The first, “Shards of Honor,” introduced Cordelia and Aral Vorkosigan, Beta Colony and Barrayar. You wouldn’t have to read/listen to it prior to this one, though I strongly suggest you do. This book tells of their first year together on Barrayar. It’s a rough one. I loved the first book—great sic-fi romance. This one was even better, though less of a romance and more anthropological/socialogical sci-fi. Cordelia’s wry humor worked well with the political intrigue and the difficulties of learning to negotiate a different culture. The writing is finely done without overwhelming or slowing the story down. There’s enough action with the intrigue to keep the pace moving, but it’s the characters who make the story. The ending immensely satisfying, while still setting up for more books in the series (which I can’t wait to hear). Though most of the book is from Cordelia’s perspective, the (male) narrator on the audio book did a wonderful job capturing her “voice.”
Love this even more than the first one. The narrator’s fabulous! I don’t care much for cliffhanger endings, and my listen is not the next book in the series, but I will be back.
This is one of those books I think really was better on audio than it would have been to read. The narrator was outstanding. I loved her in another performance and thought she was perfect for this part. I enjoyed her accents and the different voices she used for each character. I like witty banter in my “regencies,” which Soulless served up nicely. I liked that this story doesn’t take itself too seriously. I would consider this a romance, or at least as having a very strong romantic element. Some scenes had heat, but none were too hot for audio (IOW, it never sounded like a porn soundtrack). The characters, the (fairly basic) mystery plot, and steampunk elements were woven in with the paranormal (mostly werewolves and vampires—ghosts were discussed) without overwhelming the story. I was looking for another fun series on audio and I seem to have found it.
This is an unusual combination (at least in my experience), all the more surprising considering the book’s premise. It’s is filled with historical references, maybe too many for some, but I found them interesting. The main character is likable—a nice guy, and the choices he makes are believable. I’m not usually a big fan of existentialist writing, but I found this story thought-provoking rather than annoyingly intellectual (if you know what I mean). I especially enjoyed the author’s exploration of relationships, which play a major role in the book. The narrator’s tendency to over-read the characters thoughts and references irritated me so much at first, I wasn’t sure if I could stick with the book. I eventually learned to appreciate what a great job he did with the voices, though. I could tell from each voice who was speaking—including the four different women in Jeff Winston’s life/lives.
As it indicates, there’s lots of strategy involved with this one. I don’t think I’d have appreciated that aspect as much if Miles didn’t shine so well in that role (and the others he plays here too—there are several). The dry wit I’ve come to expect from Ms. Bujold pulled me through those complicated patches, as did the relentless action. Getting to know Gregor better was a treat too; when you get to the end, if you want to know the truth about his father, you’ll need to read “Shards of Honor” (the true first book in the the Vorkorsigan Saga). The narrator does a fine job, as he has so far in this series. “Watching” Miles grow (and yes, he has grown) into adulthood while maintaining his knack for getting in trouble in the last two installments of this character-driven SF series has me looking forward to finding out what the next one has in store.
in an interesting setting (a time of extensive social upheaval). I enjoyed the over-top-ness of super-Phryne; she’s a wonderfully interesting and entertaining heroine. The relentless descriptions of her clothing were a bit tedious, but that’s me. The story was fun and intriguing, while nonetheless confronting the serious topics of abortion and women’s changing place in society. The secondary characters added depth and life. The narrator, Stephanie Daniel, did a fine job with the variety of accents, which added to the experience for me. The next book in the series is on my list.
with a strong romantic element. I like it when an author uses individual character depth and development to show the reader their importance to the story. I think mysteries make that a little trickier and it was done well here. Believable dialog, situations, and conflicts. Decent tension and pacing throughout. Solid mystery. Satisfying ending. The narrator did a good job differentiating between characters. I loved her rendering of the sherif best. I could actually picture him when she read his lines. All these parts added up so well, I was surprised that the whole felt somewhat canned/formulaic (and this coming from someone who reads mostly romances).
This is the first book with Miles, but it’s NOT the first Vorkorsigan book. This is actually third in the series (not counting the prequel which doesn’t involve the Vorkorsigans). You could start here, but you’d be missing a great deal—about Barrayar (especially the politics), about his parents (of almost opposing backgrounds), his childhood, and about Bothari. This is great sf and although the protagonist is 17 and thus could be labeled YA/NA, I’m not going to because it would be a shame to risk cheating more mature readers out of a great book. Due to his physical disabilities, Miles is an unusual choice for a hero. His intelligence, charm, and antics make for a fun, fast-paced read that I would recommend to almost anyone willing to even try sf, as well as hardcore fans. A word about the narrator: One of the problems I sometimes have with audio books is not being able to tell the difference between a character’s internal dialog and what they say out loud. This narrator handled the transitions in such a way that I wasn’t confused and I always knew who was talking. He spoke clearly and with appropriate emotion.
Great world-building with equally great character development. Cordelia is wonderful heroine--intelligent and calm. Since most of the story is told from her perspective, I was surprised the (male) narrator pulled it off so well. Aral was beautifully-drawn tortured hero. While the romantic element is a foundation of the story, there are no love scenes. The story has a lot of political intrigue and doesn't shun the horrors of war. Much of its depth is realized in the choices the characters make in the imperfect world they inhabit. Some reviews say this is one of the weaker stories in the series. If that's even partly true, I'm in for some seriously gratifying listening because I loved this one.
The narrator was excellent. She really brought the characters to life. LOL funny. The romantic element was subtle enough that I didn't feel like I was listening to bad porno. The hero isn't present for most of the book, which does inhibit the romantic development to a degree. It's not as much of a problem as it could be, since this is a second-chance romance (which ventures well into chick-lit). The addition of the ghosts made for an exciting and occasionally chilling plot. There were a couple of things which bugged me, but not enough to derail me from the story. I found it hard to stop listening and get off the Stairmonster (which should tell anyone who's ever used one how good this book is). This was my first Jennifer Cruise; it won't be my last. I'll be looking for more of this narrator and this team.
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