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Maximilia

  • 32
  • reviews
  • 47
  • helpful votes
  • 33
  • ratings
  • Futa's Taboo Wish Collection

  • The Futa-Fairy Collection, Book 1
  • By: Reed James
  • Narrated by: Concha di Pastoro
  • Length: 2 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Deidre's struggling with her desires. The young woman can't help but lust after Keily. She's known the younger woman all her life. And now she wants her. Every night, Deidre dreams of seducing Keily, touching the innocent girl's nubile body. She knows it's wrong. Forbidden. But she can't help herself. When she receives a letter from Leanan Sidhe, the futa-fairy, all her dreams come true.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not Deep, but Definitely Hot

  • By Maximilia on 05-23-18

Not Deep, but Definitely Hot

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

Reviewed: 05-23-18

Disclaimer: I'm not a huge fan of futa or taboo tales, but I know there's a huge market for them both. Also, I love to see stories where you just KNOW the author loves what they're writing, and that's this trio of short tales.

It starts off with Deirdre lusting after someone she shouldn't be, and she knows it. She gets a mysterious letter, and things go quickly steamy from there. This tale is wickedly hot and even cute in places, but definitely taboo. If you enjoy wanton plots that may not be too deep overall, but hits all the erotic marks, this is definitely for you. The narration was perfect, and I love listening to this narrator's voice.

  • Pariah's Moon

  • The Pariah of Verigo, Book 1
  • By: Ian Thomas Healy
  • Narrated by: Gary Roelofs
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8

Giele has spent 20 years fighting wars for the King of Aelfland, but when he makes the mistake of falling in love with the Princess of the Realm, he is stripped of his rank, his citizenship, and his name. His face is marked with the slivered moon, forever identifying him as an outcast. No longer will he find a home among his own people. He travels halfway across the world to seek a fresh start among the colonists of the continent of Verigo, but the troubles of a marked man seem to follow him wherever he goes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cowboys and Elves!!

  • By Ray Johnson on 02-23-18

I Wanted to Like This....

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

Reviewed: 01-06-18

I love Weird West. I really wanted to like this book. I honestly did. Elves in the old west? Sign me up! A whole fantasy world cast in a western? Heck yeah!

I couldn't finish it. I'm twenty or thirty minutes from the end, and I while I had to set aside audiobooks for a little while as I had no time, I kept finding reasons when I HAD time to NOT listen. I kept reasoning, "Self, you are so close to the end. Just finish it so you can review!" Yet I did not.

Overall, the story is pretty simple, and is reminiscent of Westerns (not a bad thing) and fantasy, which actually made me realize how many of those tropes cross over. Our hero is an Unfortunately Named Elf (I say Unfortunately Named because though his name is Giele, I kept hearing Gigli... that movie with Ben Affleck in it) named Giele, who is exiled from the elven homelands for sleeping with the princess. Ok... pretty fantasy there, which isn't in itself bad, but that first chapter is immediately followed by a flashback chapter where he meets the princess! Why in the hell do we care NOW? We know he's going to get kicked out for putting the boots to her, so that destroyed any sense of caring about the relationship or the characters involved because we already knew what happened!

Ok, so he gets kicked out and he goes "west" (I think) in a ship, to a more frontier place. Alright, so this is where the story begins... except we've seen it all a thousand times before. The frontier bully, the prostitute with a heart of gold, the fierce and independent lady store owner, the boss who gives the exile a chance, the noble savage, etc etc etc. It was so... SO trope laden it made for a boring listen, and I think that's why I couldn't finish it: I already knew the ending.

