"The Kitchen House" reads like a "Princess Diaries" take on slavery. Character and plot development is weak. Quite disappointing overall.
I had given up on Janet's books a few years ago. They had become so boiler plate that they were an offense to anyone with greater than a 2nd grade education. That said, I am not sure what made me pick up #17, but it left me thinking that a ghost writer must have signed on, and I was sufficiently satisfied with it to buy #18. I was glad I did!
18 reads like someone actually put some thought put into the characters and their development. While some of the old baggage continues to hang on (Stephanie has a crappy job, what is she going to do with her life, etc.), there are hints that changes are in the works. Stephanie displays an inner strength that has been missing for a long time.
Unlike previous books in the series that effectively read as stand alone stories, 18's plot is linked to 17. You can be fairly sure that the integration of the story lines will continue in forthcoming books.
If you are not sure whether to buy this one, I think it helps to know that 18 actually reads like an old school Stephanie novel. (Pre-9, maybe?) And while these books will never win Pulitzers, 18 was definitely a lot of fun. For the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to the next installment.
Overall, "A Discovery of Witches" is an interesting tale and has the potential to be a fascinating series. Harkness pulls you into the story, and you want to know more about the characters and where their next move will take them.
However, I have to say that it took awhile to truly get into this one due to some serious unevenness in the writing as well as the limited vocal range of the narrator. For an Audiobook that is 24+ hours long, some parts of this story feel like they had been chopped to bits in editing, while others drone on and on, bogging down the reader in superfluous information and making the writing seem amateurish. Meanwhile, Ikeda's voice is so monotone at times, it becomes difficult to pay attention to important details that become the backbone of the story.
In the end, you will not be disappointed in "A Discovery of Witches". It will just take some patience to get there.
The Stephanie Plum books begon the downward spiral around #8, but I held on with the hope that they would get better. The pain of listening to #15 has left me saying enough is enough. I believe Janet has reduced these books to a-fill-in-the-blank, where she simply changes the names of Stephanie's skips. Character growth in this book included the addition of fart jokes. Wow... Then there is the narration. Lorelei King's range is limited, so everyone beyond the core charaters have roughly the same voice or sound borderline mentally challenged. Don't waste your money/credits on this one.
Exquisite narration serves to enhance Stockett's impeccable writing style. After nearly 20 hours of listening, I was saddened that The Help had to end! Don't miss this one!
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