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Don’t have much to say about the story; like other entries in the Drizzt series it’s nothing that will blow you away, but is a solid enjoyable outing nonetheless. It is (or at least this version) however hampered by the narrator.
Bramhall isn’t a bad narrator as such, but various points detract from his performance:
1) the change from Victor Bevine who has narrated up to this point is an abrupt one and is distracting, most notably because they don’t use the same voices for the characters (which in fairness isn’t much of a surprise as it’d require a very skilled voice artist to replicate the voices of another). Now everyone is entitled to their own take on the characters, but the effect is like if in say season 4 of a tv series every single character was recast, which would break emersion; and as it looks like Bevine is back for the next arc in the series, to extend the analogy it’d be as if all the original cast was brought back in season 5.
2) early on Bramhall sounds a bit bored, or as if he’s phoning it in. As things go on he gets a bit more lively and into the role, so hopefully this problem won’t be present in the next book in this trilogy.
3) he over enunciates some words. Regular words in the English language he’s okay with, but various names and the like he puts a lot more stress on than needed; the best analogy I can think of is like in a dub of an anime where the voice artists speak normally when speaking English, but put on a strong Japanese accent for the odd word of Japanese (such as names) that’s still present which sounds abrupt and forced.
4) inconsistent pronunciation. This is partly a mix of 1 and 3 as some words he pronounces differently from Bevine. Again, this isn’t an issue with regular English words but with fictional names/words (eg Menzoberranzan). A handful he’s even inconsistent with himself (eg ‘Wulfgar’ is pronounced as ‘Wolf-gar’ half the time and as ‘Woof-gar’ the other half).
5) some times when he uses the letter ‘s’ it sounds as if he’s spitting all over the script. I’m unsure if he has a slight lisp or if it’s an issue with the recording equipment, but either way it can be distracting some times.
Overall he’s not a bad narrator, but all these issues together snowball to detract from the performance. If this was the only Drizzt book I’d listened to/planned on listening to I’d probably have rated the performance higher and if he was narrating a stand alone book or a different series from the beginning they wouldn’t stop me from listening.
Overall I’d rate this audiobook a 3-3.5 out of 5 and I’d probably bump it to a 3.5-4 if it were to be re-recorded with Bevine for sake of consistency.
Would you consider the audio edition of The Orc King to be better than the print version?
Any additional comments?
So if you've been listening to all of these Drizzt books be prepared for a new narrator. He changes the pronunciation of every name. I get he wants to put a flare of his own scent on this but seriously... Luskin is pretty dang basic yet he calls it Louskon. I almost didn't continue the story at first because of this.
54 of 54 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, if you are a fan of R.A. Salvitore novels you will want to hear this story. It is a good story, although I think some of his other books are slightly superior.
What didn’t you like about Mark Bramhall’s performance?
Bad. Granted I've grown used to Victor Bevine's narration, but Mark Bramhall was just bad. Not only did he mispronounce "made up" words like Bruenor and Drizzt, but he also badly mispronounced some of the standard English language. I can only presume that other narrators were unavailable, or that Mark Bramhall was extremely inexpensive.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No, the story was good, but the constant narration errors were grating.
43 of 43 people found this review helpful