Even so, I think it could have worked except that the two genres (western and fantasy) were not mixed well together. They CAN be, but in this instance they weren't. One of the things about westerns is the ever expanding frontier, the unknown, but BEHIND that was the PUSH for expansion, the certainty of white "civilized" superiority, the crowding out of the indigenous cultures as we stole their land, the push and drive for finding new resources, and of course the Homestead Act, for example. Why were the elves crowding into the horks territory? It's never explained. They could have been following ley lines, or looking for crystals to power magic trains, or they could have been trying to save the savages, or any number of things. Other than the preacher's impetus to try to convert people (which wasn't really an impetus but rather a soft push), there was no real motivation for the rapid expansion of elven lands. Which, if they are traditional fantasy elves, have they lived for hundreds of years? Is that why they still use bows when guns are available? And yes, they still use bows when guns are available. Heavy sigh.

That's what I mean by the genres don't mesh well here. We're not given reasons for the world existing how it is, which makes it hard to care about the characters journeying in it. I did like the horks and their spiral philosophy, and I thought that was worked out very well. My favorite part was when Giele was in the hork village, which is why this isn't one star, but two. I would give a listen for that.

The narrator... was kinda... stuffy. I'm not sure if that's the right word or not, but his voice didn't suit the book very well. He did his best I'm quite sure, but everything sounded really ... the same. Not monotonous, but many of the voices were the same, and much of the inflections and stresses during the narration wasn't enough. There wasn't enough passion or drive in the voices.

Overall, if you're interested in fantasy, I think it may be more up your alley than western lovers. I wouldn't recommend it, but the entire hork culture was interesting enough that I am glad I listened to it for that.

  • Villains Rule

  • The Shadow Master, Book 1
  • By: M. K. Gibson
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,260
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,195
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,191

Hi, how are you? Yes, I am talking to you, the reader of this book's description. Okay, I get it, fourth-wall breaking is overdone. Get over it. This book, Villains Rule, is a fantasy action-comedy which you have to hear. Not because it redefines the genre, far from it. But rather for what it contains. A villain's tale. How often do you get to listen to a story where the villain is the protagonist? No, not an anti-hero, or a brooding monster, nor a hero thinly disguised as a villain. And not evil. If you want evil, take that nonsense to therapy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ignore the cover art.

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-12-17

A Villain's Villain

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

Reviewed: 11-08-17

I had to stop and contemplate this book before rating it. Jackson Blackwell is a villain consultant. Being a villain from what appears to be a dimension like ours, he uses his knowledge of stories--whether movies, books, television, or otherwise--to live by, and advise other villains by. When he's betrayed and cast adrift, he finds himself needing a group of heroes in order to reclaim his power.

I loved the premise, and the story was very well done. I especially loved the twists towards the end, one of which I didn't see coming at all. The narration, provided by Jeff Kafer, is outstanding (as all of his work is). His gravelly voice really brings Jackson to life as Jackson narrates his tale. The only thing that made me hesitate on writing this review was that Jackson started off as a complete d***. That does change as the story goes, but man... he was arrogant. Which is, of course, a villain hallmark. While it's in the character's nature and personality, it does make the first couple chapters a little unpleasant as he's just so snide. However, his character development stays true to the character, and is done really smoothly that by the time the story ends, you're really rooting for him! Hence, it's got to be five stars all the way around the board.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Immortal Eclipse

  • By: Sherry Soule
  • Narrated by: Courtney Parker
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 35

Inheriting a haunted house is one thing. Getting hot and bothered by its sexy caretaker is another. But Skylar Blackwell draws the line at voodoo and murder. Skylar doesn't believe in things that go bump in the night. But after her uncle's body is discovered with a mosaic of eerie symbols carved into his chest, she moves to his spooky California estate to get logical answers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What does home truly mean to you?

  • By ABR-Penelope on 09-27-17

Perfectly Serviceable Trope Laden Mystery-Romance

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

Reviewed: 10-06-17

I tend to judge romance a bit harsher than other genres because I do read a lot of romances. I look for things in my romances that break the mold, that show me something new. While there was some really good writing in this story, it was more or less exactly what I expected, no more and no less.

