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I'm a massive fan of Harry Potter. I've read all the books so much they've started to fall apart, watched all the films, and over the last few years have managed to collect all the audio book versions (I never intended to, initially I purchased the first one for my mum, but couldn't resist a sneaky listen, and got hooked!)
Potter fans will know, of course, that Prisoner of Azkhaban is the third book in the series. Harry is about to start his third year at Hogwarts - that is, of course, if he get's there in one piece. A disastrous visit from an unlike-able relative has resulted in smashed sherry glasses, one fat auntie floating over the house like a dirigible, and Harry, knowing that magic is forbidden by minors and his wand will be taken away, leaving the Dursleys home, and expecting a warning letter from the ministry of magic to find him any minute.
However, the ministry of magic have bigger things on their mind at the moment - a prisoner has escaped from the wizard prison Azkhaban - a murderer whom everyone seems to think is coming for Harry. He should be safe at Hogwarts, but with the Dementors sucking the joy out of the place, and Snape acting suspiciously again, will Harry be able to survive the year?
Stephen Fry is the perfect narrator for these tales, with a mellifluous voice that is relaxing and calming, yet still able to command ones full attention. His clever use of pitch and tone make it easy to know from which characters perspective he is speaking, and by adjusting the speed of speech and adding in well timed dramatic pauses and gasps, he manages to convey tense and dramatic situations extremely well.
As for the storyline itself, I do think this is perhaps the strongest so far. Not only is there generally a darker and more gloomy atmosphere, what with the threat of being murdered and the dementors hanging about, but there is also much more emotion than in the previous two books, with Harry very much coming into his own as an angry teenager. We get to learn more about his parents. in particular his father and his friendships, and more about what makes him the way he is.
There are of course new characters to enjoy - Sirius Black, the escapee is one of course, and there is, naturally, a new Defence against Dark Arts teacher, professor Lupin, who is hiding a secret of his own.
This is a 10 cd set, in total 12 hours and five minutes of listening. I do find is surprising that they are so long, as I do read this book in around 3 hours, perhaps I'm a very fast reader! But you certainly do get your moneys worth I feel, with the set costing £25.20.
Overall, I do think these are a fantastic set of audio book cds, and well worth the money. I do however feel that the CD format is perhaps coming to the end of it's life though, and wish there were perhaps a downloadable MP3 version.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment of the series, is by far my favourite story of the seven. I read this book before any of the others, and it was also the first Harry Potter audiobook I heard.
Again, Harry is plunged into danger alongside his usual schoolwork (which is also pretty dangerous), with the well-known murderer, Sirius Black, on the loose and after him. Told, as the other books are, from Harry's point of view, you go on a journey with Harry to discover what really happened that caused his parents to be killed, and again Stephen Fry takes you on this journey in a way that makes the story really come alive. Mr Fry's voice helps you to understand the danger and worry that Harry is going through, and expresses the story in a beautiful way.
The audiobook is a fantastic addition to the collection of any Harry Potter fan, and I think that every fan should listen to this (possibly while reading along) at least once, to make the story feel more real, and it can also help to find things that you might have missed, especially during a re-read when you already know the story.
harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third novel in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling and is narrated by Stephen Fry. It chronicles young wizard Harry Potter's third year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the book takes on a much darker feel to the previous 2 novels. Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione arrive back at Hogwarts after the summer holidays only to find that security is tight all over the school grounds as crazed mass murderer Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban prison and is on the loose. the grounds are being guarded by the sinister hooded Dementors who drain the happiness out of everyone they encounter. When Sirius Black unsuccessfully attempts to enter Hogwarts, this sets off a chain of events in which Harry discovers the truth about Sirius and his links to Harry's family as well as making a discovery about his old enemy Lord Voldemort.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is certainly much darker than the previous two novels. Although the book retains much much of the light-hearted and humorous dialogue between the main characters, the plot is much more adult with plenty of horror and unsettling scenes. Whilst this might not appeal to the youngest readers, for an older reader like myself it seems quite appropriate to make the book more adult as the characters get older. The plot is incredibly engrossing with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interesting, and while the story is as fantastic and absurd as ever, JK Rowling once again shows she has a knack for creating believable teenage dialogue and realistic relationships.
The narration by Stephen Fry who has narrated all of the books in the series, is as brilliant as ever. Being a well-known comedian and writer he is excellent at portraying the emotions of the characters as well as having passion and humour in his reading. His strong and commanding yet calm voice gives a perfect seriousness to quite a dark novel yet in the more lighthearted moments he captures the humorous dialogue perfectly. I couldn't think of a better choice of narrator for this novel. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is an excellent novel brilliantly transferred to CD.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the now 7 part Harry Potter series and is the first book with a darker more ominous feel. Harry Potter for those buried under a hill for the last decade is a teenage wizard who when a baby was attacked by the most powerful wizard of all time Lord Voldemort, the spell back fired and Voldemort was vanquished and Harry was left with a scar on his forehead. The first two novels in the series re-introduces Harry as a 12 year old when his magical abilities start to become more apparent, the attack at his childhood killed his parents and he had been looked after by an aunt and uncle with little love so has transferred his love for his school friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Graninger. Along with the head of the wizard school Hogwarts Professor Dumbledore and Hogwarts enormous groundskeeper Hagrid he has started to accept his past and extend his magical capabilities.
