This story has lots of potential. I think it would have been better with a different narrator, and I say that as a fan of Johanna Parker's narration of the Sookie Stackhouse series. In this book, however, the narration was rushed, which made it difficult to get a sense of the story. The story had a lot of interesting elements, seemed well-researched, and pretty well-written. I do think it's worth a credit if you can get past the rapid pace of the narration.
The writing was really good. The story idea was really good. Characterization destroyed this story. Or maybe it's just my own pet peeves. Pet peeve 1. Why don't characters do their own cooking, cleaning, self-care? Does every magical creature have to be Dobby, the house elf for the entitled main character? Pet Peeve 2. Out-of-date characterization of the POC love interest. Applauds for having a Chinese love interest, but why throw in an old 1950's stereotyoe? A Chinese cop is not FOTB? Plus, if you're going to bring in an etnic character, give us more of his culture. Where does he fit in Portland with his world view? There is a hint of world view, but he is mainly ashamed of his ancestral beliefs. Still, the author tried, so yeah. Finally, the biggest flaw with this well written, but poorly characterized, story was the main character. She never solved a single problem on her own. She didn't save the day. She didn't solve her own problems. She would have been out of luck had she been the only character in the story. The main character was the epitome of self-entitled whiner living in the past and running from her future. Perhaps this is a long character arc, but while I was very impressed with the writing, I was deeply disappointed by the character's one dimensional nature.
I've listened to all of the Benedict Jacka books. He's a great writer. The story pacing is excellent and there's rarely a dull moment. The character development throughout all three books (and the fourth, Chosen) is appreciated as well. If there is one pet peeve that I have, it's this: London is a multicultural city. The books reflects that fact. However, every single brown-skinned character is evil or incompetent. This "unconscious?" characterization holds true in Fated, Taken, Curse, and even Chosen. So, if you're a reader with brown skin, as I am, you must overlook what I hope to be unconscious stereotyping and just enjoy the story for what it is. A fast-paced, well-written urban fantasy with a singular flaw that will only bother some of the book's audience. Others won't even notice.
I paid for this "short story." My own fault, I guess, because if you don't pay attention, you will pay a price, but this is an all too brief 21 minute of introduction. It should be offered as a free teaser to the actual STORY, otherwise, it's a rip-off. I've already taken responsibility for not being more observant, but were I casting blame, I'm not sure who to point a finger at for not making it clear that this is not a $3.95 story, but rather a $3.95 (or 1 valuable credit) introduction to the story concept. It is, as others have commented, a teaser. I will probably buy the book when it comes out, but for the teaser, I have to cry foul on offering this for a fee.
Great story. Cole is an excellent writer and did a fabulous job of ushering the reader into an entirely new set of conflicts for the protagonist. Couldn't stop listening. . . and then came the end. The end was rushed, chaotic and conflicted with all of the carefully established character development just tossed out of the window for no reason, as far as I could tell. That being said, while the end was a let down, a big one, because I had become so invested in the outcome, the story is still worth a credit. If this were a stand-alone book, then I would say, save the credit. Fortunately, there is more to come for the characters; it is, therefore, to be hoped that the author won't get tired of developing conflict and forcing the protagonist through difficult decisions. I'm eager to see what comes next. I am also hopeful that the author will pull the protagonist back on track. Cole's writing is superior, so hopefully, all of that teenage angst stuff was just a momentary blip in a modern tale of fate gone awry.
Professor Albala is enthusiastic in his delivery and coverage of the topics. He does a fine job and covers various time periods and cultures as well as the routes foods would have traveled. While Albala attempts to avoid an Imperialistic tone, there is a hint of empire in the views he presents as he often acts as an cultural framer for present-day views on various non-white cultures. Also, he does not cover the interchange of culture and foods between Africa and Europe. He does, however, cover the Fertile Crescent, the Roman Empire, India, China, Europe the Middle East, South America, as well as North Africa. The book is as much about culture as food, perhaps more so. I would recommend it for anyone interested in an introduction to food history along with the associated time periods and cultures.
To be fair, I have not yet made it past Chapter Four. My main problem with the course is that the introduction is far too long. The professor seems more focused on the Iraq war and the ramifications of the war. In fact, even in Chapter Four, we are still being introduced to the topics that we will be talking about, at some point. I don't want a four chapter (or more) introduction.
This was such a fun listen. The characters are well-drawn, and crazy. I loved the book. I hope Ms. Grover Swank will write more in this vein. In looking at her Audible listing, it appears that she's writing mainly young adult books. My fingers are crossed for more like this one.
The story had a rushed feel at the beginning, but once it settled into a rhythm, it turned out to be a fun adventure. The characters were well-developed. The author played a bit with cultural stereotypes, but in a way that superseded the stereotypes she employed. She also has a strong understanding of cultural myth and fairy tales. Grimm Legacy, contrary to the subject matter, was not overly childish. It was innocent and light-hearted with lots of hints of darkness, perfect for a parent of a tween or teen who wants a smart, sophisticated story without the story relying on sex, drugs or foul language. I would have given the story five stars, but the beginning with the charitable young girl imagery was a bit too sweetly simplistic for me. I'm just glad I kept listening because very little of the remainder of the story used trite cultural imagery as character development. I work with teens and have found that anything that hints at simplistic is the kiss of death. Really enjoyed the story, it was well-worth a credit.
Because this is a quick listen, I did not expect such well-developed characters. My assumption was wrong. The characters are interesting, developed, and compelling. It's my first time listening to a story by this author. I am now a fan. She only has one other story on Audible, but I'm getting that one as well, and I look forward to more. Hopefully, all of her stories will be as interesting and complex as the Keeper of the Way. I'm glad I took a chance on the author and this story, it was definitely well-worth it.
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