Sunday, April 22, 2012

Audiobook review: Tar—The Wandering by Helen Sea

Tár—The Wandering by Helen Sea
Genre: Fable
Length: 53m
Audio publisher: Books Are Loud, 2011
Read by: Julia Franklin
From: Review copy from Books Are Loud through Audiobook Jukebox

Story: Tár wanders the frozen world collecting tears. One day her friend Favnea the bird brings her a strange tear. Tár does not know who it came from, but it is not a human tear. This tear seems special. Tár decides to find out where the tear came from, but the journey is harder and more dangerous than she expects.

Thoughts: Tár is a very dense short story, less than an hour long. I listened to it several times and caught something new each time. Tár is an amazing character. She has an all-encompassing job, and her dedication is inspiring. To help with her tear-gathering, she has several unique tools. I'd love to hear more of Tár's family, adventures, and the other Wanderers. There is a lot going on around Tár outside of the story told here.

Reading: This is my first audiobook read by Julia Franklin, and I was very impressed with her professionalism. Her characters were each unique and the melody of her voice lent mystery to the tale. I really enjoyed her reading and will be sure to seek out other books narrated by her.

Music: I am very apprehensive about music in audiobooks. I don't want it to overpower or distract in any way. Tár contains original music composed by the author consisting of short snippets played on a wooden flute. The music was mostly calm and quiet and fit well with the story. The same few bars were used, and they eventually became repetitive, but only a few times did the music clash with the words. At those times the music was too light for the story's seriousness and the music undermined the developing tension. Aside from these few places, I felt the music added to the story and set a mood of calm determination.

Final thoughts: Tár—The Wandering is an impressive fable suitable for middle grades through adults.  Tár's determination is an inspiration to other wanderers.

Audiobook review: Chasing the Dragon by Nicholas Kaufman

Chasing the Dragon (2009) by Nicholas Kaufman
Genre: Contemporary fantasy
Length: 3h 31m
Audio publisher: Iambik Audiobooks, 2011
Read by: Alex Foster
From: Review copy from Iambik through Audiobok Jukebox

Story: Georgia is the world's last hope. Only she can defeat the ancient Dragon that has been stalking the Earth since the time of St. George. The Dragon is determined to destroyed Georgia and everything she has ever loved. With her guns at the ready, Georgia is resolved to follow the dragon's voice in her mind, that is, when she can fight off the cravings of her body.

Thoughts: There's a good story in here, but it's just too short. I would love a prequel following Georgia before the events in Chasing the Dragon. Some of it is provided in flashbacks, and it would be great to learn more about the person Georgia was before she became so numb. I love how the story starts in the middle of the action, and we learn about Georgia and her motives as it moves along. I was startled by the level of violence and gore, but it seems appropriate for the world Georgia is living in. Since there is so much crammed into such a short novella, I got a little confused by the mythology, but overall I'm glad I met Georgia and would like to see her again.

Reading: At first I thought it was odd to have a man narrating a story with a female protagonist, especially since most of the story consists of Georgia's thoughts. However, I was soon won over by Alex Foster's smooth British accent. He does a great job. His reading is very sympathetic, and his choices emphasize and reinforce Georgia's loneliness and isolation. I have to protest that a character from Detroit has a strange New York/Southern accent, but other than that, the reading is superb.

Final Thoughts:A violent, gory, and short novella in a world much like our own where no one is irremediable and mistakes just might lead to salvation.

Audiobook Jukebox

Been away a long time

Wow. I knew I had been gone for a long time, but didn't realize how long it's been.

A quick update on everything that's been happening. I got a new job. I moved across country. I found a place to live. I finally got internet installed yesterday. I am way behind on several reviews and will put those up. I've been listening to a lot of good books and reading some great graphic novels. The library here is fabulous. It has all the graphics I've been wanting to read but had trouble getting my hands on. I joined an all-female science fiction book club. I know. How perfect is that! Things are going great. I just don't have as much time to devote to blogging. So, we'll see how things go once life settles down a bit.