After a year of preparation, 18-year-old Raven Smith has researched and planned out every detail of her summer vacation in Europe; those plans DO NOT include boys, romance, or falling in love (definitely not the last one). But, even before the plane touches-down her well-laid plans go dreadfully off-course.
While still airborne, Raven finds a letter in her carry-on suitcase that her senile neighbor broke into her house to stash in her bag; the letter tells Raven to turn back, not to go to Europe, that an “evil agent of Hell” is looking for her and he will find her if she disregards the letter’s message.
But Raven does disregard the letter…
Almost as soon as Raven steps foot onto Rome’s streets, dark, seductive Andras starts showing up at nearly every site Raven visits; Raven finds herself drawn to Andras in a way she’s never been drawn to anyone, while at the same time…he terrifies her.
Then in comes Nicholas, an impossible-not-to-like Swedish guy, who is determined to keep Raven away from Andras...
The two guys share a dark secret. Both are determined that Raven never learns the truth. She doesn’t know who to trust, or if she should trust anyone.
If Raven frees herself from the deception twined around her… the most horrifying secret she could uncover, might be her own… her past… who she really is…and how the forces of Hell plan to use her to destroy the future…
©2012 Rita Stradling (P)2014 Rita Stradling and Gail Shalan
A thrilling, action packed story that draws you in and holds you captive from the beginning to the very end. The author did an excellent job of building the readers connection to the characters.You can not help but become invested in Raven's survival, she is naive, kind and willing to fight for what she wants, there are both good and evil love interests in her life and you are often torn as to who you want her to be with! The three male protagonists are all strong, but very different, characters. Each is appealing in their own way and they all have somewhat of an air of sadness about them that pushes you to overlook their shortcomings. The plot is intricate and there is no way you can guess or predict where the story will lead, as the author pulls along through the various twists and turns of this intriguing good vs evil tale. The narrators voice fits the characters perfectly, as she brings the individuals and story to life with her narration. It is an exciting, captivating story, that holds your attention and leaves you wanting the next instalment. I received this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This is a well written, intriguing book. I love the way the story glides slowly towards the para normal and then bursts into it head first. At this turning point, the narrator moves from doing a very good job portraying three young women's contrasting personalities to an outstanding job transforming a complex cast of characters into unforgettable demons, angels, friends and foes. Along with the writers ability to create memorable characters in this action packed story, the narrator succeeds in bringing them to life. Gail Shalan's various foreign accents and her well defined development of each character, as they transform and grow in complexity, enrich this story. The successful narration of this novel creates a vibrancy that allowed me to see this story in my mind's eye as if it were a movie....many of the characters vivid personalities remain in my imagination days later. This audio book is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it, especially for teens.
Probably not Rita Stradling, but I'd be happy to hear Shalan perform again.
For me, the crucial factor of an appealing audiobook is the narration. An excellent book can be unbearable with a grating, inflexible voice. Likewise, a skilled narrator can make a book that I’d otherwise find unappealing compelling. As a 20-something male, I found that later was the case for The Deception Dance. To be clear, I do not think that it is a bad book - it is just sometimes painfully girly. I picked it up because I like fantasy/sci-fi, but I had a hard time getting through the romance parts of it. I also had a little difficulty finding a male character to identify with. Rita Stradling renders female characters very well, very believable - at least as far as I can tell - especially the protagonist, Raven Smith. She is a rich, complex character whom it is difficult not to like even if you don’t identify with her. But the male characters are, in my opinion, flat and two dimensional at most (although, having spent time in Italy, the descriptions of the Italian men were pretty spot on). However, I say this with the understanding that it was probably not Stradling’s intention to cater to male readership.
What did keep me tethered to the book was Gail Shalan’s deft narration. Shalan has a calming voice, which I find soothing on my early morning commutes, although it never detracts from the energy of this fast-paced book. I especially enjoyed her rendition of the protagonist’s sister’s roommate… so hatable (is that a word?) At times I would completely forget it was the same person. Her accents were fun but not distractingly overdone. It is always difficult for narrators to do characters of the opposite gender, but I thought Shalan pulled it off nicely, sometimes amusingly. She kept the protagonist’s voice closest to her general style which, combined with the first-person narration, really helped give the sense that the reader is experiencing this world through Raven’s eyes and ears.
Truth be told, I would not recommend this book to my friends or family, but I think it’d be perfect for a teenage girl, or fans of Twilight (though I have never read it). But it was the clam dexterity of Shalan’s voice that made the book compelling for me.
narrator is very good, the story beautifully written
Madeleine's voice was gorgeous and really added to the story for me.
Not in book 1... (but yes for book 2)
Sometimes it is hard to like a book when you aren't a fan of the main character... but there are too many other wonderful things going on with this series as a whole for Raven's perhaps simply too-teen-agey personality to be problematic. This series starts off with a very haunting scene from Raven's childhood. I probably should have realized that it was setting the tone for the rest of the book, but it sets itself aside like a poem to be remembered later. The rest of the book really does feel almost like two different novels- not in terms of story arc, but in terms of flow and world building. It seemed somewhat unrealistic to me for the world to have so much going on in the second half that there would truly really be no inkling of otherworldly things much at all in "regular" life. I was somewhat disappointed in the flatness of some of the male characters (at least in the first half), but I don't know if there would have been any other way to accomplish the mystery as she did without giving too much away. There were truly a lot of historical/literary references that I wasn't able to appreciate in their entirety, but that in no way made the book less enjoyable.
I listened to the audio version of the Deception Dance, and it wasn't until I read the kindle version of book 2 that I realized how awesome this narrator was. I have no idea if all her accents were "correct" - the sheer number of accents would make this novel a technically difficult book to narrate regardless - but as I read book 2 I found myself wishing she was reading to me as my brain simply didn't have the ability to bring the speech to life in a way that animated the characters as she did. I am lucky there weren't too many new characters introduced in book two, but I still feel like I missed out as I want to know what they sound like too!
Sure! I thought the book was brilliantly written. It felt like Ms. Stradling wrote a book after dreaming up an elaborate story about a girl witch and 2 battling warlocks. Great mystery, great detail, and so unique!
The most interesting aspect of this story was the "battle" between Andres and Nicholas. You didn't know which one was good or bad. The discovery was really creative. The least interesting aspect of this story was all the characters in the story.
I though Ms. Shalan did a great job of narrating the equsite details in this story, and she is well spoken, eg, no words were msprinounced. However, I found the high pitch of her voice distracting at first although it grew me and seemed a good fit for the story.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book almost changes genres halfway through. At first there are two love interests, she seems more drawn to the worse one, but neither is ideal. I found myself more than a little annoyed with her appreciation for riches while being annoyed by them, but then the story blooms, and becomed a lot more intrestung and less predictable.
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