I have loved this series from the beginning, and I believe a big part of that is Kevin T Collins amazing talent at narrating the story! He captures each character flawlessly, and brings the story to life in a unique way. He uses his voice perfectly to pull at your emotions... you feel the despair, the joy, the uncertainty. This series has truly been my favorite audio book series yet. I look forward to listening to more of Mr Collins talent. As for the Khristine Hvam, she handled the story and voices well, too, but I admit, after three books with a male narrator, it was difficult for me to switch to the new character voices from Miss Hvam. She did it well, but... it wasn't what I was used to.
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have created a beautiful world in the Caster Chronicles. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA Fantasy. They are talented authors! Give the series a try.
You know you're a Grey's Anatomy fan when you recognize the voice of Dr April Kepner in less than a minute of this story (especially when you had no clue she was the narrator)... but, that is not necessary for the review. :D
I am somewhat tired of the dystopian theme in novels, but I am glad I gave this one a try. I really, really enjoyed this. It was very different from others dystopian novels out there, and I'm very curious where the story is going to go from here. I thought Lauren Oliver wrote this very well. The plot was well thought out, as were the characters, and she wrote Lena exactly like a 17 year old, in her thoughts and actions. I thought the sub-characters were just as important as the main characters. Hana and Carol helped form Lena's personality just as much as Lena did. I am looking forward to learning more about Alex in the coming books though. There is still so much mystery there. Aside from the story and the characters, I really appreciated the bits of flash fiction mixed in with the story. It didn't feel out of place, and actually helped bring out the stress of the moments. I enjoyed it.
Lastly, this story was brought to life perfectly by Sarah Drew. Sarah captured the emotions of the story very well. She knew when to read quickly (stress, anxiety), when to slow down or pause (hesitation, nervousness), and what tone to use to express the emotions as well. It was very well done.
The two of them, Lauren Oliver and Sarah Drew, have created a unique and nearly perfect pair for an audio book. So much so that, I find myself on my computer writing a review and downloading the sequel within minutes of finishing the first book... that's rare for me! Kudos to the two talented ladies!
Cross the Line was a pleasant listen, but not an exciting one. It was not a bad story, but I simply felt unexcited, which should not be the case for a thriller-type story.
Jack Patterson wrote this story well. It was clear he had done the research and had put a lot of thought into it. I thought the story flowed perfectly. The story let me down because of the dialogue between characters. It simply was unrealistic. A few of the characters often went off on tangents when talking to someone about things they had discovered along the way. These tangents, which clearly were dialogue and not narration, were too-journalistic. I know a few journalists, and even when I get them started on a topic they're writing about, they still don't *talk* like they write. These characters spoke more like they were reading an article, rather than sitting at a table drinking coffee. It just felt unnatural. There were also a few times the characters used rare synonym's to describe things when talking to someone (again not during narration), even during the intense scenes. Most people I know under would go for the easiest word to describe something when under pressure, not the unusual synonym. (i.e., blue vs. azure)
Perhaps all these faults would not have been so disappointing (or rather, distracting?) to me had I read the book vs listened. The narrator was not horrible, he had a pleasant voice. However, the book was simply read to me, not narrated. He lacked the vocal talents needed to pull off not only a book, but especially a thriller. There were no differences between male and female voices, and often I could not tell which character was talking because there was no difference in dialect. The non-American bad characters in this book had normal American voices (even in their home country), and were not frightening or manipulative at all. Another fault, there were two very intense parts of the book that simply require some voice excitement, and there was absolutely none. During the part in which the son was kidnapped (forgive me for not marking this as a spoiler, but as it was in the book description, I didn't think it was necessary), I completely missed it because the narrator was so soothing and calm that I had no clue something big was happening. I literally had to go back a few minutes to re-listen to that part. Later in the book, during another big event, I had a similar unexcited response because of the calm tone. Overall, the narrator was pleasant and soothing, but I do think Cross the Line could have been done a lot better with someone who had more narrative vocal talent.
Cross the Line is a great book, despite all I've mentioned. And I do recommend giving it a try. Jack Patterson is a great writer, and I have enjoyed his work for a while now. I look forward to his future books.
I'm thoroughly enjoying this series. Tris has grown up a lot in this book, finding herself in real love and friendship, relationships that are not based on being told what to believe or how to act. She also is grieving, hurting, angry, and passionate about her cause. I felt like she was more "human" than other characters in other books, because of how she acted/reacted to situations. Sometimes her anger blinded logic and sometimes her impulses created huge problems. Isn't that the human way? Acting too quickly creates chaos. Anyway, I enjoy this series and will be anxiously awaiting the next book!
I personally found this book to be my favorite in the series so far, and I think that's partially due to the expansion of views in the story. We hear from Jamie, Brie, and Roger frequently, which I thought was a breath of fresh air compared to only Claire's POV. I also felt the stress from miscommunications (or lack thereof), and the torture and heartache brought on from those errors. I don't want to give the plot away, but I thought all the characters were very "real" in their actions or reactions in this story. But, then again, I think they seem very real in all the books. Diana Gabaldon is a truly talented writer, and I enjoy her books so much. But, I honestly don't think I'd enjoy them as much if I were to read them. Davina Porter is an exceptional narrator! She brings this story to life and it's nearly a movie inside my own brain. I can picture things so clearly because of the way it's written and narrated. I've already downloaded the next book, completely prepared to give 55+ hrs of my life to Jamie and Claire again.
