Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sylvester the audiobook

This is my first RA purchase from envy. After several hollow North and South conversion attempts, I started to think no one in real life would understand. Suddenly my friend Ally exclaimed she has a copy of Sylvester. WHAT?! My obsession is bigger than yours. Quick, douse those jealous flames with emergency retail therapy and free shipping. Richard Armitage I thought it was over, but we were just on a break. 

Mugshots. That's NOT Sylvester on the cover.

What delayed my Sylvester fulfillment was a distrust of anything abridged, and the fruitless search for the library book. I'm a purist; unless a novel is very thick, very bad, or by Robert Jordan, I want the director's cut. As compensation I've read a few other Georgette Heyer novels: Bath Tangle, A Civil Contract, Arabella all in large print, the book equivalent of first row cinema seats.

 
Methinks there be sexual tension in her gaze, wouldn't you agree Duke Mr Beaumaris? 

28 year old Sylvester thinks he can objectively choose a female to complete him based on this formula: breeding, money, and beauty. As a duke his greatest vice is pride, his greatest weapon the snub. Most ladies of society bore him, and rightly so, for he's left out all human measures like humour, intelligence and kindness.

Phoebe however, is too genuine to hide her dislike of him for long. She reflects privately with Sylvester at what is ridiculous at their social gatherings, and more publicly at what is offensive beneath his faultless manners. A scene at the Blue Boar inn demonstrates how a duke measures up against that universal currency, the turkey: "Dukes is more important than a gobblecock, even if he is a prime young'un" which sends his love interest into a fit of giggling.

Sylvester meets the family - Mr Thornton has been lent out on conversion

This audiobook is one of my favourite Heyers so far, but all her aristocratic heroes are starting to blend. There's only so many ways a proud rich man can get knocked down a few notches and then married. It's too late though, I'm hooked. Hero in a Heyer world, how do I love thee? Listen up:

1. Do not rescue damsels in distress unless you wish to marry one
2. Beware the feisty lady who does not care a fig for your money
3. To impress said feisty lady, adopt a mangy dog or child like you mean it
4. Then pay her family's debts like you care
5. Ignore your mother/grandmother's words at your peril

Did anyone else do a mental casting call as they listened to Richard Armitage? RA, Mark Strong or Toby Stephens for satyrical Sylvester, Rachel McAdams for Phoebe - maybe she's too pretty. My favourite scene: when the wicked uncle is reunited with his scrumptious nephew, and Phoebe laughs. In another life, I'd adapt Sylvester for the big or little screen; it's so Austenish I'm sure most plebeians like me could be fooled.

Sylvester moves in

I can't help comparing this reading to Lords of the North though they're such different stories. Despite being the far better audiobook, LOTN is too brutal to revisit often, whereas I could play Sylvester every day. How did RA keep the pacing and voices so consistent throughout all the hours? I gave it a go myself and couldn't maintain more than 3 voices at a time, and that was in just 3 pages.

Still miffed about the deleted scenes in Sylvester, I'm waiting to get the book for more detail (unresolved chemistry) at Green Street and the Channel. The last 2 CDs suffered the most cuts, it's obvious whenever the story lurched forward and several characters all but disappear from the reading. Next up, Venetia, abridged again. Drat!

30 comments:

bZirk said...

I have never read a Georgette Heyer book, and the abridged version I listened to did not make me want to read one despite RA's lovely reading.

Maybe I'll read Venetia first and then listen. Yeah, I've already reserved it. LOL! Ships in April I think.

Man, it's rough being a fangurl. Gotta have those Integrated Circuits nearby. :D

Avalon said...

Enjoying his sensual voice? Luck girl, the only audio books I have of his is the Robin Hood books.

iz4spunk said...

I have one BIG complaint about this book: "oh why, oh why abridged????" And of course I never heard of Georgette Heyer before, and would have gotten Sylvester straight away out of the library if they only had it..The whole of my county doesn't have it (US outside Philly)
Can't wait for the download of Venetia!! I recommend the 2 audiobooks from season 3. Don't have the one from season 1...yet!

iz4spunk said...

