I am, by now, an old audiobook listener and I have heard many kinds of narrators in my time thus far. Some I swore I would never ever listen t...moreReview:
I am, by now, an old audiobook listener and I have heard many kinds of narrators in my time thus far. Some I swore I would never ever listen to ever again. Some I tolerated but would, maybe, rather read the paperback than listen to. (And that is not complimentary in the audiobook industry.) Some I became a die hard fan of and is an auto-buy for me, just like the authors I read. However, this is the first audiobook I've listened by Amanda Ronconi and I have to say that I am fast becoming a fan. Her words are clear and distinct. The diction perfect. And the quality of her voice is not aggravating to the ears. In fact it was sampling her reading in audible which lead me into buying this book! So I bought this book because I liked the what I heard in the audible sample. And plus the fact that this is in the urban fantasy genre. However if this book was presented to me on it's own as a paperback and not as an audiobook sample I don't think it would really ping my book-buying radar because the premise is very ordinary. As in, it has been used a few times too many around the block already. Namely, True Blood series. So the audiobook sampling was, really, a good marketing strategy! The bad news is, like True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse, our heroine is also too stupid to live (TSTL). However I blame the plot development rather than the character development here because it is pretty obvious that the character(s) purposely act stupid to create a dilemma in the story so that our heroes could show off and save the world. Pretty weak plot. Not to mention that it also has the annoying "character inconsistency" issues! But me being an urban fantasy geek, likes the premise and the world building in the story! But even that wouldn't make me spend money on a book in this series again. If ever, I would borrow it from the library.
Empirical Evaluation: Story telling quality = 3 Character development = 2 Story itself = 2 Ending = 3.5 World building = 3.5 Cover art = 3 Pace = (8hrs and 55mins listening time) Plot = 1 Narration = 4
I understand that this book managed to butcher the Russian culture into an ugly mess such that anyone with a smidgen of knowledge of the Russi...moreReview:
I understand that this book managed to butcher the Russian culture into an ugly mess such that anyone with a smidgen of knowledge of the Russian culture hated this book. Or, gave it a low rating at GoodReads. Now, I am not Russian nor know the Russian culture, so I was fine and totally oblivious about how bad the Russian culture got mangled in this book. Sometimes ignorance is a bliss! However having said that, this book gets a demerit for mangling someone else's culture. Poking fun at yourself and your own culture is one thing. But it is rude to butcher other people's culture. Demerit it is then! But on the other hand, if the "culture mangling demerit" is taken out of the equation entirely, I have to admit that Leigh Bardugo weaves a fantastic plot of struggle for survival and coming of age story set in an extraordinary world of monsters and men. Gotta give the author kudos for the beautiful world building!
Lauren Fortgang's words are clear but sometimes she does not stop or pause between chapters or when a change of scene happens that it takes a heartbeat or two for me to realize that the people talking are now different and the story line has changed. This necessitated a few rewinds and replays which made the book feel like a whole lot longer than the 9 hours that the audiobook is suppose to be. I don't know whether to blame the narrator for this or the audiobook director, but either way, it diminshed the listening pleasure in this book. Don't get me wrong, like I said, the words are clear and distinct and the voice quality is professional-sounding, so can't really give the narration a low rating despite it's drawbacks.
At the end of it, I enjoyed this book and if not for the "culture mangling demerit", this book would have garnered a higher rating with me.
Gollancz Geek Empirical Evaluation: Story telling quality = 4 Character development = 4.5 Story itself = 4 Ending = 4 World building = 4.5 Cover art = 2.5 Pace = (8hrs & 55mins) Plot = 4 Narrator = 4 Culture mangling demerit = -1