I'm writing this review after my second listen of The Throne of Fire. I wanted to re-listen to the whole series before starting The Serpent's Shadow. I'm glad that I listened to it again because I had forgotten almost the entire story with the exception of the ending. However, I don't think that I will be listening to this book a third time.
The second book in the series feels a lot like the first, but without being as much fun. The Kane's are still trying to save the world from chaos in a ridiculously short amount of time against near impossible odds. But the uniqueness of the first book is missing here. Life as Egyptian magicians has become old hat to Carter and Sadie, but they don't show much growth or development as characters. I understand that they're just young teenagers, but after saving the world and skirting death multiple times, I had expected a higher level of maturity and/or understanding from our two heroes. Sadly, that was lacking.
Having said that, I still enjoyed the book as a light adventure story. The witty dialogue is still prominently featured and I often found myself smiling or chuckling at some of the character descriptions. After finishing, I'm now excited to read the Serpent's Shadow and see how Riordan wraps up the series.
Their narration makes a good book so much better. At times, things felt a bit repetitive in the writing. Riordan often repeatedly reminded the readers of the major plot points, namely that the world would end, in almost every single chapter, as if we had forgotten. The problem with an audiobook is that you just can't simply skim over those parts. The two narrators, however, made the repetition of information bearable by adding emotion and personality to it. I think that I would've been more frustrated with the sometimes slow pacing if I had been reading the book instead of listening.
No, I wouldn't. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the book, but I had higher expectations for it than what the author delivered. I was really excited to jump into the world of the Pink Carnation, but surprisingly, it was the storyline of Eloise and Colin that I couldn't wait to hear more of.
The majority of the narration takes place during the Napoleonic Wars, and I was expecting a thrilling adventure story. Instead, this was a full-blown romance complete with several completely unnecessary and far too descriptive love scenes. The main characters, Amy and Richard, are stereotypical, flat characters and they aggravated me with their almost instantaneous attraction and growing obsession with each other. It takes over their entire narration, and any of the action and mystery that was developed disappears.
Eloise and Colin, however, were compelling. I really liked how they despised each other at first, and slowly they begin to begrudgingly accept one another. Their present-day relationship was much more realistic and exciting for me, and I couldn't wait for the story to move out of the memoirs and letters and back to the present day. Their storyline is the only reason that I would continue this series.
As with the first, her narration was full of emotion, and each character had a distinct voice and personality. She does accents really well.
I had no extreme reaction, but I did feel disappointed compared to the first book. Any originality from the first book has disappeared. I was left listening to a very typical angst-filled YA supernatural book, complete with the typical love triangle, too many descriptions of what the characters ate every meal, and an exciting adventure that took a backseat to the heroine's guilt about which guy she should choose. Kelsey was the most disappointing. She went from spunky and adventurous to depressing and mopey over Ren for a vast majority of the book.
Although I'm going to finish the series, I think that I'm going to have to switch over to reading the books. This one was tough enough to listen to, and I might need to skim over all the food descriptions and angst if I'm going to make it through the rest of the series.
After reading Eyes Like Stars, I definitely wouldn't pick up another book by Lisa Mantchev. I used a credit because I was intrigued by the idea of a theater whose plays are acted by the actual characters. I thought the idea really unique and I was excited to explore that world.
By the third chapter I knew that the book would disappoint me. Instead of taking time to explain or explore why the theater is the way it is, Mantchev treats it as though all theaters are run in this way, and that there is nothing out of the ordinary in the Theatre Illuminati.
Instead, the story focuses almost entirely on the teen angst of Bertie, the completely unlikeable heroine. Bertie tries to be a rebel- dying her hair blue, but it all just felt too cookie-cutter. Bertie doesn't appreciate how special and unique her life is until she's threatened to leave. Then the rest of the book follows along as she makes one stupid, selfish decision after another. Her friends are loyal to her for reasons I can't figure out, and two guys are attracted to her but I just don't see the attraction.
I had to force myself to finish listening to the book as it trudged along to its predictable ending. The only thing that made it bearable was the full-cast performance, which was well done. If you're looking for something unique in the teen romance genre, this would not be it. But if you love the love triangle trilogy, then it might be worth a listen.