I have one BIG complaint about this book: "oh why, oh why abridged????" And of course I never heard of Georgette Heyer before, and would have gotten Sylvester straight away out of the library if they only had it..The whole of my county doesn't have it (US outside Philly)
Can't wait for the download of Venetia!! I recommend the 2 audiobooks from season 3. Don't have the one from season 1...yet!

Ragtag said...

Bzirk, Heyer is not really my type of read either, but it has its charms. The dialogue for one. Good for de-stressing on public transport or taking my mind off things.

Avalon, the RH audiobooks must be quite a treat as well.

Iz4spunk I hadn't heard of Heyer before either. My library considers her work outdated or something. They only have the largeprint versions for the elderly readers! Those who loves Jane Austen (not me) might enjoy Heyer's profuse novels.

Traxy said...

"Black Books" on DVD and you read Robert Jordan? I wholeheartedly approve! :D

Nice review! I've only heard an excerpt from "Sylvester" and listened to it a few times, and I still can't remember what it's about, as I just get lost in listening to That Voice!

Ragtag said...

Traxy: Love Black Books, love Bernard!
With Robert Jordan it's more like a love/hate relationship. I liked his first 5 or so WOT tomes but gave up after Winter's Heart or whatever it was. Just got tired of waiting and more waiting.

phylly3 said...

I used to read a lot of Georgette Heyer in my younger years. The only reason they are considered out-dated now days is that they are so sweet and innocent, not like the steamy romances that get written today.
I quite enjoyed reading Venetia over the holidays. The dialogue is very witty and the romance is top-notch. Perfect rom-com for me and that is my de-stresser for sure.
Ragtag are you saying that the Audiobook is abridged? WHY would they DO that!!
Well, I will still get it anyway, but I am definitely reading the book first!

bZirk said...

Until Ragtag said it was abridged, I never noticed it on the box. Of course this would not have stopped me from listening to it. Almost nothing would have kept me from listening. LOL! But I'm glad she said something because I was wondering why it was so choppy, and yes, the second half is really noticeable.

I will definitely read Venetia before listening to it.

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

I have never listened to an RA audio book! I really need to get with the program, eh? :)

Ragtag said...

Phylly3 Whenever I read one I end up just reading the dialogue and skimming the rest. Her books are pretty funny and I love every one of her heroes, but they get read on public transport when i'm pretty drowsy. I don't have the focus to take in all the historically accurate detail.

Bzirk wasn't it frustrating when she reaches Green Street? Right on the cusp of all that UST (unresolved sexual tension)! And what do we get? A summary! Bah!!!!
Then at the channel when everyone's thrown into a confined space? Another summary! Grrrr.

Nat you would enjoy Sylvester - and any Heyer novel. There's a Heyer fanbase out there too, would u believe it. All these worlds within worlds.

bZirk said...

Well, even though I had great fun listening to RA, I was wondering why so many people like Georgette Heyer's books. So glad to know they're better than what I thought, but I doubt I'll read Sylvester.

iz4spunk said...

bZirk,have to agree it was great fun listening to Sylvester more than once even but wouldn't have if it wasn't for RA. I am a Jane Austen fan but Heyer is a little too fluffy for me.
Just found the first RH audiobooks on iTunes and will get them today!

bZirk said...

Okay, so I didn't want to mess with interLibrary Loan for a paperback of Venetia. I went to Amazon to buy a used one, and all of Georgette Heyer's used books are anywhere from $6 to $13.00! These are very thin Harlequin books. What the heck?! Most of the used romance books I've ever looked at on Amazon are pretty cheap (some even a few pennies), so what's the deal with these? Has there been a renewed interest in her stuff? Just wonderin'.

Ragtag said...

This puzzles me too Bzirk. In trying to find Sylvester the price of second hand Heyer seems ... too high? It can't just be because RA has read Sylvester has it? Then again, Naxos picked Heyer meaning she must be still popular.

To think i bought a second hand George R.R. Martin on ebay for $1 a couple of years ago. Should be happy i got a bargain!

bZirk said...

BTW, I even looked on Paperbackswap.com, which sadly, you can't get in Australia, and couldn't find Venetia. But get this; they had a grand total of seven Georgette Heyer books. Seven. Wow. Apparently, people do not want to cough these things up.

Oh, and ebay has some decent deals if I want any book other than Venetia. I didn't see that one -- of course. LOL!

iz4spunk said...

