Firstly, this book is a prequel to two other complete series: the Belgariad, and the Mallorean. Secondly, this book is an "autobiography" covering over seven thousand years. If you have not already read these series and enjoyed Belgarath's character, you WILL NOT enjoy the book. Belgarath's tale is long and often dry, and what saves it is his own dry and self-deprecating wit. In this the author has been very true to the character.
Having read both 'following' series, I very much enjoyed the glimpse into this character's past and mind. 7,000 years of history is a difficult thing to cover well and I think the author did a good job in choosing what to focus on. Occasionally there would be a small tidbit that clashed with previous data (or following data, in his daughter's tale) but given so much history, that is both forgivable and almost inevitable. Nor is Belgarath himself beyond altering facts to make a better story. It's a good book when taken on its own terms, and an enjoyable read to those familiar with the world.
Unfortunately, the Audible Frontiers recording of it is marred by its narrator. This narrator is not actually the worst I've heard, and he probably does fairly well with non-fiction and such. But he was the absolute WRONG choice to narrate this book. Belgararth's wit and humor has been watered down to self-congratulation. The narrator's habit of making every other sentence sound like a question and other issues, turns this wry tale into a dry and PAINFUL one.
Well-spent...? I don't think it was wasted, but I couldn't go much farther than that. I listen to audiobooks while I go to sleep (something to stop my mind from spinning in endless circles), and sometimes the narration will be so good, I'll stay awake to hear it. This wasn't one of those times. On the other hand it didn't particularly annoy me either.
No, but I'm more a book than a movie person anyway.
Since I only buy audios that I've already read the book for, I knew what I was getting into. While JAK's MIRA books are generally better than I would expect for Harlequin style, they still suffer from the limitations of the format. An incredible narration could have added a star to the rating, but that's wistful wishing. As is, the narration was about on par with the story.
Hmm, if I were to rate it from among the audiobooks in my collection, on a scale of 1-10, I'd have to give it about a 7. That's really not bad, considering I have well over 200 audiobooks on my shelf, and that fact that it's a short story, not a full-blown novel or epic.
Gail Carriger's 'Souless' comes to mind. Not because of any similarities of plot or setting - there are none - but because they both make me laugh.
The hero of course. Phil always makes them come through as believable, human, and downright sexy.
Just to clarify for anyone not familiar with Karen Marie Moning's works - This book does NOT tie-in to her Highlander or her Fever series. 'Into the Dreaming', 'Beyond the Highland Mist' and 'To Tame a Highland Warrior' are all early works where the author was still feeling her way, and stand on their own (although BtHM and TTaHW are both loosely connected to each other.) I highly recommend the audio versions for any of her books - especially those narrated by Phil Gigante, but would suggest you start with either TTaHW or 'The Highlander's Touch'. BtHM is her first book, and has more to do with the kind of story acceptable to publishers at the time of its writing than any of Karen's actual style of plots and/or characterization.
Book Review: Part of me was tempted to give this book lower rating. It's certainly not the best I've read. But when it comes to reviews I try to evaluate a book on its own terms, rather than what I wish it had been, or what I had been expecting, so...
First, it may help to know a few things. 1) This was this author's first published manuscript. 2) It was originally published in 2003 as erotica, under the title 'Fantasy Fix'. It was only later revised and expanded in 2008, and republished as 'One Bite with a Stranger'. 3) It deals with bondage/dominance elements, though I would not go so far as to call it a BDSM novel. So what we have here is a first novel originally written for a different genre than the one it's been shoved into now.
Given all that... Yes it's heavy on the sex. Would I classify it a erotica? No. Barely. However thin it maybe on plot, it's far more story developed than all the examples of erotica I've encountered. It's characterization is adequate for the story it's telling. It does end abruptly - kind of a 'lets wrap up all the loose threads in one go' sort of ending.
As for the story itself - all too believable. Well, not the vampires/werewolves etc being real part. But the character dynamics I can easily see happening. The heroine is sort of wimpish, but that's more a matter of poor character than poor characterization, and we all know friendships/relationships can be complicated. She does display enough flashes of backbone to give the impression of someone lacking confidence rather than lacking strength - a stage most of us go through at some point. And Vidame was hot. In a masterful sort of way.
Audio Review: I found myself pleasantly surprised at how good the narration is in this. A poor reader could have turned this into a torturous listen. I was expecting a decent reader. I got an excellent reader, who made the book come to life.
Book Review: This book was my first Linda Howard experience years back, and is still a beloved read today. The dynamics between the two main characters is treated with a gentle whimsy and good humor that always makes me smile. The same goes for its depiction of some of the trials of life in a small town. Daisy is a classic 'good girl' who I identified with, perhaps too closely for comfort, finally reaching for what she really wants in life. She's more ignorant than naive, a result of her quiet lifestyle. Her steps into the dating scene, however stumbling, are taken without sacrificing her innate goodness. I especially liked that 'nice' was not equated with 'doormat'.
The book does suffer from what I call "villain's disease" - too much seen from the perspective of the bad guys - but even that isn't as bad as it could have been, since Linda Howard tends to write her villains as rounded people rather than cardboard cut-outs. If you're looking for a good, sit-back-and-enjoy book, this is it. If you're looking for heart-stopping suspense...look somewhere else.
Audio Review: This audible marks another first for me. You see, I had borrowed this abridged presentation sometime back from the local library, and enjoyed it very much. But when it comes too my private collection I always, ALWAYS, get the unabridged version. When I saw the full story here on audible I snatched it up - realizing too late that it had a different narrator. Oh well, no big deal, right? Sigh. Big deal. Don't get me wrong here, the unabridged narrator does a decent enough job, I even got a couple hours in. But as it went on I found that I had been spoiled. Kate Forbes had done such a perfect dramatization that a simply decent reading couldn't hack it. So, for the first time, I bought the abridged version on top of the unabridged. And it's worth every cent.
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