“Poison Princess” is one of the most intriguing books that I have read this year. I have been utterly captivated with it. I have listened to the entire audiobook at least twice, bought it for my Kindle to study specific parts, and re-read or re-listened to some sections a half-dozen times or more. Let me repeat … UTTERLY captivated. The story was so unique, the characters were complex and richly drawn, and I loved the way the author constructed the story's timeline.
Emma Galvin, who narrates Evie’s POV in the audiobook, is too fabulous for words. This story defied my expectations on many levels, and Galvin is at least partly responsible. As a native Southerner, I am frequently annoyed by bad Southern accents from narrators. Galvin’s was great, not overdone, and she caught a few of the subtleties of Louisiana cadence. Her rendering of Jackson’s Cajun drawl, and especially the Cajun French, was AWESOME, and I have listened to those sections of the books for hours on end. Keith Nobbs, who narrated the character Arthur's POV, was appropriately creepy, and I liked that each time we switched to Nobbs' narration, I knew we were switching between past and present in the story.
I can’t wait for the next book. I thought the ending of this one was spectacular. While the story is clearly “to be continued,” and I am dying to see the reactions of every single character to the last scene of the book, it didn’t end on a “cliffhanger” in the way of some others. There were twists within twists, and we got a satisfying number of reveals, yet there is a world of story left to tell here. Kudos to the author, and the audiobook narrators, on a fantastic reading experience!
I think "The Golden Lily" is a lovely book. It is well-written, moves the major story arcs along nicely, and is enormously entertaining. "The Vampire Academy" series started my YA crush ... I read those six books back-to-back-to-back, finished and said, "Please, ma'am, may I have another?" I wasn't so sure about Sydney as the first-person narrator for this second series in that world, but SHE. IS. PERFECT. Really perfect. I *love* Sydney. She is such a contrast to Rose, the narrator of the first series, and it is an excellent juxtaposition. Rose was wild, impulsive, a rebel in every sense of the word. Sydney is controlled, follows the rules, values order and discipline, and is proper in every sense of the word. And we are watching her blossom like a flower.
In this book, we get to see Sydney start to question the very fundamental values that her world view is based upon. We get to watch her (and a few other characters) begin to explore the notion of love and romance. And we get introduced to a whole new faction in the Moroi/Dhampir/Alchemist world. I loved every minute of this book. And since I listened to this as an audiobook, I should add that Emily Shaffer, the narrator, does a truly fantastic job bringing the characters to life. (The original series went through a couple of narrator changes, which I found very frustrating. I am so glad they have settled on Shaffer, who does great work!)
There are very few series in the YA world that I could think to recommend more highly than this one.
Another very solid addition to The Iron Druid chronicles. I'm not sure I liked this one as well as the last two, but still, a very good book. Kevin Hearne is a real linguaphile - the guy loves words. And he's got a great sense of humor. So I always find his writing enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. In this case, Atticus, our favorite Druid, goes on a dangerous quest with some very interesting companions. The set-up took a while, and then we went through a section where the companions were telling each other the stories of why they were participating in this particular adventure. I found all of that to be a bit slow, but ... once the action got going, it went! And don't spare the body count!
I would be remiss not to comment on the narration by Luke Daniels. This is my third audiobook narrated by him, and he is FABULOUS!! Great voices and accents, very clear, easy to listen to, gets the characters and the story, and just makes the whole thing a wonderful listening experience. I would recommend these books just to listen to him, and you would get a great series in the bargain. :-) I'll be on to Tricked shortly!
This is a fantastic book, a truly worthy follow-up to "Unearthly." My only problem with it is that I would have liked MORE, and I guess I've got to wait until January 2013 to get my fix! I bought this the day it was published in print, and then waited very impatiently for the audiobook. The re-read via audio was very satisfying, and I thought the narrator did a fine job.
But ... mostly I'm just greedy. :-) Cynthia Hand draws me in so completely, fills this story with so much meaty material, that I just want to sit and feast until I can't hold another word.
This is an absolutely wonderful, incredibly compelling story that will take over your heart and thoughts for days. I am a huge fan of this series, and will be rattling around Ms. Hand's website for the next year dying for glimpses of the next installment!
WOWSA!!! "Finnikin of the Rock" is possibly the best fantasy book that I have listened to in *years!* I'm not even exaggerating a little bit. This is an epic quest told in this deliciously compact format. The writing is beautiful AND brilliant. The characters are drawn with precision and finely layered. The journey is worthy, the fight is "what must be done," the relationships profound and complex. I'm pretty sure I could flail around and continue to list praises for this book for most of my day! I won't do it justice.
This is a book full of men - boldly drawn men, warriors and priests and nobility and peasants and thieves. The narrator created wonderful voices for these characters, and I could see every one of them so clearly in my head as I listened to the story. He did an equally good job with the female characters, and I thought the tone and pace of the narration was spot-on.
The relationships in this story blew me away. The author did not pull punches. People are messy. Relationships can bring as much pain as joy. And we see relationships of every kind here - familial, brotherly bonds, warriors-in-arms, families created by choice rather than blood, mentor and ward, master and slave, lovers and friends. This author is a master craftsman, and she delivers an amazing story in "Finnikin." I could not recommend this more highly - 5 stars!
I loved the first installment in this series, "Angel Burn," and have been anxiously awaiting the sequel. I read "Angel Fire" as an ebook, then bought the audiobook and just spent this past weekend enjoying every minute of this story again. GREAT book, and I thought this narrator did an excellent job with the characters. I especially enjoyed Seb, a new character in this second book. I thought he added a lot to the plot, and I can't wait to see how she wraps up his arc in the final installment of this trilogy!
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