I bought this to listen to while on vacation, so I wasn't expecting much. But I didn't expect it to be quite as pedestrian and predictable as it turned out to be.
Reading Georgette Heyer's Regency novels is like eating dark chocolate--a guilty pleasure that turns out to be good for you.
They are formula novels only because so many writers have tried to imitate them, and none, with the possible exception of Jane Aitken, has managed to come close to the combination of intelligence, humour, and excellent writing that is Georgette Heyer.
Don't buy this thinking it's the last book in the Dark Reflections trilogy. It's the first book, The Water Mirror, with the UK title.
As a general rule I like long audiobooks, but I've never had to rewind a book as often as this one. There are long pauses in the action while things are explained (one key piece of information comes in the form of a scholarly paper). My mind would wander and I'd have to go back to see if I had missed anything. I also found that at those times my disbelief clicked in--...but how did he ...? Even though some seemingly extraneous details turn out to be relevant, a good edit could have sustained the action without sacrificing important information.
I also have mixed feelings about the narration. Having two readers works well, but the woman's attempt at an English accent is excrutiating.
This is a good children's book for 7- to 10-year-olds, but not a great one and not one that is particularly of interest to adults.
The characters have quirks, but are not very well developed. There?s not much sense of the setting--modern-day Canterbury--or of the subculture of witches and magic. Three stars may seem a bit unfair, but there are plenty of examples of children?s books for this age group--Mary Norton?s The Borrowers series, C. S. Lewis?s Narnia series, Lynn Reid Banks?s Indian in the Cupboard, Edward Eager?s funny magic books--that have great characterization combined with a sense of place.
Buy it for a child but not for yourself.
I enjoyed this book a great deal. I found the narrator a little jarring at first, but soon became accustomed to her voice. She does a good job of differentiating the characters--her adolescent girl voice is excellent.
The narrator may be able to put on a French accent, but when pronouncing French words, he comes out with some clangers ("citron" for "Citroen" is one of several). As far as the story goes, it's an inflated retread, with some very irritating dramatic devices, and should have been edited much more closely.
My rating is for this as an audiobook. I can't make any judgment about the work itself, because I couldn't listen past the first couple of hours. The narration is way over the top. Admittedly it begins with a rape trial, but the narrator doesn't let up, even in the tranquil setting of a nunnery every other word is emphasized. If you enjoyed The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, I'd suggest that you listen to the sample first and decide whether you could stand 9 hours of it. If not, buy the print version.
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