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Jamie Sleeman

Hampshire, England.
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  • reviews
  • 11
  • helpful votes
  • 12
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  • A Game of Thrones

  • Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
  • By: George R. R. Martin
  • Narrated by: Roy Dotrice
  • Length: 33 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,043
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,262
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9,274

The complete, unabridged audiobook of A Game of Thrones. HBO’s hit series A Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin’s internationally best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A Game of Thrones is the first volume in the series. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A truly brilliant fantasy novel

  • By Qasim on 16-09-11

Hit and miss.

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

Reviewed: 27-04-18

This is a wonderful story and I couldn't reccomend George R.R. Martin's tales of Westeros highly enough. As good as the television series is, this is better. More fleshed out, more characters, more body.

Somehow the author has taken a story about dragons, magic and myth and woven them into a gritty and realistic narrative . Stunning work and despite his assertions to the contrary, better than Tolkein's body of work about Arda, in my opinion.

However....

The reading of this book by Roy Dotrice is BLOODY AWFUL! He gives the weirdest and most inappropriate voices imaginable to the characters. Tyrion Lannister for instance, who of anyone in this should have had a cut-glass RP accent, is given a voice by Dotrice that sounds reminiscent of Dick van Dyke trying to play a Hobbit. It's an outrageously stupid cod Westcountry accent. Ned Stark on the other hand, a man who should have a quirky accent, being as he is, a fantasy version of a cross between a medieval Northumbrian and a Viking lord, is given Dotrice's own RP-ish voice. Many other characters are similarly badly voiced, some of them so badly done (as opposed to the voice simply being inappropriate) that it genuinely sounds like it is being done for comedy effect. I'm reminded of Hugh Laurie in the second series of Blackadder, comically imitating the voice of a Tudor serving wench.
'Will you 'ave another piece of poy, moi lawd?'
But worst of all, the crowning piece of corn on the turd of voice actor ineptitude, is the way he doesn't so much murder the pronunciation of people's names, as hang them, cut them down while alive, draw their bowels out with a two foot hook and then quarter them into pieces to be displayed on spikes.
It should be obvious to anyone reading these books that the names are mostly ordinary ones, save for those that originate from exotic languages, such as those of the Targaryens. (Who he all gets spot on, rather weirdly.) Some of these names have quirky spellings, such as Petyr Baelish's. It is obvious that this should be pronounced the same way as "Peter". Yet Dotrice turns it into Peh-tire. And after a few hours and several dozen repetitions it gets REALLY bloody irritating. Worse than listening to people calling the letter Aitch "Haitch" irritating. With Joffrey he repeatedly, but not always, calls him Geoffrey, interspersing this with the correct pronunciation. On at least one occasion he calls the spiteful Lannister boy both Joffrey and Geoffrey in THE SAME SENTENCE!
I have never in my life heard a worse reading performance. He also often gives the impression of someone who's run out of breath midway through a sentence and has to pause to recover it before finishing. At the least this is distracting, at the worst it is majorly annoying.
I know Roy Dotrice has done the audiobook recordings for all five of the Song of Ice and Fire novels published so far. By the time George R.R. Martin comes out with The Winds of Winter (if he can extract himself from all his more profitable side projects for long enough to actually do it) I sincerely hope they have a different reader record it. This one is so awful, you wonder how he ever got the job. And how did anyone at Audible never pick up on how third rate his performances are?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Stranger in a Strange Land

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Martin McDougall
  • Length: 23 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 232
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 209

Epic, entertaining, blasphemous, this is the most influential and controversial of Science Fiction novels. Stranger in a Strange Land caused uproar when it was first published as it savaged conventional religious, sexual, and social ideals. Many years in the future, Valentine Michael Smith's upbringing is exceptional. Orphan child to two astronauts killed in space, he is raised on Mars. Twenty-five years later he is "rescued" and brought back to Earth. The initial enthusiasm of the administration in Smith's safe return is soon dampened by the realisation that they cannot control him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stranger in a strange land

  • By Mr. S. P. Campbell on 20-04-17

Mixed bag

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

Reviewed: 08-08-16

This is not a particularly well-written book, but it has achieved an iconic status for its ability to make people think. It is pretty damn long and some passages are excruciatingly expository, but if you're into anything "New Age" or consider yourself an alternative thinker, you'll enjoy it.
The big downside is Martin McDougall's narrative performance, which is, quite frankly, one of the worst readings I've ever heard. He has roughly the vocal range of an early-career Arnold Schwarzenegger and will pause in mid-sentence for roughly twice as long as you normally would for the end of one before continuing, which gives a very disjointed and sometimes confusing experience for the listener. Can't believe this guy can make a living doing this job.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • When Britain Saved the West