The lead character, Skyler, is fine as a romance heroine. She's got a touch of Spunky Agency, but nothing that's too annoying. Other reviewers have mentioned her obsession with clothing, but I actually found that interesting after the character explained she drew strength from dressing her best and looking good. Not a fashion person myself, I thought that was a unique touch to give the character, and the clothing descriptions really aren't that annoying. She goes back and forth between staying and leaving, and that was fine too. She was just... fine. Average. Nothing that made me think her annoying, but nothing that really made me root for her either. The love interest, Dorian, was the same for me. The plot? Nothing new, but for a romance/mystery plot, it's done perfectly well.

As an aside, Skyler sort of forgets her ambition to be a photographer later (to get her job back) which I wasn't happy about. I don't know... if I lost my job and then inherited a mansion near San Francisco, I would have sold that sucker faster than your head could spin and, if my ambition were to be a photographer, spent that money working on my portfolio and making investments. Through the first third of the book I kept thinking this, and, perhaps, I put a little too much reality into my escapism! Knowing the land prices around the San Fran area though, it was really hard to shunt that aside, heh. I kept mentally screaming at her, "SELL IT FOR THE MILLIONS IT'S WORTH, omg!"

There's one bad point that did sour me on the book, which is why I just can't give it any higher than a three. The villain is oh so obvious from the beginning. There's an attempt to humanize him later, but as soon as he stepped on stage, you knew he was Evil McEvilson come Evil some Evils at you. I kind of checked out a little there.

On the other hand, some of the descriptions were exceptionally well written. There were turns of phrases that were quite beautiful, and the setting itself was moody and a character itself. The phrase "malignant nightfall" stuck with me, which perfectly encapsulated the mood in that segment so perfect I was like... damn.

The narration was really good and smooth. It was professionally done, of that there is no doubt, and the narrator really captured Skyler's voice, which in turn made the character more enjoyable for me. She had just enough spunky agency one moment, and just enough confusion another, and just enough heartache in another, and so on. Her other voices, especially the male ones, weren't as developed, but she did a wonderful job of bringing the lead to life.

I would definitely recommend this book for romance & gothic fans. The setting really is a character unto itself, and it's really ... yes, serviceable for a romance. There's nothing new, but there's not really anything bad either. It ends just how you think it would, and I know for some people, that's really important.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Straight Outta Fangton

  • A Comedic Vampire Story
  • By: C. T. Phipps
  • Narrated by: Cary Hite
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 171

Peter Stone is a poor, black vampire who is wondering where his nightclub, mansion, and sports car is. Instead, he is working a minimum wage job during the night shift, as being a vampire isn't all that impressive in a world where they've come out to mortals. Exiled from the rich and powerful undead in New Detroit, he is forced to go back when someone dumps a newly-transformed vampire in the bathroom of his gas station's store.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So funny, you'll die!!!

  • By Jason on 09-29-17

Solid Urban Fantasy with a Fantastic Narrator

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

Reviewed: 09-22-17

This book I've went back and forth on, so it's hard to say "this is all the good parts, this is the parts I didn't care for, and this is what I recommend". The parts are all kind of mixed. For example, I LOVE that the cast is almost all persons of color or minorities in some regard (like bisexual, for example). You just don't see that and I applaud the author! That sort of inclusion is just effin awesome! However, in the same vein, the use of bigot and/or racist in regards to vampiredom left me a little uncomfortable. Although bigot would be correct--it just means a person who is intolerant towards someone who holds a different opinion--the connotation has race all over it. Most of the book is like that for me.

Example, I loved the dialogue. Totally sounds a lot like my friends and I, especially when we get on our pop culture reference benders. However, several of the centuries old vampires used similar slang, which didn't always seem to fit. (Although it did in some cases. I mean, I love Eddie, and the vampire in the burger place (I forget his name, eep!)) I loved the action and the idea of the plot, but it was a little over the top at times. I liked much of the humor, but at times the timing felt a little off. The action scenes were good, but a couple times, BAM! We're suddenly in a flashback and I was left sitting there going, "But... but... there was a rocket coming towards the elevator you're in, main character!"

