Before #1 New York Times best-selling author Patricia Briggs created her two hugely successful urban fantasy series, Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega, she wrote her debut fantasy epic, Masques. Newly revised and expanded, and available in audio for the first time, Masques arrives in our store just in time, with the fourth book in this series, Wolfsbane, coming soon.
After an upbringing of proper behavior and oppressive expectations, Aralorn fled her noble birthright for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy. Her latest mission involves spying on the increasingly powerful sorcerer Geoffrey ae'Magi. But in a war against an enemy armed with the powers of illusion, how do you know who the true enemy is – or where he will strike next?
Katherine Kellgren (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), one of Audible's favorite narrators and one of the premier voices of science fiction and fantasy, sweeps listeners away on this engrossing adventure.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an introduction written and read by author Patricia Briggs.
©2010 Hurog, Inc, (c) 1993 Patricia Briggs; (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
Masques is a comfort book. The kind of book you pull out on cold wet days and enjoy with a nice warm blanket and a cup of hot tea. While certainly no Tolkien, Robert Jordan or Anne McCaffrey, Patricia Briggs knows how to tell an emotionally satisfying tale.
We begin the audio book with an author read introduction which explains the real world context within which the book was written. I loved her final 'compromise', in that she admits to fleshing details in the book out with a rewrite, while taking nothing away from the original novel.
As far as the story itself, it is an emotionally satisfying tale, with main characters that are interestingly flawed. This is no epic, but it was enjoyable, and had a few interesting twists and surprises along the way. The two main characters had great chemistry, and the romance between them built comfortably and believably throughout the story.
As far as the reader, she did an excellent job maintaining individual voices for several of the key characters. Her timing and general storytelling skills were definitely great. Sometimes her 'excitement' when reading action passages was noticeable, but it didn't really detract from the story or my enjoyment of it at all.
To summarize: Satisfying, cozy story of sword, sorcery and romance.
I absolutely ADORE Patricia Briggs. I love her Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series --- they are both automatic buys/pre-orders. (In fact... I have them in paperback, kindle, and audio formats.) I HIGHLY recommend those.
In anycase... Masques is a re-release of her first novel and even though it has been tweaked/cleaned up some, it still lacks something. The story line is okay - though a bit choppy at times - and the main characters are interesting, but neither is as fleshed out as much as I would like. One of the things I like best about Briggs is how invested I become in all her characters... even secondary ones. I think this is perhaps the area that I can see the greatest improvement in how she has grown as a writer. ( Seriously... this woman has had me in tears over the loss of minor characters and can make a piece of wood interesting. One of my favorite characters of hers is a walking stick.) Unfortunately, in THIS book... I did not find myself emotionally invested in many, if not most, of the characters. Thus, my rating is as follows:
Story --- 2.5 to 2.75 Narrator --- 4.5 Overall ---- 3
Having said all that, I have purchased & look forward to the sequel to this book.
And by ALL means... check out her other series.
The narrator did well enough. I don't consider her one of the best in the business but she does well and keeps the story moving and engaging.
I was surprised by the story after the authors introduction about how this story wasn't supposed to be very good being one of her earlier works. I found the story engaging and interesting. I liked it enough to get the second book in the series.
Despite being the author's first book (and having some weaknesses she identifies in the preface), this is a pretty decent book, and I enjoyed it. The setting is good, if a little vague, and there are some novel elements in the magic. The story is not overly predictable, and the reader make a good presentation of it.
Very picky when it comes to narrators.
They are equally good, but I love Katherine Kellgren's interpretation. I listen to this book and it's sequel, Wolfsbane, over and over.
When Wolf rescues Aralorn from the ae'Magi's castle.
It was interesting to hear the evolution of this book. I have only lately discovered Patricia Briggs through the Mercy Thompson books, so I have never read the original.
Katherine Kellgren does a stellar job. Her voice is soothing and easy to listen to, but she manages to convey the cynical Wolf, the unctious Geoffrey ae'Magi, the earnest Myr and the miscellaneous denizens of Myr's refugee camp with aplomb, bringing them all to life with her characterizations.
Can two mercenaries save the kingdom?
I really enjoy this book, even though it was reworked from an earlier publication and has some rough spots. These characters are like comfort food - they just make you feel good.
Say something about yourself!
The entire book was great, from beginning to end!
When the 2 main characters fall for each other.
It was good to hear Patricia Briggs explain for herself what to expect of the revised version of the book. I've heard Katherine Kellgren read before, she was a little annoying at the beginning of this read. Her reading was really intense for to long of a period of time, I had to fight the urge to stop the book- when it really wasn't necessary for her to be that intense. But I do enjoy her accents that shes able to pull off.
Yes! I couldn't get enough of this book!!
If you are someone who enjoys the fantasy genre and Patricia Briggs. this first novel is worth a listen. It is far from her best work but it is pleasant and you can see the seeds of her later work in it.
I really like Patricia Briggs's recent work, and had read most of it, as far back as Steal the Dragon. I thought Steal the Dragon was really, really rough, but still worth reading. Still, I wasn't sure about picking up her first novel, given how close Steal the Dragon was to my limit. But when I found out that she had revised it, I figured, okay, it's probably fine.
I was wrong. It's pretty bad. In fact, I'm not sure any amount of revision could fix what is wrong with this book, and she more or less admits that in the introduction.
The characters are one-dimensional, but even more, the writing style is just stickily stereotypical. The book shows flashes of promise, but I wonder how many of those were inserted later.
Frankly, if I'd been her, I wouldn't have released this. It's probably made her some money, but it's also probably made a number of people respect her less. In the end, I couldn't make it more than halfway through.
Skip it. Try one of her others instead.
The story is predictable and uses ideas from other fantasy novels that are highly recognizable. But the worst part is the narrator. She sounds like she has a stick up her spine. Much too high and mighty a tone for the story line. I am not sure I will be able to finish listening to this as her voice is very irritating.
I really really really like Patricia Briggs' stories! I LU-HUV the Mercy Thompson series! I have them all on audiobook and really appreciate that she gets really good narrators for her books... like she cares about this audio-book fan-base. This is a solid book and Patricia does a foreword in it explaining where this series fits into her career. I still think this is a solid story and I really hope she writes some more in this series. I think they will only get better with her experience.
"Briggs first published novel"
Masques is Briggs first published novel. This is en rewrite of novel and frankly I didn't really expect very much as Patricia herself says she has learned alot since.
What do I know! I enjoyed the story, the action and the characters. Yes it is the first and is shows but the plot, the suspence and Briggs subtile writing style is great.
I do hope Audible will stock Briggs other books, including the Mercy Thompson serie and the Alpha and Omega serie.
Exciting, magical and heartfelt. The last one might seem a little strange for a fantasy novel, but there is a bit more depth than usual. There is a great human core to the story, focusing on relationships and family as well as magic and fantasy.
Got to be the lead character Aralorn herself. She is strong and brave, and really well written. She is not the usual damsel in distress, she is self reliant and very handy with a sword.
I have not heard anything else by either of them. On the strength of this performance, I would not be disappointed. Patricia Briggs provides a great insight into her work in the introduction, which is a real bonus. Katherine provides a wonderful narration. Her voice is clear and very easy to listen to. Her delivery is also well paced, with an excellent distinction between male and female characters. She is a real bonus, and I think I would enjoy listening to her again.
Not a particular moment, but any scene featuring Aralorn and Wolf is a delight. The gradual deepening of their relationship is believable and very well played.
I can't believe this is Patricia Briggs' first novel. It is very accomplished, and very well written. There is a depth which is sometimes missing from this genre, which is very refreshing.
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