  • The Story of 1940
  • By: Robin Prior
  • Narrated by: Shaun Grindell
  • Length: 13 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

From the comfortable distance of seven decades, it is quite easy to view the victory of the Allies over Hitler's Germany as inevitable. But in 1940 Great Britain's defeat loomed perilously close, and no other nation stepped up to confront the Nazi threat. In this cogently argued book, Robin Prior delves into the documents of the time - war diaries, combat reports, Home Security's daily files, and much more - to uncover how Britain endured a year of menacing crises.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, well written

  • By J on 29-07-15

Excellent narrative, mind-bendingly bad narrator.

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

Reviewed: 06-07-16

What did you like most about When Britain Saved the West?

The narrative.

What other book might you compare When Britain Saved the West to, and why?

Every book about the Second World War ever written.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader of this audiobook, Shaun Grindell, is one of the worst and most irritating readers I have encountered in almost a hundred Audible titles. He reads like an American affecting a British accent in some second-rate sci-fi show, and it is like nails being raked torturously down a chalkboard.
His accent is as English as my ears can detect, but his pronunciation and spoken grammar are entirely American. To listen to him butcher English place names like Berkshire (the first syllable of which he pronounces to rhyme with "twerk", as opposed to "Bark", which is how it should be pronounced) or Bromwich (which he separates into two detached syllables as "Brom-witch", instead of the "Bromich" which a normal British person would do) is nearly as painful as his mangling of dates and numbers. Instead of reading a date as (for example) "the twenty third of September", he says "September twenty three". There is not a person born on this island who pronounces dates in such a way, unless it be whilst tied to a chair and with a gun to their head held by an American linguist with designs on etymological reverse-colonialism.
I accept I may be easier to irritate over such things than many people, but for me it is a horrendous distraction to an otherwise very fine and detailed book.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

"The film they refused to hire Shaun Grindell to narrate."

Any additional comments?

Please do not ever hire Shaun Grindell to narrate a book ever again. He makes my ears bleed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Book 4

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 21 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8,554
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,767
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7,746

The Triwizard Tournament is to be held at Hogwarts. Only wizards who are over seventeen are allowed to enter - but that doesn't stop Harry dreaming that he will win the competition. Then at Hallowe'en, when the Goblet of Fire makes its selection, Harry is amazed to find his name is one of those that the magical cup picks out. He will face death-defying tasks, dragons, and dark wizards, but with the help of his best friends, Ron and Hermione, he might just make it through - alive!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Seriously Good Potter!

  • By Simon on 29-11-15

Darkness gathers.....

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

Reviewed: 07-12-15

In a series of convoluted, carefully woven stories, this has been my favourite since the day I first read it.
In Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts there are no quiet patches, there is always something happening and our hero's resources are tested like never before. He has the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher yet (a mentally frazzled ex-auror - the Wizard World's equivalent of an FBI-cum-MI6 agent) and his unexpected enforced participation in the international Tri-Wizard tournament puts him through trials almost as strenuous as the final book does.
This is where Harry''s exploits explode onto the world stage in a big way and the world of childhood is, for him, left behind forever.
The story twists and turns lime a.... twisty, turny thing and has more sub-plots than a US naval base.
Stephen Fry turns in an excellent performance (it's nice to hear Latin pronounced correctly for once!) and his voice for Voldemorte is better than in Philosopher's Stone, where it didn't sound much different from his voice for Dobby. He still doesn't sound as satanically mental as Ralph Fiennes, but that actor's performance is hard to equal and probably impossible to beat.
Hugely enjoyable. Get it and dive into the Wizarding World for a day or two.

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Book 3

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8,863
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,996
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7,976

When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it's the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run - and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry's tea leaves.... But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Series Matures

  • By Simon on 26-11-15

Something wicked this way comes.....

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

Reviewed: 01-12-15

Another cracking performance from both Jo Rowling and Stephen Fry.

Until books six and seven, this was Rowling's favourite, and although I don't share that opinion (Goblet of Fire was mine) it's not hard to see why.

Although the first two books were far from pink and fluffy, the series takes a major turn for the dark side from this point on and Harry begins to show the maturity and power which will one day make him the most powerful wizard in the world.

A treat to listen to and digest and I can't wait to revisit book four in audio form.

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 2

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9,505
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,590
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8,541

Harry Potter's summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors - and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone.... Dobby's sinister predictions seem to be coming true.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Delight!

  • By Simon on 24-11-15

Spooky!

