod being the one. why? because he is special. but what's special about him. special stuff. love him... Despite this, and despite the fact that Viola is much more deserving of being the one, I took a lot from this book, there's tension and excitement and thinking and I'm looking forward to part three (but maybe after a little break)

plodding rendering without much mystery

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

Reviewed: 28-06-17

These are the norse myths told competently as rambunctious adventures of invulnerable gods. But i wanted more mystery and more nourishment, like in A. S. Byatt's version. I found it pretty dull in the end.

very imaginative but so scatological & long winded

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

Reviewed: 28-06-17

First things first the narration at the beginning of the book is dreadful. there are 1-3 second pauses between almost every sentence and sometimes mid sentence, which have no relationship to the text. It's as if Jonathan was struggling with the florid writing style and expected then to be edited out post production. It's almost unbearable, actually it is unbearable and baffling, but it does improve and become pretty fluid by the end. other than this though his voices are excellent and he hits the emotional fine spot on.
The writing itself is deeply verbose, coruscating with and inveigled by palimpsestic strata of obfuscating faecal descriptors. So much of the book is taken up with describing we precise way in which everything is covered in and smells of poo, or has a name that reminds you of poo that the story is often hard to discern. I often turned off my brain through interminable paragraphs describing the foetid city in the hopes of washing up on the shores of narrative at some point.
All this said I did listen through to its sorry conclusion because the actual narrative is imaginative, complex, full of concept and thrilling. I just wish i didn't have to wade through so much s#@£ to get it.

Very entertaining but strangely flat

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

Reviewed: 27-05-17

People rave about this but I thought it was simply enjoyable. Kvothe is constantly getting into and out of trouble with little actual development, he levels up as a matter of course - Degas background in RPG shines through in this and other respects. And maybe this is a perennial problem in this genre (though I felt less bothered by it when reading Robin Hobb) but the women (all beautiful, as we are told in florid prose) in the story really are only there as a mirror for Kvothe's tortured perfection (for him to love, rescue, teach, nurture, protect but never to rival or befriend or to offer instruction that is for the men). The love affair is interesting but a bit repetitive and the rather base relationship between the genders is slightly excused by the 15 year old boy's perspective that we are offered. I am dwelling on this aspect of because it takes up a lot of the story and felt tedious at times, and as Bast puts it the stories you tell construct the world you occupy.

The world building is grand, and I love the blur between story, legend, religion, history and other worlds. There are great parts with stories being told from several of these perspectives. In all it took me a while to start enjoying it and get over Kvothe's interminable descriptions of his own prowess, and telling us we could never really understand x y or z and you don't really get a sense of what Kvothe is famous for and what big dangers lurk in the story to come but in the end I feel fairly compelled and will probably get the second part... probably.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful