Audiobook reviews – The King’s General, Pyramids by Sir Pratchett, and LOTR-The Fellowship Of The Ring

 

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Everyone must be familiar with this one already – if you haven’t read the book you’ll have seen the films. And if you haven’t tried either of those formats yet then it’s probably because you’re not interested and beyond redemption!

I’ve been a huge fan of LOTR since I first read it as a teenager, and I still have a hardback copy of the trilogy that my mum gave me for Christmas in 1998 (my dog ate my previous paperback edition along with a few prized AC/DC records). I even own a reproduction of both the Sword of the Witchking and Sting from the movies. It’s safe to assume I love LOTR and The Hobbit so the question is: does this audiobook do justice to the series?

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Nazgul sword. Painting on the right by Eugene Ames Baker, Google him!

Mostly, yes. I enjoyed Rob Inglis’s narration although it took some getting used to as his voice reminded me very much of the kind of person you’d hear in an early 1970’s English TV show like Mr Benn!  His range of voices and accents is good although his renditions of the many songs had me reaching for the skip button a few times. I think his reading made the audiobook sound rather dated overall, especially after the big-budget movies. It didn’t ruin my enjoyment, just didn’t seem quite as sparkling as it might have, had someone like Rupert Degas (who narrated Patrick Rothfuss’s excellent novels) read it.

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My hardback copy of the trilogy from 1998

Still, that’s just my personal opinion, Inglis certainly wasn’t a BAD reader and the story is a genuine classic. Great to hear Tom Bombadil again after the movies decided to cut him out. I listened to much of this on a drive back to Scotland from Devon this summer, in the pre-dawn hours while my family slept. It was a wonderful way to pass the time!

RATING – 5/5

I’ve listened to a few of Pratchett’s audiobooks now and I particularly love Nigel Planer’s narration. He cracks me up at times, even if the sound quality is absolutely crap. Normally the storyline is great too but Pyramids left me rather disappointed. Sir Terry wrote a LOT of books in this series and it’s remarkable how many of them were (light) fantastic but not all of them were stonewall classics. This is one of the poorer ones, with a weak plot that doesn’t seem to hang together very well, a lacklustre ending, no real laugh-out-loud moments, and a cast of characters lacking anyone truly memorable like Rincewind, the Luggage or Samuel Vimes. I actually struggled to finish it which is a surprise given how much I normally love Pratchett’s stuff.

RATING – 3/5

 

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As a fan of predominantly historical fiction, with a bit of sci-fi and fantasy thrown in, I only discovered Daphne du Maurier this year, with Rebecca (review HERE) and loved it so much I listened to more. My Cousin Rachel was okay, Jamaica Inn superb! So I very much wanted to try The King’s General as the reviews on Audible are very good.

Unfortunately, I found it pretty boring. The writing is good, so I never once felt like giving up, but not a lot happens from the middle onwards, it just kind of fizzles out. Like all of du Maurier’s books I thought it started slowly but soon drew me in and had me hooked, wanting to know what would happen in the next chapter. It’s a tale of a woman falling in love with a complete twat of a man and that’s probably one reason why I didn’t really enjoy it as much as her other books. Richard Grenville was a real person, and the way he’s portrayed here made me really not care what happened to him, or the main, female lead who, although not blind to his faults by any means, never takes him to task for them. It’s like she’s so in love with him that she doesn’t even want to criticise him and, for a woman who’s supposedly so smart, I felt little sympathy for her, or anyone else in the book. It’s a bit like Wuthering Heights in that regard, with every single character being a bit of an arsehole so you end up not really caring what happens to any of them. And, in fact, nothing much happens to any of them anyway, it just fizzles out and an epilogue explains how things ended up for all the real-life people. Hardly an explosive finale.

I suspect, since du Maurier wrote this book by basing it on true events, she had to stick rigidly to a certain framework, and that must have hampered her creativity and characterisation. I would Google it to find out more but…well, the novel didn’t interest me enough to care that much.

Narration was good.

RATING – 3/5

I think it’s time I tried something completely different now, so have downloaded The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis as my next listen. A mystery set in ancient Rome, I’m hoping it’s rather more exciting than The King’s General

Don’t forget my Forest Lord books are available from Audible. Nick Ellsworth did a superb job narrating them, so check them out if you haven’t already!

FL series audible (1)

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