Tuesday, 26 July 2011

"Doctor Who": The Hounds of Artemis: (Audio Original) (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)

Sinister hounds 5*

This is a great story, engaging and absorbing, with a very visual style. It was easy to imagine the dramatic setting. There was plenty of tension and suspense, though with all audio only presentations, there were sections which needed concentration to follow as the action cut between different locations. The middle section is a little on the grisly side, when the nature of the 'ancient evil' mentioned on the back cover of the CD is revealed. Probably not a bed-time story for the younger enthusiast!

There are some excellent sound effects and of course the much loved signature tune in one of its latest updated forms.

We obtained the CD for a trip by car. At 1 hour 10 minutes, the length was about right for a 2 hour journey, after setting off and getting on the right road, then the need to concentrate on the satnav near our destination. For in-car listening, there were sufficiently wide variations in volume to have to resort to tweaking the volume control every so often. However, when we listened to the CD again at home, the variations were not as critical.

I haven't listened to any of the other made-for-audio Dr Who stories, so I have no point of comparison but this one does seem to be written for older (at least 12+) given the macabre nature of the what The Doctor finds in the tomb.

Overall, a satisfying new adventure.

Amazon US Story available but not in same format (July 2011)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Pirates, Swashbucklers and Buccaneers of London (Of London Series) by Helen Smith (Paperback)

5 stars Calling All Landlubbers
I bought this fun and informative book for my son, aged 11. This is what he wrote about it:

"Pirates, Swashbucklers and Buccaneers of London' is a fantastic book with loads of facts and true stories that are vividly described. I learned the pirate currency: escudos, reales, pesos (known as `pieces of eight'), and doubloons. There are also three types of pirate: Privateers (these were allowed by the king or queen to attack foreign ships); Buccaneers who operated in the West Indies; and Corsairs who operated in the Mediterranean.

I am glad I wasn't a pirate because from what I have read, being a pirate was pretty grim. This is a very good book because it is full to the brim with amazing facts."

This book is well-written in language engaging for the younger reader. I particularly recommend it for shared reading with a parent. Some parents may wish their children to avoid the short section near the end on Edward Low and Other Peoples' Ears.

Amazon US Pirates
Amazon UK Pirates