I've read and then listened to all of the Merry series. The story itself was great. A lot of information this time around. Reviewers in the past have criticized LKH as too much sex, not enough plot. That's not the case for S/D. This story takes up right after Merry is rescued from her uncle and quickly takes off. I was pleased to see her character actually get stronger. I got sick of reading/hearing "I don't understand" in various other books. In this one, she leads the way and you can actually see that she would make a good queen. I'd give the story itself **** but the narration only **. If you want to listen to this series, do NOT start with this one. There are so many characters in this series and to get a good reading, the narrator really needs to be able to change the voice accordingly. This narrator has a monotone voice, and over enunciates throughout the reading. I was really disappointed in this purchase. Thank goodness I had read the book first. Again - recommend listening to other books in the series first as had I listened to this one first, it's highly unlikely I would have purchased the others.
The development of the female character. In the beginning, Emma was a wimp. Plain and simple. Through time, she gains confidence and spunk.
He did ok on the male characters but wish the female character voices had been better.
I've read the entire series and have enjoyed the crossover of the story lines as well as development of all of the relationships of characters that pop in / out. I was hesitant to get the audio version because I enjoyed the series and worried the reader would ruin it. Although the reader, R. Petkoff, isn't bad, I wish they'd chosen someone who could do better female voices. There are a lot of women in this series - women who are fighters / strong / spunky. You really need a reader who's able to get this across. Nix for example is a major character throughout all of the Valkyrie books and he made her voice just too wacky (for lack of a better word). Overall - it was worth the listen but it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the series is narrated.
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