Dodge & Twist by Tony Lee

Posted February 18, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Dodge and Twist

Dodge and Twist

by Tony Lee

Publisher: Audible Studios on September 13, 2011
Genre: Classic Retellings, Crime, English History, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Retellings
Target Age Group: Adult, New Adult

Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Twelve years on from the events of OLIVER TWIST, a once-more penniless Oliver is back on the streets of London... When a meeting with the now grown-up Artful Dodger leads Oliver into a scheme to regain his money, he begins to wonder just how accidental the meeting was, as friends and foes from his past begin to mount up in a plan to steal the fabled Koh-I-Noor diamond from the 1851 Great Exhibition.

As the heist progresses, Oliver is pulled back into a world he hoped to escape from a decade earlier, a world of deception and betrayal, where every ally is a potential enemy and where his so called 'friend' Dodger is speaking to the ghost of the long dead Fagin - and planning his revenge on Oliver.

Oliver finds himself in a maze of lies and half truths while escaping the police, the East End underworld and Dodger's own violent plans - visiting his once home town and workhouse, Fagin's Saffron Hill den, Sowerberry's Undertakers, the British Museum and Newgate Prison in the process, as he faces his own demons, including the now destitute Mister Bumble, his one time bully Noah Claypole, and his guilt over the death of Nancy, a decade earlier...

In a situation that can only end with a noose around his neck, Oliver must find a way out of this nightmare - or forever stay a pawn in a game far bigger than that of the people around him, a game he must win at all costs...

 

Honestly, I just thought this was a fantastic listen.

As it turns out, Dodge & Twist is less of an audiobook and more of a radio play.  You never really know what you’re going to get from the free monthly Audible Originals… but as it turns out, this one was thrilling and delightful.  There’s a full cast, sound effects, and music.  If this was a play (is it?) and it was being performed nearby, I’d probably go see it.  It was great.

Okay, so, there’s a lot of cliches.  It’s not a perfect story.  Throughout the story, there were many twists, and although most of them were predictable, I still enjoyed it.  The characters and the pacing were all interesting.  Even though the entire story is told in dialogue, all the key figures get enough screen time to get a good idea of who they are and why they are that way.  If there was a sequel following Betsy’s character, I’d listen to it.

Because of the format, you don’t get a really great sense of setting.  Or rather, you wouldn’t if it wasn’t for the background.  I think this was a great choice by Audible Studios to create a fully immersive experience for the listener.  If I was judging this by normal standards, I’d say the setting was poor as there was only spoken dialogue, but with the production elements added, you don’t need descriptive passages – it’s all there in the background.  Really well done.

The only thing I didn’t love was the repeated use of the phrase “I’ll eat my head”.  I’m sure there’s a few different ways of expressing that sentiment without the cliche phrase.  But, honestly, that was the only thing I didn’t like.

The pacing was perfect and each of the cast members were distinct and did an excellent job.  I listened to the book in a single sitting, and wasn’t bored for a moment of it.  The whole production was enjoyable.  If you’ve got a long car ride coming up and you have a little background on the Dickens classic (Oliver Twist) then you’ll enjoy this.  Just a little background, too – I haven’t read that one and I wasn’t lost in the listening.  It was the right balance of interesting, endearing, exciting, and familiar.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

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Can you suggest any other Oliver Twist retellings?  This is the second I’ve read, and my favorite so far.  Still, I love retellings and am always keen for more – make your recommendations in the comments!

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