Right, I just mentioned my recent embrace of audiobooks, including getting back to my gaming roots with RA Salvatore’s Drizzt short-fiction anthology “featuring an all-star cast.” (Disclaimer: I picked it up when it was first released – free! – as an anniversary special, celebrating 25 years of Drizzt, before it went to it’s regular price. Each story is also available individually, outside of the antho edition.)
Of all of the audiobooks I’ve listened to so far, not only is this the outlier (the only anthology, at this point), it is also the best example of driving the point home of sampling before committing (whenever possible). Twelve stories, twelve different narrators, and each… different, and not necessarily in good way.
Wil Wheaton and Al Yankovick’s entries stand out as high-bars of the collection, as does Michael Chiklis’s reading.
I had issues with the stories performed by Felicia Day and Melissa Rauch… With Day’s, there were some audio issues in the first part of the recording that detracted from the experience. Rauch’s came from her pacing – getting faster (and with hints of her BBT Bernadette voice coming through) during some of the fight sequences. Both solid performances, don’t get me wrong. Honestly, even with the tech glitches, Day’s is still one of the top entries.
Most of the other performances are solid, but there are two that stand out as frustrating additions. (If you’ve already looked at the comments on the Audible page, you’ll already know where I’m going here.)
The Ice-T entry, Comrades at Odds, was… difficult. I thought the performance was better than some of the Audible comments might lead one to believe. I thought it was generally a good reading, overall. The problem I had, though, was the pronounced inclusion of the “w” in “sword.” Considering the story runs for about an hour and a half, and includes a character exchanging dialogue with a sentient sword, and sword fights, and the same sentient sword lusting for blood, and more swordly swording… hence the label “difficult.”
Honestly, the closest thing to a “lemon” in the collection is the closing story, read by David Duchovny. The reading felt flat, uninspired, and like he would rather be doing anything other than reading about a dying Wulfgar. Maybe it’s his ivy league poetry background… Maybe it’s the direction he was given. Maybe he didn’t feel a connection to the text. At least the story was less than 30 minutes.
Considering I have yet to read any of the Drizzt novels (I know, bad former Forgotten Realms player), it was a good way to reconnect with the genre. I found myself thinking about finally getting around to reading the novels at last, or at the very least, looking hard ad the audio editions.