Reading Aloud

Just now I even tried phoning home again in an effort to not write this. I know I don’t have to write a blog entry but if I put it off then the likelihood is it will just stagnate. I have nothing to report, no quote I wish to comment on or observation I wish to rant about. Or at least at this point in the entry I don’t.

I do want to talk about a book I’m reading. Or rather, I’ve stopped reading now. It’s book three in The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. The first two books I ate up and I couldn’t put them down and now as I read through book three I’m getting more and more disappointed. Same happened with Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy and Trudi Canavan’s Age of The Five series too. What is with the fall off with these books? I love fantasy epics, high fantasy, huge books with long winding plots but I’ve not read a good one since The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist. Are these lacking third books as a result of a deal to tie everything off? What about these other books, why can Mr Feist and Mr Eddings keep the story going through three, six and twelve books? Is there a technique so subtle that it can only be picked up on when you read huge series like this?

I think that the focus needs to be on writing a story, rather than three. The fault here is each book can be read as one – when they shouldn’t be. They should be read as a continuation of the pervious one. I should have to go “Do you know what? I preferred everything as it was at the end of the second book. I’ll give the third a miss.” I should be needed to read the next one because there has to be more development, more movement in there to make me want to read it. And in the case of Assassin’s Quest I just feel like Robin Hobb gave me a paper cut and made me eat Salt and Vinegar crisps.

I have put it aside for now, I have removed my bookmark and put it in the new book. I have started Brent Weeks’ new book – The Black Prism. I’m on Chapter 3 and still don’t know what’s going on but I’m muscling through because it’s a fantasy book with flintlock pistols and muskets so it has great potential.

Talking of David Eddings. Last night I thought about buying a few of the audiobooks for the long drive back home in a few weeks. I went to iTunes and sure enough there they were, so I previewed them. Whoever did the readings for these books was devoid of emotion, sounded like a robot and struggled with the concept of what reading aloud for other people’s pleasure is. I then listened to the audiobook for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Stephen Fry narrates this. And it was beautiful, easy to listen to and a pleasure. You weren’t cringing to every word.

I can’t see why they even make audio books as appalling as these David Eddings ones. The books were fantastic to read and a wonderfully innocent, captivating, honest-to-God fantasy story. Why ruin it by having someone read them who clearly has no interest in them? Not only that – according to some of the reviews the ‘reader’ even attempted some horrific accents as well. To then top it all off they’re asking for £12.95 for the pleasure.

You want to bet I could do a better job. I just don’t know how to do it without having David Eddings’ estate attacking me. Any ideas?

(The Hobbit didn’t even get away from this. Can’t say I like the reader for that one either!)

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