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Joki

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  • 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 41
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

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.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The intensity was lower so a bit MEH...

  • By Bigpallooka on 07-09-18

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.

  • Restore Me

  • Shatter Me, Book 4
  • By: Tahereh Mafi
  • Narrated by: Kate Simses, James Fouhey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 307
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285

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?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Oh wow...... loved it!

  • By katie on 03-08-18

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 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 935
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 878
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 874

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
  • Just as entrancing as the others

  • By Susan on 03-21-18

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.

  • Odysseus Awakening

  • Odyssey One, Book 6
  • By: Evan Currie
  • Narrated by: David deVries
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 813
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 747
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 749

Defy the inevitable. Such is the stance of Confederation captain Eric Weston and the crew of the starship Odysseus, patrolling the outer limits of Priminae space, anticipating the Empire's next attacks. Connected with the Terran FTL tech - the transition drive - humanity might stand a chance against the overwhelming forces. Until the entire planetary system goes dark. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Odysseus arrives to find the Empire securing critical intelligence from Priminae ships.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • I just don't care anymore.

  • By Craig Burkett on 01-16-18

Absolutely Love This Series

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

Reviewed: 03-15-18

Admittedly, I am a jaded reader since I pour through some 250 books a year. But Author Evan Currie always manages to find a sweet spot with this Odyssey series that I just love. It's not high art, it's not intellectual, it's just pure fun with characters you enjoy following. True space opera that brings back the joy and excitement that comes from popcorn movies like Star Wars rather than the plodding cerebral sci fi of the 1980s and 1990s.

Story: When a Priminae ship is ambushed at a colonial star system, the crew fights valiantly despite being outnumbered. Eventually, the Odysseus is brought in to investigate why the star system went silent. What ensues is a cat and mouse battle of power/surprise vs overwhelming numbers. But something else is also happening - random malfunctions all throughout the new heroic class Odyssey. Can the crew discover the root of the issues before a malfunction costs them a battle and their lives?

Odysseus awakening is one long space battle - and surprisingly is all the better for it. The situation escalates and then constantly morphs as Weston, the Priminae captain, a Priminae fleet, and Weston's small accompaniment of destroyers attempt to outwit the enemy imperial fleet. But the malfunctions are causing serious issues that have greatly affected the Odyssey's ability to fight. As with previous books, we get the perspective of the enemy Imperials as well. I'm glad that Earth/Priminae are fighting humans again since the Drasin POVs did feel a bit silly and anthropomorphic.

Currie's really honed his writing and each book is a special listening/reading event for me. I set aside time to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride! Especially this latest book reminded me of why I loved the Jack Campbell Lost Fleet series so much.

The Audible version was fine - I'm not really a fan of giving people accents based on their names - e.g., I have a German last name but don't speak German. But I do have to admit that it does help to distinguish characters easier when listening. The narrator did a fine job, not the best nor the worst that I have heard.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Vanguard

  • The Genesis Fleet, Book 1
  • By: Jack Campbell
  • Narrated by: Christian Rummel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,582
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,419
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,414

Earth is no longer the center of the universe. After the invention of the faster-than-light jump drive, humanity is rapidly establishing new colonies. But the vast distances of space mean that the old order of protection and interstellar law offered by Earth has ceased to exist. When a nearby world attacks, the new colony of Glenlyon turns to Robert Geary, a young former junior fleet officer, and Mele Darcy, a onetime enlisted marine.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great begining of a new series

  • By Duncan R Campbell on 05-17-17

Didn't Like Narration

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

Reviewed: 01-04-18

As much as I loved the Lost Fleet series (all of them) this fell a bit flat for me. Likely the narrator from the Audible version I listened to had something to do with it. But it was a case of too many characters, not enough interesting action, and people I just didn't care to follow. As well, a lot of it felt like something I have read before in a Campbell book, just rejigged. Things picked up in the end nicely but it was a hard slog through most of the book.

Story: As Earth expands, things are not always peaceful in the outer reaches. Into this world of pirates and claim jumpers, a group of people will come together to fight to protect a new colony.

The cast is quite large and the story feels like it was culled directly from stories of the settling of the "Wild West' in the United States. From 'sailors' being shanghaid, claims and claim jumping on planets, and might making right in lawless areas that Earth justice just can't reach. Readers will likely assume the book is about Geary, ancestor of the protagonist from the Lost Fleet. But he shares main character duties with 6 other people so this book has a bigger scope.

