This book is one of two that I consider the best of audiobook entertainment. It is one of a few that I return to over and over to reread when I can't find something new. The narration is perfect.
Even though Mosca Mye is a orphan child, she becomes embroiled in an adult conspiracy that dates back to her father's past. She travels with two companions, a goose (Saracen) and a con-man (Eponymous Clent). The goose is her protector; the con-man is her albatross. The plot unfolds into a real world conspiracy of national importance without hint of contrivance.
It is an adventure comparable with Huckleberry Finn. The plot is engaging and satisfying. We are treated to a spunky preteen girl who is a complete person. She doesn't whine, she doesn't procrastinate, she just gets on with things. She makes mistakes; she is getting by with incomplete information, but she doesn't stop to worry. Life hasn't been kind to her so she deals with it. How refreshing. She could be compared to Pipi Longstocking, but she is more grounded.
The world building is superb. History, fable, and religion are fleshed out to provide a complete and satisfying back story. Names of people and places are entertaining in their own right, providing the perfect atmosphere of mythic importance.
Don't miss the crocodile that protects the evil princess.
I do like the series, the setup and characters. But was disappointed in this installment. There is little plot, and missed opportunities. For instance there is a ball for Sophronia's older brother's engagement but the older brother and his intended don't get any story time. Instead we read about hours of dressing and gossiping. Then the engagement party is reduced to an opportunity for mischief and our cast of characters are off on balloon and train chases. The book substitutes chase scenes for plot development.
Ultimately 3 characters face life altering decisions because they couldn't stay home and let adults take care of the problem of what will become of the Scotland werewolf pack. The book ends before they come near the pack. The plot really is that thin. They do discover a couple of clues but the plot is only advanced slightly.
The best part is the fight with steel fans.
If you want plot, wait for the next book. If you enjoy long expositions about a girls' school and who to love or not, with occasional daring do, read on.
This is THE story of the first encounter with the mysterious, unavailable male romantic lead, and it is too tedious. Author should have reserved it for full treatment in a prequel. As a short story it does not add to the series.
Rather than write a book report, I'll just say that I hope to see more of this series, in longer books. Enjoyed the story, enjoyed the premise, enjoyed the performance. I particularly like the way the author included women as active characters as well as men. The author writes well, with nice descriptive text to set up scenes and flesh out characters. The reader could be a little more careful about doing a Latino accent but it was nice to hear him try.
I can't speak to the military aspect of the story - it sounds authentic albeit idealized. So, for the genre it is in, it is entertaining. The characters are enjoyable and varied stereotypes (good commanders, poor commanders, good sergeant, good tech guru, good pilots).
But if you have any, Any, experience in space travel fiction, you will find the story rather thin. The battles read like WWII naval battles, where ships cruise back and forth near a harbor forcing the target ships to lay low and hide out. But Space is big, and it is three dimensional, so the same scenario is forced. They rush to portholes to see the enemy ship! Portholes on a troop carrier! They are "running silent" as in old submarine parlance, and apparently that means they can't even turn on a video feed.
Also, you have to accept the premise that the very latest thing in battle cruisers doesn't have something as basic as video coverage in the corridors, allowing the invaders to wander about the ship undetected as long as no one sees them and radios back to command. No sensors of any kind are installed.
Finally, while there is a rather obvious explanation for the mystery presented, it is NEVER dealt with. At the end of the book, no one knows who the enemy is! Presumably this plot issue will get some attention in the next books of the series. Readers can continue on if they like the characters, and they don't need much science in their science fiction.
The author does write an entertaining book, and can write better books in the future.
...You will love this book. A constellation of characters are followed as they go through diverse lives with only the most tenuous of connections to each other. Nothing much happens of import in any of these lives; they are solely interesting in the many ways they are engaged in deluding themselves or others. All of them are middle class; no portrayals of poverty or super rich.
Originally the content was published as serial installments in a newspaper. In that form, the reader could decide to not read some of the story lines if not interested in the characters. However the audiobook is split into 1 hour segments, so it is difficult to skip some stories to get on with the ones of interest.
I was attracted to the premise of the questionable art piece but it is just one of many threads. There are stories of what expectations parents have of children, how children repay poor parenting, bad bosses, bad employees and indifferent friends. In general, there are lots of stories where not much happens. The reader must find everyday lives entertaining. As someone else mentions, most of the characters are basically shallow.
Some of the stories interested me and some did not. I gave up and listened to the last hour to see how the art store thread was finished, and was disappointed.
As for the reader, I did not enjoy the delivery. He trudges through the material and delivers most of the female dialogue as "uptalk" (a question tone ending each sentence). I don't know if that is an authentic Scottish accent for women, but found it painful to listen to.
Everyone that actually paid for this should be entitled to a free book. Come on, this chapter is just atmosphere; the story doesn't even get started. This teaser appears to be written to interest a publisher. Really not fair to expect readers to pay for what turns out to be a brief writing exercise.
Remember when you read books for enjoyment? Return to a time when you could buy a working (for a while) car for $150. When you could live on $56 for 7 weeks. When a long distance phone call could cost over $100. And a week in a sanitarium cost $100.
Also return to a time when a science fiction writer had a working grasp of engineering, and a sense of humor, and hope.
Be amazed at a time when a writer would expect world powers to stop paying for armies because their citizens needed social services.
Oh, well, just sit back and enjoy.
There are characters and there are relationships - or failure to have relationships. For the first 3 chapters there is no a plot. There is no action. The first chapter tells us 3 people were shot at, but only tells us as a past tense aside. The action is not narrated. It is left to the third chapter to mention, not explain, why they were shot at. So by the fourth chapter we have not seen anything happen and only had brief, non-informative conversations.
The first three chapters are used to set up the back story for introduction of an unavailable hot male. We now have a plot of "He said he wasn't interested", versus "Why is she avoiding me".
The performance is adequate for the material provided but the writing and bland humor cannot carry this turkey. Avoid it.
PS. Maybe the writer gets better in later books but I'm not interested in investing anymore time or money to find out.
I read this book in paperback maybe 3 years ago and liked it well enough to buy the rest of the series, so looked forward to hearing it in Audible.
Mistake. The book narrated here seems like a different book then the one on paper. The narration makes that much difference.
The reader sounds like she is 15 years old and reads the book as if it were a slightly amusing fairy tale - totally wrong for the book. In fact, the book is actually trivialized by the childish tone. It is hard to remember the characters are adults and the situations are dangerous. Murder, bullying, and racism sound more like high school hijinks when read by a child. Half way through the book it is mentioned that the story is set in New York. I was surprised because the tone of the reader had led me forget and assume it was Seattle. That is a sample of how much the book suffers from selecting a childish voice.
(The narrator is actually good, for children's books.)
The book was produced by Harlequin so apparently they think the teenage market would enjoy this voice. Adults will be looking for other entertainment. And the author will lose business.
Report Inappropriate Content