I think it's important to note that I listened to the audio version of this book because it is, without a doubt, the reason I disliked it so much. Funke's story seems pretty good, and if I had read it, I imagine it would have been closer to 3 or 4 stars.
However, it must be said that the narrator Brendon Fraser is, unequivocally, the worst narrator I have ever heard in the 150+ audio books I have listened to over the last few years. Here are just a few examples of why he is so bad:
- He smacks his lips and chews loudly when characters are eating.
- He coughs, moans, grunts, squeals, etc. even when the text does not imply these things are happening.
- When the text does note coughing, etc. he exaggerates them needlessly and tediously.
- Every piece of dialogue is overacted and extravagant for no reason.
My guess is that Fraser doesn't actually enjoy reading, and so he feels the need "spice up" the book in order to make it entertaining. Maybe others who don't often read would enjoy this type of narration, but it was endlessly frustrating and nearly impossible to get through in spite of an interesting plot. If you are interested in this book, please don't listen to the audio version.