Hence, it's hard to pick this apart. That being said... I would recommend this book and very heartily. First, the cast is wonderful. Everyone is unique, there are some really great ideas for the various supernatural types (Kali, Jumpin' Jack Flash), when there's humor it really works, and there's always something going on. I think labeling it a "comedic" vampire story is not quite accurate. It's a solid urban fantasy book with some comedic elements; it has a lot more action, magic, with just a touch of romance. It hits a lot of the tropes common in urban fantasy, and the author puts his own spin on them, making them fresher (if not completely fresh, heh).

The narrator, on the other hand. PERFECTION. Cary Hite has got a new fan, holy mother loving god. He breathed life into the characters, especially the MC since we're listening to the story through his voice, and his voices for the characters were awesome. I could pick out each character who spoke without needing dialogue tags, which to me is the hallmark of a truly fantastic narrator. Not only that, but his voice was sexy as HECK. And I see he has done some romance and a couple erotica.... Hmm....

*clicks buy*

I'll be in my bunk.

TL;DR -- A bit up and down in places, but overall a solid offering with a truly awesome narrator. Recommended for urban fantasy fans.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Asylum

  • The Afterlife Investigations, Book 1
  • By: Ambrose Ibsen
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 628
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 577
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 575

College professor Stephen Barlow needs cash. Badly. He puts his skepticism aside and signs on to a paranormal research organization in the hopes of scoring a fat bonus. Enter Chaythe Asylum: a long-shuttered and controversial institution where patients were allegedly subjected to unethical experiments. Stephen deems the old building, closed in 1989 after a series of grisly murders, as good a place as any to explore the possibility of the supernatural, and arranges to take a tour with his students. But it turns out that the asylum is not as abandoned as it seems. There is something sinister in the building.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Asylum

  • By Zoe on 08-18-17

Perfect Narration, Excellent Opening for a Trilogy

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

Reviewed: 09-07-17

I knew it was a trilogy going in, but I still somehow found myself annoyed that it ended without the answers I sought. That is not a bad thing, though, as the writing and the narration got me hooked and now I'm jonesing for the next hit.

Asylum starts us with a college professor who's trying to make ends meet and ends up helping a student form a paranormal investigation club pretty much strictly for the cash. However, the deeper he delves into the rumors he's heard about the local asylum, the more he's drawn to it, looking for answers.

This is a very slow burning horror with a lot of build up. I actually think it might have been a touch too slow for my personal tastes (hence the four in the story department), but there's a great pay off towards the end which had me sitting at my desk just listening until the end... and then as I mentioned before, being annoyed there wasn't more! I want more! The writing was solid, the characterization was excellent, it just moved a touch too slowly without enough creepiness at the beginning. If you enjoy your horror atmospheric, you will LOVE this story. It has atmosphere for days and days, so much so that in the middle to end, I started being a little jumpy at night when something went bump. I was a touch frustrated that all the answers are going to be pushed off to a later book, but that only will give me more to adore.

The narration was perfection. Joe Hempel is a fantastic narrator of any genre, but he shines at horror. I definitely recommend this for a listen, and can't wait for the next installment, Forest!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Futa Surprise Bundle

  • By: Reed James
  • Narrated by: Concha di Pastoro
  • Length: 1 hr and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8

Futas and hot women get sultry surprise in this three story collection!

Futa Surprise Bundle contains three sizzling hot futa-on-female and futa-on-futa stories set in the Aphrodite Sisterhood Universe. These three stories are full of hot women and horny futas all looking to have a great time!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Introduction to Reed James' Work

  • By Maximilia on 07-21-17

A Great Introduction to Reed James' Work

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

Reviewed: 07-21-17

If you haven't read any of Reed James' stuff, then you are missing out. He's got a knack for making sexy stories which deliver what you're looking for. I tend to prefer his longer works--for example Shadowy Tentacle Passion is a favorite of mine which is a novella--so I have a chance to get more into the characters, but even his short stories are crisp, well edited, and have enough of a plot to satisfy me... not to mention all the sexy bits!

