The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection - Book Review

I haven't done a book review for a while - so thought I'd rectify that. This is one with a difference - it's an audio book.
Whoopidooings: Book Review: The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection read by Basil Rathbone & Vincent Price

Blurb (from Amazon.co.uk)
Universally acclaimed as the maestro of horror and the morbid, Edgar Allan Poe’s dark gift has for more than a century and a half set the standard for the genre. Now, Caedmon Audio presents a classic collection of Poe’s most terrifying tales performed by two of the most brilliant interpreters of his work, Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone. Between them, they perform 20 of Poe’s chilling stories and poems, creating an unforgettably intense listening experience.

Review:
I'm not going to review the stories and poems themselves - I think you either love Poe, or you don't. You can find much, if not all, of his work online if you dig a bit. I love him. This is a review of the audio books.

I'd had the books on my wishlist for ages, purely for the fact that Vincent Price was reading them. Could there be a better pairing? So I was over the moon to find my lovely Dad had got me them for Christmas. 

Firstly the niggles. Of which there are a couple. The 5 CD's come in  a flip open cardboard sleeve inside a cardboard box. (Not a niggle.) 
Whoopidooings: Book Review: The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection read by Basil Rathbone & Vincent Price
There is no track listing on the back of the box nor a slip of paper inside the box. All the track listings are printed on the CD's themselves. Not a problem in itself if the stories and poems were announced as they are read. They are not. Each one just starts and then the next starts straight away after. The more famous ones you can guess of course, but the lesser known ones, we had to check as we took the CD out of the player. Would just be nice, if they aren't going to provide separate track listing, to have the readers announce the next story or poem.

Next was the sound. It played very, very quietly. At first I thought it might be my car CD player - we had to crank it up to full volume to hear but I have since tested all the CD's at home and it's the same. I have to have the volume set to the max. So, driving along the motorway, volume as high as it will go to hear the hushed tones of Mr Rathbone, who has the tendency to start shouting when the drama gets going... and the shouting gets very loud, I almost peed myself on several occasions driving along the M20! Leaning forward to catch those hushed tones and then BOOM in your face volume. Also, as each CD ends and you take it out to put the next one in, the car radio cuts in at full volume. Not ideal.  Not so bad at home - adds to the drama through earphones, just have your hand ready on the volume.

Other than that, I absolutely love this set of CD's. dare I say it, considering I had wanted them because of Vincent Price, I would have been happy had Basil Rathbone read the lot. He brought such drama, tension and humour to the text and really brought it to life for me. That man really gets into a role! I enjoyed the Vincent Price readings too but after 3 CD's of being lulled, wooed and terrified by Mr Rathbone - I kind of missed him for the remaining CD's. I recently read a homage to Poe post where the lovely Gina had written a poem in his style and even that, as I was reading it, I heard the voice of Basil Rathbone in my head. Craig and I recently drove to Hastings without the kids and we spent nearly the entire hour and a half/2 hour journey in silence, save for the occasional snigger at the fate of some poor tortured soul. Absolutely engrossed, the pair of us.

So - even with the niggles, I recommend this set 100% 5 stars out of 5. It brought Poe to life for me. I'm including a track listing for you so you can make your own mind up. (And lets face it - it's easy enough to print that off and pop it in your box.)

CD 1: (Basil Rathbone)
  1. To -
  2. Alone
  3. The City In The Sea
  4. The Fall Of The House Of Usher
  5. The Haunted Palace
  6. The Pit And The Pendulum
CD 2: (Basil Rathbone)
  1. The Masque of the Red Death
  2. The Tell Tale Heart
  3. The Black Cat
CD 3: (Basil Rathbone)
  1. The Raven
  2. The Facts of the Case of M.Valdemar
  3. The Cask Of Amontillado
  4. The Bells
  5. Annabel Lee
  6. Eldorado
CD 4: (Vincent Price)
  1. Ligeia (Although the CD says it's To- It's not. It's Ligeia)
  2. The City In The Sea
  3. Alone
CD 5: (Vincent Price)
  1. Berenice
  2. The Gold Bug
Thanks for stopping by today :)

3 comments:

  1. Sounds wonderful to have those read for you and when I started reading I thought "what fantastic voices for these". Sorry to hear that Mr Price did not work quite the way he should have due to the volume - I had to smile at how his booming bits got you.
    Hugs, & Thanks, Neet xx

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  2. Love the post - I often have Vincent Price narrating my inner monologue. Those would be the mostly 'Hammer Horror' days when me, idiots, and blunt objects really need to be kept waaaaaaay far apart!!! You done good writing with your wordface again - it's like a fabulous posh magazine review! Me loves. I am, on the other hand, NOT having a good wordfacebraincheese day! Can you tell? fnar! I'm off to drink much lots of coffee and stare at a wall for a bit! Love and hugs from me and The Colonel :)xxxx

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  3. How interesting. I love audio books, it brings out the lazy reader in me. I have thought of signing up to audible.co.uk - but decided against 'cos it'd be yet another financial commitment.

    Anyway, back to your review. This box set sounds great, despite the niggles (oops, just wrote nibbles, I must be hungry!).

    xx

    ReplyDelete

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