Soulless was the Audible Deal of the Day a couple months ago, and, since it was a book I'd been wanting to read, I immediately gave Amazon some more of my money. The reviews for Soulless by friends were very encouraging and the narrator is British, so why not, right? Good choice, past self! Soulless' audiobook was almost eleven hours of pure entertainment. What more can I possibly want than a badass spinster with an attack parasol, some cool mythology, and rampant sexy times? Not a whole lot more, honestly. I'm a happy consumer right now.
Alexia Tarabotti is fabulous. She's not really physically strong, but she's a beast in every other way. Her intellect is mighty and she's stubborn like no one else in the world. She's a spinster and totally okay with that status, but doesn't see any reason why that should mean she's not fashionable. Also, she's a bit insecure, because her mom and stepsisters rag on her constantly about how unlovable her smartness, muleheadedness, and Italian looks make her. No matter how much natural sense of your self-worth you have, this sort of talk from your own family, who's meant to love you, or your friends will just demolish your self-esteem. Basically, I felt a lot for this woman right out the gate. It also didn't hurt that she was always searching for food, like in the opening scene where she goes to a party and it doesn't have food so she orders some because really dancing and no food is unacceptable.
The one thing that really bothers Alexia isn't her lack of marriage prospects or even her family that doesn't understand her; it's her lack of occupation. Yes, she's a wealthy lady and lives a life of great privilege, but she's bored. She has few intellectual equals in her social circle and certainly none in her family. She wants to do something. Preferably, Alexia would like a position in the organization that controls paranormals, but Lord Maccon absolutely refuses to hire a gentlelady. THE NERVE.
Right, so paranormal things. Soulless has fabbity fab paranormal mythology. There are vampires and werewolves, and they're fairly standard, only in this world they have very strong ideas about fashion. A vampire or werewolf not properly attired will totally be mocked mercilessly by the other paranormal creatures, which is hilarious to me. Anyway, Alexia is herself not paranormal; she's something more rare. Alexia is a preternatural, which means that she negates paranormal powers. When she touches a vampire, he/she becomes human again. This power was a totally new concept for me, and I thought it was awesome. Also, for all that Alexia's the only one in the book with this power, it's definitely not a super special snowflake chosen one thing. They're rare, but not unheard of; her dad was one for example, which is how she came to be.
It will come as a shock to positively no one that my favorite part of the book was the romance. I mean, come on. The first thing to know is that, though it feels a bit instalovey, Alexia and Lord Maccon have known each other for ages before the book began. So basically they've been hate to loving slowly over the years and the reader pops in just in time for the good bits. After a long time without any ships that will freaking KISS ALREADY, Soulless was incredibly satisfying. I was not expecting how satisfying and just YES. Much kissing and it is all fabulous.
Aside from Alexia and Lord Maccon, the rest of the cast is suitably quirky. My personal favorites are Lyall and Floote. Lyall is a totally Giles-y type, only he's the second in command in Maccon's wolf pack. I'm really hoping he gets a ship of some sort in the course of the series. Floote is Alexia's long-suffering but secretly rooting-her-on butler, and I enjoy how he pops in to offer looks of judgment or assistance to her shenanigans. There's also a potentially adorbs ship for Alexia's best friend Ivy Hisselpenny. Also, serious thanks to whoever put the characters on GR, because Gail Carriger's spellings are seriously not conducive to guessing how to spell any damn name if you listened to the audiobook.
Fun as it was, there were some parts where the book dragged. Any time it was Maccon and Alexia, I was totally into it. During the action scenes (I'm including matches of wits in verbal confrontations in this), also very much entertained. However, there's a section in the late middle where Alexia's talking with her vampire friend Lord Akeldama which was way too long for my tastes and a bit let's-recount-the-plot. The big confrontation also ends with quite a bit of book left and it meanders its way to a conclusion. That part was good , but again felt like it could have used a bit of trimming.
The audiobook added immensely to my enjoyment, as Emily Gray makes a fabulous Alexia. Her Scottish accent is a hoot as well. The only negative I really have to offer about this format is that the production is not seamless. As usual with Recorded Books, there are often weirdly long pauses or audible breaths or even some scratchiness in the audio quality, all which really should have been edited out. However, I enjoy Gray's performance so much that I'm definitely sticking with the audiobook.
Soulless by Gail Carriger is fluff of the finest order. The characters are such fun, the paranormal creatures creatively drawn, and the romance passionate. This is steampunk goodness and I will be reading more without a doubt. Actually, I purchased the second book in the series when I was about halfway done with Soulless, which ought to tell you something.
The Perks audio is one of my favorites thus far. It's really well done and the story lends itself well to the audiobook format.
The best part of the story itself is the way Charlie's character grows throughout and the way everything comes together at the end.
Noah Galvin's performance stands out in how well his voice fits with the character, and how convincing his voice was for a young teen boy's.
Though I enjoyed it immensely, I'm not sure I would have wanted to spend my entire day doing nothing but listening to Perks.
The characters are great, and definitely where Robin Benway shines as an author. Everyone’s got a whole lot of personality, especially Roux, who might have been my personal favorite. Jesse Oliver is great too. While I do like Maggie, I think I would like her slightly more if she had truly loved Roux more than she seems to do. Also, Maggie’s parents are loving and involved in her life, so three cheers for that.