This particular pack contains three futa girl stories which are not related. That's why I couldn't give five stars for the story. If they had been set with the same characters or world, then it likely would have been five. However, this bundle gives you a great chance to explore Reed's writing if you've never experienced it before. Hence, it's a great starter pack to get to know his style. The best thing about it? It's fun. All too often, especially with erotic romance, it gets too serious, and sometimes too dark. Mr. James remembers one of the vital components of sexy times IMO which is FUN.

Now for the narrator... admittedly, at first, I was wondering what sort of narrator she was since the narration sounded... weird. It was only after the main character in the first story said she was French Canadian that I went, "OOOOOH." Her accent and inflection changed with each character... and it was MAGICAL. I don't say that often, I really don't. Ms. di Pastoro shot to the top of my list of favorite narrators with this one offering. Each character was unique and sounded completely different. If I had one complaint, it was that the audio as a whole sounded a little... echoey or hollow. Not much, but enough that I noticed initially. After a couple minutes, you don't notice it any longer.

I would definitely recommend this offering for Ms. di Pastoro's wonderful voice and narration and as an introduction to Reed's writing. If you love kinky, naughty girls, this is a must have.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Undeath and Taxes

  • Fred, the Vampire Accountant Series #2
  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,835
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,647
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,642

After discovering just how filled with magic, intrigue, and adventure the parahuman world of being an undead American can be, Fredrick Frankford Fletcher did exactly what was expected - he became a certified parahuman accountant. Myths and legends, as it turns out, are not so great at taking appropriate deductions and keeping their receipts, and Fred is more than happy to return to a life others view as woefully dull, expanding his accounting business to cater to various monsters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable, novel, creative, and fun

  • By Shannon Carty on 10-05-16

Excellent Sequel to an Excellent Book

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

Reviewed: 07-20-17

I really loved the first book and, while it took me a while to get into the narrator's voice and style, really adored the narrator. In this second offering in Fred the vampire accountant's journey, I just adored the narration. Perhaps it took the first book to really grow and love Fred. Whatever it was, I really just loved sinking into this world again.

As before, the book is actually a series of short stories which are set in chronological order. Each story builds on the last creating a comprehensive and cohesive world. Some may not enjoy this style, but I do as it gives me good places to stop for a while without the 'Where was I now?' feeling as when I stop in the middle of a regular book. The offerings were slightly less engulfing than the first, but still very enjoyable. The narrator, Kirby Heyborne, really IS Fred, and he does a fantastic job with the other voices. In particular, I adore his voice for Bubba (and I adore the character as well!).

This is an excellent sequel to an excellent first book, and I've already bought the third and am listening to it now.

  • Somniare

  • Somniare, Book 1
  • By: D. T. Dyllin
  • Narrated by: Johanna Fairview
  • Length: 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12

Forced to escape to Somniare, a dream landscape, Remy must somehow survive living nightmares, and endless torment without using her magic. Her only hope for freedom is to hitch a ride with a human back into reality, tricking the poor creature into believing no harm will befall them.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mixed bag.

  • By Bikram Agarwal on 07-12-17

Think of It Like an Anime...

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

Reviewed: 07-06-17

The voice performance was really good. There was one word, the word Kiernan used for witches (which I listened to this so I'm not sure how to spell it), which really drove me crazy. It might have been accurate as far as pronunciation, but it came out sounding like someone clearing their throat. Other than that, the voice acting was spot on, almost as near perfect as you can get.

The story... while it was entertaining in parts, it lacked something. Overall, I'm not fond of the "spunky agency" heroines in YA novels, but towards the end it was at least explained in part why Remy was so foolish and gung-ho in the earlier part. She wasn't a bad protagonist, with that explained, but it was hard to like her for a while. I will say this: bravo to the author for having a bisexual protagonist! I gave that a star all by itself! You just don't see that.

