I read, and loved, this story when it first came out and have been recommending it unabashedly ever since. I enjoy the way the backstory and world is introduced and explained, I like Sunshine, and I really appreciate that the vampires are not all about sex appeal.
I did not like the narration for this at all. The voice Merlington used for Sunshine did not mesh in the least with the voice "heard" when I first read the book. She made Sunshine sound whiny and far less practical than I read her as. Lines that come across as dry and ironic in the book were delivered in a way that made them sound desperate and self-pitying.
It is nice to have this to listen to when I'm driving or plying, but the print book is head and shoulders better than the audio one.
I will preface by saying that I was initially put off reading this series in print because the spelling conventions Weber uses, while clever, were so distracting they made it very difficult to get into the story. That's the main reason why I decided to try them in audio form. So, I expect a fair amount of pronunciation shift between one narrator and another. It's annoying, but I deal. Unfortunately, in this case it's combined with a breathless, over-the-top style that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the tone of the passage being read.
This is a lovely, sweet story that was a joy to listen to. There is a wonderful sense of setting, and the characters are delightful. There is something special about having the author narrate the book - you know that you are going to hear the conversations the way they were imagined. (And it helps that Kowal is a very talented narrator in her own right.)
I highly recommend this, especially to fans of Jane Austen and the lighter fantasy romances.
Having read previous books by Carey, this was pretty much what I expected to get - a lot of sex (enough that the romance part loses all tension and gets, well, boring pretty quickly) with political intrigue overlayed and some wandering adventure bits.
(If you're looking for something by her that's rather different, go with Santa Olivia.)
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