I bought and started this last year, but only finished it now, so in the 2021 collection it goes. Right in the beginning I’d like to say that I’ve never gotten into audiobooks, I prefer to read myself, but due to a number of circumstances (most of them powered by horniness), I’ve bought a few audiobooks last year and gave them another chance.
I’m more used to radio plays and since this basically is one and it stars James McAvoy, my imaginary Scottish husband as Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, a mystical immortal being who had been captured by humans and now must find his way back, I was very eager to get this into my earholes. Also, I was curious about the book, I used to longingly look at the graphic novel in my fave bookshop back when I was a baby goth, the dark-haired dude with the star eyes was just too fascinating and appealing, but it was ridiculously expensive and completely over my budget. Now I’m glad that I didn’t buy it, even though I’m convinced I would have liked it better as a comic.
I don’t know what drove them to adapt this, but it’s often not really working without visuals. For example, the bits with The Corinthian: Riz Ahmed is giving his best and he IS creepy as a nightmare come to live, but the descriptions of a dude with mouth for eyes and some chewing sounds in the back just pale in comparison to images of said eyes.
The story is the whole spectrum of Neil Gaiman’s works in a nutshell to me. He’s always been hit or miss for me, some of his stories I adore (see American Gods), others are clearly inspired but don’t do it for me personally and other stuff I find downright bad. Same with the “episodes” here. There are some gems in there, I especially like the ones with Death, there are a lot of hints at creative and intriguing worldbuilding in others (but I would have liked to see more of that) and there are episodes I frankly find offensive. I get that they’re a product of their time, but man could they have changed some things for the adaptation.
The performances are great though, from the big stars who were used to advertise this, but only had teeny-tiny roles (definitely could have dealt with more Miriam Margolyes as Despair) to no-names who carried whole arcs (Shey Greyson rocked as Rose Walker), with very few exceptions they all read and acted extremely well. But this ties in with one of the main problems I had with this: when it was first put on audible, there was no list of who was who available. There now is a pdf episode guide, but why is it so difficult for an amazon production to show who’s currently speaking? Yes, I recognize McAvoy’s purr and angered bellowing, but who are the others? Because there are some excellent professional voice actors in there who I would have loved to know more about and be able to tell apart better, or see who does more than one voice in a conversation. It’s so weird to me how amazon can’t even do this for their own productions.
So yeah, final verdict: excellent performances, creative to so-so story, terrible marketing/presentation from audible.