This is a collection of three shorter stories featuring Miles, loosely woven together by Miles reporting to Simon Illyan about "Labyrinth" and "Borders of Infinity", and in the course of this remembering his "Mountains of Mourning". I was glad to come across them here as I had been looking for them to no avail.
All three are enjoyable and Grover Gardner does his usual perfect job.
This is a decent story as such, but, quite unusual for me, I figured out what had really happened less than halfway through. So I spent most of the rest of the book wanting to smack the characters on the back of the head and suggest they take into account what seemed blatant obvious to me. I do like to come up with the solution while listening to the story, but have never done it this early in the game. Since it is highly unlikely ;-) that I have miraculously gained intelligence since the previous books I listened to, it must be too easy to guess. If you leave out that it's a bit hard to believe that everyone chasing the bad guys suddenly (i.e. as opposed to other novels in this series) seem to have developed a blank spot in their thinking, it is a good story.
I imagine I would have absolutely loved this as a 13 year old. It's interesting, realistic, and explains a lot about the judicial system that is not easily picked up otherwise. So, many, many years ago I would have given this 5 stars, but as it doesn't quite pick up on the promise of the blurp, I think I could have spent my credit rather better.
Good bits first - the Narration is excellent, you could generally pick out who was speaking based on the different voices and accents. The only issue I had was that quite often, I couldn't tell whether Dani was thinking something or actually speaking out loud, but that was more due to what I disliked about the main character than any narration problem.
Dani is, according to the book, 14 years old, and truly acts that way, or rather the way that ex-teenagers are bound to think a young person might comport themselves. I kept wanting to tell the brat that no, not EVERYTHING on earth revolves around you, other people do have a life too. I cannot imagine any teenager being quite so self-centered. Apart from that, there was too much wanting to kill everything "bad" and actually enjoying the process. And although there wasn't a whole lot of sex going on, but enough thinking about it that I found it annoying. These points detract from the story line sufficiently that, although I do like the story itself and would be interested in how things develop, I'm not going to get the sequel.
No ghosts involved - which would be all right ordinarily ;-) but even ignoring that Cree Black is the protagonist, the story didn't get me hooked at all. I finally (3 attempts) managed to get through it, and yes, it's interesting, it just felt very long for the amount of content it actually has. No comparison to the first two - if you love those (like I do), this one is still hit or miss. A clear "miss" for me.
The story is a good one, with a lot of detail and several interesting twists. I'm not completely sure about my rating, it felt awfully slow going at times, but I may have been put off by the narration more than by the storyline. Anne Twomey has a very clear diction and everything is understandable perfectly, but, alas, it sounds like a dictionary being read aloud. I hadn't quite realized how mindnumbingly boring a book like this can sound... In hindsight, I would have preferred the paper version. It may deserve 5 stars, but as it is, I'm feeling generous at 4.
My apologies for the length of this review; a shorter one would be - boring, tedious, interesting, badly read, good narration - and it wouldn't make sense. So here's why I'd put all these adjectives.
This is the only book of the series I have listened to, and it's not a good one to start with. It took 16 chapters before the "real" story began and I struggled through what was, to me, an unbelievably boring 2 1/2 hours of Jackie getting back to Boston and meeting every single person who, presumably, had any walk-on part in one of the earlier books. Being very much addicted to other series, I expect that it would be a different experience for someone remembering all these people from the earlier books.
Another thing is that the writing style is, at times, quite tedious. Please, when about 30 girls walk into a room, I do not need to have the majority of them mentioned by name. Being told about songs Jackie performs, I do not need 4 of them sung to me or in another instance, the entire lyrics for a song. Although I must say that Katherine Kellgren has a beautiful singing voice, quite different from the voice she uses for the narration.
Getting back to the story, starting with chapter 17 I did like it. Apart from, at times, being slow in the telling, the storyline itself did capture me, and while I had to struggle to not give up during the first part, I didn't want to put it down once things started happening. Again, the way it is told annoyed me, but it's not a bad book. I must admit that I find it hard to explain my issues with the whole thing, and my ratings are going all over the place because there are things I hate about it and other things I really like.
The narration is good, in that it fits the characters and the setting. I didn't like it in itself, there's too much bated breah and excited whispering etc. going on, while at the same time I can't distinguish whether something is said or thought by Jackie, which makes the responses of others unclear (are they being polite but miffed, by what Jackie just uttered, or didn't she say it out loud and the other party are actually a bit unfriendly?). But, as I said, the narration fits the characters perfectly, and the main characters (Jackie, her adversary Clarissa, and Jackie's best friend Amy) are easy to recognize at all times. I love the different accents Katherine Kellgren gives characters.
A whodunnit with needlecraft information ;-) Nothing too thrilling, easy to listen to with half an ear, although I suspect that I must have missed a few clues early on, not paying sufficient attention. It's a bit slow, which had my mind wandering, but still interesting enough to deserve a positive rating (maybe 4 stars are generous, but as I wouldn't pick up a 3 star book, it'll have to be a 4).
Susan Boyce does an OK job narrating, and although I didn't like it much (emphasis and pauses at odd spots, the voices sligtly different but not to the point where you could actually pick out who might be speaking), it doesn't put me off getting a couple more of the series.
I like the story itself, except it got very tedious at times with repetitive details about how life was for female members of the police way back when. What annoyed me the most, however, was the narrator; for much of the book, she sounded like a school teacher attempting to get her 3rd graders to share what they'd done over spring break, when in fact she was e.g. describing a gruesome murder. At other times she appeared bored, just sort of plodding along.
Looking back now, I think I may have been doing the story itself an injustice and have changed the rating from 3 to 4 stars.
First - I'm not into romance novels, so I cannot compare it to other romances. What I can say is that there's about a 10 minute action passage, the other n hours it's all about Jane getting used to being a vampire and interacting with other vampires in her home town. She is being framed for murder - twice - but apart from explaining that she was innocent no attempt is made to find out who's the culprit. Eventually, said culprit appears and clears everything up nicely.
Long story short, it's not very good either as an action novel, whodunnit, or (IMHO) as a vampire story. Like I said, it's possible that it's a good romance, but I'm the wrong person to judge.
I got "Side Jobs" to tide me over the long time between Changes and number 14 (yet to be released) which hopefully will be read by James Marsters again.
Although Jim Butcher states that, in his opinion, some of these stories are not up to scratch, I immensely enjoyed every single one of them. Each story comes with information about its place in the series' timeline, the latest one being placed just after "Changes".
For anyone new to the series: I'd suggest to get a full length book as this collection of short stories works best if you already know the characters.
For anyone already stuck into the Dresden files: definitely spend a credit on this one. I'd originally intended to get the paper version as I like to go back and read specific stories again, but I like these so much that there's no need... I'm quite happy to simply listen to the whole thing again ;-)
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