On the other hand, I had some suspension of disbelief issues with the young girl being a spy thing, but I’m willing to set those aside for fun times.
I really appreciate the ease this question system gives to reviewing, but I don't know what to do with this prompt, tbh. Here are my thoughts on the narration: Robin Benway does a pretty good job. She’s not the best narrator ever by any means, but I still think it’s cool that she read her own book. Plus, her true affection for the characters really does shine through. She’s not brilliant at voices, but it was still clear who was speaking.
It was worth the listening time for sure, but I think I might have liked it a bit more in print.
The protagonist: Richard Mayhew is boring and not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I don’t know that he’s necessarily stupid, but he’s the kind of person who schlumps through life and doesn’t go in for any kind of introspection. He does things because that is what a person is supposed to do. The only sign of any real personality is how he likes to collect ugly troll dolls to keep in his office. The damning evidence of his awfulness is that he’s the kind of Richard who doesn’t mind if people call him “Dick.”
Of course, character arcs are a thing, so maybe this blah man could take a journey through London Below and become a valiant hero or at least find a personality. Not really. Richard Mayhew seemed every bit as meh by the end. He’s not even an unlikable protagonist; he’s just boring. All of my suspension of disbelief issues came from moments when Richard was of any use at all in the novel’s quest. When he bungled things or got people killed being an idiot, that I believed. When he slayed an infamous monster or obtained an important object, I rolled my eyes. The fact that I don’t care one iota for Richard Mayhew was a definite problem.
Of course. I've read quite a few of Gaiman's novels and I've enjoyed them all to varying degrees. He writes beautifully, and his books are worth it to me for that alone.
Neil Gaiman is especially good on audio. I find that I tend to miss out on the feelsy side of reading when I'm listening to an audiobook rather than reading the print. Neil Gaiman's books never really made me feel for the characters, since he tends to go for a sort of every-man, allowing the reader to substitute himself into the story. The bonus with the audio is that Neil Gaiman has a lovely voice, and is skilled at a range of British accents. Neil Gaiman is ever a delight on audio (I think this was my fifth of his audiobooks).
I'd wait for reviews.
Overall, yes. Would I rather have listened to David Tennant read something more to my tastes? Yes. However, this is what was to-hand. The book itself runs a bit too much to gross humor and I'm not really comfortable with the lack of women in it. The movie actually much improved on the story.
How about some female characters? How about Toothless not being terrifying, rather than the adorable dragon in the film? I also thought the Vikings were pretty hard to sympathize with, and I think I was meant to feel for their plight. If you like gross humor and violence of the sort to appeal to kids, though, have at it.
He was everything to the story for me. I would not have liked this without his narration. He does great accents and brings a lot of emotion and humor into the novel.
Does scouring the internet for David Tennant gifs count?
As much as I loved Tennant's narration, I didn't like it to buy any more of the audiobooks in the series. If they were freely available at my library, yes, but not for money.
I actually listened to the sequel after Devil's Wake, but I'm not sure that I will return for the third installment. They're fun, but ultimately I found both the story and narration forgettable.
Most interesting: the zombies. In Devil’s Wake, they’re known as freaks, and the day of the outbreak is Freak Day. The freaks resulted from a combination of the aforementioned flu shot and a diet mushroom. Okay, whatever. I suppose that makes as much sense as any explanation for zombies. Anyway, the freaks start out really fast, and not so much hungry as determined to run around infecting as many people as possible. Over time, the freaks slow. When they hit the shambling stage, that’s when they’re looking for food and will actually eat your ass, and the rest of you too. Finally, they slow altogether and end up rooted like a tree in one spot, no longer harmful. The phases thing is interesting, and pretty much the most unique thing in the novel. It totally makes them survivable if they can lock down some towns until all the freaks take root.
Least interesting: The characterization is a bit lacking. It really doesn't bring emotional impact or make me care about any characters in particular. They're all pretty interchangeable to me.
I would, though I won't be seeking her out either. She did a decent job, but isn't among my favorite narrators.
Lol at this question. I could see Devil's Wake being made into a zombie show on the CW in an attempt to get some of The Walking Dead's fans. No idea who the stars would be, but I hope they would be as diverse as the characters in the novel are.
Considering that Legion only took two hours to listen to, I don't begrudge the time I spent with it, even though I wasn't particularly impressed with it.
My real issue with Legion was the direction that the plot went. I actually loved the opening and the concept of Stephen Leeds with his aspects. If Sanderson had dug into Leeds’ mental state, I would have been all over this. I mean, this guy can skim a book on a language and create a brand new aspect to serve as a translator for him in that language. His aspects know all sorts of things that he “doesn’t” know. Then there’s the fact that when they do things, he was really the one doing them, though I’m not sure what it meant when we learn that two of his aspects are in a relationship. Does this signify masturbation? It’s weird, but it’s all quite astounding and I want to know more.
Instead, Legion is a mystery, rather than a character study. It has a bit of a noir feel, which will likely appeal to many readers, but is of limited interest to me personally. This has never been my genre of choice, because I find the lack of characterization disappointing. Still, I can be down with a mystery. The real problem is how Christian the ultimate plot feels. I was not comfortable with that.
The narration was fine. I wasn't wowed, but it matched the story well enough.
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