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Joki

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  • Captive Prince

  • By: C. S. Pacat
  • Narrated by: Stephen Bel Davies
  • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 399
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 380
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381

Damen is a warrior hero to his people and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave. Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Audio issues

  • By Kindle Customer on 07-03-17

Boring

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-18-18

This has popped up in various feeds with plenty of praises so I decided to give the audio version a chance. Unfortunately, I found the story to be boring and overidealized - to the point where it took me two weeks just to get through the audible version. Perhaps it is the no-nonsense approach of the narrator or that nothing much really happens in the story. Whichever the case, I was scratching my head at the end trying to figure out why this is praised so highly.

Story: Prince Damen is betrayed by his brother and sold into slavery to the country's enemy. There, he comes under the influence of power broker and bored dilettante prince Laurent. Humiliated and beaten often for his insolence and unwillingness to back down, Damen despises everything about the Veretian court that is now his home and especially the vapid and cruel Laurent. But when Damen foils an assassination plot, a temporary truce and new measure of respect is earned between both men.

First, the big issue I had with the story is that everything is telegraphed - from the 'mysteries' to the obviousness of Laurent playing a part in order to survive. Damen is written to be blunt and stright forward to contrast Laurent's scheming and manipulating. The problem here is that Damen comes off as bone dead stupid - and determined to make Laurent the cause of all evils. It gets old fast since everything is so clearly telegraphed; we can only wonder just how stupid Damen is that he doesn't see the obvious.

Laurent will likely change in future novels as Damen comes to know that he isn't a bored dilettante and instead has taken on a role in order to survive the cruel political machinations of court. Sure, having Damen hate Laurent in the beginning allows for their relationship to grow - but it feels kind of pointless if I dislike both main characters already in the beginning.

Rape and slavery are trigger words and those sensitive to the subject will not find enjoyment here. But the sex isn't used as a deus ex machina so much as a matter of fact of life in this fantasy world that has been created. So none of it really bothered me to the point where I felt it was gratuitous or glamorized.

Because I had such a hard time getting through this novel, I will not be continuing the series further. I'm sure the characters develop a great relationship later but I'm just not interested enough now to want to invest more time.

  • Sword of Destiny

  • The best-selling stories that inspired the hit game The Witcher
  • By: Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 12 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 427
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 400

Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb!

  • By Håkon on 01-21-17

Worth The Read

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-18-18

Of course, I came to these books having greatly enjoyed the Witcher games: particularly Witcher 3. I knew that the game designers stayed close to the original book themes but that they are not canon. The author steadfastly refused to have anything to do with the games, unfortunately. So the question is: if you enjoyed the games, are the books worth it? And the answer is an easy yes - these books fill in so much about the characters that seemed to be only side quest accessories but instead Geralt had met them before. As well, several Gwent cards feature characters that were introduced in the books (e.g., this book has the golden dragon Villentretenmerth.

There are two short story collection books (this is one of them) and then an ongoing series. The stories in this book include the story of how Geralt met Villentretenmerth, how he met and fell for Yennefer, how he uncovered a plot featuring the Doppler Dudu (who shows up in Witcher 3), a plot featuring mermaids and a duke who wants a bride (a riff on The Little Mermaid), and Sword of Destiny - which sets up the storyline for the series (focusing on the child of Destiny, Ciri).

Sapkowski enjoys taking fairy tales and creating a more 'realistic' storyline around them. In previous books we saw Beauty and the Beast subverted and here we have a rather imaginative take on the Little Mermaid. Those who have played the game can imagine how the story will unfold: with the trademark lack of morality and clear endings. I do enjoy that vagueness since it means you are given a lot to think about afterwards.

I found the stories in both of the 'collection' books to be interesting and worth the read. As well, a lot more focus is on Geralt in these books than in the series. In fact, in the series the POV is rarely Geralt, which may frustrate some.

I listened to the Audible book and it was obvious the narrator took great care with the voices and acting. Admittedly, at times the accents were very hard to understand and I had to stop doing anything else in order to listen carefully (which took me out of the story). But other than that, it felt like a lot of love went into the narration.

