Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It by Stephen King (Audiobook Review)

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven

by Stephen King
narrated by Steven Weber

Copyright: 2010 Blackstone Audio
Duration: 44 hours 57 minutes unabridged
Genres: horror, supernatural, monster fiction
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
Click the image to visit the publisher’s website.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: It’s a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry, the haunting is real.

In 1958, the small town of Derry, Maine is shaken by a series of brutal murders targeting children. That fateful summer, seven kids are drawn together in a fierce bond of friendship to face a force of unspeakable evil. Twenty-seven years later, when the murder cycle begins again, they are summoned back to their hometown, reunited for a final, decisive battle against the reawakened evil.

Winner of the British Fantasy Award and the bestselling book in America when it was published in 1986, It is Stephen King’s incomparable epic about evil in all its forms and that which it cannot destroy.

©2010 Blackstone Audio

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: On the surface, Derry, Maine looks much like any other town in America. Its population of some 35,000 are perfectly normal people, leading perfectly normal lives. It’s banks, gas stations, and shopping malls are much the same as you would find anywhere in the country. But what might you see if you could peel back the surface layer, and look underneath?

There is something lurking beneath Derry. Far beneath the streets, beneath its foundations, even beneath its ancient and labyrinthine sewers, there is a presence, a malignant spirit that pre-dates even the earliest settlers. This dark entity, thankfully, spends most of its time sleeping, or hibernating, but periodically, it awakens, and it is hungry.

Many of Derry’s old-timers, although they never speak of it, are aware of the cycle, at least sub-consciously. Every 26 or 27 years, the number of murders, violent crimes, and especially the missing children reports, rises sharply. But in 1958, something different happened. This time, the cycle had barely begun, when it was abruptly cut short, and no one knows why. Well, almost no one.

Meet the Losers Club. They know what happened in the summer of 1958 because they were right in the middle of it. A group of seven kids, 11 or 12 years of age, that were drawn together that summer, as if by some inexplicable and irresistible force. Individually, these kids are considered freaks or misfits: a stutterer, a fat kid, a Negro, a Jew, a four-eyes, an asthmatic, and a poor girl from the wrong side of town, but when the seven of them were together, they felt almost invincible, like the same force that drew them together was guiding and protecting them.

In August of 1958, the Losers ventured down into the sewers, into the very lair of the thing that fed on their city, and defeated it. It was something only kids could do, kids who still possess that magic that we all seem to grow out of by the age of 16 or so. But 27 years later, in 1985, when the cycle starts again, will the Losers have the courage to go into Derry’s underside once more? And will they be able to recapture that magic that saved them when they were kids?

It is definitely one of Stephen King’s most monumental audiobooks. The thing that makes King such a great writer is the way he brings his characters to life. The seven losers became so real to me that I almost feel like they were my own childhood friends. And King is particularly good with kids. I don’t know how he does it, but he really has a knack for capturing the innocence and magic of childhood. The actions and speech of the kids he creates are completely natural and believable.

This edition of It was narrated by Steven Weber. When you tie into a 45-hour monster like this you better hope the narrator is good because that will be one long audiobook if he isn’t. You have nothing to worry about with Weber; he is absolutely fantastic. Steven Weber reads with more enthusiasm than any narrator I’ve heard. He does pretty decent voices, and I can appreciate how challenging it must have been to read all the lines of stuttering Bill Denbrough. But mostly, I just enjoyed his enthusiasm. With a bad narrator, it would be impossible to get through a novel of this length, but these 45 hours really seemed to fly by.

It is Stephen King at his best, and this is a superb audio production. I’m a little surprised that I’ve never heard of Steven Weber before, but I’ll be on the lookout for his name from now on.

FILM ADAPTATION: It was adapted to a made-for-TV-movie in 1990. Among the notable cast members were Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown, John Ritter as Ben Hanscom, Harry Anderson as Richie Tozier, and Seth Green as the young Richie Tozier. Also of note was Richard Thomas, whom you may remember as John-boy Walton, in the role of Bill Denbrough. In March of 2009, work began on a new version of the film. It is scheduled to hit theaters sometime in 2011.

Update 8/26/2013: Obviously that film never released in 2011. According to the latest news the film is still in the works. It is now reported that it will be a two-part film directed by Cary Fukunaga. No cast has been announced yet.

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Special thanks to Blackstone Audio for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.

1 comment:

joni said...

A King fan I am and have to admit to never reading this one BECAUSE of the movie that was so lousy and scared the bejeebies outta me with a stupid clown in the sewer!

I collected clowns and to make them evil, well, that was just wrong! Maybe I should give this a read and let those fears get blown in the WIND. Lord knows we have enough of it here! lol

Good review honey!