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Rebecca

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  • helpful votes
  • 64
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  • A Wizard of Earthsea

  • The First Book of Earthsea
  • By: Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 7 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 122
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111

Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth. Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My first experience of Earthsea, truly excellent.

  • By Dr Ward on 08-01-19

A great classic, beautifully read.

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

Reviewed: 20-03-19

I first read ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’ as a teenager back in 1969, shortly after it was published, in its classic, slightly psychedelic Penguin cover. Le Guin was always a true influence on those who followed, like Hope Mirlees, Tad Williams, or of course Tolkien, Lewis etc a decade or so earlier. Every dragon rider, every haunted wizard, every brave venturer into Death’s land in later fantasy fiction owes something to Le Guin.
What was so amazing to me, hearing it again after all these years, is that it is still groundbreaking, beautifully and unpretentiously written, the story of a young man’s personal development into maturity and confidence, with no tricks or over-stretched metaphor. And it’s short! Not an extraneous word or a self indulgent moment.
And of course - this has the wonderful Kobna Holdbrook Smith reading it! Having been a huge fan since ‘Rivers’, I now stalk him on Audible- if he’s reading it, I’m listening to it! At first I wasn’t sure about the slightly Norf Landon voice he gave Ged, but actually I grew to like it. It differentiated him from other voices.
So this too joins my list of favourites.

  • Jeff Wayne's The War of The Worlds: The Musical Drama

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: H. G. Wells, Jeff Wayne
  • Narrated by: Michael Sheen, Taron Egerton, Theo James, and others
  • Length: 5 hrs and 4 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,556
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,389
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,375

One of the world’s most recognisable sci-fi stories, H. G. Wells’ The War of The Worlds established numerous conventions for the genre, including the threat of an invasive extraterrestrial species, space travel and intergalactic conflict, inspiring directors, gamers, producers and writers alike with its sobering story of struggle and survival. Marrying the suspense, drama and urgency of Wells’ original novel with Jeff Wayne’s rousing and flamboyant score, Audible’s new and exclusive dramatisation uses action, narration, original music and evocative sound design to immerse listeners in a world that’s as thrilling as it is desolate. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stunning Interpretation of Jeff Wayne's Classic!

  • By Simon on 29-11-18

Just brilliant!

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

Reviewed: 24-01-19

Like most of us who were in our teens and twenties in the seventies I had a disc of this, which has somehow vanished over the years. I just loved this new version! The acting was super - the cast took it seriously and played it straight, so that the Victorian context felt truthful to its period, whilst H G Wells’s amazingly advanced science fiction felt incredibly contemporary. It was almost impossible to believe this was written well over a century ago; it stands up well beside later attempts to put it in a modern context.
And then of course there’s the music and soundscape- again, it worked really well: again, of its period but played seriously - and what a pleasure to hear almost mythic musicians such as Jeff Wayne himself and - hushed tones - Herbie Flowers!
Thanks so much Audible - beautifully done, great fun, but the quality of the original story and music itself shines through as fresh as paint.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Reckoning

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 539
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 494
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 489

Pete Banning was Clanton's favourite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbour and a faithful member of the Methodist Church. Then one cool October morning in 1946, he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder wasn't shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete's only statement about it - to the sheriff, to his defense attorney, to the judge, to his family and friends and to the people of Clanton - was 'I have nothing to say'. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Grisham Grinds to a Halt!

  • By Simon on 24-10-18

Oh dear.

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

Reviewed: 13-12-18

I’m a real admirer of Grisham, even at his most morally angry (Rainmaker) or ‘literary’ (Painted House), There are indeed parts of this novel which are exciting, moving and tense, and throughout it is well-written. (It’s also very well read by the way.)

The problem is the plot and the pacing: whole chunks of the book take far too long to get through, particularly when they don’t really achieve anything by doing so. I found myself skipping entire chapters. On the other hand, other quite significant bits were dealt with so briefly that it felt anticlimactic.
The end was so disappointing- without giving the game away, in the plot twist - introduced in the final 10 minutes of the reading, a new character appears, critical to the whole story, who has hardly been mentioned prior to this. Whilst the implications are profound, they’re not explored at all, and in any case by that time I actually didn’t care. I was left with a sense of deeply disappointing ‘So what?’
Finally, I agree with some critics on here- can’t fully relate to any of the characters.

  • Ep. 9 (The Jungle Book)

  • By: Rudyard Kipling
  • Narrated by: Bill Bailey, Richard E. Grant, Colin Salmon, and others
  • Length: 15 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Mowgli is now full-grown, and a deep unhappiness is in him. Meeting a large wild buffalo, he learns that a man-pack is nearby. Drawn by the fires of their village, Mowgli suddenly finds himself on a new path where his old life cannot follow.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Captivating

  • By Amazon Customer on 15-04-19

Super, what a treat.

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

Reviewed: 30-11-18

Loved this - thanks very much Audible. Great performances, and a timely reminder of what a truly wonderful book this is, with the Disney treatments peeled away. I’d simply forgotten how gorgeous, funny, moving and evocative it is.
Two comments - firstly I wish there was even more of the original text, and please can you do a continuous version? Very irritating to have to keep restarting, especially listening in the car!

