The Parasol Protectorate series is a great find; well-crafted and clever. I immediately went on through all four books and enjoyed them all. (Five is not on Audible yet.) The narrator is excellent and definitely adds to the experience of the story and the character depth. The preternatural heroine Alexia Tarabotti has the perfect amount of self-possession and propriety for a soul-sucker and the setting is turn of the century in socially progressive London where supernaturals are not only accepted as part of daily life but are often leaders of fashion and social trends. I particularly enjoyed the over-the-top Lord Akeldama. Readers beware that Book 2 Changeless ends on an unnecessarily high cliff and requires immediately going on to Book 3, Blameless.
I love Gail Carriger's work. If this is your first audio, then you will likely enjoy it. It reads more like a young reader book such as the Finishing School series than the clever Parasol Protectorate (PP). The problem here lies in the translation to audio and using the narrator from the Finishing School series (who was excellent in that) to continue with characters from the Parasol Protectorate (PP). It seems that Moria Quirk (narrator) never listened to Emily Gray, the previous reader. More bothersome is that Gail Carriger didn't step in recognizing how much social capital is being destroyed. It is very disconcerting (painful) to have beloved characters not only sound different but have their names pronounced differently (or mispronounced to my ear). Some of my favorite characters, Lord Akeldama and Sandalio de Rabiffano (the former Biffy), not to mention Lady Maccon, sound so 'out of character' that it destroys the continuation of narrative coherence that I had enjoyed and so beautifully achieved in the PP. (As devout fans will know, Lord Akeldama was misprounded in book 1 and then corrected in the following books). As another reviewer noted, Moira Quick has transformed the Prudence characters into variations of the Finishing school series characters almost across the board. For example, Lord Akeldama, so brilliantly portrayed in PP, now sounds like Professor Braithwaite and Percy is interchangeable for Pillover, Prim for Dimity and Rue for Sephronia with less empathy. Most disturbing was to lose the humanity of Lady Maccon by turning her into a battle axe with no depth or warmth that had been so well portrayed in the PP. Not to mention stripping Biffy of his poignance and humanity and him into Uncle Rabiffano (ra-BIF-fano in stead of rabi-FAN-o) and referring to the BUR as "bur" and not B-U-R. Ironically, as much as I liked the character of Sephronia, Rue doesn't have her endearing qualities nor does her brashness have context like Alexia's. We know Alexia's backstory which makes her demanding, straightforward personality make sense. Rue comes off as a spoiled rich kid who has done little to recommend herself other than manage her skills as a metanatural. I continue out of my affection for previous Carriger works and have hopes that at least the pronunciation errors will be corrected when they convert Book 2 of the Custard Series into audio. SOMEBODY PLEASE LISTEN!
I was looking forward to getting to know a new cast of characters to follow through a series of light mysteries. The story premise had potential but the audiobook was disappointing for a number of reasons. As other reviewers have commented, there is quite a bit of detail about coffee, where it comes from, how to make it, what it tastes like, etc. The depth of the plot and development of the characters did not support this much unnecessary, although sometimes interesting, information. It felt like it took forever to get into any meat of the story (about halfway) through the recording. The characters themselves were without nuance. The husband was relentlessly angry and obnoxious---so much so that I had no interest in any part of the relationship resolution with Claire. Few characters had exchanges that weren't emotion-laden without the contextual ramping up and far beyond what was necessary and this made it impossible to develop any empathy for them. The best character was Madame. I don't mind somewhat unrealistic twists and turns, but the lack of empathetic characters was off-putting and meant the story didn't create enough of a world to sustain a real visit.
It took me a couple of tries to get into Corinna after listening to the whole Phryne Fisher series. Perhaps because living in Phryne's world is just so much fun. I find the pacing of the books sometimes odd--sidetracks into unnecessary information that would be interesting if the forays were not so indulged. The reader is good, although I preferred the treatment of Moroe the witch in book 1. In book 2 Meroe had taken on a pronounced Hungarian accent, which with the deepness of the voice, overcomes the emotional range the reader had in book 1. Still Kerry Greenwood is a good storyteller and the stories an enjoyable listen. The characters feel rather stereotypical but I expect, as in Phryne, their humanness develops over the series.
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