This audiobook badly needed a female narrator. Why Roberts (or, rather Robb) chose one for her In Death series and not for this one, I cannot comprehend. You could get used to the narrator after a while but it still bothered me that oftentimes you cannot distinguish which character was speaking because the transitions were not clear enough. Five stars for the book, four for the audiobook, for the above reason.
This is one of those audiobooks that I acquired primarily because of the narrator, not the author. (I would gladly listen to Elisabeth Rodgers reading the phone book.) It was a pleasant surprise, then, that the story turned out to be excellent. The Last Chinese Chef was my first Mones experience and her in-depth knowledge of Chinese culture and cuisine was obvious. Being a foodie as well, I caught myself trying to write down the recipes for the different dishes.
Aside from being gastronomic, it was sometimes a bit too gnomic as well. With aphorisms flying left and right you might think that Lao Tzu or Confucious would jump out of the woodwork at any time. I have a number of Chinese friends but I never noticed as much philosophical proclamation as in the book. However, this might be the case in China, or maybe it’s just those Chinese chefs. Move over, Julia!
Kudos to Elisabeth Rodgers for her very convincing Chinese accent. At least I was convinced, but since I do not speak it myself, I will leave final judgment to the Chinese-speaking readers out there.
All in all, it was an excellent and very satisfying read—much like the sumptuous dishes described within. And maybe it’s true what they say about Chinese food—I found myself wanting more just half and hour after finishing the book. I am hoping for seconds from Ms Mones.
This was my first Julie Garwood experience. It was well-balanced, neither too dark nor too mawkish???a very satisfying read, indeed. The tension established from several quarters early on hung over the story throughout, coming to satisfactory resolutions in the end. This book was certainly NOT haphazardly written.
The narration by Rosalyn Landor was superb. Her male voices were never distracting and never gave one the sense that this was a woman straining to fake a male character.
I will definitely be getting into more of the work by both performers.
This genre has become overcrowded lately so I was pleasantly surprised by the author???s originality. She expressed great humor with her style and wit, not focusing on the mythology but on character development and human interactions instead. Ronconi???s male voices were not very convincing but still okay. Harper???s, or rather, Jane???s ???Jane Austen issues??? was the final touch to win my heart over. Fun! I immediately ordered the next two books right after finishing this.
I love the genre, but this book left me dissatisfied. I am not certain, but I think the fault lay mainly in the narration. During the listen, I kept imagining how I would feel had I been reading it in print and I always got the feeling that it was the narration that turned me off.
The narration aside, I found myself feeling depressed throughout. A bit of comic relief would have given it greater balance. Now I really have to think hard whether or not to give the second book in the series a try. There are too many other good books out there to read.
On par with the other books, although not as action-packed as book 9, I could sense that it was getting more and more difficult for the author to provide background information on the characters and events. This is good for those who have not read the previous volumes (and for the sake of selling more copies!) but it gets a bit tedious for those of us who have read (and re-read) the earlier books. Perhaps she should come out with a version for Sookie veterans, and an "expanded" version for novices.
Johanna Parker, of course, was a joy to listen to, as always. I just wish to suggest, let's bone up on the Russian accent, shall we?
To the author's credit, the story ended with no unresolved issues, unlike some works of the same genre that end with cliffhangers, obviously to hook the reader into buying the next book.
Overall, the storytelling and character development were excellent. In spite of the (necessary) tedium, I look forward to book 11, or an interim short story, if one is forthcoming.
There is something about the way Charlaine Harris develops the character, and Johanna Parker's delivery, that quickly endears the character to the reader. No wonder, then, that when the drama and the tragedy unfold, you cannot help but empathize with the heroine. It pierced my soul.
My only complaint is that this was never made into a series. Oh, and the references to Jane Austen were a welcome touch!
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