Ok, the headline may be harsh, but it explains why a good performance and a good story manage to combine into a sum that's less than the individual parts.
The writing is decent, if unremarkable. The historical research adequate. The pacing ok. What's wrong then? Well, this is a time-travel book confronting modern Americans with Enlightenment Europeans in the midst of a religious war. So, if you abstract from the lack of 1-any discussion (even in passing) of religion, 2-any serious conflict between past and present values, 3-any character (modern or past) being remotely phased by the juxtaposition of times and 4-the lack of character development or ambiguity, then you will love this book.
Since I want this review to be helpful to prospective readers, I have to reiterate that it's not bad (if it stunk there would not be several sequels), it's just that the plot description suggested (at least to me) more thoughtful entertainment than what feels like a formulaic TV script.
Hmm, the headline is a bit harsh but 50 characters don't leave much, so let me elaborate.
From the publishing date, I gather that this is an earlier work of the author (I may be wrong), and it seems to be that it lacks the strengths of other Lanyon books. While often the author's books are formulaic, the quality of the writing and the variety of styles (fantasy, Noir, espionage) provide the extra oomph for a 4th star. This one fell flat. The main characters have little personality, beyond being handsome. Their relationship is very superficially described, and the plot is thin.
The reading performance by Mr. Bisson is fine. It is not what detracted from the experience.
I wish to first note the wonderful performance by Alexander Masters, whose British voice perfectly fit the narrator. Josh Lanyon also did a very good job using British turns of phrase where appropriate, to further delineate the main character.
The story and romance are fine, and standard for Josh Lanyon who normally delivers quality writing.
I did find the main character difficult to care for, especially in contrast to the more endearing love interest. I found it hard to understand what had driven the characters together in the first place, and made them willing to rekindle a relationship.
Overall, while not a stand-out, it is a recommended read for those who enjoy the genre or the author.
This a well-done follow-up to the original book, Bear, Otter and the Kid. It features the same characters, at a slightly later time in their life.
I appreciated that the main character, whose POV drives the narration, had grown up a little . While he remains a bit self-centered and whiney (i.e. in character, so not necessarily a flaw in itself), it is a relief to see some personal growth.
I have to admit the second half of the book sees drama laid in a bit thick, but overall it is an enjoyable journey.
Charlie David's performance is fine.
In book form, this title was a fan favourite within the m/m romance genre. So I had high hopes when it came out in audio form. In the end, this was decent but just did not move me much. On the plus side, I appreciated the setting (Australian football) and the author is gifted enough, so no complaint about the workmanship. On the negative, I just did not get the main characters. The lead is pretty whiney, the love interest not quite fully-fleshed out. And I also grow irritated when a lot of the romantic angst stems from a lack or refusal to communicate, and the characters never learn from that mistake. We could have saved a hundred pages of needless angst with a simple phone call...that just is unrealistic (or if realistic, too fricking annoying!).
The audio is fine but it is unfortunate that the narration is not done by an Australian. Australia is a key element of the atmosphere in the book.
So overall, I would still recommend the book, as it is a quality entry in the genre - though others may like it more than I did.
This is a sweet romance. The author successfully casts you into the cadence of an epistolary relationship set in the years of World War I. Sufficiently self-contained but leaves you wanting (in a good way) to know more about the characters and their lives.
My husband and I both loved this book, which is the first in a series of 6 or 7 at this point.
The characterizations are excellent - the main cast ls believable and endearing, with vibrant secondary characters. The book provides a wonderful sense of place, rural Ireland, and time, the 60s.
Quickly, we were drawn in and felt like the local villagers were our own neighbours as we got to know their ups and downs, quirks, dreams and doubts. Patrick Taylor successfully conveys an uplifting humanity without falling into sappiness.
The narration by John Keating, bringing a clear, well-paced Irish voice, is wonderful and makes it a pleasure to listen to.
Give this one a try...and enjoy the ride for the series.
This book was decently writtem, and decently narrated. It may turn some people's cranks more than it did mine. So the 3 stars are not an indictment, just that I found it average, perhaps I would have granted a half-star more if Audible let me. :-)
If it helps others, I will flag the two things that held me back some. First, the supernatural angle. The premise (which I won't describe in details so as not to spoil) is intriguing...but it does not really grow, which is frustrating because the author drops little hints here and there that suggest that either it will later on (and it doesn't) or that she at least has envisioned a richer world (which she doesn't share with us listeners). I was convinced there was a well-imagined coherent world somewhere...I just did not see it within the pages. Second, I found the lead protagonist hard to believe as a male voice. This is one of those books I wouldn't be surprised was written as a male/female romance, but got switched late in the game to fill a niche. The writing is not offensive, or irritating...the characterization just did not gel for me.
So overall, an average rating but, again, it is of decent quality and different listeners may find it more to their taste.
i would rank this in the clear top tier of male/male romances. The characters are likeable enough without being perfect, and there is an actual plot around which the romance grows. I admit I prefer straight-forward books (suspense, historical, mysteries, whatnot) that have a male/male relationship rather than romances with a touch of a plot.
So this one really was my cup of tea.
The writing is of good quality and the narration was very well done too, as Jack LeFleur always professionally delivers.
Many different periods have been re-imagined with magic (medieval of course, or Victorian England with Steampunk), but this was my first Western/Magic hybrid. Odd but well crafted, and internally consistent. Kudos to the author for bringing forth this original setting.
The world depicted is violent and crass, but believable given the premise, and populated by interesting characters. The narration is very well done, with diverse accents and tones that fit the characters and make them easily distinguishable.
The prologue sounds a bit like Mayan Mythology 101 on acid, but don't let it discourage you; it is not at all representative of the rest of the writing style of the novel - which is much more straightforward.
The emotional relationship between several of the male leads is important to the story and key to understanding their motivations and actions, but this is far from a romance novel.
Overall a recommended read (or listen!).
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