Kentwood, MI, United States | Member Since 2006
I was somewhat disappointed in "No One Left to Tell" (the previous book in this series). It wasn't that it was a bad book but there was a stretch where I just kept waiting for the story to get moving. I thought it would have been a better book had it been shorter. So it was with some trepidation that I started this book since it is even longer. I needn't have worried. Karen Rose once again weaves an intricate story filled with suspense and a lot of back story. The pacing is perfect. Information about the past is given in tantalizing bits keeping you wanting more while at the same time you want to keep listening to find out what's happening in the present. The book went fast and was over all too soon. Marguerite Gavin's performance was excellent as always. The only reason I marked down the performance was because the production didn't seem up to the high quality of most of the books she has performed. There were many places where they had obviously done editing with multiple takes. This happens in other books too but in this book it seems the producers made no attempt to match the character voices so it almost seemed someone else was speaking in the middle of a sentence. It was somewhat distracting to have to figure out from context that the speaker hadn't changed. Overall though, still a great listen.
Rating the story was easy. It's arguably the best so far in the Bloodlines series. It furthers the development of the characters, their relationships, their background and the world of which they are a part. The final criteria for me to give it 5 stars is that I don't want to stop listening and look for excuses to turn it back on. It definitely met that criteria. I only wish the performance was as easily rated. Emily Shaffer has been doing a great job with her performances, first on the Vampire Academy series and then on Bloodlines. Sadly the person they chose (who Audible does not list) to perform the parts from Adrian's point of view is not nearly of her caliber. The various voices of the characters are virtually indistinguishable. The dialog is done fairly well other than that but the narration, while not completely flat it often lacks the full emotion for which the story seems to call. Moreover Emily has been portraying Adrian with a vaguely English/European accent for the entire time she has been performing him yet this reader is definitely all American and makes no attempt to match the tone or style previously set. If anything, Ms Shaffer seems to attempt to match his non-accented, flat rendition of Adrian which brings her performance down a notch both for deviating from the previous books and also for the fact that she sometimes manages it and sometimes falls back to the old, accented version. Final score? The story is simply too good and half the book is performed by Emily. Every time it switches to Adrian's point of view it required a readjustment but it never fell to the level where I wanted to stop listening and read it instead. A 3.5 would be fair but since I had to choose between 3 and 4 I felt 3 was too low. Final score: 4.
I agree with the other reviewers that the writing is well done and the characters are well developed. Unfortunately I thought they were perhaps a little too developed and I often found myself wishing we could get on with the investigation. There are times when a 20+ hour book is done way too soon. There are other times, like in this case, where I wish more editing had been done to trim a few hours and stay more focused on the main story. Steven Crossley has been praised for his work on this book but again it's not to my taste. His narration seems too meticulous and drawn out emphasizing even more all the extra dialog and description in the story. The next book in the series is about one of the other main characters in this book (from the description anyway) and a different narrator. I may try it but I need to listen to something else first.
For the first two to three hours I was afraid this book would be like the first in the series; focused primarily on the romance and only secondarily on the suspense. But from that point on the story returned to Ms Novak's characteristic blend of suspense with a big dose of romance added. Ms Dawe is more of a narrator than performer, at least in this book. She wasn't terrible, doing a passable job of giving different voice to the characters but ultimately the voices all ended up being very similar. Her dry delivery with longish pauses between sentences seemed to drag out the story lessening both the emotion of the dialog and the suspense of the narration. Ultimately I couldn't help but think that with a bit better performance the story could have been a solid 4 but as it is it was hard to tell and I kept wondering if the book would be better read than listened to.
I'm always a bit nervous when I start a book that has a lot of great press and reviews. If my expectations are too high it can mean being disappointed in a book when normally I wouldn't have been. Fortunately that was not the case with this book. The story grabbed my interest right from the start and never let go. I'm not a big dog lover but Maggie worked her way into my heart as she did the same with Scott. The mystery and suspense was good. All in all just what I like in this sort of book. MacLeod Andrews did a good job with the characterizations. While not quite rising to the level of the best of the best performances he still did an admirable job with this book.
This has all the great elements from the series without some of the more tedious parts. I confess that I sometimes grow tired of the never ending vampire power plays from some of the other books. While there is still some of that in this book it never gets so long and drawn out that you want to skip ahead. This book also introduces another great adversary for Anita who you can't wait to hear from again. In the first few books in the series I was not a fan of Ms Alexis but over the course of the series she has developed a real sense for Anita as well as the other characters in her universe. Sadly the producers of the books still insist on adding unneeded and overdone music and sound effects. At one point they actually drown out her performance.
This is just the sort of book I look for when I want something different. Each time I thought I knew where the story was going I was wrong right up to the end of the book. It was definitely one of those where I didn't want to stop listening. I'm not always a fan of dual readers but in this case it worked perfectly. If you're looking for something a little dark, a little different and maybe more than a little twisted this is your book.
While all the Andy Carpenter books follow a similar pattern there are always enough differences and surprises to keep it interesting. Unleashed is no exception. Add in several off the wall characters as well as Andy's snarky humor and it's still one of my favorite series. Unfortunately it was done all too soon and now I have to wait until the next installment.
I've liked each of the books in these series. I occasionally find the bickering between Martin and Pascha to get a bit tiresome and Pascha is overbearing at times. But this is in keeping with their personalities and overall the books are well written and entertaining. MacLead Andrews is perfect as Pascha and is a big part of the entertainment.
The book starts out like some of the best Twilight Zone episodes. A bunch of people find themselves in inexplicable circumstances and work together to figure out what's going on. I'd give the story a 5 for the majority of the book because it draws you in from the beginning and keeps you coming back just like the characters to see what's next. I felt that once you find out what's going on the ending is a bit drawn out so I can't give it 5 stars overall. Since I can't give it 4.5 it ends up with a 4. The performance is well done overall with good delivery and most of the time the characters are easily distinguishable. From time to time though I would be unable to tell who was speaking and needed to try to figure it out from the context so I give the performance a 4. All in all I recommend the book if you're looking for something a little different.
Though the mysteries in the Walt Longmire series are not bad, they're not the main reason I listen to these books. It's the great characters that make these books stand out and this book is probably the best example of those characters. You can feel the friendships and heart of each of the regulars. Add in the assortment of unique supporting characters and you have the recipe for a great book. George Guidall IS the voice of Walt Longmire and captures his character perfectly. His performance of all the characters is generally spot on. Even though the voices of most of the woman sound pretty much the same they are each portrayed with a unique personality making them distinct. His wry delivery also fits the humor of the books to a tee and I often found myself laughing out loud at the exchanges between Walt, Vic, Henry and the others.
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