I am a voracious reader of all fiction genres and poetry. I occasionally venture into humor, history, and science. I loathe self-help books.
I was intrigued by the premise of the story but quickly lost interest. I thought the dialogue was repetitive and the storyline boringly predictable. The narrator's performance was fair, but I think her creative talents were hindered by the author's inability to escape circular character exchanges. This storyline might have been improved if written in novella form.
but I had a major problem with the audiobook narrator. Do the physical book.
The ideas are creative and different – like vampires traveling as smoke, seasons and weather as beings. When humans arrived on Thaisia (similar to the North American continent) they had to be submissive to the Others – natives already there. The Others have power over the humans – a nice change from the American Indians’ history. The Others include animal shifters, elementals, and weather creatures.
This story does not have a romantic relationship. This is book #1 in a five book series. It’s possible that a romance may develop later. Book #1 is about Meg, a human with psychic abilities. Meg is on the run and asks for help from Simon the leader of a group of Others. He allows her to stay with them. There is a happy ending for this book.
1. I’m nervous about this author. I don’t know if I can trust her. She killed the heroine at the end of another series. I’m hoping she won’t do that here.
2. A few times when good guys thwarted or stopped the bad guys, I wanted to see the bad guys suffer, be angry, or be hurt. Instead the bad guys acted happy and said something like “this is good because now we have proof that such and such...” I felt unsatisfied each time something stopped a bad guy.
3. Heroine does stupid things during the ending climax which put her in danger.
4. Meg has a psychic vision which tells her the food is poisoned but she does not say who put the poison there. I’m not a fan of psychic visions that give me half answers. This is often done by authors. It’s an easy contrivance.
Alexandra Harris has a lovely, pleasant and soothing voice. Her pacing and character interpretations were good. BUT I couldn’t stand her accent. It’s a harsh twang. I think it’s Oklahoma area. I’ve enjoyed other narrators with southern accents, but I can’t take this southwest twang. As an actress I think she should learn to speak the generic TV anchor accent. I would love to hear her read other books without the accent.
Below are examples of her accent. The written word is in parentheses.
pitcher (picture), propietor (proprietor), figer (figure), cusedy (custody), prolem (problem)
dayown (down) tayown (town)
She does not say the “n” in contractions. They sounded like coulded, woulded
My second problem was hearing her BREATHS. During the first half I didn’t notice any. But in the last half they were frequent. I don’t know if the editor was at fault or something else. I wish she would solve that problem in her future recordings.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: paranormal fiction.
The only negative thing I can say is that I did have to speed up the narrator's voice. But once I did, it was just fine. And the story draws you right in. I finished the book and still can't get the story and all the things that happened out of my head. I really wish the next book was available, and no other book I have listened to in the mean time has even come close to measuring up. You won't regret this one.
Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. Reviewer at BiblioSanctum.
The story of how humans and the Other co-exist is a fascinating one, and while there isn’t a ton of back to back action in this like you might find in most urban fantasy, there’s plenty of delicious world-building as you get a feel for this. I found the various types of shifters fascinating, especially the avian shifters (Crowgard, Hawkgard, Owlgard). The narrator used a distinct speaking rhythm for them that made them instantly likable, especially the Crowgard who are as impish and intelligent as their animal counterparts. Even though the crows’ obsession with shiny things is a myth, I still couldn’t help being entertained by it being used in throughout the story. The vampires in the story are a mash-up of dated B-movie tropes, but they still add to the story in their own kitschy way, even if I did keep imagining Nyx as Morticia Addams.
The Lakeside Courtyard is more progressive with how it interacts with humans, but Meg’s presence allows for a stronger trust to form between the humans and the Others. While the Others are certainly imposing, they’re not nearly as cunning as humans who have perfected lying and betrayal, something that doesn’t come easily for the Others (aside from maybe a group of them) who are mostly upfront. This may be because they are the apex predators in the story and have no need to for that type of dishonesty. The Others who choose to interact with humans are only slowly coming to realize that humans do share some of their base level emotions when confronted with things such as triumphs and injustices. Despite taking human forms, they’re only simulating humanity to the best of their abilities. They don’t understand many aspects of human life, and tidbits of useful wisdom about humans are imparted on them throughout the story, which in turns makes them begin to see them as more than just prey.