This is my first Gena Showalter book, and if this is indicative of the quality and depth of her stories, then I'll pass. The story seemed fun- I mean, what's not to like about a girl gaining power over the elements through her mocha latte? But, the story development quickly fell by the wayside as soon as our heroine met the romantic interest. The rest of the story revolved around getting in bed with him. I mean, who cares about having out-of-control powers or bad guys trying to kidnap you so that they can experiment on you when there's a good looking man around? Our heroine Belle Jamison sure doesn't.
I love quick-witted, sarcastic, strong heroines along the lines of any Molly Harper leading lady. But Gena Showalter pushed too much. Belle's sharp wit and remarks often came across as forced and cheesy at times. She was also self-absorbed, not matter how much she tried to convince us otherwise, and has absolutely no people skills. Instead of being sassy and fun, she just came across as annoying and shallow. I wasn't impressed with her and by the end of the story, I didn't really care about her and the struggles she was going through. Jessica Almasy's narration also didn't help things. Her pacing was a little too slow for my liking, and I think that her voice is better suited for teen stories. I had a hard time imagining Belle as an adult.
Overall, this book was just okay. I wouldn't say that it was a waste of a credit, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless you absolutely love Gena Showalter.
This book would've been so much better if any kind of actual romance, or relationship of any kind, had a chance to develop between them. Since the book is told from Belle's point of view, you spend the majority of the book listening to her inner dialogue. And the majority of that dialogue is devoted to her daydreams of having sex with Rome and how attractive he was. I can't recall any instances where she admired or even noted his personality unless she was complaining about him. And I really can't understand what Rome sees in Belle. She is either doubting and mistrusting him, or inadvertently trying to kill him.
So, if you're into 100% physical attraction romances, this is the book for you. But if you're looking for any kind of deeper connection, skip it.
I'd say that listening to this book was a necessary evil. When I started listening to this series, I was excited by the storyline and the characters, but at this point, I'm just listening because I hate not finishing a book series. I think that a three-book storyline has been painfully stretched over the course of six books. The entire story of The Necromancer takes place in about a day and a half, and very little happens plot-wise. The Flamels still only have weeks to live, Josh and Sophie continue to question who they can trust, and there is still an army of monsters waiting to be released on Alcatraz.In an effort to be fast-paced and exciting, Michael Scott jumps from storyline to storyline and POV, but so little happens in each chapter that it slows the already slow story down even more. It would've been better had he just stuck with a few central characters and really worked on developing them and their stories. Instead it was a mental juggling act in my brain trying to remember what was happening in each side story and how all the characters were connected. He spent so little time with each character that I didn't feel a connection with any of them. And the personalities of the characters seemed to change depending on the point of view, which also frustrated me. No one was consistent, not even Josh or Sophie. And with the way The Necromancer finishes, it just seems that the jumping storylines will only increase in the next installment. So, if you're like me and you're committed to this series, good or bad, then you'll just have to push your way through. But if you're on the fence as to whether or not to continue, at this point, I would say to drop it, or just skip to the final book in the series because you're not missing much in this one.
If my friend were looking for something that required almost no brain power to understand and enjoy, then, yes I would recommend this audiobook. But if that friend were looking for even a hint of mystery or intrigue, I would guide them elsewhere. This book is great if you just need to let your mind relax and unwind after a long, stressful day. It's a no-thought-required storyline.
I'm still undecided on whether or not I'll continue this series. The first book was fun and fresh. But this time around, I had hoped for a little something more in terms of plot and character development. It seemed to me as though Rhys Bowen played it safe in this second endeavor. The things that I loved from the first book were either completely missing, or just got on my nerves this time around. The storyline is completely predictable, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it just felt like a carbon copy of the first novel. Going into the book, I knew to expect something light, with very little thinking required, and that's exactly what this book gave me. And there was absolutely no character development. Our heroine Georgie is ditzy and naive, but completely likable in the first book, but this time around, it's just too much. She spends the majority of the book worrying about her possible exile to the countryside to become her great aunt's companion, and barely even concerns herself with the number of people dying around her. I had hoped that after the events of the first book that she would've become a little more savvy, but she seems to have gone the opposite direction instead.But, having said all of that, I'm still not sure if I'll abandon the series or not. Some of the side characters, like Georgie's grandad and mother were absolutely hilarious and I always looked forward to the scenes that they were in. And as I said before, it was a nice book to use to relax and unwind. I never worried if I zoned out and missed part of the story because there wasn't really a lot to miss in terms of moving the story ahead.
