I'm not going to take time to re-invent a way to explain what the story is about. Don't be lazy, read the summary of the book. I am going to take time to tell you what I think worked brilliantly and what felt a little unpolished.
I am going to separate the performance of the reader from the content of the book.
First the book:
There is always a need to suspend disbelief when you are dealing with fantasy or science fiction. That is also the case in this book. I purchased the kindle and the audible version of this book, and was intrigued enough with the plot premise and (let's face it) there was a sale, so I did purchase the kindle version of the other books.
I really found it fascinating that Jake (the son) channels information that saves their collective butts. I found the unfurling hints to his parentage intriguing enough to order the other books before I'd finished this one.
High notes included a bright and imaginative plot and plenty of action with a whollop of mystery. The thoughts character's were thinking added to the story in a positive way.
Low notes: This first book felt a little unpolished. It would have taken just a small number of words to establish the presence of Jake's gift(s) without it feeling silly or like she was a parent with crumbling boundaries who allowed her son to run their life. One well worded paragraph could have made us all a believer. As it was, it took some effort to suspend disbelief. Which, in turn made the growth of Jake's gifts feel out of place/disjointed.
Will's temper tantrums were the kind of childish we expected from Jake. They negatively effected the story and didn't establish a fear of intimacy. They just highlighted immaturity. There were other moments where I felt like there was a stereotyping - such as the "on the road" waitress that is brassy enough to give a man with a child and woman present her phone number. Really, junior high relationship drama. Badly done. and yet...
The dialogue was the weakest point. The dialogue outlining the attraction and then the romance between Emma and WIll was truly poorly done. It included cheesy pick up lines.
This book has good bones, but needs some refinement.
About the reader, John Mierau
Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the quality and the timbre of his voice. There are portions of this story where he really shines and delivers in a way that someone with a thinner, reedier voice never will. You can't teach what he has because it is a gift of nature. Nice, wonderful, rich, warm tones!
AND.... I would implore him to really engage in acting classes. Not only was the dialogue of the book a weak point, but John Mierau did not help it along by any means. He needs to work on his ability to emote. It was nearly impossible in some places to tell whether the five year old boy, the woman or the man was speaking. Same voice, same tone, same emotion to all three at times.
I would absolutely smack the producer around a little bit because there were a few occasions where Mr. Mierau made an error (hey, we're all human) and it should have been re-recorded in that spot. It wasn't.
Would this book have been better received with a different reader? Maybe. But there were some issues that simply took a brilliant book and made it an ok read. I would hate to see Mr. Mierau not do this. His voice is a gold mine. And like any gold that is mined, you need to put effort in to make sure the hard crusty crap is removed so the gold can shine. Mr. Mierau needs to free himself to act.
Will I purchase the second in this series in an audible version? Not at this time. Will I check back next year to see what new thing John Mierau has recorded? Yes, I will.
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