The actual story had to do with Remy trying to find her way out of the dream realm, which is called Somniare. I see there's a sequel to it, which isn't surprising since this volume ended on a cliffhanger. It more or less was complete at the end, but obviously meant to lead into the next book. I'm not sure if it's a true cliffhanger or not, but there's enough at stake I would say it is. Not very fond of books leaving off on cliffhangers. Even if it's part of a series, the end should be well defined, and the whole a satisfying story on its own. The world of Sominare is really fascinating though, and I think the author did a fantastic job of world-building. It was a simple concept, yet unique enough that it stood out. I enjoyed the side characters, but as a whole, the book just wouldn't coalesce for me until I imagined it as an anime. Then, the larger than life world, the villains popping out of nowhere, the eternal refilling up of Remy's magic, the inappropriate sexual components (at one point the teen protagonist is tied naked to a bed--nothing happens, but the implications are all there), and the bigger, badder magic and magical beasts all suddenly make perfect sense. When I imagined it as an anime or a JRPG, the book became much more entertaining. I also loved the love interest. I thought the emotional journey there was fairly well done.

I would actually put this at a 3.5. My deciding factor going down to 3 was "Would I listen to it again? Or, would I read the sequel?" The answer to those is both no. It was an intriguing novel with some really awesome world-building and some amusing parts, but it just didn't quite click into place with me. Hence, I would recommend this if you are a fan of unique, fantastic worlds and adventure/romantic anime.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Heart of Gold
    Clans of Shadow, Book 1
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        J. A. Cipriano,
    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        J. B. Garner
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Joe Hempel
    
    


    
    Length: 5 hrs and 7 mins
    92 ratings
    Overall 4.1
  • Heart of Gold

  • Clans of Shadow, Book 1
  • By: J. A. Cipriano, J. B. Garner
  • Narrated by: Joe Hempel
  • Length: 5 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 92
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 90

My name is Frank Butcher, and when I got out of my truck to deliver the last package of the day, I never expected to get blown up by anti-magic zealots. Yeah, you heard me right. I said magic. I didn't know it was a thing either. Now, an ancient artifact is the only thing keeping me alive, and to make matters worse, that artifact is what those cultists wanted. Still, I could have made a run for it, disappeared into South America and spent the rest of my life on a beach.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Heart of Gold

  • By jey cee on 12-18-16

Hempel Shines in a Mediocre Offering

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

Reviewed: 06-24-17

I'm a fan of Joe Hempel. I've said this before and I'll say it again: I would pay money to listen to him narrate the phone book. He does an excellent job. The audio is crisp and clear, and the narrative gives him a chance to flex some accent muscles, adding a dimension to the prose which helps to enrich it.

The story itself is... average? In other reviews, people have mentioned they couldn't get into Frank, the protagonist, and I have to agree. I just couldn't connect with him. I'm a movie, music, and book fan too... but all the references were *ridiculous*. Normal people don't talk like that, even if they are movie fanatics (and I am). If you take that away, you're left with much else in the beginning to help you connect with him as the protagonist comes off as extremely conceited and arrogant. If you progress through the story, he does change and adapt to his situation. What helps is his devotion to his mother and his reluctance to do the right thing by Gabby and help her rescue her son. There is a connection between him and Gabby that I believe, and towards the end... Frank was much better to hang out with than he was in the beginning.

That being said, the story itself was alright. It didn't really offer anything new in the urban fantasy genre, but the authors had their own take on it, which was readily apparent in their magic system. The main conflict catches the protagonist between a faction of wizards who want to share magic with the world, and another faction who wants to end it. One thing I very much appreciated was that Frank observed that both sides had their points, but that both were extremists, and that he did not care for. That sort of introspection is rarely found in urban fantasy, so I'm intrigued by the world enough to check out the next book. The action is decent, the characters have potential, but none really grabbed my attention to say "Wow, that's cool!" I did find myself mentally wandering a little bit through the middle, but overall it's a solid offering, with a recommendation of "If you *really* like urban fantasy, you might enjoy this."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful