Friday, 25 July 2014

Louise E. Rule Reviews The Audible Version of Wolf's Head: The Forest Lord by Steven A. McKay

Louise E. Rule Reviews an Audible Version of Wolf's Head: The Forest Lord 
by Steven A. McKay

Wolf's Head: The Forest Lord by Steven A. McKay
Narrated by Nick Ellsworth, Actor and British Voiceover

Wolf's Head: The Forest Lord is unabridged, 
and runs for 10 hours 31 minutes.

Audible Cover

In April of this year, Steven asked me if I would review his book, Wolf's Head, on the Audible Format. I was very keen to do this as I had already enjoyed reading Steven's book very much. I try to get all my favourite books in paper/hardback as well as Kindle and Audible, if they are available. This is so that I can read/listen to my books wherever I am.

A narrator has to possess skills of reading a story without the listener being aware of the narrator him/herself. Some narrators, I have found, sound as though they are just reading 'out loud' rather than telling a story, while others transport the listener within the very realms of the story, where it is possible to be submerged within it without being aware of its telling.

When one reads one gives each character a voice of their own, and the more the story progresses, the more permanent those voice characterisations become. This is why I think that it is important, no, imperative, that the narrator of an audio book should be well attuned to the story being read. For example, once a certain voice has been given to a character it must be maintained throughout the reading. It is only in this way that the listener can truly become engrossed in the story.

With this in mind, I was really looking forward to listening to the audio version of Steven's book.

With all my expectations, I had great hopes, but at first I felt a wee bit disappointed. I restarted the book several times because it took me a little while to get used to the narrator's performance. I felt that he needed to put more feeling, more humanity into it. As the story went on, however, the narrator settled into his stride, and then I enjoyed the performance more. He conveyed the female voice quite well, which must be difficult for a male narrator. Overdoing the female register can sound like the ubiquitous 'Pantomime Dame'. There is an element of skill in getting this right so as not to reduce the authenticity of the story being read, and by so doing, carry the story forward without the listener being aware of the narrator.

I have my favourite books read by my favourite narrators, and cannot imagine those books being read by anyone else. I have, however, listened to two series of books by an eminent author, making that 10 books in total. Several different narrators for those series have been used, and it has produced a disconcerting experience, especially as each narrator has managed to give different pronunciations to the ethnic names, achieving a jarring result and detracting from the overall story. With this in mind, I think that the author should make sure that the performance artist knows the pronunciation of any unusual names or words, etc., then this would eliminate the problem. 

I'm pleased to say that I found no such incidents of this in Wolf's Head, or rather, I should say that the narrator's pronunciations matched my own, right or wrong.

I am an Audible Member, so I buy books by 'credits' which are £7.99 each per month, which means that I am in the happy position of never paying the full price for an audio book. This said, Steven's book is priced, (at the time of writing this), at £16.18 - a fair price in my opinion, for ten and a half hours of entertainment, and if I were not an Audible Member, I would cheerfully pay this to engross myself within the exciting days of yore.

Steven A. McKay
Steven's book has stayed in the top of its ratings since being first published in July 2013, which is testament to the strength of his writing, and his story telling. it is my recommendation that you listen to the Audible version of Steven's book. The story is fast and gritty, the characters three dimensional, and the tension is palpable throughout.

Steven can be found on his Facebook Page
and you can read his blog here

Nick Ellsworth

Nick Ellsworth is an actor and voiceover, and has many credits to his name, and you can find out more about him here

Louise E. Rule is the author of Future Confronted
and she can be found on her Facebook Page 
Louise has a blog you can follow here


  1. Deirdre O'Mahony25 July 2014 at 18:26

    I'm a member of Audible too - I have some credits available, so I must give this a listen! Thanks for reviewing an audio-book! It's great to hear what others think.

  2. I would love to win this one. Great review too.

  3. Fascinating. I've not 'read' many audio books but I'd certainly start with this one.
    Great review Louise :)

  4. Ive never read Mr. McKay's work before and could really go for a good audio book right now.