At first, I didn't love this book. I wasn't really liking any of the characters, wasn't really interested in what was going on... and then, suddenly, I began to change my mind and I can't even explain why. All I can really say is that one day I found myself wondering what happened to one of the characters, then another character the next day, and soon I was actually concerned about them all.
I suspect the narrator, who I found to be very good, had a lot to do with my change of heart. I also didn't have trouble at all following which character I was hearing about; I have to assume my ability to audibly differentiate each plotline had a lot to do with his reading. (Though I think he's probably not American -- he did That Thing With His Rs that I notice a lot of BBC actors do when they're trying to sound American -- but that's something that could just be chalked up to the way people in the future talk. :))
I didn't find the end disappointing at all; without spoilers, I can say that it just seemed right and I'm very glad I stuck with this book, despite my attention not being caught immediately. It was a pleasure to hear how these stories all came together.
People have called this. More than "dark", this goes into sexual coercion in a way that left me uncomfortable.
I'll be honest, when another series had a reader switch, I thought the switch was BAD, AWFUL! But I have to say that, some strange pronunciations aside, I liked this reader SO MUCH better than the original. Seriously. I think I might be the only one, but the other reader kinda drives me crazy.
What Gigi did well: First off, I think she really sounds like a midwesterner. She seems no-nonsense, like Rachel would be. And some of her voices weren't bad either, though in some cases they simply weren't what I was used to. And Jenks being as high-pitched as she made him was sometimes tough to listen to -- but given how often Rachel winces at his and the other pixies' speech, well, I feel like she got that right.
Not so good: Changing the pronunciations from what we're used to for character names. You can argue 'til you're blue in the face about how it's supposed to be pronounced, but I haven't seen/heard anything from the author giving the definitive ways to say Piscary, Algaliarept, and Takata so I'm guessing as much as the narrator apparently was. And pronouncing Mackinac two different ways (one incorrect), well, I don't know why somebody didn't make her go back and fix it. But more important than that, I didn't love the voice she did for Ceri or Ivy.
It's a moot point, as the series has long since switched back to the other reader, but I wanted to review this one just to provide a voice saying, you know, I really didn't mind the switch.
Now: Onto the book itself! I think this is the best-written of the series so far. I'm so glad not to have heard several of the repeated phrases that became extremely noticeable as the series has progressed. Hopefully, this book will be a turning point.
The reading was good. The book itself was not great, but it was good enough that I'd like to see where the story goes. Perhaps Jim Butcher will have had a better idea what he wants to do with these characters as it moves on, after all!
And this is a big BUT.
The recording was driving me crazy. As others have noted, the horns interject at seemingly random times. If, as others have said, they marked the beginning/ends of CDs, they were a terrible idea for CDs and I'd have hated them on that. They're a worse idea at random in the otherwise-unbroken audiobook. And it will be stopping me for continuing further in this series in the audio format because it's THAT irritating.
As someone who only recently began this series, I was glad to have caught up just in time for the new book. But, since I began the series via audiobook, I was heavily invested in James Marsters' narrative style. Honestly? I wish they'd delayed the audiobook release until Marsters could be available to read it. And I hope that, with all the reviews on Audible, Penguin considers that when handling their next series book.
Another reviewer commented that, because of where this book picks up, it makes sense to have a different voice. I tried to tell myself that as well but, when it comes right down to it, I think that John Glover's voice wasn't the right one to pick. To me, Harry Dresden now sounds like Waldo Butters (and when the two of them talk, forget about keeping them straight!). I kept thinking about Butters long before he appeared in the story. I could have lived with it if Butters (and any of the other secondary characters) hadn't sounded the same as he had before, but the pitch of Glover's voice just isn't right for the character I've been following for 12 books now, which is too bad.
That being said, Glover does a good job with the book. If it hadn't been a series where we'd had a consistent narrator for so long, I think I'd have been very pleased with him.
But no, he's just not Harry.
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