April/May 2012

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Page 46 of 75

Science Fiction & Fantasy LITTLE, BIG: or, The Fairies' Parliament John Crowley Read by John Crowley, Nicole Vilencia A haunting and suspenseful adventure transports the listener into a realm at once enchantingly ethereal and grounded in our ordinary world. John Crowley knows the essence of this setting best and proves it as narrator, delivering just the right combination of amazement and aplomb. Nicole Vilencia announces titles within the chapters. Her breathy and resonant voice is reminiscent of a fairy queen who is bestowing her bless- ing on the bewitching proceedings. Four generations of a family live in a house on the border of a magical world. This intergenerational fantasy dazzles with its elegant, lyrical prose. A.W. Blackstone Audiobooks 23.5 hrs. Unabridged Library Ed.: CD (also CS , MP3 ) ISBN 9781441733924 $140.00 , DD LADDERTOP Orson Scott Card, Emily Janice Card Read by Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Janice Card, and a Full Cast A cast of performers, including Orson Scott Card's own daughter, Emily, presents the first book in his new manga series. Even with the talent of the full cast and the writing ability of Card, the manga format doesn't seem well suited to an audio production. The characters lack depth and development, and the sound effects distract from, rather than enhance, the story. Much of the action, which is probably shown through pic- tures when one is reading the graphic novel, has to be explained to the listener, which makes the development of the plot seem forced. Although Stefan Rudnicki capably narrates much of the story, the production suffers from the inability of manga to make a seamless transition to the audio format. C.E.K. Blackstone Audiobooks 2 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD (also MP3 Library Ed.: CD (also CS , DD , DD ) ISBN 9781455120444 $19.95 ) ISBN 9781455120437 $40.00 , PRE Original music, lively soundscapes, and distinguished performers. SISTERHOOD OF DUNE Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson Read by Scott Brick Scott Brick returns to the Dune saga in this first of a trilogy on the founding of the major schools of the empire, beginning with the Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Eight decades after the thinking machines were defeated, the empire is poised for change as anti- technology forces become increasingly aggressive in destroying anything vaguely related to technology. In his inim- itable style, Brick draws upon his well-established characterizations to weave the threads of the plot and maintain interest and focus. The complexi ty of the Dune universe and the political and social intrigue of the ruling families will be well known to fans of the series. Newcomers may enjoy the book but would be advised to read the original Dune novel first. J.E.M. Macmillan Audio 18 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781427214690 $59.99 (also DD ) THE THIRTEEN HALLOWS Michael Scott, Colette Freedman Read by Kate Reading Kate Reading takes the abundance of sex, violence, and torture in this dark fantasy in stride. Thirteen hallows (artifacts) are being hunted by the Dark Man. After Sarah rescues an elderly woman from a mugging, she learns firsthand the powerful intensity of one of the hallows, which she is meant to pass on to the woman's nephew, Owen. Reading smoothl y t r ans i t i ons between the raw brutality of the thugs as they execute the Dark Man's orders and the innocence of Sarah and Owen as they try to stay out of the Dark Man's reach. Reading brings out the intensi ty of the act ion, creat ing suspense and terror without overdoing it. She moves comfortably between the accents of the English, American, and Welsh characters. J.E.M. Macmillan Audio 11 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781427213488 $39.99 (also DD ) April/May 2012 s 45 SWORDSPOINT: A Melodrama of Manners Ellen Kushner Read by Ellen Kushner, Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, Robert Fass, Nick Sullivan, Simon Jones Richard St. Vier, swordsman extraordi- naire, often fights duels to protect the honor of a noble—or just the highest bid- der. But to fight for his own and his friends' honor is a more complicated matter. There are so many rules for every kind of engagement—battle, politics, and, of course, love. Author Ellen Kushner delivers her utterly unique blend of modern fantasy and nineteenth-century novel of manners with absolute conviction, affectionate humor, and perfect phrasing. "Neil Gaiman Presents" has provided original music, lively soundscapes, and the voices of some of the audio world's most distinguished performers. Hearing Katherine Kellgren, Dion Graham, and others sharpen the cutting, insightful dialogue is pure pleasure. B.P. Audible, Inc. 11 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD $24.95

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