I have read all the books in this series, and yes, it helps to know the background of the characters, but it is a good story on its own as well. This author tends to sort of set the stage in the first book, further complicate the plot in the second book, and then bring it all to a grand and satifying conclusion in the third book, which this is. The first book featuring Imriel(Kushiel's Scion) is now out on Audible, but not the second, so hopefully that will soon change. I must admit that I listened to this production three times because I enjoyed Simon Vance's narration so much - he does a particularly excellent job here. I would like to see all of this series on Audible.
I have listened to all the Vorkosigan series books that are out on Audible, even the ones I have already read before...multiple times. Maybe I'm obsessed. I need more Miles. Grover Gardner narrates this whole series perfectly - he is wonderful! Start with this if you like to get a taste of the series (and if you don't mind spoilers) but I recommend starting from the beginning with The Warrior's Apprentice and working through them from there. I'd like to see Shards of Honor and Barrayar on Audible as well.
I listened to this a while back, but I can still remember that although the story was somewhat entertaining, the narration bothered me. There was some kind of echo effect thrown in for when the character was supposed to be thinking, but this is done effortlessly by other narrators without distracting sound effects, and this kept annoying me.
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