I enjoyed Old Man's War and was glad to see other stories set in that universe. I think the format of linked short stories will be fun. This story sets the stage for some intrigue and mystery well without making it feel like the story was unfinished. I'm looking forward to the next one!
It's the same narrator as Old Man's War that I thought did a wonderful job of portraying the kind of thoughtful and circumspect view of older adults in the story.
The first half of this story is slow, full of two-dimensional characters and tedious detail. The second half makes up for it. The origins of the beast are intriguing, the characters fill out, and the adventure is fun. The second half was good enough that I bought the follow-up book, Reliquary.
While the story improved, the reader did not. The accents are awful and distracting.
There was a lot of potential for this book, and parts were amazing, but overall it was so-so. It felt like the author got lost part-way through before he found the thread of the story again. There was also a long section of "he said, she said" between two factions that were both plausible, so the bickering was tedious. The author also seemed more interested in getting the story out there, rather than telling it. I never got a feel for what things looked like or personal mannerisms of the characters. It was about half-way in before we knew the color of one of the main character's hair, for example. Overall, the book had interesting ideas, but so-so conveyance of those ideas.
The narration was okay in most places, but horrible in others. There are not significant pauses between sections of the story, so completely different characters were doing things before I realized we'd switched scenes. Early on, this completely threw me, but I grew accustomed to it. The accents were also iffy, many so close to each other that I couldn't tell who was speaking until the "Jim said" or "Craig said".
This story is a romance in the disguise of an urban fantasy story. If I had been expecting a romance, my rating would have been a little higher. The story was compelling enough to finish and the idea is interesting. I especially liked the ghost and Bones is well written.
For a romance, the sex scenes were very good and the cold and hot between the main characters was fairly good, but it got a little old half-way through the book when I thought she should be warming up to him. For an urban fantasy, I expected much more badass from Cat and much less angst and second-guessing of herself.
The mythology of these vampires is interesting and I thought Cat's backstory was an interesting twist, but so much was lost in the seeming randomness of the plot. There was no direction, no hint at larger forces at work until the big fight scene. The government agents appeared like deus ex machina to solve some problems and create others. It was disappointing.
Cat was also written very inconsistently. One minute, she has great instincts. The next, she doesn't see connections or the intentions of others that are extremely obvious. In one scene in her college apartment, she chides another character for not noticing something and then completely misses something equally obvious herself. She's just such a frustrating character that I nearly stopped listening on that alone.
The narration was okay, but nothing to write home about. The accents were iffy, but Cat's mother was voiced very well.
I think the author has potential, but this book didn't win me over into a fan.
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