I thought it was great storytelling to have the shifters proud and in control. They’re not hiding who they are. They’re not holding control by working behind the scenes while humans remain oblivious. They’re not ruled by human laws and integrated into human society because they have to be. It was heartening to see humans and the Lakeside Courtyard accomplishing so much together as they learned to trust each other more, even if the catalyst is Meg’s sweetness. They’re not giving up control, but choosing to explore ways that humans and Others can continue to live together with more mutual trust and respect. Trust and respect are hard for both sides given their histories.
Having Meg squeak and stumble around while everyone felt the need to baby her was disappointing, though. I’m not saying that I needed her to be some superwoman who could handle anything because rounded female characters aren’t just the ones who can hang with the big boys, but it’s unfortunate when a character like Meg, a character that I could like wholeheartedly, isn’t allowed much agency. That’s why I preferred the character Monty in this case of showing how both humans and Others could actually have some sort of relationship. He’s a human in the story who smells like prey unlike Meg. For that reason, he’s not given automatic trust as Meg is, but because of his positive interactions with the Others, concessions and considerations are made for him, as well, because they start to see him as more than prey and even “useful meat.” That felt more believable considering the circumstances.
The narration for this book really added to my enjoyment. Alexandra Harris’ is exceptional. She captured the innocent vulnerability of Meg well, and I enjoyed the voices she used for the different animal gards and the Sanguinati. She does have a voice that can come off very young sounding, which can make the story feel a bit juvenile in places, but I still would highly recommend this. I’m anxious to find out what happens next. This makes it hard to stick to my reading plans, and I think I might have to make an exception for this series. I’m almost sad it took me this long to start this series.
I purchased this book quite a while ago when it was on sale. I thought it seemed like it might be interesting, but it sat in my library for a bit and I finally started it when I had exhausted all my other books. I didn't have high hopes, but I plunged ahead.
The first 3 hours are rather slow, and there was one point where I almost returned it, but I kept going and I am so happy I did.
I found the story and presentation of this book incredibly original. It was exciting, fun, and a great listen. To be fair, some parts were rather corny and the character development could use some work, but overall I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.
There were some problems with the narration (mispronunciation of words), but overall it was well done.
I did not physically read this book, only listen, however it was one of the most intriguing books I have purchased. I was happy that I found a long book about paranormal fantasy world things, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I absolutely love it! it took me approximately 3 days to finish, however, it would have been a lot sooner had I not been at work. If you like stories about supernatural beings, told in a way that seems that the author assumes your knowledge of the universe, then you will love this book!
I love losing myself in books of any kind
So many books today rarely built into a good story with relations and growth in the characters. Many stories today are all about sex or forgets to pull in the reader. The book was a wonderfully told story the captures both the imagination and provides intrigue. This was a nail biter that has me hooked.
Merry meet merry part till merry meet again
Bear in mind the 1st part of the book is setting up the whole world that encompasses once you get past first part of book the Narrator will whisk you away into world so unique and so wondrous that you wont believe how quick book goes and where time went before you know the world fade as does wondrous voice that swirls to end as world of so much adventure paranormal world unlike any other book i have ever had joy of listening too Bravo to Writer and Double thumbs up to Alexandra who read the book and steal your imagination for while but like all good things the book had to come to end.. Sniffles i feel sad it over all can say buy it listen to it 1st oh 20mins or so set up world you will dive into and never want to leave.
I'm not a big fan of audio books but with this narrator, I not only thoroughly enjoyed this book, I bought the rest if the books in the series because she narrators the others. I love this series and have it in all formats: hardback, digital, and now audio. Ms. Harris is an outstanding voice artist who truly brought Ms. Bishop's characters to life.