I'm outside the typical demographic for this, I think (43 years old when I listened to it). But I thought it was well-written and engaging despite the fact that I wasn't completely charmed by it. If you like Southern Gothic romance you'll probably enjoy this regardless of your age. I don't know that I'll bother reading other books in this series, though.
I read this using Whispersync for Voice, so I alternated between the Kindle version and the audio version, which worked really well. The audiobook version did make decent use of sound effects (constant rain noises during scenes that took place during storms), but there were some instances where it was a bit intrusive. I like the ambient storm sound, but "foleying" in the sounds of a bookcase falling over wasn't really necessary. Overall it didn't detract too much. (I hate "radio play" versions of audiobooks.)
I think I'm probably alone in this, but I didn't like John Corey. At all. I hated the way he acted to Beth Penrose. I hated the unrelenting smart-alecky comments, even in times of crisis...I just never warmed to him at all. Scott Brick has said this was one of his favorites to read, and he does a great job as always, but the character of John Corey just rubbed me the wrong way. I might try reading another in this series, just to see if he grows up some, but probably not.
I would have preferred to learn more about the secret society of Incrementalists and their history. That's what drew me in about the description, but you get surprisingly little about that. Mostly it's about a crisis the Incrementalists face, and quite frankly, since I didn't really know who they were or what exactly they did, I didn't care very much. I hate to say it, but I wanted a bit more of the Harry Potter structure, where we'd learn about this secret society while being educated in the traditions, etc. There really wasn't any of that AT ALL, aside from a mention of signs going without quotations for emphasis in the very beginning. (And that's a cause that is near & dear to my heart!)
In any case, if you're looking for something in the Potter tradition (even if you're a grown-up and sort of hate to have to admit that), this isn't it. The narration is great, and the story might honestly be fine, but I didn't feel like it delivered on what it promised, so I walked away disappointed.
Narrator was great, but subject matter was difficult. The first few hours of the audiobook that cover LRH's life were honestly kind of tedious to get through - I found it more relatable when the book started talking about people and situations I'd heard of. Overall it's a good read though, so if you're interested in the subject you should definitely check it out.
I had heard the narration for this series was great, and that folks were upset when one of the books wasn't read by the Roy Dotrice. So maybe my expectations were too high, but I really didn't like the narrator on this one. His women & children all sounded like old crones to me, instead of women & children. It really threw me off.
Also, if you've been watching the series on HBO, he doesn't pronounce some of the names the way they're pronounced on the show, so that's off-putting too. And of course, since you've heard the characters voices on the show, they don't sound right here, either.
And if you're trying to take advantage of the Whispersync for Voice feature on this one, don't. It never worked correctly.
I'm a big zombie fan, but I may have moved past the point where I want to read "origin" zombie stories anymore. So with that in mind, I have to admit that if I'd read this years ago, I might have liked it more. As it was right now, I thought it was good but not great.
I do have to say I very much liked the fact that the character's "voice" (not the actual narration) was true to his backstory - it was written in a very military manner. The narrator was good as well.
I'm a big fan of Joe Abercrombie's The First Law series, and this was somewhat similar. It was good, but it didn't make me want to keep listening like the First Law books did. However, I'll definitely listen to more in the series, and I'd recommend this to anyone who like con-man stories and fantasy - it's a good mix of both.
I have to admit I didn't like the narrators for Daisy & Raquel - they sounded too much alike, and I'd sometimes lose track of who was talking.
I think this would actually make a better movie than it was a book - it felt like a screenplay in terms of scope.
Overall I'd had to say this one just didn't pull me along much - it was a bit of a struggle to finish. I do really like Susan Isaacs though, but if you're looking for something of hers to read for the first time, I'd suggest one of her other books.
I noticed this morning when I tried to download this book that there was a big problem & called Customer Service first thing. So they are definitely aware of the issue - something to do with the formatting (first part is 19 hours, the other two parts are 1 minute each, which is definitely wrong). I'm confident they'll get it fixed, but it can't hurt to notify them again of the issue. Call or email if you haven't done so already.
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