Let me preface my review by stating that I understand romance novels should not, generally, be expected to be written with a stellar level of quality. I know that they are supposed to be light-reads that appeal to various fantasies of the readers. That said, I would strongly recommend that any person with any amount of common sense forego this book. It will only aggravate you.
Performance: The reader who performed this audio book really distracted me from the story itself. The main female character is supposed to be a 25 year old woman who has lived on her own in New York for 6 years, but the reader voices her in such a way that I can only think of her as a whiny 17-19 year old girl still in throws of adolescent rebellion. And ALL of the male characters sound like surfers. Let me repeat that: All the male characters (who all live in New York City), including the elf, dragon (who was born at the dawn of time), and gryphon, sound like 20-something-year-old surfers from California. Furthermore, it seems that the only emotions the performer is able to give voice to are petulance, ignorance, confusion, and giddy. If you MUST try this book, I do NOT recommend listening to this version. You’d be better off just buying the book and reading it yourself.
Book: The story is what you’d expect from a poorly written romance novel. The main female character is somehow able to accomplish an “impossible” feat that no one else has ever been able to do since the beginning of time - despite the fact that she can’t even properly protect herself since she has absolutely no common sense. Within the first chapter you already know who will be the “surprise traitor” against the powerful main male character. The main male character is supposed to be, literally, as old as Earth; and yet, he comes across as being nearly as dumb as a rock. Oh, yes, and of course, despite being as old as Earth, instead of being a mature character who would want a mature mate, he chooses a 25 year old with a mommy-complex who was stupid enough to allow her (surfer) ex-boyfriend to blackmail her.
I would have never tried this book based on the summary, but there were so many good reviews of it that I thought it must be better than it sounded. Clearly, I was misled.
Book: I *loved* this book. The characters were varied, engaging, and relatable for me. I frequently found my emotions surging to match the emotions of the "good guys" and know that I probably responded to the different elements of the book in exactly the way the author wanted. Also, I thought that the author did an excellent job of reimagining how real historical events and people would have been changed and affected by the sudden existence of magic. I'm not too keen on the author's explanation of where magic originated, but I did greatly approve of his explanation of how magic worked. All-in-all, I greatly enjoyed this story, and promptly bought the sequel after I finished this one.
Narrator: Yay for the narrator! Good choice! Mr. Pinchot did an excellent job of making each and ever character unique in both voice and thought. This book has a lot of point-of-view changes, and with each change, the narrator altered his voice to correspond to the correct character. He had a wide range of different accents that I greatly enjoyed. And he did a good job of making his girls actually sound like girls despite the fact that he had a fairly deep voice, himself. Honestly, I truly believe that the skillful narration of this book is what made me love the story so much.
Overall: If you like the Dresden Files, I think you'd like this series. And if you just like urban fantasy and have an appreciation for historical trivia, I think you'd like this series. And if you're going to indulge yourself with this story, I recommend listening to the audio book because the narrator was great.
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