OK ... because I'm compulsive, I've been working my way (reading) through all of Tiffany Aching's adventures over the past few months -- so I could listen to the most recent one: Wintersmith. The two earlier books are on a previous Select list (http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/booklistsawards/selectedaudio/05audio.htm), and Wintersmith was nominated last year, but we didn't have enough listeners (including me) to vote on it. Which is a good thing -- because it means that we can consider it this year (unlike those titles that we voted on and declined to add to our list). So, I wrapped it up with some four hours of listening yesterday and nominated it this morning.
I think Stephen Briggs (who knows Terry Pratchett?) did a great job on this title. He reads really quickly, but following him wasn't a problem for me -- and, in fact, helped to set the atmosphere of the plot kicking off and not slowing down for nothing. He also does what I think is really critical in setting audiobooks apart: creates a value-added literary experience. An audiobook should, ideally, enhance the reading experience -- offer an added perspective perhaps. (I think I got into this earlier when I was blogging on culturally appropriate narrators.) And, in the spirit of cultural appropriateness, Briggs is just a great Nac Mac Feegle. By hearing their lines in that exaggerated Scottish brogue, the listener gets to a whole other understanding and appreciation for those wacky characters. Now granted, the Feegles do, of course, come pretty lively off the page without the accent -- but Briggs makes them even funnier.
In this title, I thought he did a great job with the Wintersmith as well. When the Wintersmith is "elemental," Briggs protrayed him one way; when he worked on becoming human (and worthy of Tiffany's affections), his voice became more of an automaton, of someone (thing?) not comfortable in his form.
Great work! And now that I'm caught up, I'm wondering when Tiffany's next adventure is due. Hey, I just checked amazon.co.uk to see if it was out over there, and Stephen Briggs only narrates for us Yanks (aha! maybe that's why all the money was in dollars), someone named Tony Robinson does the British version. Hmmm ... I didn't think the US/UK publishers made two separate audio versions.