Review of Audio CD
Reading Level: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 1, 2001
Page: 432 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
This is book two in an ongoing series about Harry Dresden, a wizard detective in Chicago. Jim Butcher sets the standard for urban fantasy. His writing, characterization, plots and world-building are unparalleled. I have been a huge fan of his since early 2007 when my then high-school age son introduced me to this series.
This review is primarily about the audio CD. The sound quality is excellent and it is unabridged. It is narrated by actor James Marsters, best known for playing the character Spike, a platinum-blond, British vampire in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series Angel, between 1997 and 2004. Marsters does an outstanding job on every part of the reading, making listening in that regard a real pleasure. If he had not been a good reader, it would have been hard for me to sit through the full book–bad readers can destroy one’s pleasure in even the most wonderful novel. I am extremely grateful for Mr. Marsters’s reading talents not just for their own sake, but because experiencing this novel as an audiobook gave me the opportunity to admire Jim Butcher’s writing even more than I did before–which I did not think was possible. In my experience of listening to audio versions of books, very few of them can stand up to the intense focus of being read aloud, which is much slower than reading silently to oneself. This relative snail’s pace acts to draw attention to every problem of dialogue, pacing and plot.
I am happy to report that under that intense spotlight, I experienced not a single flaw in this book.
I am not a person who often reads a book more than once–too much to read and far too little time. But this book was definitely worth experiencing twice. And owning this recording means I may listen to it far more times than that in the future.
This is one of the best purchases I ever made.