  • The Guns Above

  • By: Robyn Bennis
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 112

They say it's not the fall that kills you. For Josette Dupre, the Corps' first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back. On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. Bernat's own secret assignment is to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well written and narrated

  • By a on 09-19-17

Very Enjoyable

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-17-18

With The Gun Above, author Bennis takes the gravitas of Master and Commander naval warfare and gives it a steampunk spin. Those worried that the fantastical will overwhelm the story can be reassured that the plot is tight and with few 'magical' elements at all. In fact, this felt like a Sharpe's Rifles type of story rather than a science fiction steampunk. But while the book doesn't shy from the consequences of war, it really is all about the fighting. There's very little character development and I had a hard time feeling anything for our two main leads. I am reminded of a Naomi Novik Temeraire novel - substituting dragons for dirigibles.

Story: Josette Dupris has fought hard yet it is only through circumstances of war that she is given command of a new prototype ship - one that no one expects to survive a battle. To ensure that she doesn't retain the captaincy long, her superior officer places his diletante and bored nephew on her ship as a spy - to spin doctor her actions and discredit her. What should have been great for the officer - hopefully and literally killing two birds with one stone - has the opposite effect. Josette proves herself time and again and his dissolute nephew is about to grow a backbone.

Most books of this type can be quite wordy and epic in scope - and I often wish for less rather than more (McClellan's Powder Mage series comes to mind). The Guns Above feels like McClellan Lite - we're put directly into the actions and then it is non-stop battles after that. Bennis doesn't sugarcoat the characters and each has their own distinct personality issues - Josette lacking communication and social skills/Bernat being a spoiled, foppish dissolute of an aristocrat. Of course, the two come from very different worlds and will help each other rise above themselves.

Those expecting a romance need not worry - there is none in this book. The emphasis is on battles - and there are a lot. Bennis takes special care with each, describing in detail the deaths and consequence of Napoleonic-era type of 'sea' battles. Honestly, I found it a bit much but also appreciated that due care and consideration was given to all the technical aspects - from how the ships were constructed/weaknesses to the weapons and how they had to be fired. The fantastical made perfect sense with the historical and blended seamlessly.

If there is one off note, it would be that both Josette and Bennis spend most of the book in a 'bromance' (yes, she's female) and trading quips. They are good zingers and very witty - droll humor at each other's expense. But I'd rather have had character development and observations rather than endless amounts of battles interspersed with throwaway bon mots. I enjoy intelligent characters as much as the next person but it felt a bit overwritten and underwritten at the same time because the quips formed the basis of the main characters' working relationship. I expect that will change with future novels, though.

In all, an enjoyable and mature naval warfare novel with a steampunk twist. I think Naomi Novick fans will enjoy the series but McClellan and O'Brien may want a bit more depth. The Guns Above is a fairly quick read and smoothly written. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher

  • By Fire Above

  • A Signal Airship Novel
  • By: Robyn Bennis
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34

"All's fair in love and war", according to airship captain Josette Dupre, until her hometown of Durum becomes occupied by the enemy and her mother a prisoner of war. Then it becomes "nothing's fair except bombing those Vins to high hell". Before she can rescue her town, however, Josette must maneuver her way through the nest of overstuffed vipers that make up Garnia's military and royal leaders in order to drum up support.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Even Better Than The First Book

  • By Joki on 09-16-18

Even Better Than The First Book

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-16-18

This is shaping up to be one heck of a great series. Author Bennis has merged the horrors of the Napoleonic war with steampunk to create a grounded, brutal, but wonderfully readable story. At its heart, it's the witty bon mots constantly thrown about by leads Josette and Bernat that make this so appealing. But there are great side characters as well - from Lieutenant Kember to Bernat's brother Roland - who add so much appeal to this story. Add in the action and huminity and you have some very good writing here.

Story: The Vins have seiged Josette's home town and Josette fears for her mother's safety. But getting the aristocrats to recognize and help is another matter. Yet Josette is one determined captain.

To give any more of the story would be to give too many spoilers. But for the most part, the first part of the books is Josette back in port after damage to her ship and trying to drum up help from the military to retake her home town. The second part of the book is the actual retaking - and it is very surprising where that takes the story.

As always, I love the maturity of the characters as well as the grounded realism. Anyone who has read about England and French military in the 18th and 19th century will recognize a lot of what Josette has to deal with from the aristocracy and military incompetence. People die brutally, however, and Bennis does not spare the horrors of war. But I have to appreciate how practical people can be when faced with daunting situations. Or how many are able to rationalize/justify/accept poor decisions.

I listened to the Audible version and the narrator did a good job of giving the characters personalities (almost too good a job - I almost hate Bernat most of the time!).

