Had I read the synopsis more carefully I would have realized this was a young adults novel. Having said that ( as I'm an old dude ) I was impressed by the narration. It was well time and delivered. The plot, while juvenile, has good depth and pacing. I will definitely recommend this to my teenage sons.
Despite an innate ability to soldier on through shockingly bad storylines and/or ear grating narrators, I was unable to finish this story. Had the story sustained it’s initial arc of “young protagonist vs. apocalypse” this would have been a mediocre but listenable tale. Sadly, it appears this author is attempting to tap into the ever lucrative teenage girl readership. “Alex” quickly finds herself caught in the roils of romantic attractions between “Tom” her early savior but feels so guilty about conflicting feeling for “Chris” who really, really likes her but that damned “Lena” kissed him….yeah. Another MAJOR pothole in the bumpy road to Bad Book Purchase-Ville is the narration. The delivery is fine, even engaging…until any sort of action scene starts. Then she launches into this rapid paced, strident, semi-shouting technique that was not only irritating sonically but also quite stress inducing on a visceral level. That, of course, could be a unique combination of her voice and my inner ear… who knows.
Unable to formulate any combination of narration to have saved this story
Something that does not include cross-species rape scenes.
facile, consistent , likeable
Initially I was drawn in by the story's sci-fi setting. Who wouldn't be intrigued by an elfin, dualist ambassador entering a draconian empire (populated by actual dragonoid beings) to pit his bravado, whits and martial skill against a vicious race of star faring, imperialistic lizards. I was also drawn in by the vulnerability the protagonist's empathic nature posed when he is submerged in an ultra-violent, alien society.
But when the main character perceives his ambassadorial goals might be furthered by enduring repeated sodomizing rape by a huge dragonoid emperor...well...lets just say my level of empathy with the protagonist evaporated. As did any interest in finishing the story.
While I do not condemn anyone whose tastes run to a nice interstellar, enter-species, homoerotic, sadomasochistic love story - mine do not. Nor was I please to discover this fact well into the story.
Steer clear if you also find this outside your tastes.
Enjoyed Hoffman's second installment. Great pacing, nice character development and a plot that truly evolves in a second novel rather than just being a transitional book setting up a conclusive third. Steve West's narration was as enjoyable as the first. This rating fell short of 5 stars due to some irritating inconsistencies with the protagonist's abilities ( ex: his mentor reaches out and connects with a surprising backhand....this sort of martial blow is supposed to be impossible to land according to the first book) and some illogical blindness of the characters. But all in all, I'm looking forward to the next book. Enjoy
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