I spin my own wool and knit. Listening to audiobooks while I craft is one of my favorite things. I'm hooked.
I read a few book related websites and blogs and often know about upcoming books months before they hit the virtual shelves of Audible, but I must admit, this book came out of nowhere. I'd never heard of this series nor the author. I saw it in a sale a while back, liked the synopsis and thought I'd take a chance. Usually when this happens, I get a reasonably decent romance, but nothing to crow about. This book, however, was a quality piece of paranormal romantic fiction read by a marvelous narrator.
I didn't recognize Angela Dawe's name when I bought the book, but I sure recognized her voice. She was the fantastic narrator that brought Nalini Singh's Psy-changling series to heart pounding life. She pulls off some of the sexiest male voices I've ever came across from a female narrator. Combine her emotive voice with excellent pacing and flawless delivery and you get a truly marvelous audiobook experience.
The story line itself fits well within the paranormal romance genre, but it does have a nice twist to the vampire tale. The history behind the story is this: The world is struck by a pandemic, killing millions or humans as well as the vampires that drank from those infected. Following the pandemic, a vaccination is created and the vast majority of humans are vaccinated. Unfortunately, drinking blood from vaccinated humans has the same effect on vampires as drinking from the humans who were infected with the disease, making food supplies impossibly low for vampire-kind.
Our hero Aiden is trying to do his small part to rebuild the decimated vampire population, particularly those vampires in his inner circle of friends. He's done this by essentially buying a small Southern town and moving his vampire friends and their willing human blood donars (called fams) to this town. He finds more unvaccinated humans from the impoverished and addicted in the cities and offers them a second chance at life if they are willing to feed his kind.
The community aspect of this book is one of the elements that sets it apart from the herd of vampire fiction out there. The symbiotic relationship between human and vampires notwithstanding, there's a feeling of something a bit more than community, but not quite family, and Aiden is the leader, the founder and the cornerstone of it all.
After the town's physician, the human mate of one of the vampires, is killed, the town needs a new doctor, and our heroine, comes to Penton to fill this role. Expecting a quiet country life caring for the locals, she gets way more than she's bargained for.
All the elements are here. A brooding hero, a troubled but brilliant heroine, trusted sidekicks, unfaithful betrayers and a truly evil villain. Give it a try. It's a fantastic read on it's own, but it's also a promising start to a new series. I will be eagerly be looking for more work from this author.
I read through all of Kenyon's Dark Hunter novels with a fervor that bordered obsession (yes, my screen saver is Acheron, and my mouse pointer is Artemis' bow, so what?). Then I read the first of Kenyon's Belador Code books and was disappointed in a big way. So I started this book with a lump in my throat. I so badly wanted a decent Kenyon fix, and I wasn't willing to wait until the next Dark Hunter novel comes out.
Kenyon has a thing for tortured heroes. Often they experience childhood trauma of the worst possible sorts, leaving them crass and sometimes mean-spirited, but still with a core of goodness, of honor. The point behind them, I believe, is that even when life throws these guys the worst life has to offer, their spirit is so strong that their basic decency survives. Nykerian, the hero of Born of Night, is that sort of hero.
Kiara is a princess in pretty much every sense of the word. The world Kenyon builds is a rough one, and Kiara's life hasn't been completely trauma free, but for the most part she has been protected and pampered by her powerful father. Her character isn't always likeable, but you can see the discoveries she makes about herself and about others. She is a judgmental girl when she meets her hero, but she becomes a more understanding woman as the book progresses. It's easy to feel harshly about her, but she is a product of her upbringing, and her growth as a person is necessary to the story line. All in all, I thought she was the perfect foil for Nykyrian.
This book is a romance set in a sci fi world. I wouldn't recommend it for pure sci fi fans, nor would I recommend it for someone wanting a "sweet romance". This book is about a man who has been handed the worst life has to offer and survives the best way he can, and a woman who allows herself to love him. The sex isn't crass but it is explicit.
I thought the narrator did a fine job, building tension in the right places, adding appropriate inflection and doing believable character voices.
This book is the last in a series along a common theme, but written by four different authors. All of these titles are currently available on audible. I will list them in order as follows:
1) Lord of the Vampires by Gina Showalter
2) Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe
3) Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Anderson
4) Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh
To understand this book properly, the other three need to be read, preferably in order.
To sum up the premise behind the series: A kingdom is conquered by an evil sorcerer. The king and queen are killed in the battle. The three princes and one princess are spirited away by a last minute spell cast by their parents as they died, but the spell is more or less simultaneously corrupted by the sorcerer when he figures out what the parents are up to. Each book is about one of these four royal children. You find out what happened to them after the spell was cast, and discover their adventures in finding their way back to the kingdom of their birth, and of course, finding love along the way.
I get in the mood for light entertainment, so this series filled a slot for me just fine. However, If you are a serious sci fi or fantasy buff, this probably isn't the series for you. This is light romantic fantasy. These books are more like childhood fairy tales that have been spiced up for adults with liberal sex scenes and romantic intrigue.
Of the four authors who write in this series, Gina Showalter and Nalini Singh were the ones I was most familiar with, having devoured many of their books. I can't say that either of them wrote up to standard for this series, and I have to think that perhaps they treated it as something of a side gig and didn't pour as much time of effort into it as they do most of their other work.
Isabelle Gordon did a great job with the book. Her vocalization of the story added drama and her pacing was excellent. I gave her 5 stars for her performance, 3 for the story, rounding out to a solid 4 overall.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I bought this audiobook because it was in the sci/fi fantasy category. The write up claims it has "a dash of time travel" - and that's all it has in the way of fantasy/time travel - a dash.
Time travel is used as a way to launch a HISTORICAL ROMANCE. And, ultimately, this is exactly what it is: a very detailed romance novel set in 18th century Scotland.
Keeping that in mind: it is VERY well done. The narration is terrific and the story engaging (though I did use the fast forward several times to get through the long descriptions of clan family lines, or details of the clothing/housing/etc of the time).
I don't like romances and I don't like historical fiction so I thought the two together would mean I had wasted my credit. Not so. Even though it's as far from my usual listening choices (sci/fi or cop/detective stuff) as it could be, the story flew by: I caught myself smiling at events in the story pretty regularly.
Assuming a starting point of 3 stars for an average story, I added one star for the narration (which brings the story to life) and a second star for making me smile in public. I took off a half star for requiring me to fast forward some of the descriptions = 4.5 star story. So I give it 5 stars because 4.5 is not possible. (I did buy the next book in the series too.)
Remember though, this is a romantic novel with some/lots of sex (though having made it through the sex scenes in Altered Carbon, this is pretty "romantic" sex) - so if you're looking for sci/fi or fantasy, you will be disappointed in this.
Otherwise... if you're not the romantic type but, like me, stumble onto this story by accident only to find that you like it - don't worry, we won't tell anyone...