  • Odysseus Ascendant

  • Odyssey One, Book 7
  • By: Evan Currie
  • Narrated by: David de Vries
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 776
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 728
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 728

The Empire has set its sights on its next target: human Terrans. As effective allies of the Priminae, the denizens of Earth have proven themselves enemies to the Empire, and now the Imperial forces know more about the Terran home world than ever before.  

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • If I Wanted Fantasy....

  • By Laura G. on 05-14-18

Just Pure Fun!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-16-18

This is just such a fun series! At times, I feel like this is what the entire Star Wars saga could have been, had Lucas written them all at once instead of piecemeal. It's not high art science fiction - and is all the better because it lacks those lofty pretensions. At its heart, it is good old serialized pulpy sci fi - good guys, bad guys, lots of pew pew, and plenty of triumphs and valor!

Story: An Empire lord has decided that it is time to make a preemptive strike and wipe out the Priminae before they know what hits them. Weston is not able to protect all the colonies in the path of the armageddon fleet and agonizes over the sacrifices he must make with the Priminae leaders. For he has a special weapon that may just be able to stop the fleet; or, failing that, bluff them enough to discourage them. But he needs to buy time in order to get it ready.....

There are some fun twists and turns in the plot here that I won't put in this review for spoiler reasons. But unlike the last book which was a long drawn out single battle, we have quite a few small battles in this installment. It feels like it is all coming to a head soon, unfortunately, and all I can do is hope many more stories will come anyway (as happened after the Odyssey 1 arc).

The narration is fine in the Audible version and since this is such a purely cinematic series, I enjoy listening to the book more than reading it.

  • Lockwood & Co.

  • The Whispering Skull: Book 2
  • By: Jonathan Stroud
  • Narrated by: Katie Lyons
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Ghosts and ghouls beware! London’s smallest, shabbiest, and most talented psychic detection agency is back. Life is never exactly peaceful for Lockwood & Co. Lucy and George are trying to solve the mystery of the talking skull trapped in their ghost jar, while Lockwood is desperate for an exciting new case. Things seem to be looking up when the team is called to Kensal Green Cemetery to investigate the grave of a sinister Victorian doctor.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Such An Underappreciated Series - so good!

  • By Joki on 09-16-18

Such An Underappreciated Series - so good!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-16-18

The Whispering Skull continues smoothly from the first book: the Lockwood and Co crew will have a new assignment to solve, rivals to beat, confront the reality that the The Problem is escalating in unexpected ways, and learn more about Anthony Lockwood's family secrets.

Story: Lucy, Lockwood, and George are dismayed to learn they must solve a case with the assistance of Quill Kipps and his eccentric team from Fittes. The investigation involves a Victorian doctor who robbed graveyards in order to plumb the mysteries of life after death. When his corpse is unearthed and then subsequently robbed, both teams will watch the situation reverberate through all levels of society. It will take all their luck and guile to not only solve the case but also to survive it.

Once again, we have a very engaging story that is never straightforward or easy. Our characters grow and learn about themselves and others, and along the way there is plenty of action. Stroud does an excellent job of dropping just enough hints and mysteries to be intrigued but never so much that we have nothing left to discover. Actions by the characters make sense (both what they do right and what they do wrong) and each person who shows up in the book has a very distinct and unique personality.

As with the first book, at the end of The Whispering Skull we are left with tantalizing hints of the story to come. The plot builds organically yet unexpectedly and the book-length story arcs fit seamlessly into a series-long set of mysteries. From the clues, it looks like Stroud will eventually tackle the root of The Problem and we'll learn what started it and now escalated the return of The Visitors. It will be interesting to see if George's skull will be at the heart of the mystery.

In all, greatly looking forward to the next book in the series.

  • The Last Wish

  • By: Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 855
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 806
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 805

Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spectacular Introduction to "The Witcher"

  • By Renell on 09-10-15

The Witcher Story Begins

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-16-18

The Witcher series chronologically begins here with this collection of short stories (all taking place well before the events in the game). Several have European fairy tale foundations (Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin) but retold in this series' trademark grounded realism and fatality. Nuanced characters, lack of romanticism, and gritty violence, vulgarity and sex - it is the opposite side of the coin to the Lord of the Rings' lofty good vs evil idealism.

