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.
Short Review: Fairly standard ‘boy meets girl, boy turns out to be vampire’ romance – but with a few twists you likely won’t expect. A pair of excellent readers, endearing characters and a fresh take on Romanian vampires make this a very enjoyable story.
Reader: Johanna Parker
Short Review: Well read first installment of the Southern Vampire Mysteries series (better known now as the books that inspired HBO’s TrueBlood series). Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic waitress in a world in which vampires have “come out of the coffin”, and her world is getting more dangerous with each passing the day.
Reader: Stephen Briggs
Short Review: This follow-up to Going Postal follows Moist Von Lipwig as he embarks on a new venture: running the Mint at the all-too-pointed behest of Lord Vetinari. Briggs, as usual, reads well and beautifully. Pratchett, as usual, is funny and satirical. What’s not to love?
Reader: Richard Mitchley
Short Review: A standout story from Pratchett’s Johnny Maxwell trilogy, read with great personality and skill by Richard Mitchley. Our hero Johnny learns that he can see and speak to the Dead in his local cemetery, and winds up facing down corrupt, frightening enemies.
Reader: Simon Jones
Extra: Introduction by author Kaza Kinglsley in which she explains how she got the idea of Erec Rex and some of her process of creating the first book.
Short Review: Entertaining fantasy in which a 12 year old boy discovers a parallel but hidden world of magic. Fun characters plus a great reader makes for a captivating audio book.
Reader: Michael Shanks
Short Review: Star crossed lovers set in an intricately woven universe including space ships, elements of magic and linguistics. The reader needed someone to insist on better pacing in an otherwise very solid performance.
Reader: Jeremy Irons
Short Review: One of my favorite Dahl books, read enchantingly by the inimitable Jeremy Irons.
Reader: Steven Crossley
Short Review: A decent book with a major flaw, read beautifully by Steven Crossley. Connolly’s book starts out as a promising depiction of the interior life of a bookish, depressed boy with apparently undiagnosed epilepsy and OCD. Unfortunately, it continues on into an all-too-familiar series of retellings of classic fairytales, several of which villanize women for no clear reason. I expected and hoped for more from the book itself. Thankfully, I truly enjoyed Crossley’s narration, and allowed it to carry me through a book that otherwise left me scratching my head and feeling disappointed and maligned.
Author: Roald Dahl
Reader: Eric Idle
Short Review: Dahl’s award-winning children’s book read wonderfully by Eric Idle.
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.
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.