Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Night Watch, Audio Edition

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Night Watch (2006) Sergei Lukyanenko translated by Andrew Bromfield narrated by Paul Michael

I actually recently re-read Night Watch, which is a good thing, because if I hadn’t, then I would have ended up picking it up to re-read towards the end of the first section of the audio book.

That’s the problem I have with listening to audio books–they move too slowly, and I become impatient to learn (or in this case, remember) what happens. But that same impatience is why they’re prefect to listen to while I walk. “Just one more lap and then I’ll stop…”

You can click on the link about to read my review of the story, this is my review of the audio recording.

There was one specific issue I had with this recording, and one thing that I was never quite sure how I felt about it.

For the thing that bothered me, Sergei Lukyanenko has excerpts from many songs in the book. Anton listens to music frequently, on his mini-disc player, and as an Other tends to subtly influence the music choices. So these excerpts are an integral part of the story.

In the book, the excerpts are italicized and set off from the rest of the text. But in the audio version, there’s not even a pause before the lyrics are read, which makes it somewhat confusing, because it sounds like we’re hearing Anton’s thoughts rather than song lyrics. I caught on quickly, because I’ve read the book multiple times, but it seems like this would be extremely confusing to someone who was just listening to the book.

The second thing was something that sort of bothered me: the dialog was read with Russian accents, but Anton’s thoughts and the rest of the text were read with a normal, American English accent. This… makes no logical sense. Why would Anton speak with a different accent than with which he thought?

It wasn’t a deal-breaker or anything for the story, but it nagged at me. Technically, the dialogue should be without an accent, because all the characters are speaking in their native tongue, Russian (with, perhaps, the exception of Gesar, but that’s something else entirely). So why the Russian accent?

Of course, movies do the same thing if foreign characters are speaking their own language and they don’t want to use subtitles–they speak in an accent. It just seems silly to me.

Aside from those two issues, I really enjoyed listening to this as an audio book. Because I tend to tear through stories when I read get into them, listening to audio books forces me to slow down and actually hear everything that’s going on. Needless to say, I pick up on things I’d missed during a speed read.

But if you haven’t read Night Watch, my recommendation would be to read the book first, primarily because of the song lyrics. It’s being re-released this December, so you won’t have long to wait. (I’m very curious as to whether the story is being revised and updated for this re-release.)

Published by Audible Frontiers

Rating: 7/10


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