As with all Jack Campbell books, there are decent men and women just trying to do right in the world. The men will be simple and calm; the women will be crafty and overemotional. That the males are always going to be clueless about the emo females is a given in a Jack Campbell novel. Just once, I'd like to see a world that has emo/overemotional men, simple and non-crafty women, men NOT confused about women and what they want, men in touch with their own feelings, and perhaps even non hetero characters, for once. Vanguard, as with most of Campbell's books, feels like it is populated by characters from the 1960s only.

Campbell has a chance with Vanguard to explain many things that led up to what we know in the Lost Fleet series. Perhaps the biggest discussion in this book was how the religion of 'ancestor worship' came about - more as a way to make sense of the universe as man expanded. But there are other little tidbits as well if one reads closely.

Perhaps the main difference between this and other Campbell books is that he starts really big and then by the end of the book narrows things down. In the Lost Fleet series, he starts small - with one man - and then builds up a world around him. It means that until the characters start coming together, the story can feel like it lacks connection and immediacy.

The Audible narration was, to be honest, bad. I'm tired of the "If he has a Scottish last name, he has to talk in a Scottish accent' thing. E.g., my last name is German but no one has spoken German in my ancestry for 350 years. The narrator should have a better way of distinguishing characters than to just give everyone an accent based on their last name.

So although I never really got into Vanguard, it was by no means a terrible book. Admittedly, I have to put a lot of the blame on the narration for turning me off. I am fairly sure it was the same narrator as the Lost Fleet series but here I felt like I was listening to the same characters over and over again.

  • Warrior King

  • Odyssey One, Book 5
  • By: Evan Currie
  • Narrated by: David de Vries
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,500
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,382
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,380

Battle-weary after a desperate fight to save Earth from the Drasin alien onslaught, Confederation Captain Eric Weston is tasked with a perilous new mission. He and the crew of the Odysseus must hunt down those who unleashed the hellish attack on his homeworld and that of Earth's Priminae allies.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • too short. half a book. disappointed.

  • By Amazon Customer on 07-22-16

A Great New Arc Begins!

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

Reviewed: 10-18-17

Currie's wonderful pulp sci fi series begins a new story arc as the Drasin Earth Invasaion finished the Odyssey One story with its precipitous fall in battle. Now, a new "heroic" class of Earth/Priminae spaceships are changing the battles in new and different ways. Captain Weston and his crew survived to be transferred to the Odysseus - and together they begin new adventures focusing on finding the civilization who unleashed the biological weapon known as the Drasin on Earth and Priminae worlds.

Weston, Steph, Mila, and new crew (including a new first officer) embark on a new mission: to track down the people holding the Drasin leash. Thanks to information learned from the Autolycus in the King of Thieves book, Weston has new information and new space to explore. But as with all his missions, he's going to stumble into a mess and it will take all the crew's wits to get out on the other side and survive.

I really like that we are going in a new direction now that the Priminae and Earth have a new fleet of ships and with a new nemesis. We don't see the Drasin now - it's all human-types vs human-types as Weston has a strong reason to want to find the people who sent the Drasin to destroy Earth. But new questions about the Priminae were raised - especially why they have no history of cultural development and appear to have just appeared fully formed. There may be more secrets that Earth will need to know about their allies - IF their allies even know the answers themselves.

Once again we have a fun crew of personalities. Currie takes his time now and it is obvious he is correcting physics and spacial warfare mistakes along the way. I was reminded a lot of Jack Campbell novels as soon as terms such as "relativistic" was being thrown around. And while I love the Campbell books as well, I think Currie always delivers a more diverse and interesting set of characters. Where Campbell's Lost Fleet focuses on battles, Currie keeps the focus on personalities.

I listened to the audible version and the new narrator just didn't do the story justice in my mind. From aliens having 'luck o the Irish' cliche accents to Weston sounding like he was 70 years old, I really did not enjoy the narration. This is better left for a read than a listen.

