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Entertaining Yarn

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

Reviewed: 12-08-17

Enjoyable picaresque that thoroughly entertained for the full running time. Well worth the credit and the listening hours!

The Box of Delights cover art

Superb reading of a timeless book

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

Reviewed: 10-12-16

One of my favourites from audible, listen to it every christmas - rich as plum pudding and the reading is a tour de force. Even has the music from the classic BBC television version!

Lives up to the hype

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

Reviewed: 29-12-14

I was hearing praise for this memoir from all quarters and finally gave in and spent a credit. It's a worthy winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize and all its other accolades- poetical, funny, mesmerising, full of insights and information. If you're looking for a book that seizes you by the lapels it might not be for you; it can be cool, standoffish, un-snuggly--a bit like its titular hawk. After the first hour I at least was completely hooked and it brought a rewarding mood of contemplation to my work week. Perfectly read by the author, who unlike many writers sounds like a professional reader (in fact, just realised to my surprise that it was read by the author, in writing this review!). Highly recommended for bookish lovers of nature.

13 people found this helpful

Terrific

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

Reviewed: 18-07-14

If you're looking for a beautifully written supernatural Victorian thriller this is pretty much ideal. It's clearly at least partly inspired by Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (amplified by being read by the same superlative reader), but this is more of a genre novel, with suspense and thrills and good guys/bad guys. The supernatural London police force and some horror elements also shares some of the spirit of the Rivers of London series. The entertainingly Dickensian cast of characters is huge and diverse- almost too huge, there must be at least six point-of-view characters-- the piratical Cook, the mysterious amnesiac girl, the other mysterious mad woman, etc etc. The prose is convincingly Victorian and a bit florid if you like that sort of thing, which I do!

It ties up its most burning plot points but is clearly setting up a series, so one more thing to wait impatiently for..

7 people found this helpful

What a delightful book!

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

Reviewed: 04-06-14

I have no particular interest in Noah's ark or cuneiform but it was on the 2-for-1 list so what the heck. Win! This is so charming I could listen to it all day. You can practically hear the twinkle in Irving Finkel's eye as he relates with wonderful clarity, enthusiasm, and wit the detective story of ancient-script decoding and the odd folks that engage in it. The eventual painstakingly excavated revelations of the mythology of flood stories is enthralling and Finkel is as terrific a reader as he is a writer. Makes you want to sit in a pub across from the British Museum with him for hours and shoot the breeze. Suggest listeners google an image of the author to better picture his epic beard.

8 people found this helpful

Just didn't take off

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

Reviewed: 22-05-14

I really enjoyed this author's 'Black Magician' trilogy and was looking forward to something with a steampunk edge from her. She seemed like someone who did lightweight, pacey fantasy right.

But I just had to give up on this one. Despite the narrator gamely doing his best, he couldn't get any personality out of the robotic lead, or excitement out of the functional prose. There's some neat ideas but it reminded me of the old Truman Capote quote, "this isn't writing, it's typing." Could just be me but this felt dead.

10 people found this helpful

First Class Writing and Reading

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

Reviewed: 04-04-14

A superb, and long!, comfort-read, with vivid pictures of a Victorian childhood, nursing during WWI in London, lots of travel (surfing in Hawaii in the 1920s!) and (not quite enough) of the life of a working writer. It's largely vividly remembered anecdotes of Christie's life filtered through her novelist's eye; it feels on the whole more like a novel than a memoir.

This is no misery memoir or tell-all-- Christie likes everybody and enjoys everything, has an idyllic childhood, a comfortable middle-class life, and then becomes of course an incredible success. There are some money worries, a divorce etc that are rather swiftly gone over, but they only make her eventual triumph sweeter. It's hard to believe the real Christie was quite such an uncomplicated creature but the 'character' she creates of herself is someone I'd cheerfully spend a long train journey with.

This would all be terribly dull except for the fact that Christie is simply an incredibly good writer (and up till now I haven't been a fan, I think I've only read a couple of her books). She can make even a scene of uneventfully choosing wallpaper entertaining, with the deft characterisation of the workman and a wee three-act structure. Always pleasant and fun, the book has touches of greatness-- her channeling of her childhood self must be one of the great depictions of the child-mind, up there with David Copperfield.

This book is already great, and Judith Boyd's reading makes it wonderful. She reads with all the energy and drama of a novel, I'll definitely look out for other readings by her.

13 people found this helpful

The reviews don't lie!

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

Reviewed: 23-02-14

Crackerjack cosmic mystery-adventure for X-Files/Lost/Buffy/Fringe/etc fans, with witty dialogue, fun well-drawn characters, and swift excellently-judged pacing. Great performance in an edge-of-the-seat style from the reader. Couldn't turn it off!

2 people found this helpful

Delicious Gothic

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

Reviewed: 14-02-14

A smart, well-crafted, rich stew with bits of Rebecca, The Haunting of Hill House, Turn of the Screw, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and every gothic trope ever. Excellent absorbing stuff for a rainy day, especially as the reader is so good! Top listen.

Fantasy Commodified

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

Reviewed: 06-02-14

Audible doesn't seem to provide a description of this book so, in short: a typical 'fantasy' world in a parallel earth (dragons, magic, etc) is discovered by a shady businessman from our own earth, Mr Chesney. By controlling a powerful demon, he subjugates the magical population and forces them to act out epic fantasy novel tropes a la Lord of the Rings for package tours. Good business for innkeepers and swordmakers, bad for almost everyone else. The Tour must culminate in the defeat of the Dark Lord, a very undesirable appointment that this year falls on mild-mannered nerd-wizard Derk and his large and opinionated family.

Now, the review:
I either love DWJ books or find them baffling. This one is completely on the 'love' side; enthralling, full of the weirdness and imagination of Jones at her best, but grounded in wonderful characters and a commitment to follow the strange idea as far as it will lead. This could have been mere wall to wall silliness, but it's so much more than that. It's quite a bit darker than I'd expected, with some of the fever-dream quality Jones' books often have. The sequel Year of the Griffin is also great and on Audible.

The reader does an excellent job with the very large cast of voices and is very easy to listen to.

3 people found this helpful