Story: In a medieval Europe-like world everything changed after the 'Conjunction of Spheres' event that trapped monsters and unnatural beings in this world. Humans, in desperation, created the Witchers through mutations - super humans given abilities and strength but at terrible sacrifices. Geralt is a Witcher living 1500 years after the conjunction - in a time when the monsters that were left in the world are dying out and Witchers are becoming rarer and less needed. Geralt travels the world seeking mercenary work - hunting down monsters for pay. With his friend Dandelion, he often finds that the true monsters aren't the ones with fangs, talons, or sharp teeth.

The book is held together through Geralt recounting stories to a priestess while recovering from injuries. This first story became the cinematic opener for the first Witcher Game. Several stories then follow, most with Geralt questing with Dandelion the bard. The last story, the book's title, is Geralt recounting how he met Yennefer.

What makes the books and the games (which, although not canon, are very faithful to the books) so special is that we have all the hallmarks that make modern urban fantasy so appealing - but in a pure fantasy form. It is almost an anti-fantasy, bucking the endless Tolkien retellings and instead bringing in all the muck, filth, ugliness, and seediness that humanity can offer. This is not the sanitized fantasy we grew up with and adored.

The series-wide arc comes later - these are just short stories that take place before Ciri is introduced. But many of the characters that you see in the Witcher games or places such as the Gwent card game are all here. And since the lore is so rich, it is well worth the read. I don't envy the translator - I honestly feel he did an amazing job to really create the feel, sound, words, and spirit of the books through very clever solutions from Polish.

I listened to the Audible version and although hard to understand a lot of the time, I have to appreciate that the narrator put a lot of time and effort into giving us characters. This is not a dry reading and instead one with a lot of effort, time, and creativity.

  • The Privilege of Peace

  • Peacekeeper, Book 3
  • By: Tanya Huff
  • Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77

Warden Torin Kerr has put her past behind her and built a life away from the war and everything that meant. She's created a place and purpose for others like her, a way to use their training for the good of the Confederation. She has friends, family, purpose. Unfortunately, her past refuses to grant her the same absolution. Big Yellow, the ship form of the plastic aliens responsible for the war, returns. The Silsviss test the strength of the Confederation. Torin has to be Gunnery Sergeant Kerr once again and find a way to keep the peace.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sooo Good!

  • By Joki on 07-05-18

Sooo Good!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

By far, this has to be one of my favorite series of all time. While the first book (7 ago!) serviceable, by the second book we got the series-long arc and some of the best characters in sci fi when Huff really hit her stride. If all military sci fi was this good, with snappy dialogue and extremely well-drawn characters, I would never read another book in any other genre again. And though The Privilege of Peace ends the series, it does so with aplomb.

Story: Humans First want Torin dead and out of the way, especially leader Anthony Marteau. But Torin is a hard woman to kill, especially since she has a tight clan of friends around her. But when it comes time to return the 'data sheet' plastic to the plastic aliens, things are about to come to a head with General Morris, Anthony Marteau, all the elder races and all the younger races in for the wild ride.

There are so many laugh out loud or simple chuckle/snicker moments as to make this Peacekeeper series a treat. From Torin and boyfriend Craig bon mots, to sexual innuendos, puns, and observations about the aliens that inhabit the book. It's so effortless and whip smart as to be almost an art form. You'd swear they were living and breathing characters, each nuanced and with their own ticks and quirks.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Torin Kerr is such a great female protagonist. Tough as nails but with a good heart and a smart head, she is a no-nonsense woman with an agenda of keeping her companions alive. You root for her and all her crew as they tough their way through all the series has thrown at them. Those wondering how this ends and if it is good need not worry - The denouement is allowed to happen organically but with all the action we have come to expect when Kerr is involved.

I listened to the Audible version and the narrator did an excellent job with all the characterizations. There was no doubt who was speaking and why they were an alien and not human. In all, definitely one of my all time favorite series and it is with bittersweet joy that I finished this ending book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Restore Me

  • Shatter Me, Book 4
  • By: Tahereh Mafi
  • Narrated by: Kate Simses, James Fouhey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 367
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 336
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 335

Juliette and Warner's story continues in the electrifying fourth installment of Tahereh Mafi's New York Times best-selling Shatter Me series. Juliette Ferrars thought she'd won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander of North America, and now has Warner by her side. But when tragedy strikes, she must confront the darkness that dwells both around and inside her. Who will she become in the face of adversity? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Short story that’s as long as a book.