Carter and Sadie Kane are back again, this time in their final showdown against Apophis. The fate of the world depends on the Kane siblings...yet again. Gaining help from both expected and unexpected sources, Carter and Sadie embark on a mad rush to discover the secret to defeating Apophis for good this time, or watch helplessly as he swallows the sun and plunges the world into darkness.
I admit that when I finished listening to The Throne of Fire, I felt a little let down. There were so many unanswered questions and some of the characters and ideas introduced never developed. I hoped that a lot of those issue would be resolved in The Serpent's Shadow, and I wasn't disappointed. Rick Riordan catapults off of all the loose ends left in the second installment, and leaves us with a high-speed adventure around the world and into a big chunk of the Duat.
Though it sounds a bit morbid, I liked that Riordan made death and loss a central theme. Of course, Carter and Sadie are no strangers to loss, but in the previous installments, there always seemed to be a silver lining. Their dad died, but only to become Osiris, whom they could pop in and visit from time to time as well as their mom. Bess lost his ren, but I don't think anyone seriously believed that empty shell of a god was the end for the wily dwarf god. But this book sees Carter and Sadie facing death and loss in a more mature way, realizing that sometimes there is nothing that you can do when someone dies.
Which leads me to my new favorite character in the series-Walt Stone. I liked him in The Throne of Fire, but I never felt like I had a real chance to connect to his character before Riordan dropped the death curse bomb. But it was nice to get to know Walt more, really see him shine, and understand why Sadie liked him on more than just a "He's gorgeous" level. I won't say much else since I don't want to give anything away, but his story was the highlight of the book for me.
Katherine Kellgren and Kevin R. Free continue in their stellar narration and characterizations. Of course anytime that you switch back and forth between narrators, there's always bound to be differences in how they bring different characters to life, but with the exception of Sadie, I often couldn't tell that much of a difference. They both add so much to the story, and really tap into that teenage angst that both Carter and Sadie have in abundance, especially in the love department.
Overall, I think that Riordan wrapped up the series well...for now. He hasn't written himself into a corner and has left things open if, or more likely, when he decides to continue the series. Though not as much as Percy Jackson, I enjoyed the series. I would definitely recommend it to others, especially those wanting to familiarize themselves with Egyptian mythology.
I will always recommend anything by Rick Riordan and this book is no different. The book had witty dialogue, lots of action, and a good intro to Egyptian mythology. The narration alternated perspectives between the siblings, Carter and Sadie, which kept things interesting and fun. The book is written as an audio recording that details the events after their adventure, so the narration is peppered with side comments made by one sibling to another as they argue over the proper way to narrate the story or make fun of each other. I've read other reviews that thought that the story dragged a bit too much with background information, but being much more unfamiliar with Egyptian mythology than I was with Greek mythology in the Percy Jackson series, I appreciated a more thorough breakdown of the gods, magicians, and their stories. And Kevin R. Free and Katherine Kellgren both did such a fantastic job with the narration that I never felt bored or wished that an explanation would end sooner. If you're looking for a fun adventure story, or you just want to expand your Rick Riordan library, then this would be a great use of a credit. And though I haven't actually read it in book format, I think that it's much more enjoyable as an audiobook.
Carter and Sadie are the obvious choices as the main characters. They were both well done, and it was easy to get a feel for both of their personalities early on from the performances of Kevin and Katherine.But I also really liked the Bast that Kevin created. His narration of Bast was spot-on for how I imagine a cat goddess would sound. I also loved Doughboy, the Kanes' shabti, especially done by Katherine. Though a minor character, I was laughing out loud every time he spoke. He sounded so indignant and full of himself, and I don't think that attitude would have come across so strongly on paper.
I liked when Jane got over her embarrassment and really decided to embrace her time in Austenland.
I love Katherine Kellgren! Without a doubt, she is one of my favorite narrators. She has such a wide range of voices and emotions, and she really brings the characters to life. Her narration here is no different. I don't think I would've enjoyed this book as much if I would've read it. I can imagine that, on paper, Jane would come off seeming a bit flat and boring. But Katherine Kellgren helped me to empathize with Jane.
No, I was able to put the book down between chapters. The story was fun, but it wasn't extremely captivating. I was never on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. That being said, I did enjoy the book. If you're looking for something to listen to on a commute or if you're not sure if you put your life on hold for 6 1/2 hours for an audiobook, then I would recommend this book.
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