Eloisa James yes, Susan Duerden no.
I enjoy Eloisa James books- particularly the fairy tale series. Somehow I had missed this title, so decided to try it in audio. Susan Duerden's performance was very annoying. Her voices and accents were fine, but every single sentence went up, then down, then slightly back up again in a nursery rhyme like sing-song that set my teeth on edge and has my neck and shoulders tense with bracing against it. I've listened to about 90 minutes and cannot continue.
I was expecting a humorous PNR similar to Molly Harper. Instead of charming and funny, this story has an underlying meanness due to a lack of moral compass. I'm ok with sex and magic, but when I see references to "goddess of light" I also expect to see "an it harm none." This protagonist doesn't much care about harm or the consequences of her actions, as well as being TSTL. The combination is not entertaining. The 2 male leads are supposed to be charming, but one comes off as a sociopath and the other has a will of limp spaghetti and no compassion. There are no characters I feel any respect or liking for.
The narration was good. There were about 3 spots of very bad technical quality right after the beginning of the second half.
Nice job. Good characterization, attractive accents.
Did not like any of them. They have no heart.
I should have liked this one- interesting plot, humor, sympathetic characters, originality. Unfortunately, every time I began to get emotionally invested either there was such a long, irrelevant setting description that I lost track of the plot, or there was a weird out of sequence scene that threw me (not a flashback, I enjoyed the interlude flashbacks more than the "current" scenes, but the same scene seen first through the eyes of a minor character, then later through the protagonist's viewpoint, or some similar "trick.")
The narrator was quite nice to listen to with a rich, resonant voice, and he did the best he could with the material, but to love this one you need to find lavish setting descriptions emotionally satisfying. I do not.
This trilogy is one of my favorite story arcs and Karal is a favorite character. Other reviews of the narrator nearly scared me off and I'm very glad I took a chance on it anyway. I'm from the Midwestern US and we speak a little slower than your average New Yorker, and while I did find him a little slow at first, I quickly adjusted and greatly enjoyed the series. I have returned books before for bad narration but there was never any question that this would be one of those. Now my only wish is that more of the Valdemar stories would be made available in audio!
I've read this book many times and loved it- I highly recommend the story. Unfortunately, the narration was terrible. The narrator has a rich, resonant, but insincere voice. He appears to have no understanding of what he is reading, so he accents words at random which causes all the humor and emotion to be lost in pretty but meaningless noise. He'd be just right as a game show announcer, but I can't even make it through chapter 2- it's too much of a struggle to find the real meaning in all that sound. I love the story enough I may go searching for the other version some reviewers have mentioned.
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