Witch World: Finally on audio

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy novel reviews Andre Norton Witch WorldWitch World (on audio) by Andre Norton

Simon Tregarth knows he’s about to die — he’s being hunted down by a professional assassin and he has a “feeling” that it’s going to happen tonight. But then the infamous Doctor Petronius interrupts Simon as he’s savoring his last meal and offers him an escape. Dr. Petronius’s services don’t come cheap, but this expense is a no-brainer (after all, you can’t take it with you). The only downside is that neither Simon nor Dr. Petronius knows where Simon is actually going, for he will sit on King Arthur’s Siege Perilous and be sent to a world where his soul is at home…

Andre Norton (her real name was Alice, but she chose to write SFF under a male pseudonym back in the 60s) is often called the Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy and was the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society. I’ve been meaning to read Witch World for years and since Brilliance Audio has just released the first Witch World novel on CD, this was the perfect opportunity.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsAs expected, I enjoyed Witch World. Andre Norton’s language is pleasant, if not brilliant, and all the characters were instantly engaging. I liked Simon immediately — how can you not like a guy who has already killed two of his potential assassins and is now eating a steak dinner while waiting for the arrival of the last and best one? I also particularly liked Loyse, daughter of the odious Fulk, who doesn’t want to marry the equally odious duke.

Though decades old, the plot was quick, fun, and refreshing and I liked the blend of science fiction and fantasy. However, the book wraps up a bit too quickly and easily at the end; I could have used a bit more tension. But perhaps if you go straight on to the next novel (Web of the Witch World, also being produced on audio) you won’t feel this way since it’s a continuation of the story.

Nick Podehl was the reader for this book and he did an adequate job, though his voice could sometimes be described as plodding and soporific. Consequently, I didn’t find that his reading added anything to the story. It didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the story, but I was disappointed that it didn’t enhance it.

I’m looking forward to Web of the Witch World. I like Simon and his companions and I’m wondering what they’ll do next in Simon’s new world.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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