Reviews of Alternate History Audio Books
Reader: James Marsters
Short Review: A well read interesting blend of airships, vampires, alternate history and a strong princess coming of age and discovering her strength.
Readers: Kate Reading and Will Wheaton
Short Review: A steampunk adventure set in an alternate-history Seattle where the Civil War just won't end, airships abound, mad scientists run amok, volcanoes make zombies, and intricate questions about liberty and rights continually rear their heads.
Reader: Alan Cumming
Bonus: Endnote read by the author detailing what is fact and what is fiction
Short Review: In this stunning follow up to Leviathan, Alek and Deryn continue on their intricate path through the steampunk inspired alternate World War I created by Westerfeld. In this rollicking adventure we weave through the back streets of Istanbul, eggs are hatched, some secrets are revealed while others stay safely hidden.
Readers: Davina Porter and Simon Prebble
Short Review: Clarke's entrancing, charming short stories about the magical world introduced in Jonathan Strange & Mr.Norrell particularly focusing on the women who practice magic in this alternate England and run-ins between Englishpeople and faeries. Prebble and Porter are incomparably good readers, taking turns reading stories about men and women, respectively. Clarke's storytelling is downright fascinating, and her language precise and beautiful. I love this audiobook, have listened to it twice, and know I'll listen to it again and again. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Reader: Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris, Neal Stephenson
Short Review: A pretty good but overly long book from one of my favorite authors, read less-than-ideally. This alternate future tale depicts a world where the intellectual elite are forcibly cloistered in pseudo-monastic communities around the world where they're free to think and learn but denied access to many technologies and to "saecular," (i.e., non-intellectual) society. The protagonist Fraa Erasmus is layered and likeable, but the book could stand to lose a couple of hundred pages and the narration isn't as good as it should be. In this instance, I think I would have preferred the paper book to the audio book.
Reader: Peter Riegert
Extra features: The audiobook includes an interview with Michael Chabon about his inspiration for the book, his favorite books and genres, and his writing process.
Short Review: Chabon's Hugo and Nebula award-winning alternate history of a world without Israel but with a temporary Jewish homeland in Sitka, Alaska. Hard-boiled detective Meyer Landsman investigates the murder of a junkie chess-player with his partner and cousin Berko Shemets, a half-Tlingit, half-Jewish cop who is a good father, a good Jew, and a good partner trying to save Landsman from himself. As the case progresses, more and more connections to organized crime, shady US government machinations, separatist Orthodox communities, and zealotry reveal themselves. Riegert is an ideal reader, comfortable with accents, Yiddish, noir, and sadness.