First of all, I have to defend the author's narration. Santiago is Puerto Rican and the cadence and style of how she reads her work is typical of the storytelling style of Puerto Rico. I felt I was being read a story by one of my older relatives who is no longer alive. This was her story, she wanted to narrate it herself.
I enjoyed the book overall for the story, though I felt there were many times when I was being told what was happening as opposed to being shown. Santiago was trying to cover a long period of time and I felt that some of the details she chose to focus on were handled heavily while other aspects of the story were glossed over. Her descriptions of the land were beautiful. I felt some of the characters felt flat and unreal. But, I was interested in her version of history so I kept listening. I was a little disappointed with the ending but I probably would have been more annoyed if it had all wrapped up neatly.
This was my favorite audiobook of 2011. Deborah Harkness is a great writer and even more importantly, she can tell a good story. The book started off a little bit slow for me but once I was in, I was in completely. There are so many things about this book I loved; the historical elements from the lives of the vampires, science, genetics. Harkness created an utterly believable world that, even though it was very much rooted in contemporary society, felt fantastical and surreal. She put tension in the right places and gave each of the characters enough realistic flaws that they were sympathetic and believable. I think that is one of the hardest things to do. Harkness clearly loves history, science, books, magic and love stories; she put them all together to create an memorable story. I can't wait for the sequel.
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