Since the country is going through a Harry Potter frenzy right now, I feel I should mention how wonderful I’ve found the Harry Potter audiobooks published by Listening Library. I’ve listened to two of them, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (currently in production as a feature film) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I also joined the fray last weekend and purchased the audiobook of the newest title, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which won’t get to right away. (My wife and son are currently enjoying it.) I’ll write up a proper review when I do.
But until then: Both of the volumes I have listened to are simply excellent. If you’ve seen the films, you really know what to expect, especially from Volume 3. In the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling really takes it up a notch. This book actually won a Hugo award a couple of years back as the best novel of the year, and I admit that I was surprised at that result. I felt that George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords should have won the award. After listening to this novel, though, I feel that it was worthy of consideration (though I still would have voted for Martin’s book). It is thicker and certainly darker in both character and theme than the previous three books. It is a novel written for young adults, but there’s plenty in there to appeal to us older folks.
Jim Dale narrates all of the Potter novels. His range in these performances is incredible. There are many different characters in this book, and Dale provides distinct voices to each one. He acts them all with great skill. It’s true that many of the characters are not particularly deep – an evil character is simply evil and does evil things without us really knowing why. At least not yet. But in Jim Dale’s reading, we know who is who because the manner of each character shines through.
I’m looking forward to this latest volume and didn’t hesitate to buy it.
Posted by Scott D. Danielson