Oops! I have to correct myself my county's library has 163 entries for Georgette Heyer!! And yes I have reserved Sylvester and Venetia... I think we are lucky that RA read these romantic Heyer books, traditionally male voices are used for action, thriller and adventure. In my imagination he did these for his mom :))

Ragtag said...

Iz4spunk: I'd never have bet on them picking a male to read a romance - but then again I almost never read or listen to Hard Core Romance. Maybe it's common? The clincher is that a lot of Sylvester is written from a male perspective, and since most of the listeners are female... it works out juuuuust fine.

Ragtag said...

bZirk thanks for the tip, i googled 'book swap australia'; the concept is still in infancy here, swapping and sharing. :)

Guess i'll just have to initiate it myself with HaH when I ship Sylvester across the ocean.

bZirk said...

I've never listened to a romance, and really, I'm pretty new to listening to audio books. I just never liked it until about a year or so ago.

iz4spunk said...

I'm pretty new too and have to admit it is due to the Twilight Saga books which have a fab reader and thanks to my library system. Have to recommend Juliet Stevenson's N&S (unabridged) for which I opened an Audible account and got that as my first FREE try-out. Her Thornton's voice is impressive but Boucher's and Bessie's northern accents quite challenging. Of course I'd buy it straight away if RA was to read it!! The RH books are not just read but dramatised; music and background sound is used to make it alive!!! Mostly it is all in the performer. I also recommend the Addicted to Jane Austen audiobooks: much better listening to it then reading it.

Ragtag said...

is4spunk: I love the idea of an audiobook, but only if the story never drags. For stuff on the public domain librivox.org is great.
That was how i first listened to P&P and then N&S (the one read by different C19 ppl).

mulubinba said...

I thought Sylvester audio was quite good - I read all the Heyer romances (and there are quite a few) when I was a lot younger. Sylvester is one of my favourites. like Phylly, I read Venetia in preparation for the new audio but I'm disappointed that it is abridged. If you get a chance, see if you can find Heyer's biography. She actually disliked her romances and preferred to be recognised for her use of language and historical accuracy. I'm glad she didn't stop writing romances though - the audios are very enjoyable to listen to in the car. LOTR is fabulous but quite grim in parts.

iz4spunk said...

@RagTag: I did get N&S from Librovox first after checking that my library didn't have it. But came upon one where every chapter was read by someone else. Like I said it's all in the performer otherwise it just puts you to sleep.

@Mulubinba: I am jealous you have LOTN. Amazon has a copy for almost $100!! So not fair!!

Anyone know of a download???

Ragtag said...

Iz4spunk: Funny you mention sleep. Audiobooks are invaluable for putting me to sleep, except RA ones. After hours of tossing and turning, 3 or 4 chapters of an audiobook are all that's needed to send me to the land of zzz.

Mulubinba, I remember reading your review a while back and thinking "Sounds worthwhile" but went for LOTN instead. Sylvester is a good introduction, but LOTN is a standout performance.

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

Ragtag, have you seen any good movies lately? I saw Percy Jackson last weekend and enjoyed it. (Even though it's different from the books, which I love, so was a tad disappointed.)
I think of you and Mulubinba any time I see the Australian athletes on the Olympics! :)

Ragtag said...

Hi Nat!

I saw Moon and The Blind Side which were both pretty good. Sherlock Holmes was too long, and The State Within (miniseries with Lucius Malfoy and Sarah Caulfield) was fabulous!
Blog updates will be sparse for the coming month or so. It's funny how your PC is having troubles, so is mine. My partner had to fiddle with the motherboard to get it to even turn on, and other RL issues are keeping me tossing and turning for the moment. Hope you're doing well.

Ragtag said...

Nat, forgot to mention I saw that John Adams miniseries you told me about last year. I really enjoyed it, especially the Thomas Jefferson guy who is the guy from Firelight! :O and John Q Adams.

phylly3 said...

Oh no! Sorry to hear about your computer troubles! I miss your regular posts! :(
I hope there isn't an RA virus going around or something.;-}

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

Darn computers.

Glad you liked "John Adams!"
I've heard nothing but good things about "Blind Side" so I'll have to check it out.

I hope real life slows down for you soon so you can relax a bit. :)