Armchair Audies Roundup: Fantasy

28 05 2012

Introduction:

This Week, along with my normal reviews, I will be presenting my roundup posts for The Armchair Audies. If this is the first time you’ve heard of the Armchair Audies, the process is pretty simple. Myself, and a bunch of other bloggers have decided to listen to audiobooks nominated for the Audio Publishers Association prestigious Audie Award. The categories I have listened to and reviewed were Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal.

For each category, I will post the list of nominees, with a link to my review. Then I will offer evaluation of category overall. I will be picking which title was my favorite, which title I would vote for if I was a judge, and which title I feel will win. Also, I will include titles for each category that I feel were overlooked. Make sure you check out The Armchair Audies home page at The Literate Housewife.

Today’s Category: Fantasy

Nominees:

Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Mors

Narrated by Bronson Pinchot

Blackstone Audio

My Review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

Narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Audible Inc./Brilliance Audio

My Review

 The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez

Narrated by Marc Vietor

Audible, Inc.

My Review

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Hachette Audio

My Review

Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini

Neil Gaimen Presents/Audible, Inc.

My Review

Overview:

I choose to start with the Fantasy Category because, in my opinion, it is the most competitive category. All Five of these titles I highly recommend, and would be happy with any of them as a winner. There is also a lot of diversity here. My only surprise with this category is that outside of maybe Rumo, there is no Epic Fantasy titles. You have a modern fantasy, a young adult fantasy, a futuristic science fiction tale, and a mash up parody. In a year with long awaited Epic Fantasy series releases by George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss, I expected to see at least one of these type novels nominated for an Audie Awards. 

My Favorite: The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez

Of all the titles nominated, my favorite would be A. Lee Martinez’ The Automatic Detective. This novel is the perfect blend of narrator and content, with Marc Vietor’s robotic delivery perfectly suited to the main character, Mack Megaton, who is in fact a robot. Yet, the reason this title would not get my vote, if I was a judge is a simple one. This is not a Fantasy. This is a noir style tale of a Robot Detective who breaks away from his programming to uncover a conspiracy that threatens his futuristic city. It contains many classic science fiction tropes, and almost no fantasy whatsoever.

My Vote: Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers

While I absolutely loved Rumo, I also had some small problems with it. It’s a bit too long, causing some dragging moments, and some of the voices created by Pinchot and the production team are, while appropriate, a bit annoying. Yet, I would vote for this title simply because of the risks the production takes in order to present the best audio version of this book possible. Not every risk they take pays off, yet the majority does, and combined with Pinchot’s splendid narration, makes for a rewarding listening experience.

Who Will Win: Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

Edoardo Ballerini gives a beautiful reading of this highly accessible, literate Fantasy. I feel there are many reasons this title will win. It is a rare, neglected gem, finally brought to audiobook format through Neil Gaiman’s ACX production company. Gaiman’s advocacy of audiobooks and contributions to the community can only help this title. Yet, most importantly, it is a Fantasy novel that will appeal to people outside the genre. There are no messy elves, or bothersome fairies, and the magic isn’t prevalent or flashy. It is just a story full of recognizable people in a strange, almost Twilight Zone like situation.

Some Overlooked Titles:

Among Others by Jo Walton

A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

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5 responses

28 05 2012
montsamu

Strangely, I have listened to all but one of your overlooked titles, and none of the finalists. I really like the way you talked through the finalists though, with your favorite, your vote, and your prediction. Looking forward to that in the sci-fi category!

28 05 2012
Melanie Cremins (@dakiMel)

You picked the categories I was least intrigued by, and have made me interested in quite a few of these titles – thanks for all the great reviews. I really liked your tripartite approach.

29 05 2012
Dave Thompson

Huh. Gonna have to bump Land of Laughs higher up on my wishlist…

Also surprised there’s nothing epic on the list – I would’ve guessed at least Rothfuss’s book would’ve made it, with all the buzz it’s getting.

29 05 2012
Literate Housewife

You have most definitely rocked the Audies this year. 16 titles and I’ve enjoyed your commentary here and on Twitter all the way through. Like Melanie, I’m not terribly interested in the categories you specialize in, but I’m very curious to see what’s going on. My #JIAM will be all about listening outside of the box. Thanks for the inspiration!

3 06 2012
Armchair BEA 2012: Introductions « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] Audie Awards, and then made their predictions. My contributions were in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal Categories, and this event was one of my most rewarding blogging […]

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