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Peter

Lymm, Cheshire, United Kingdom
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The Wise Man's Fear (Part Two) cover art
  • The Wise Man's Fear (Part Two)

  • By: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 22 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,112
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,599
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,600

Part Two of The Wise Man’s Fear Sequel to the extraordinary The Name of The Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear is the second instalment of this superb fantasy trilogy from Patrick Rothfuss. This is the most exciting fantasy series since George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, and a must for all fans of HBO's Game of Thrones.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The problem with a trilogy...

  • By Robyn on 03-02-13

Wonderful but flawed

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-02-13

At more that 1000 pages in print and over 42 hours audio,The Wise Man's Fear requires a significant committment in time and effort. So what do you get for that? Well, first of all you get another absolutely first class performance by Rupert Degas - an engaging, clear and sensitive narration and a masterclass in sustained voice characterisation of multiple characters. The quality of the presentation goes a long way to making up for Audible's decision to split the book into two purchases, and accounts for me giving the book 4 rather than 3 stars. So, what of the book itself? Rothfuss continues to write wonderfully, and the book has many periods of compulsive listening and gripping story telling. But even more than the previous book, this volume has sustained periods in which the story fails to fully sustain the interest and at times becomes tediously dull. One section in particular (Kvothe's seduction in the Fae realm) is just plain jarring and daft.



As the book progresses, the conceit which had seemed quite interesting in the first book (we are listening to Kvothe's dictation of his life story to Chronicler) gradually wears too thin. Are we really to believe that a book that takes over 42 hours to narrate was dictated by Kvothe in a day, and that Chronicler was taking all this down in real time using pen and ink?! And even allowing for embellishment of the story, it gradually becomes incredible that Kvothe's recall could account for all the tedious detail that Rothfuss insists on including. He could really have benefitted from a strong editor to rein in some of these excesses. And more generally, for a book this length it lacks a real sense of underlying historical and cultural depth and structure that are so impressive in the works of e.g. Tolkien or Gene Wolfe.



In summary, a stunning performance of an engaing but flawed middle volume. Just about enough to bring me back when the third volume is released!

  • Madame Bovary

  • By: Gustave Flaubert, Gerard Hopkins (translator)
  • Narrated by: Ronald Pickup
  • Length: 15 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 80

Before marrying, Emma Bovary believed she would enter a life of luxury and passion like the sentimental stories she'd read in her novels and magazines. Now married to an ordinary country doctor her life is not the romantic ideal she imagined and seeks an escape through having extra-marital affairs. This devastating spiral into deceit and despair leads to catastrophic consequences. Emma Bovary continues to be enjoyed to this day because of its profound humanity, still as fresh today as when it was first written.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • First class performance

  • By Peter on 22-11-12

First class performance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-11-12

Ronald Pickup gives an absolutely first class performance - clear engaging reading, wonderful characterisation of the dialogue, and authentic french pronounciation when necessary. A real pleasure to listen to. And the book itself - it's hard to like, let alone admire, any of the characters, and the unfolding of Emma's married life is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. But it's so gripping, and the characters are so real, so fully human. Their individual psychologies are so honestly written and so resonant for a 21st century reader that it was always something of surprise (as a first time reader of Madame Bovary) to recall that it was written more than 150 years ago. Highly recommended.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Shadow of the Torturer

  • The Book of the New Sun, Book 1
  • By: Gene Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 112
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 111

The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession - showing mercy towards his victim.

Gene Wolfe's "The Book of the New Sun" is one of speculative fiction's most-honored series. In a 1998 poll, Locus Magazine rated the series behind only "The Lord of the Rings" and The Hobbit as the greatest fantasy work of all time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gene Wolfe's classic masterwork

  • By Peter on 09-08-10

Gene Wolfe's classic masterwork

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-08-10

Gene Wolfe's 4-volume 'Book of the New Sun' (5 volumes, when you add 'The Urth of the New Sun') is arguably one of the finest works of 20th century fiction, not just SF/fantasy. Like Jack Vance's 'Dying Earth' series (to which it respectfully nods), Wolfe sets his story so far in the future that SF and fantasy meld. Our own and subsequent ages survive only in garbled myth and archaeology. The story is beautifully written, and brims with stunning ideas, literary influences and inventiveness. Once appreciated, it lingers forever in the memory. On one level it can be read simply as a superior SF/fantasy story. However, new readers should be aware that it's much more tricksy than it first seems. Every sentence is carefully and deliberately crafted, the narrator can not always be relied on for accuracy, characters are often much more than they seem, and what appear to be inconsequential details assume huge significance later in the work. It repays multiple re-readings in a way few works do. If you get to the end and have enjoyed it, track down 'Solar Labyrinth' by Robert Borski and 'Lexicon Urthus' by Michael Andre-Driussi, and prepare to be gob-smacked and delighted by what you've missed. Then re-read it from the beginning!

The narration is high quality and admirably serves the series. Just the right amount of voice characterisation without 'over acting'. Bravo audible!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Dune

  • By: Frank Herbert
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, and others
  • Length: 21 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,153
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,963
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,964

Shortlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.
Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A superb production of a sci fi classic!

  • By Peter on 21-07-07

A superb production of a sci fi classic!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-07-07

I won't dwell on the book itself - it is for many the highwater mark of the sci fi genre; superbly written, richly detailed, boiling with wonderful ideas and concepts, and giving an impression of historical depth that (almost) rivals Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Rather, I'd like to comment on the audio presentation. Potential listeners should have no hesitation in downloading this immediately! Simon Vance is the main reader, and - as always! - his reading is of the highest calibre - clear, faultless pronounciation, and with a fine balance of character voicing without over-acting. Although it's billed as a full-cast reading (from the superb Audio Renaissance team), the full cast are only used on some chapters, while Simon Vance reads many chapters solo. And while I love the Audio Renaissance team, I actually found the solo Vance chapters even better. A very highly recommended listen! And what great news that the sequels will be available over the upcoming months!

103 of 104 people found this review helpful