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Not the very best of McKillip's work but still with the odd, unexpected, quiet charm which distinguishes her prose, her characters, and her imagery from any other writer's, _Od Magic_ is a fine place for a publisher to start with recordings. The world is complex, the characters varied, the story not so intricate as to leave a listener stranded but a long way from simple.
But the reader. Gabrielle de Cuir has a sweet, breathless, girlish voice which embroiders on every hint of wonder until it loses all its interest. She doesn't have the range for the variety of characters she's posed, but more, she seems to take the delicacy and beauty of McKillip's prose as a mandate to make a sticky-sweet spun-sugar confection out of a story that truly has more grip to it than that. de Cuir should be set to reading cyberpunk or other dystopias, where the *italic* quality of her reading would provide a contrast, a surprise, a source of richness in the reading. To have her reading McKillip is to reinforce every stereotype there is of McKillip's flowery-ness, every stereotype formed by readers who don't pay attention to the real tensions and ambiguities laced - yes, delicately, but with great tensile strength - through the narratives. De Cuir reads _Od Magic_ exactly the way someone who didn't like the book would expect it to be read.
I've been a fierce fan of Patricia McKillip's works since 1981. When _Od Magic_ was published, I bought it and read it and liked it very much. Every month or so, I do a hitherto useless search for any of her books available through Audible. When I found one, I bought it. I downloaded it. I started it. I never finished. Now, when I do my searche for anything by McKillip, it's with both eagerness and dread: what if there is another one, one I like even more? But--what if it's read by de Cuir?
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
The king has a stranglehold on magic, and that's just part of the complex, exasperating problem that several stubborn characters are working on from different angles. While it's probably too subtle for little kids, and not for moods when the reader wants battles and smiting, the book brims with conflicts and dramatic and humorous moments. The magic is solidly convincing, the humor is woven into the situations, and the characters are well-drawn and memorable (though I can never remember any names but Od's). The narrative point of view moves among several important characters, but the reader handles the shifts so masterfully that the listener doesn't even blink. It's an excellent book to listen to; I hope Audible gets all the rest of McKillip's books soon, and that they're all this well-performed.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Od Magic to be better than the print version?
Quite the opposite, sadly.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
A charming, meandering tale filled with surprisingly believable characters and beautiful prose, the effect is marred slightly by the breathy narration, which often ties itself up and confuses the mood of a scene or character, which has a rather jarring effect.
Indeed, on one notable occasion, the narrator confuses which characters are speaking, realises mid-speech and corrects herself. Not the best treatment, and rather suggests that the narrator wasn't given much (any?) direction, nor appropriate correction.
Any additional comments?
Fortunately, the quality of the writing; the wonderful characters; the meandering narrative; the charming, positive story all conspire to render the problems with the reading insignificant. This is a wonderful slice of fantasy, filled with humanity and livened up with a light dusting of myth and fairytale, and is more than worthy of anybody's shelf, virtual or otherwise.