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Iain Nicholas Mackenzie
Sleeping Hedgehog, September 2012

A work suitable for being an audiobook must have strong characters and a believable story with a fair amount of dialogue. Though this novel is considered a classic English children’s story, it is really is for anyone who likes a good story well-told.

Listening to The Owl Service as told by Wayne Forester, who handles both the narration and voicing of each character amazingly well, one is impressed by his ability to handle both Welsh accents and the Welsh language, given the difficulty of that tongue…

That The Owl Service is, as the Naxos website notes, ‘a fabulous, multi-layered book of mystery and suspense, but also a contemporary musing on love, class structure and power’ is indeed correct but I will confess that these matters, particularly the intertwined matter of class and power, were far more evident to me when voiced through the voices of each character as the narration brings to life them as individuals.

Roger is English and is openly contemptuous of the Welsh people; Huw Half-Bacon is Welsh to the bone and both terrifying and silly at the same time. Wayne voices both characters to perfection as he does Nancy, Roger’s mother…All other characters, be they minor or major, are equally fleshed out by the unique voices they are given.

I must mention the use of music of a Classical nature which was drawn from the ever impressive Naxos music library. It is light when need be, dark when need be, and used with a touch that shows the sound folk knew that music must be used sparingly.

I recommend The Owl Service to anyone who appreciates a well-told story that combines matters of myth and society in a tale you won’t soon forget. Bravo to all involved in creating this audiobook! © 2012 Sleeping Hedgehog Read complete review

Bradley Winterton
Taipei Times, September 2012

in the important field of classic junior fiction, Alan Garner’s The Owl Service must claim a prominent place. Adults sensitive to the numinous aspects of the rural will be unable to resist its strange power too…the reader, Wayne Forester, is alert to the many mysteries, both wild and human, that Garner so powerfully brings to life. © 2012 Taipei Times Read complete article

Mary Purucker
Sound Commentary, June 2009

Three teens unwittingly and inadvertently live out once more an age old Welsh Mabinogian legend. When Allison, who is ill, hears scrabbling in the attic over her head, she gets Gwyn, the housekeeper’s son, to investigate. Nothing is there but a set of dishes with abstract owls painted on them. From then on, it gets spookier as the noises continue, and when Allison traces the owls on the plates and folds the papers, more strange things happen. The Welsh legend/myth involves Blodeuwedd, the flower goddess, and terrible jealousy as two men love her and one kills the other.  Nothing can stop the unfolding events. Storms, tempests, pleading, reason, and science only reinforce the tale.  Garner’s remarkable writing is simple and straightforward without one wasted word. He lets the audience figure things out through action and dialogue. Characters are well defined. Experienced narrator Wayne Forester is superb. Not only does he take on the voices of disparate characters with practiced ease, he also manages it so seamlessly and immediately that it seems as though there must be two speakers.  Twilight readers and others who like to be frightened should enjoy this Carnegie Medal and Guardian Award winner.

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