Author: Neil Gaiman
Reader: Neil Gaiman
Short Review: A stunning story beautifully read by the author. Coraline’s boredom leads her to a place just beyond our reality. What at first seems just odd and fun becomes creepy and worth escape, but only by delicate inches. Gaiman’s voice lulls and tantalizes. He is just so good at painting images with the combination of words and his own voice.
Reader: James Marsters
Short Review: Down on his luck detective Harry Dresden also happens to be a real, live wizard. This introduction to Harry’s world includes magic, potions, a talking skull named Bob, werewolves – and of course a murder mystery. James Marsters is brilliant.
Short Review: Meyer’s first foray into sci-fi is very satisfying. Officially an adult novel (in contrast with the young adult label applied to the Twilight series) The Host explores a post-invasion world from the perspective of one of the invaders. It is well written, well read and is still haunting me weeks after I finished listening.
Short Review: Meyer gets better with each book. With this book, she has found a good rhythm. The quieter bits of this story have a stronger voice than those in the first 2 books of the saga. Book 3 digs deeply into Bella’s relationships and finally starts to ask the question of “Why?”. We still get good action scenes (because there is always action in a world that has vampires and werewolves) – but we also see Bella make conscious choices with an eye to the consequences in her future.
Reader: Ilyana Kadushin
Short Review: The good: a fresh and creative version of vampire and werewolf legends with characters you care about and great action scenes. The less good: lots and lots of Bella’s internal angst-ridden dialogue (not that there is anything wrong with that, if you have a taste for that sort of thing).
Short Review: If you loved Wee Free Men, you will love Hat Full of Sky. Same great reader – same fun mix of humor, youth, adventure and self-discovery. Tiffany Aching is now 11 and training with a mountain witch. She finds herself faced with a new opponent called a Hiver. It takes all her strength of will (plus the help of the Nac Mac Feegle and a number of other witches) to make it to the end of this entertaining story.
Short Review: Fabulous and laugh-out-loud funny. Tiffany Aching, 9 year old witch-in-training, takes us on a wild ride to fairyland to rescue her baby brother and save the world from the evil queen. She has the help of the Nac Mac Feegle who happen to be 6 inch tall, fearless, phenomenally strong, kilt-wearing, blue-skinned, red-haired little men who speak with a strong Scottish brogue and are prone to thieving, drinking and fighting. Stephen Briggs reads this brilliantly. It is Terry Pratchett and Discworld at their best.
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Reader: Ilyana Kadushin
Short Review: One 17 year old girl who always felt different (and is a klutz to the extreme) crosses paths with a family of exquisite vampires. Romance and intrigue ensues. It grew on me, but it took a while.
Author: Susan Cooper
Reader: Alex Jennings
Short Review: This timeless story will spirit you away to a summer in Cornwall to join Simon, Jane, and Barney on a great and noble quest. Alex Jennings creates distinct voices for all the characters (especially for the three children) – and knits together a magical world for your enjoyment.
Author: Shannon Hale
Reader: Full Cast Audio
Short Review: A magical fairy tale brought to life by an amazing cast of readers. This modern retelling of a Grimm’s tale follows Ani, Princess of Kildenree, as she finds her own inner strength and true path in life. It is officially listed for Grades 6-9, but I am here to tell you that it is a fine choice for any adult interested in getting swept along by a well told tale of magic and strength.
Short Review: A good listen. Likable characters and diverse perspectives carry us through a story set in the here. The author who coined the term cyberspace delivers a carefully wrought tale of high tech intrigue. Robertson Dean reads well – not a performance I would gush about, but it gets the job done without any mannerisms that I found annoying. He faded into the background in the telling – and in my book that is just fine.
Reader: Lloyd James
Short Review: Amazing storyteller + multiple fabulous characters + a rollicking fantasy adventure + the perfect voice to pull it all together = one darn good fantasy audio book experience.