Although this story is painful on SO many levels, it is brilliant. I have never read such a different, but so well thought out belief/religious system. It is truly frightening in its brutality, but so believable and consistent throughout. The writing itself is clear and descriptive without being filled with endless unnecessary trivia. The characters are multi-faceted and engaging. I was driven by a need to know where it was going in the next two parts of the trilogy. Finally, Josephine Bailey is truly one of the very best narrators I have ever heard!
This series is excellent. The story is well thought out and the characters are rich. Also, I appreciated the way that the ending was not rushed. So many authors either run out of steam or are ready to move onto other things and the ending brings no satisfaction for the reader. This series allowed for good closure for most of the characters. I would have relished a little bit longer to enjoy the wrapping up, but I am a woman, so I suspect that I just like the joy part dragged out a bit to overcome the exhaustion of prior torment. The narrator was pretty good. His pacing was usually good and his voices were effective. Warning, though. His is an American accent. It took a little getting used to, for me, and I am American. :)
There are elements of a good story in this second book of the Bitterbynde trilogy, but I have to agree with other reviewers of Dart-Thornton's books. She seems to be in love with words to an excessive degree. I love good description, and a varied vocabulary, but it is almost as though she has something to prove by giving lengthy and overblown description of absolutely everything. It becomes exhausting and causes the plot itself to drag. Her rich embellishments would be far more effective if they were used much more sparingly. It really does become embarrassing. To make matters worse, the narrator clearly reads as though she is reading poetry most of the time, which I suppose she must surmise it is from the flowery style. Faulkner lifts her voice at the end of almost every sentence, as one might read poetry from line to line. In addition, she mispronounces many of the words, which detracts from the flow. I am sure she got awfully tired of looking up words and just guessed at many of them. Unfortunately, her reading has caused me to be certain that I don't listen to any more books read by her.
Oddly, though, she does an admirable job of slogging through the verbiage and often can distract me from the pure agony of hearing the lists of 50 food items. I just let my mind rest and go without paying attention (until she mispronounces something). I WILL finish the series, though, because I want to know how it is resolved. It is sad that it has become such a chore. A trusted editor and coach could have helped this book so much.
I read the first 4 books for myself and was thrilled to hear Lisette Lecat's beautiful, rich voice so easily pronouncing all those strange names. I had a very good recording on my iPod, and it was crystal clear. Don't know what happened to the other person who had a poor recording. These books are just a "breath of fresh air," that take me away from the crowds and traffic of Southern Cal.
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