The Prisoner of Azkaban starts with the beginning of Harry's third year, he is excited about returning to the school and on the train to Hogwarts meets the new defence against the dark arts tutor called Professor Lupin. Lupin saves Harry from the fell attack by a dementor, the dementors are the guards of the wizard prison Azkaban and have become enraged with the escape of one of Voldemorts main supporters the evil killer Sirius Black. Lupin appears unlike the previous tutors of the dark arts to be one with an excellent grasp on the magic and soon befriends Harry, Ron and Hermione, he comes across well when compared with Professor Snapes hostility. Snape took an active dislike for Harry as soon as he arrived at Hogwarts two years earlier.
The Prisoner of Azkaban is slightly longer than the first two novels and takes 18 CD's for Stephen Fry to narrate the novel. Stephen Fry has been described as a national treasure and his range of accents and vocal capabilities have made him a natural for audiobooks. He has narrated all the Harry Potter books and gives the charactes distinct and constant accents all the way through the audiobooks. So in this audiobook he gives Lupin a slightly down to earth shabby gentile accent and the dementors are given hissing fleeting voices. He re-creates the accents for Hagrid, Snape etc but has made Harry and the children a more adult timber to their accents as befitting three foreteen year olds.
This is my favourite JK Rowling novel and it is a prefect adventure novel, it has noble teachers, dark and scary dementors and a satisfying conclusion. There is also a sense of the story of Harry and the others moving forward compared with the rather light first two novels in the series. Listening to Stephen Fry's narration gives a fresh insight into the events and action in the book, an audiobook doesn't give the listener a chance to speed read or skip certain sections so the listener has to follow the plot whatever happens next. I've got to say that even though I loved the book, the audiobook version is infinitely better and has been listened to more than once. The listening time is around 20 hours and comes as CD's, cassettes or can be downloaded as an mp3 file.
I am a fan of audiobooks because I think they make a welcome change to listening to music on your journey or watching a film/reading a book. You can have the involvement of reading a book without actually having to make the effort of reading the book! Result! Like a bedtime story only better!
Depending on whether you have the US or UK version your narrator will either be Jim Dale (US) or Stephen Fry (UK). Now I have listened to both versions and both are excellent. These two narrators have a natural way of story telling and really engage with what they are reading and liven it up to make it the Harry Potter we know and love. If I had to pick a favourite I would go with Fry simply because Harry Potter is English and therefore it adds a little more to the authenticity of the readings.
I'm sure you know the story of the Prisoner of Azkaban so I won't rehash it but it's the one with the Dementors, Lupin, the discovery of who really is Sirius Black and a bit of time travel thrown in too! Not one of my favourites in the series but as always JK Rowling provides great writing which is done justice by these audio books.
You can get them as cds but I prefer to download them off Itunes because then they are straight on your itunes and easily transferred to your ipod. The books remember where you were last upto even if you don't, although they can't pinpoint the exact moment you fell asleep, more's the pity!!
The Harry Potter series is for adults and children alike. Same goes for the audiobooks! A great addition to any collection.
Having listened to all the Harry Potter books on the US audio book version and the UK first book I thought I should comment here. The UK books are very good and well recommended, however the US versions, read by Jim Dale and beyond excellent! His way of reading and the voices he uses are without comparison, you really get the feel of the characters and motivations. The books on their own are wonderfully written and Jim's reading makes it even better. I would recommend these to anyone, even if you have read the books already. Treat yourself to be fully emerges in Harry Potters world. Crys
I have just received a copy, hot off the press, of the latest Harry Potter audiobook, the Prizoner of Azkaban, read by Stephen Fry in its unabridged entirety. It's difficult to find new adjectives when you have already reviewed the previous 2 versions of audiobooks, so all I will say is that this version lives up to the expectation created by the earlier versions and Stephen Fry is spellbinding in the way he reads the story and creates voices for all of the wonderful characters. This book is longer than the other 2, 8 tapes instead of 6, but that doesn't matter in the least. It is perfect for childen to listen to in the car and maintains a rapt silence throughout the longest of journeys, and then the tapes have to follow us indoors when we get to the other end - what more can I say? The story speaks for itself if you have read the book, but this version carries you and the chidren right into the heart of it - superb!!