  • Lockwood & Co: The Empty Grave

  • By: Jonathan Stroud
  • Narrated by: Emily Bevan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 12

After their recent adventures, the Lockwood & Co team deserve a well-earned break...so naturally they decide to risk their lives breaking into a heavily guarded crypt. A building full of unsettled souls, it's also the final resting place of Marissa Fittes, the legendary and (supposedly) long-dead ghost hunter. What they discover their will change everything. So begins a race to get to the truth behind 'the Problem' and an epic struggle against the Fittes agency.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Finish

  • By Joki on 09-29-17

Excellent Finish

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

Reviewed: 09-29-17

I have enjoyed few series as much and Lockwood & Co - brilliant writing, fast-paced action, interesting characters, and a wonderful series-long mystery. For me, this does for ghost stories what Harry Potter did for wizards - created a very intricate world full of fascinating and distinct characters, with great humor but also pathos, suitable for adults and middle grade at the same time. It's a series I will enthusiastically recommend to anyone looking for the thrill they got from Harry Potter, but with a supernatural twist. My only disappointment is that this was the last book in the series since I wanted more. I can only hope Stroud decides to continue with a new series arc in the future.

Story: With the revelation from the skull that Penelope Fitts IS Marissa, the supposedly dead founder of the powerful Fitts Agency, Lockwood and Co set out to discover if Marissa's grave is empty. This sets into motion the events that will uncover the truth behind the hauntings in London but also puts the crew to the test just to survive long enough against all that is stacking up against them.

As with all the previous books, there is plenty of action and revelations. Stroud nicely ties in the previous books' hauntings and their significance to the big picture. This isn't a series about one big revelation so much as needing to put the pieces together in order to learn exactly what is happening in England and why. Thanks to the events in the previous book with Rotwell being taken out of the picture, Penelope Fitts and the Orpheus Society have closed up the ranks of power and control nearly all levels of natural and supernatural dealings - governments, police, etc. It's a powerful collective that will fight to ensure that Lockwood doesn't change the status quo.

Really, the heart of the book is the brilliant characterizations. From the antics of the skull in the jar (which never fail to put a smile on my face), to George's lackadaisical research, Lockwood's detached leadership, Holly's finicky nature (ah, I was hoping she was evil, darn it!), to our narrator Lucy. I love that our narrator was female and not the leader of the group - she gave a very grounded and very unique and distance perspective on the story throughout. She wasn't perfect but had a strong will, making for a very nuanced and intricate character. She's one of my favorite in years for that reason.

The story tied up nicely but there are areas left open that could serve for future volumes; I can only hope that Stroud continues the story since there is so much there to love. But for now, this ends the series nicely. Note: I listened to the audible version and the narrator was excellent - really gave distance voices to every characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Prudence

  • Book One of The Custard Protocol
  • By: Gail Carriger
  • Narrated by: Moira Quirk
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

On behalf of queen, country...and the perfect pot of tea. When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances - names it the Spotted Crumpet and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant story brilliantly read

  • By Louise on 04-25-18

Not Even Moira Quick's Inspired Narration Saves

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

Reviewed: 09-21-17

Those who had read both the Soulless and the Finishing School series could probably have seen this coming in the progression of books and how their tones changed. What started as an independent but absurdly interesting main character eventually morphed into a fairly stupid and airheaded school girl who at least had some dash. The culmination unfortunately is our lead in the Custard Protocal - a complete clueless unique snowflake twit that everyone instantly loves and adores despite her intellectually challenged self obsession. Not even Moira Quick's inspired narration could save this very hot mess of an unlikable set of characters.

Prudence is unique in the world - the daughter of a Soulless and a Werewolf, she is a metanatural. When she is given a dirigible, she promptly flies it to India in order to find outstanding tea for her beloved 'uncle' Dama. She chances upon a conspiracy there and sort of accidentally ends up helping the situation from getting out of hand. Lots of endless fashion discussions ensue.

There really isn't a plot and the book is mostly Prudence "Rue" bossing people around, insulting her friends and the natives, and pondering endlessly about clothing with companion Prim. Prim's brother, Percy, is smart and has great ideas to help India and the law but most of the time is insulted or disregarded by the women (after all, he knows nothing of fashion). Meanwhile, love interest Quensal is just as unappetizing a person as Rue and I spent most of the book hoping one or the other would fall out of the dirigible and spare us any more of their drivel.

Prudence felt very much like the entire purpose of the book was to create situations where author Carriger could play around with words, bon mots, witty rejoinders, and Victorian fashion. It was at the expense of creating even one likable character or a semblance of a plot. Farting dirigibles are mildly amusing once but get old fast. As does the constant picking on the only intelligent person in the cast and the boring cliche of an alpha male love interest.

As always, Moira Quick is an impressive narrator. I just wish she was given something better than this story.

