At first glance Before I Fall seems to be a typical YA novel about a teenage girl and her journey toward self-discovery, but it didn't take long for me to realize it is so much more.
First off, this book is incredibly well written--I love this. The descriptions, storyline, character development: beautiful. I loved all of it so much I couldn't help but run out and purchase a hardback copy of this book immediately after I finished listening to the audio book, so I might reread the many beautiful passages contained in the book as many times as I'd like without having to rewind. That being said, I'll never regret purchasing the audio book format. It is well worth having and will listen to it over and over again.
Second: the fact that this audio book left me breathless more times then I can count. This book, combined with the fantastic/flawless performance by Sarah Drew resulted in the ultimate listening experience.
Sarah Drew's performance really did this book justice--she's the perfect fit. She was so good that I will purchase other audio books in which she is the narrator.
Third: how I couldn't stop thinking about this book after I was finished with it.
I love this book. It's fantastic, beautiful, lovely, wonderful. I'm glad I purchased it. It is more then credit-worthy.
I originally started this series years ago and for some reason I remember liking this book. At the same time it's the only book in the entire series I didn't take the time to revisit until now. Now I know why.
Man is it boring. And nonsensical. And there is way too much world building at the most inopportune times, like in the middle of a pretty bloody fight scene. To be completely honest I'm amazed that I finished this book the first time around.
I feel bad about bad mouthing Karen Chance's work, because I absolutely adore the rest of this series and I reread the other books every year or so, I especially love everything after book 2.
Also, this narrator is driving me nuts. She's okay sometimes but she's not my favorite, though she is starting to grow in me a little.
What the crap, Kirkus Reviews!? How is this boring book one of the top sci-fi reads of 2013? Ugh. It's probably one of the slowest books I've read in a while, which wouldn't be so bad if something interesting actually happened. But no, we get this bland story about some runaway working for werewolves and vampires except they aren't called werewolves and vampires. And it's all just a mundane account of her daily comings and goings with a crumb of interesting information thrown in occasionally. I don't care about wolf pups going outside to pee, or wolf cookies, or pony treats, or werewolf businesses, or package deliveries. All of these things were talked about ad nauseum. Pretty much nothing else happens, and in the rare instances that it does get interesting I'm suddenly hearing about pony treats or some other non-interesting topic again.
And the (possible) love interest is a disgusting sack of garbage who mistreats everyone around him, especially women of all species.
The feeling I get when listening to this book is it must have been written by an alien being who doesn't understand human interactions or the way humans think and act , and finds the inane details of package delivery services to be utterly fascinating.
The narrator is also pretty boring as she doesn't have the range of voices needed to perform this book, not that it matters because the material she was given to work with is pretty dang awful.
Talk about a disappointing read. Look, I know that this book is a big deal in the LGBT community, and I understand why. How often in YA fiction is the protagonist gay and also a superhero? Not often, that's for sure. Actually, this is probably the first time.
I tried to cheer Hero on right from the beginning, to be excited about it. I tried to get into it, truly I did. But honestly? It was just so poorly written that I had a difficult time focusing on the content, the point to the story.
Everything is just a little too melodramatic, too cliche, it's all just too much-much. And the the pacing is off, it's confusing--I was never too sure about the timeline in this book. Also, most, if not all, of the characters were wooden and predictable.
The thing that bothered me the most is that the gay-bashing was overboard considering the MC kept his sexuality on the down-low for the majority of this novel. Somehow everyone seemed to know he was gay right away--EVERYONE. Thom never does anything out in public that is overtly "gay", he's actually quite good at covering up his sexuality.
And just about everyone, even an alien creature, seems grossed out by the fact that he's gay--like I said, it's all a little too much-much considering this book, though it takes place in a universe where superheroes are real, takes place in modern times. I guess I'm shocked that not many characters living in this fictional modern world were open-minded.
Anyway, overall Hero is good, considering the fact that it deals with issues that YA fiction seems to shy away from, but not so good that I am able to jump on the band-wagon.
It was good.
I'm going to continue on with this series because it's intriguing.
I don't think I've listened to anything by Jennifer Ikeda before. Jennifer Ikeda's performance is great. I feel that's one of the reasons this audiobook is so good.
It may have caused me to laugh a little, I don't remember.
I'm disappointed in the performance of this audiobook. It wouldn't be so horrible if the woman narrator didn't sound like a fourteen year old kid and the man narrator didn't sound like a thirty-something grown man. It's creepy. The whole thing. Just...creepy. Seriously, this is not the first time I've encountered such an awkwardly cast audio performance and I can't help but wonder who's behind the casting. And what the heck they were thinking when they cast a fourteen-year-old kid and her dad. Because, that's what this sounds like. No lie.
And, while I know a woman wrote this book, I wish she'd done a better job writing Sam (the young man narrator). Like, some of the things he says or thinks are ridiculous. At one point he's describing the coat he's wearing and how puffy it is, and how it makes him feel like a blimp...I'm sorry, guys don't think like that. They just don't. Am I a guy? No, but I'm married to one and I have a ton of brothers. So I know they don't think that way, making it that much more difficult for me to listen to this audiobook.
Unfortunately, I can't force myself to finish this audiobook. It was a waste of a credit, which is unfortunate since I was anxiously awaiting the release of this novel.
Because this book is priced so low and lacked any reviews, I was reluctant to spend the money. But I am so glad I did. This is a really good YA zombie book. It has a good plot, is interesting, and funny. I don't know if the author plans on writing a sequel/series based on this character, because she easily could, but if not the story ends in a good place and left me satisfied (I plan on purchasing more books written by this author in the future).
About the narrator: I think they got the right narrator for the book. She's got the right voice for a teenage girl and the performance is golden.
Overall, this audiobook is well worth the cost.
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