I gave this book six hours, and each hour felt extra long. The story was so boring, and the narrator didn't help. She was monotone and unemotional. I wasn't excited when it was exciting, nor did I feel the lust when there was some. It was just dull. I'm not entirely sure the book itself would be better, instead of audio, because many of the sentences seem to run on too long. There were also misplaced tangents of history, that were confusing and distracting. Overall, I just did not enjoy this book. I'll be returning it.
This was not my favorite in the series. In fact, I kept thinking "what is the purpose of this story?" It just didn't seem to "fit" with the other books. It felt like the author was struggling to find a good storyline to continue the series with. However, I still enjoyed Tavia Gilbert's narration, she is brilliant!
Parents, be warned!! This book series constantly involves kids going behind parents backs and participate in sex, drinking and even skipping classes. There is a fair amount of sex (talk AND participation), some drinking and skipping school. I realize it's "normal" in the high school era to be tempted by things like this, but these books do not hold back, which is why I am surprised they are YA (even if they are based in high school). Not only that, but the parents of these teenagers in this book are still barely involved in the kids lives, and the parents who are (Matthew, in this case) are comfortable with these kinds of decisions made by those he considers his own children. It's dangerous territory for young adults, in my opinion.
All that said...
I still enjoyed this series quite a bit, when I thought of it outside of the high school realm. The characters are built well, and I think they react in a "real" way when faced with tragedy, heartache and loss (real for high schoolers, especially... over reacting, high emotions and miscommunications). There is a lot of self discovery in this book; I appreciated how much Dee, Andrew and Ashley grew up.
I agree with another review I read about the ending. I was expecting this book to wrap up the series as well, and was quite surprised when it didn't! What a cliffhanger ending!! I am anxiously awaiting the next book, which I know will be a while.
Parents, be warned!! This book encourages kids to go behind parents backs and participate in sex, drinking and even skipping classes. There is a lot of talk about sex (talk AND frequent participation), drinking and skipping school. I realize it's "normal" in the high school era to be tempted by things like this, which is why I am surprised this book did not hold back for being YA. Not only that, but the parents of these teenagers in this book are still barely involved in the kids lives, and they act as though their hormone strung teenager is capable of "just sleeping side by side". Yes, that is what really happened in the story, but I don't know any parent who would react the way the mom did in this book when she found her daughter sleeping in just a tshirt next to her boyfriend. It's dangerous territory for young adults, in my opinion.
All that said...
I still enjoyed this series quite a bit, when I thought of it outside of the high school realm. I thought this book definitely took it's own course, away from the Twilight similarities, and I found myself pulled into it. The characters are built well, they stay true to who they are, and a lot of self discovery is made in some of the characters as well. I enjoyed the steady paced story line and I actually thought Justine Eyre's narration was much, much better this time around, too. No whispering or different tone's. It was comfortable.
I first heard about this series from a friend, who said it was one of the richest, most well thought out and brilliant storytelling that she had ever read. That was quite a remark, coming from her. Then, my librarian suggested it too. So I pulled it up here, and I admit, I was very hesitant to start this book, and not just because historical-romance was not my forte. I was honestly unsure of how long the book was. I mean, 40+ hours?! Wow. And for only one credit?! I've bought other books that were less than 30 hours and required 2 credits, so it seemed odd to me. Could it really be *that* good, and only require one credit? Anyway, I obviously caved and downloaded it. I started listening to it as I was working on a Christmas project for my family. Before I knew it, the project was done and I was looking for other things to do just so I could continue to listen! This narrator is a perfect match for these books. I absolutely LOVED her style! Her voice is perfect for the main character, it just fits her easy going, loving, tender yet passionate personality. And she can handle an incredible range of voices! She switches beautiful between character's while maintaining each of their accents and individual speech patterns. She used emotions, too, which really helped bring this story to life. I reached the end of the story within a week, and felt disappointed it was already over. I wanted more! I had 40+ hours, and it wasn't enough! Thank goodness there were plenty more in the series. I currently am on the 4th one, but I am taking my time. There is no rushing this series, it's meant to truly be enjoyed. The author intended for that, I think, by the way she paces her writing. It's long and thought out, but not dull or tedious or lulling. Give it a try. It's well worth the time and the money!
I really enjoyed this series. Kevin T Collins is a great narrator, and combined with a well thought out story, it makes for an entertaining and captivating listen. I thought the character development was great, and the chemistry between characters was realistic enough. Even though I don't live in the south, I still felt I could relate to the small town southern theme throughout the series, and I especially liked that the authors brought in so much history into the story. It has a darker feel than other YA series, and it's written from a male perspective (vs female in other popular series) but perhaps that's why I liked it. I recommend this series to those who enjoyed Twilight & Mortal Instruments.
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