  • By halloween.mama on 04-28-18

It was Ok

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-07-18

As much as I enjoyed the other books in this series, I had a hard time with Restore Me. It felt like the entire book was the following scene ad nauseum:
Juliet: "I'm not sure what to do."
Warner: "I'm so in love with Juliet, it hurts."
Juliet: "I'm not sure what to do now."
Warner: "Juliet is so beautiful, it's painful"
Juliet: "What do I do know - I am not sure."
Warner: "Juliet is my world, she's so perfect."

I kept waiting for a plot to kick in but it was pretty much a love letter to those fans who wanted more Warner mooning over Juliet. Fortunately, we had some great scenes with Kenji again - he's always a welcome injection of self effacing humor to keep us from taking the situations too seriously. But there wasn't enough Kenji to go around to offset the saccharine romance.

In addition, it gets tiring to have everyone, including all the enemies, falling in love with Juliet instead of disliking or destroying her. Yet again, we have new characters introduced who fall for her sweetness and fall all over themselves to help her. I can't say I really bought it and it would have been nice to have someone actually dislike her for being too good-two-shoes and naive.

About half way through the Audible narration, I got really bored. Juliet unsure, Warner pining for her, some silly plot device about her family and a secret that Warner fears will make her hate him. It wasn't enough to keep me interested since we really didn't get any character or plot development and it all felt kind of vapid.

The Audible narration got old as well. Juliet sound like she is 12 and the addition of Warner's perspective didn't do much for me. It was kind of jarring to go from Warner sounding one way with the female narrator and then sounding different with the male narrator.

  • Lake Silence

  • By: Anne Bishop
  • Narrated by: Alexandra Harris
  • Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,102
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,032
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,028

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others - vampires, shape-shifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget.... After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence - in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki's have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what's out there watching you.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Terrific stand-alone Others novel

  • By Laura on 03-24-18

Felt Recycled But Still Enjoyed It

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-07-18

I have greatly enjoyed Bishop's books in this world and looked forward to a side story. This appears to be a stand alone since it wrapped up nicely but I certainly wouldn't be adverse to more books with these characters. That said, it felt like most had been recycled wholesale from the other books and the same themes kept appearing: main character with self confidence issues, main character with a tortured past, humans being greedy and stupidly going against the Others, a human cop who is tough but has social issues, strong women banding together during adversity, and the problems with family entanglements. Because there were so many similar plot lines, I felt like I was reading a fan fiction or a Mary Sue. There were so many one-to-one character duplications between the original series and this spin off that Lake Silence didn't feel original.

Story: Vicki Devine is given a run down small resort on Others land as part of a bitter divorce, she sees it as a way to start over. She has finally escaped her husband's psychological humiliations and works hard to create a resort that is habitable by humans. At the moment, she only has Others lodgers - a Crowguard curious about humans. But when a dead human turns up near the resort, a reluctant cop is drawn into the investigation and a war is about to ignite between Others protecting their own and humans desiring the resort property's valuable assets.

So what we have is a traumatized lead female (Vicki/Meg), protected by a handsome Terra Indigine (Ilya/Simon), with a cop trying to do what's right and mediate between humans and Others (Grimshaw/Monty), with Others living in the area trying to figure out humans (Aggie Crowguard etc.), and local female humans making friends with and protecting our Meg-clone Vicki. Some characters felt very recycled, e.g., Tess and a human female protecting Vicki who also works in a cafe. Others were more original - such as a love interest in the form of a book store owner (oops - almost original) who is also an intuit.

That said, despite the deja vu, I still enjoyed the book. Yes, the usual questions emerge: why would humans really be stupid enough to go against Others and why don't the Others just use their prerogative of being above the law to stop things BEFORE they escalate to deaths on both sides. I respect that the books are about the two getting to know each other and that misunderstandings will happen; all the same, it still doesn't feel logical at this point. Especially since so many people were going to Simon Wolfguard as being an expert on humans in the other books while in this book we have a vampire who interacts with all levels of society smoothly as a lawyer; I'd say he's a much better authority than a book store owner catering to Terra Indigine in the Lakeside Courtyard.

The Audible narration that I listened to was fine. It's not my favorite and I don't like the voice characterizations that much - the narrator tends to make the characters sound simple and somewhat stupid/facile. Bishop does give us an 'everywoman' type of hero but I'd rather our heroine be able to do more than be protected/rescued by the entire cast for most of the book. Reviewed from the Audible version.