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

Reviewed: 29-11-15

Often called the weakest in the series by critics, I personally loved it. Decent, if not brilliant story and Mr. Fry's voice as usual does its own magic.

Slightly contrived ending with Dobby the house elf, but that's me being super picky. All in all, well worth leaving the Muggle world for..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Book 1

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 15,295
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13,673
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 13,675

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfectly Fryed Potter

  • By Simon on 20-11-15

Stephen Fry & The Philosopher's Tone....

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

Reviewed: 26-11-15

A masterful story from someone who deserved their subsequent sucess more than most. J.K. Rowling's series opener for the Potter series delights and scandalises at every turn and the nasal yet cultured voice of Stephen Fry is our guide through the whole thing.
Fry's smooth and level narration leads us from one chapter to the next with class and his vocalisations of the different characters' voices is at turns amusing, scary and draws you further into the story..... with one exception.
His voice for Lord Voldemort is.... there's no other word for it.... pants.
Instead of the sibilant, threatening, yet horrifically intelligent psychosis portrayed so brilliantly in the films by Ralph Fiennes, Fry's Dark Lord reminds me of his voice for Dudley Dursley when throwing a pettish tantrum. Somewhat odd.
But this is my only quibble and not enough to stop this audiobook getting five stars in all three categories.
One down, six to go!

  • Odds Against

  • By: Dick Francis
  • Narrated by: Tony Britton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 163
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130

Amazing what bodily injury could do for a man. A fall from a racehorse had left brilliant jockey Sid Halley dangerously depressed, with a wrecked hand and the need for a new career. And now a bullet wound was helping him find one. He'd been with a detective agency since his racing accident, but it wasn't until some two-bit hoodlum drilled a slug into his side that he was sent out on a case of his own. That was where he met Zanna Martin, a woman who just might make life worth living again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another good one

  • By David on 21-11-07

Great novel, atrocious recording.

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

Reviewed: 23-03-15

I LOVE Dick francis novels. Especially Sid Halley ones it seems, having enjoyed my first around the age of twelve.
This is a great introduction to the Halley character and the story is very engaging, albeit short. (As was the fashion, when it was written several decades ago.)

The recording however is AWFUL beyong words, bearing hallmarks which make it seem likely to have been a digital copy of a tape from the 1970's. The volume leaps up and down, along with varying levels of background hiss and sometimes the change is so abrupt and the subsequent audio so horribly unclear, it almost sounds lime the reader has changed. And speaking of the reader, he is pretty appaulling as well. His accents and female voice impersonations are shockingly bad. cringeworthy even.

Dick Francis: A+
Narrator bloke whose name escapes me now: D
Sound quality: F

  • Fly

  • By: Michael Veitch
  • Narrated by: Michael Veitch
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 24

Simultaneous release of the thrilling new volume of true stories from airmen of the Second World War, from the author of Flak (also available in audio by Bolinda). Michael Veitch's life-long obsession with the aircraft of the Second World War led him to conclude that every single person who flew, or flew in them, has at least one extraordinary story to tell. With most of these veterans in their 80's, he knew that it was a matter of urgency to find them now, before their personal stories disappear forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Goggles on and chocks away!

  • By Jamie Sleeman on 15-02-15

Goggles on and chocks away!

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

Reviewed: 15-02-15

I loved this book. Humour shone through all, despite some of the tales being rather grim. Especially loved the tale of the guy shot down over England, who was nearly impaled on a pitchfork after being mistaken for a German. "Will you piss orf and get me an ambulance!" will live with me forever.

Couldn't reccomend it highly enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Boy

  • Tales of Childhood
  • By: Roald Dahl
  • Narrated by: Dan Stevens
  • Length: 3 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 523
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 471
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 469

Puffin presents the new, unabridged audiobook edition of Roald Dahl's best-selling autobiography Boy, read by Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey. Throughout his young days at school and just afterwards, a number of things happened to Roald Dahl, which made such a tremendous impression he never forgot them. Boy is the remarkable story of Roald Dahl's childhood; tales of exciting and strange things - some funny, some frightening, all true.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great read, such an interesting childhood he had!

  • By Mr Robin Pawsey on 07-06-16

Would they allow this sort of tale in schools now?

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

Reviewed: 24-12-14

A sad, funny and sometimes tragic wend through Roald Dahl's formative years.

It's easy to see how his upbringing influenced his writing for children in later life. Certain thingss overspill, including many plot points from The Witches, Danny the Champion of the World and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

This version is a LOT better than the previous audio version of this books, which was narrated by Andrew Sachs, which I found frankly irritating. (Sorry Andrew.)

I'd love to see the reactions of 21st century kids to the stories in this first autobiography.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful