Sadly narrators have changed from the first book in the series to this, the second book. It was difficult to listen to the narrator make the intelligent protagonist sound like a breathy, silly girl. If you liked the first audiobook, I'd suggest you read the second.
It could be me, I'm not a big fan of first-person narratives. It's a rare author that manages to get enough objective distance from her/his protagonist to get it right. This author made me wince with discomfort revealing a lack of insight or humor in over-long defensive monologues. I wanted to like it because of the setting, but gave up halfway.
A complex plot with a secondary line woven through it, an excellent writer, a thoroughly sympathetic detective, and Florence--it's hard to ask for more. The narrator captured the detective's character which more than made up for a few stumbles in Italian pronunciation and his voice was rich without sounding affected. Although I've read all of Magdalen Nabb's books, I savored this story as if I'd never heard it before--yes, that good. I'll go look for more in Audible.
The story takes time to find it's depth. As a listener, just about the time I started to wonder if I would ever feel like more than a detached observer I felt a subtle shift in my relationship to the characters. They have stayed with me, pleasant company, weeks after I finished the story.
Why is it young adult novels get narrators that don't do justice to the characters? The narrator for this story made all the female characters sound the same--like a gaggle of silly valley girl stereotypes--and did no justice to the boys. The kids in my household found the narrator so annoyingly disrespectful of teen intelligence and emotional range that they dumped the recording after the first few chapters. This is just sad.
The story is good, the portrayal of layered and conflicting emotions nicely done, but the narrator is fantastic. She IS the characters. I was not aware of the narrator making an effort to "sound like" different characters, I heard their voices. Flawless.
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