LISTENER

Amazon Customer

  • 18
  • reviews
  • 8
  • helpful votes
  • 297
  • ratings

Hugely disappointing

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

Reviewed: 24-09-19

This book often pops up on 'ghost/horror books you must read' lists, so being a horror fan I thought I'd give it a whirl. I expected something like 'Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad' by M.R.James or 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley - and especially the movie 'The Innocents' from 1961, as that film was based on this book. But I found it incredibly dull and not in the least bit scary, creepy or unnerving - despite much reference in the book itself to 'terrible' things going on.

Things started off well with Richard Armitage's narration which really set a spooky tone, but then the story - what there is of it - kicks off proper, and it's downhill from there. Emma Thompson's narration is fine, but somehow it feels like she's always 'acting', to the point where it feels like she's always slightly overacting. To be honest my lack of enjoyment mostly stems from the dull, dragged out story, where entire passages pass by without much momentum or clarity. Your tolerance with this style of writing may vary, but here's an example of the sort of thing I mean. Chapter 6 opens like this:

'It took of course more than that particular passage to place us together in presence of what we had now to live with as we could - my dreadful liability to impressions of the order so vividly exemplified, and my companion's knowledge, henceforth - a knowledge half consternation and half compassion - of that liability.'

What??

In short, I would not recommend this book. There are much better ghost/horror stories out there, and I don't feel like you'd be missing out by skipping this one.

The Birds & Don't Look Now cover art

Poor quality recording but a great performance

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

Reviewed: 11-09-19

I was intrigued to hear the original stories behind two well regarded horror movies, and they were both pretty good (though The Birds ends quite abruptly).

Peter Capaldi gave a great performance on both books, unfortunately the listening experience was marred a little by a poor quality recording, but as they're short stories I didn't mind too much.

Not a huge fan of sci-fi but loved it

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

Reviewed: 01-08-19

I bought this as I was mildly curious, but it's ended up being one of my favourite books. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi, but as others have said, this is more the backdrop of the story. The characters and pace are excellent, I'd recommend you give it a try if you're on the fence.

I've knocked one star off because I'm afraid I didn't like Gabrielle de Cuir's performance and inwardly groaned whenever she had any significant parts to read. It didn't spoil my overall enjoyment, I just found the tone and pace of her reading irritating compared to the other performers. But still a great listen overall.

The last hour or so of the book is a preview of Shadows in Flight and an interview with Orson Scott Card. The chapter excerpt, from what I understand, is part of another series of books. Since I don't think it's the first in that series it's hard to understand what's going on and who anybody is (made worse by some characters having the same/similar names to characters in Ender's Game, although not being the same people..? I think?), so it's inclusion is a bit strange.

Might've been better as a short story

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

Reviewed: 08-06-19

Struggled with this one. It felt like one long middle of a story, with no beginning or end. Nothing really progresses, and there's no respite from the awful characters or scenario. I realise that's part of the point, but it doesn't make it a good story. Personally I wouldn't recommend it, sorry!

Always a pleasure

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

Reviewed: 25-05-19

Love the podcast and this book doesn't disappoint. There are many funny moments and additional facts.

Fine story but not a standalone one

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

Reviewed: 22-11-18

Quite enjoyed this, though at first I was a bit thrown by the narration. Although Philip Pullman does a fine job (unlike most authors who read their own books), the characters are performed by a cast of actors. It took a little getting used to, and when a character's monologue was interrupted by Pullman to simply say 'he said' in the middle of it, it sometimes jarred. I think it would have been better if the whole book was performed by one person.

Also, although aware this is the first part of a trilogy of books, I thought there would be a little bit more of a resolution to it. Not to end completely, obviously, but just something to make it feel like it could be a self contained story, with the option of continuing if you wanted more. So be warned, the story continues in parts 2 and 3, and if you want to know what happens you'll have to read those too!

Apart from these niggles I did enjoy it.

It's true. All of it.

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

Reviewed: 02-10-18

Well, most of it is true, I'm sure. I hesitated to pick this one up as I'd already listened to How Star Wars Conquered The Universe by Chris Taylor, and wondered how this would differ. Essentially this takes the formation and evolution of the Star Wars stories and scripts by using interviews, transcripts and quotes gathered from years of articles to build a pretty definitive timeline, whereas Taylor's book is more concerned with the production of the movies and their impact.
Josh Robert Thompson does a terrific job narrating, and any direct quotes (by, for example, George Lucas) are performed with impressions - which on paper sounds like a terrible idea, but in reality his evocation (particularly of Lucas) is uncanny and made it all the more enjoyable to listen to. Likewise his Irvin Kershner voice is brilliant, though his Francis Coppola sounds a bit more like Stan Lee to my ears!
Others have mentioned a fair amount of repetition in the book, and whilst there are some repeats of information, considering the subject deals with many different versions of a story told at different times, personally I found a little recap refreshing and helped remind me where in the history each part was taking place.
I learned a lot about the stories, characters and ideas of Star Wars, and would recommend it to fans.

worth a listen if you liked the movie

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

Reviewed: 01-06-18

I was looking forward to the movie version of Annihilation but was put off listening to the book first because of quite a few negative reviews. But having now seen the movie twice and loving it, I thought I'd take a punt on the book as it's a quick listen.

A lot of the negative points still stand (some strange 'rushed' bits of narration, though it's hard to tell if this is because of the way the book was written, or if it's a performance choice or because of editing - or some other technical issue) - but I honestly didn't find it that jarring. In fact, if it hadn't been pointed out in a lot of reviews, I don't think i would have much noticed it. It certainly didn't 'ruin' anything for me, and I thought Carolyn McCormick's narration was fine.

The story does differ from the movie in regards to some plot points, but being a huge fan of the film I found it fascinating to hear where some ideas came from. I actually think it helped having seen the movie first because I had various themes from the movie in mind as I listened, so if you liked the movie but weren't sure whether or not to check out the book, I would recommend it.

Fine story but a tad overlong

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

Reviewed: 24-06-16

Would you try another book written by Oscar Wilde or narrated by Simon Vance?

Not by Oscar Wilde, but narrated by Simon Vance, yes.

What was most disappointing about Oscar Wilde’s story?

It seemed overlong, as there isn't that much of a story here to be honest!

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

His narration is always excellent. You always know when it's a character talking and when he's reading the text, and his subtle differences in performance always make the various characters distinguishable.

Was The Picture of Dorian Gray worth the listening time?

Not really. I'm glad I've listened to it (another one ticked off the bucket list!) but wouldn't listen again.

Any additional comments?

The slight plot would seem better suited to a short story.

A better concept than a story, but still great!

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

Reviewed: 12-04-16

Would you consider the audio edition of Ready Player One to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print edition, but I really enjoyed Wil Wheaton's performance.

What did you like best about this story?

I think I liked the concept better than the story, and it took a while to get going since so much needed to be 'set up' and explained, but once the story kicked in proper it was a great listen.

Have you listened to any of Wil Wheaton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I haven't, but I'd be glad to. I think he suited the point of view of the characters particularly well for this story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I don't want to spoil anything, so will just say the relationships between the characters were well done and believable.

Any additional comments?

About an hour into this book I nearly gave up on it (through the aforementioned 'world building' bits where the concept is introduced/explained), but stuck with it - and I'm glad I did, because once the story started it was a great listen. A few moments dragged here and there, but a satisfying end to the story.