  • The Distant Echo

  • By: Val McDermid
  • Narrated by: Tom Cotcher
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,196
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,024
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,022

On a freezing morning four drunken students stumble upon the body of a woman in the snow. Rosie has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in a cemetery. The only suspects are the four young men now stained with her blood. Twenty-five years later the police mount a cold-case review of Rosie’s unsolved murder, and the four are still suspects. But when two of them die in suspicious circumstances, it seems that someone is pursuing their own brand of justice....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absorbing story with good characters

  • By Janet on 07-03-17

Atmospheric and beautifully written

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

Reviewed: 13-08-18

Excellent story, the first part really well drawn and growing in tension as the personal nightmare unfolds. I was a student in Scotland myself in the seventies, and this felt authentic and real. Second part - twenty five years later - you discover what’s happened to the earlier protagonists. Characterisation is - as ever with Val Macdermit - excellent, plot gripping and twisting in a satisfactory way. It’s also read very well.
Slight reservations- second part a tiny bit sluggish perhaps. I was also slightly disappointed in the ending- not that the plot isn’t good, but it felt weirdly rushed after the finely drawn detail. After all the suffering and frustration, the whole plot is revealed in about three minutes of explanation - like the denouement in a Poirot! . I felt that readers/listeners needed and deserved more!
But that aside I’d definitely recommend it - I couldn’t leave it for three days!

  • Tales for a Stormy Night

  • A Pandora's Box of Classic Chillers
  • By: Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edith Wharton, and others
  • Narrated by: Full Cast
  • Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

It's midnight. Turn out the lights, cuddle with your true love, and shiver to fright-meisters Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H. P. Lovecraft. Quicken your pulse with the elegant terror of Henry James, Edith Wharton, and Guy de Maupassant. Chortle at the black glee of H. H. Munro and Ambrose Bierce.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Scary to listen too, not in a good way.

  • By Josie on 04-06-08

Mixed

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

Reviewed: 13-05-18

Good, classic tales, some of which were new to me. American stories well read, but I’m afraid the British accents are frequently rather toe-curlingly flaky.

  • Ghostly Tales

  • Audible Christmas Gift 2017
  • By: Charles Dickens, E. F. Benson, J. H. Riddell, and others
  • Narrated by: Simon Callow, Sally Phillips, John Banks, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,855
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,851

The days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer, and as Christmas approaches the time is high for some ghostly tales. As an exclusive gift for Audible members, settle down, snuggle up and listen to four chilling ghost stories, read by Simon Callow. Four great stories, one master storyteller - what could be simpler than that?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • really well read

  • By Amazon Customer on 20-12-17

Thanks Audible- a brilliant little gift!

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

Reviewed: 21-01-18

An amazingly good collection- I love these period stories, and to my genuine surprise wasn’t familiar with any of them, other than The Signalman.
Simon Callow’s reading is of course tremendous, but compliments too to the other cast members, particularly Sally Phillips, who I always think of as a comedian, but here really contributed to the unnerving atmosphere.
Without spoiling the twist at the end, I trust that no cast members were harmed in the making of this audiobook!

  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

  • Bobiverse, Book 1
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,091
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,638
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,619

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An unexpected gem

  • By Andrew on 29-01-17

Loved it - BUT!

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

Reviewed: 16-10-17

Brilliant old fashioned hard SF, in the fine traditions of Arthur C Clarke, Asimov etc. Really well read, entertaining and thoughtful. I almost loved it totally.
So why the giant BUT?
Look, I'm not a rabid feminist, honestly. But couldn't the author even remotely imagine (for example) a female leader of the serving population of earth? Let alone (and this is the bit that actually pissed me off) a new evolving intelligent society in which:
a) the females' sole duty is not only childcare, staying at home and cooking?
b) the females are not the weakest and therefore have to be looked after by the big strong males ?
c) the highly intelligent juvenile is s girl, for heavens sake?

Really - this is the 21st century. This reads like the 1950s.

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,684
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,550
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,555

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark - from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman. It's about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Cunning Darkness

  • By Simon on 08-10-15

Enchanted childhoods

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

Reviewed: 16-03-17

Gaiman just gets better and better. A gripping and frightening magical story, but the strongest aspect is the brilliant evocation of what it is like to be a little child, as opposed to the older children who are the usual bold, adventurous heroes of children's fiction. Little kids are still reliant on the adults around them, still aware of their own vulnerability, so that when a beloved parent behaves violently or uncharacteristically, this is terrifying. He also describes so well the dependency of a bookish child on its books as a source of information about what it's like to be a child. I too climbed trees, attempted to climb down drainpipes, looked for Narnia round every corner because kids in books did these things.
Have now read it a few times since its initial publication and as usual Neil Gaiman reads his own work brilliantly.

  • The Documents in the Case

  • By: Dorothy L Sayers, Robert Eustace
  • Narrated by: Jane McDowell
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 34

The best of the golden-age crime writers, praised by all the top modern writers in the field, including P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, Dorothy L. Sayers created the immortal Lord Peter Wimsey. But in this thrilling murder story, she tells her story instead through the letters of the victim and the suspects. The bed was broken and tilted grotesquely sideways. Harrison was sprawled over in a huddle of soiled blankets.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Only for die-hard fans!

  • By Heather Cawte on 09-08-16

Fascinating and different

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

Reviewed: 21-01-17

This is one of Dorothy L Sayers least known stories, and it's one of my favourites, so I was delighted to see it on audible.
It's different from her usual fare in a number of characteristics: for a start it's co-written, and the consequences are substantial: no Peter Wimsey, the plot unfolds through a series of statements, letters and so on presented as evidence, and the murder is revealed through a scientific denouement! A great yarn, if a bit slow moving perhaps at the beginning.

Slightly disappointed by the performance, but not particularly due to Jane mcdowells reading. As there are a series of documents , from both male and females protagonists, it just would have been easier to follow with a mixture of male and female readers. But definitely worth listening to.