The reader could do amazing voices for the various characters, but as for her reading of the story, it was so awful I was thinking of returning the book after only 2 chapters. On top of that, the audio had some bad noises at times that were startling. Luckily, there weren't many.
I can't say I liked the main character. She put herself in one dangerous situation after another - raped, bloodied, nose broken, smelling of urine and…it just got worse and worse. Then there's the big switch from subservient trodden-on woman to a revengeful gun-toting mama. And with another change in personality, she falls in love, of course.
I suppose the thing that kept me with the story was the peek into life in such a different part of the world. It's portrayal of the lives of women was especially disturbing for it seemed their only function was that of serving cruel husbands and bearing children. There was little to show how they deal with their daily lives and find some kind of solace, except one small mention of the pleasure of embroidering a scarf.
The story reveals (if it's accurate, then it's really sad) a depth of hatred and distrust that people in that part of the world have for each other and this could explain the genocides and atrocities we hear of on the news.
No, I didn't cry at the end, I was just happy it was over.
Book 4 was not enjoyable - CJ Critt's narration just killed it. But book 5 shows that she's a master of voices. She completely changed the cadence and the voice of Joanna and the presentation of the story. It was quite wonderful to listen to and to realize how much control she has in her storytelling to do this! However, I see a review of book 6 that complains about her choice for the daughter's voice and that Joanna's voice changes also. So sometimes she misses the mark.
Meanwhile, the first 3 books had such marvelous plots and although I don't think books 4-5 quite lives up to those mysteries, I enjoy the characters and want to continue following them!
I started with book 1 in the series and the first 3 had such intriguing plots that I was looking forward to book 4. Great plots, wonderful mysteries with surprising endings. Perhaps I've caught on to her writing, but in book 4 I knew who-done-it way before Sheriff Joanna Bradly did. I've also come to despise how something is said and I immediately know the underlying message but she asks, "I don't understand..." - or something similar. She's either slow, or wants it spelled out for her, but that's not evident. This book was driven by dialogue and it was painstaking. I thought that I disliked the previous reader of the first three, Hillary Huber - her voices for men are high pitched and silly - but now I think she's great, compared with the cadence of C.J. Critt's narrative in book 4. It's so annoying and I almost didn't finish the book. I've already purchased book 5, so I'm hoping things improve.
At first the narrator drove me nuts and I didn't think I could finish the story. Either he got better as he read - and quit trying to be dramatic - or I got used to his cadence, I'm not sure. He excelled in reading narration as a true voice of a native American and for that alone, I appreciated his reading. Meanwhile the story was spellbinding.
After reading others in this series, the characters are like family, the stories of Alaska along with a bit of mystery, usually great fun but this was hard to listen to and enjoy because of the speed. I know this reader and how she usually portrays these characters and I don't think she could possibly read this fast. The characters voices were distorted. Couldn't this be slowed down to a normal pace?
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