  • The Raven King

  • The Raven Cycle, Book 4
  • By: Maggie Stiefvater
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,109
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,956
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,955

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Once in a Lifetime Series

  • By Melanie Parker on 04-28-16

Great Ending

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

Reviewed: 09-21-17

Stiefvater has really honed her storytelling skills by this book - the last in the Raven Cycle series. The writing is assured, characters highly nuanced and full of depth, the story rich. Yes, at times it can feel that she crafts the words a bit too dearly (never crossing the purple prose line but certainly dancing along it joyfully). But at the same time, this really is the antidote to the groaning horde of shallow YA tomes littering bookstore shelves these days.

Story: Blue and Gansey have been forced to recognize that the time to fulfill the prophecy has come (both Blue's kiss of death and Gansey's predicted death). For a demon is destroying Cabeswater - and in the process, Ronan is being unmade. At the same time, Adam is grappling with his vow to Cabeswater - and what that means now that the demon has taken over the forest. It will all lead to a showdown - and a terrible sacrifice that must be made.

The strength of Stiefvaters works is that everything is a character - from the old Camaro known as the Pig to the forest itself. Even houses and rocks can take on subtle personalities. And if she can do that with inanimate objects, then it has to be appreciated just how beautifully her characters are realized. Each felt quite real and conflicted - making decisions on instinct or intellect as was their want. Every single person is so completely defined as to be enticingly distinct. That skill draws one in completely to the story and the need to see how things pan out for the cast. And certainly, the characters have grown throughout the four books.

The story went quite a few places over four books but wasn't as outlandish as it could have been in weaker hands. But the plot is not why one reads Stiefvater, certainly, since it's all about the people. The Raven Cycles touch of magic (in itself fully defined and quite distinct) makes for an exciting read full of unexpected surprises. But for me, it was about the subtle romances - they were so exquisitely underwritten that little things - touches or gestures - had quite a punch.

If there is one nitpick, it's that the bad guys ended up being fairly one-dimensional (almost to the point of being caricature). Stiefvater clearly isn't interested in the stories of the bad guys - they are less defined than the scenery, to be honest. But that is a minor issue, really, in the larger scheme of how well-written this series ended up being and the smart conclusion at the end.

Definitely not a light Summer read. But not onerous to plod through, either. Each sentence has been carefully written; unecessaries ruthlessly excised. And it is all the better for it.

Note: I listened to the Audible version and the narrator did an excellent job.

  • A Spy's Devotion

  • The Regency Spies of London, Book 1
  • By: Melanie Dickerson
  • Narrated by: Anna Parker-Naples
  • Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 868
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 777
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 779

In England's Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life - but behind closed doors treason and deception thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal - and to fulfill a dying soldier's last wish by delivering his coded diary.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Clean romance

  • By Catherine on 04-28-16

Insipid

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

Reviewed: 09-21-17

I came across this first book in the Regency Spies of London from an Audible sale and decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, it was clear very early on that I am not the audience for this book. It felt insipid, underwritten, and very shallow. I was completely bored and didn't believe any of the characters had any basis in reality; that they could be spies or involved in spying was risible. I think this is the type of book for those who want 'gentle' romances with just a hint of danger but that our plucky protagonists can conquer and find a romance at the end.

Story: Julia is a lady of quality but with little money and being helped by a wealthier friend. Her friend has been in love with Nicholas Langdon for years but he never noticed her and then disappeared to the peninsula to fight Napolean for the past two years. Now he's returned but he only has eyes for Julia. When they both become embroiled in a diary left by a spy, all signs point to Julia's avuncular guardian as being a traitor to the throne.

This is a 'love at first sight' tale (instaluv) but without much reasoning behind that trope other than that we're told Julia is a good person so he must recognize that in her. It doesn't make a lot of sense; but then, nearly all the characters operate on a shallow level. Julia is worried about her own attraction to Nicholas and how that would betray her friend. Nicholas, meanwhile, has to get a journal left by a dying soldier to him to a certain person who raises alarm bells in all who hear the name. Of course, it is a spy book but Nicholas misses ALL the signs that he's carrying sensitive information as he stumbles around Julia making his intentions so clear as to be telegraphed by foghorn.

The audible narrator was fine - I don't know what she could have done with this to make it any better. I gave up about half way through. This isn't my cup of tea and I want more nuance, depth, and development in plot and characters than this book provided.