Not going to lie, a big reason I purchased this audio book is because James MarsterOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
Not going to lie, a big reason I purchased this audio book is because James Marsters narrates. And because I’d always heard good things about the series and had been meaning to try it for a while now. James Marsters was just that last little push I needed. STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher is the first book in a series following Harry Dresden, wizard, as he gets himself into the worst possible situations by helping solve murders and mysteries in Chicago.
I adored Harry Dresden. The books are written in first person, so the reader really gets to see inside Harry’s head and learn who he is and what makes him tick. While not always the nicest or best of people, Harry has a pretty good moral code going on. He’s a generally and genuinely decent person who uses his skills as a wizard to act as a Private Investigator and help out the Chicago PD in any cases that seem to be because of supernatural means. Karrin Murphy is the head of the Special Investigation unit and kick-ass. It’s nice to see a strong female cop leading the way. Harry’s got a great wit to him, and there’s just something about the way he views himself and the world that I really liked. It helps that Jim Butcher’s writing style plays to the old type PI storyline and characters very well. Throw in a mix of vampires, the White Council that governs magic, and some pretty crazed magic users causing gruesome murders and STORM FRONT is an intense first book.
Trying to figure out how all the characters and pieces fit together was great. Jim Butcher drops hints throughout the book and we solve the case as Harry himself is solving the case. There are some bloody fights and even bloodier deaths, a very cool introduction to the background of magic in Harry Dresden’s version of the world, and hints as to a darker past for Harry. Also a wee bit of romance, which you know is going to show up again in later books (hopefully, at least). Harry gets beat around quite a bit but he always bounces back and kicks major butt. STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher is a great start to a series, and James Marsters voice does wonderful things for bringing Harry Dresden to life!...more
Maggie Stiefvater has done it again with THE RAVEN BOYS and completely drawn me inOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
Maggie Stiefvater has done it again with THE RAVEN BOYS and completely drawn me in to this amazing world of magic, psychics, boarding school boys and a sleeping Welsh king. And orange cars. We can’t forget the orange car! Despite owning a physical copy of the book, I listened to the audiobook (offered by audiobooksync this summer as a free download) and I loved it. Bill Patton is the narrator and he does an amazing job.
Blue comes from a family of psychics, but she isn’t one. Rather, she helps amplify their own seeing abilities. After seeing her first spirit on Saint Mark’s Eve (a person who will die in the next year), Blue finds herself swept up in a mystery involving four boys (Gansey, Adam, Noah and Ronan) from the local private school, an old murder, a sleeping Welsh king who Gansey is determined to find, an aunt visiting from out of town, magic and sacrifices. The book alternates points of view between Blue, Gansey, Adam and a teacher, Whelk. Through their eyes we see the mystery unfold. Blue and Gansey have the most screen time, and I loved their voices. Blue is a girl comfortable in her own skin. She knows who she is and is self-assured and intelligent, if still a bit unsure of her future at times and seems a little lost every now and then. Gansey is supremely confident and while he comes across as arrogant sometimes, he’s really not. Their first meeting is an awesome scene and I couldn’t help chuckling at it – since you as the reader know more about how tied together Gansey and Blue will be in the near future.
Outside of some awesome characterization – each of our Raven Boys and Blue are extremely well developed. It is easy to see them and get into their voices and histories – the plot in THE RAVEN BOYS is pretty wonderful. There’s this potential for a love triangle that stays up in the air so you don’t even know if any of them will get together, but it works and is perfect for the plot. There are some crazy twists that I did not see coming, at all, but in hindsight I want to facepalm because I should have. It’s one of those deals where the clues for the twists are so subtly hidden throughout the text that when everything finally does come together and get revealed you’re like “holy crap!” followed by “oohhhhh.” There is also some set up for the next book that gets thrown at you at the ending and just leaves your jaw dropped and you scrambling for the sequel – but it’s not out yet!
I was enthralled with THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater from the get go. The matter-of-fact way that psychics and magic are incorporated into the world is wonderful, and the characters are all so well written. The mystery, will-it-be/won’t-it-be romance, threat of future happenings, crazy twists and reveals, and even some emotional upheaval for a character dealing with abuse all contribute to a nicely paced, engaging, hold-your-breath plot – that, while it does wrap up in the end, also dive bombs right into the next book and leaves you wanting more. I greatly enjoy Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and highly recommend THE RAVEN BOYS!...more
VARIANT by Robison Wells is a crazy boarding school story full of twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not joking, I literally shouted at mVARIANT by Robison Wells is a crazy boarding school story full of twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not joking, I literally shouted at my car stereo at the end of the book. Talk about a cliffhanger!! I’ve always thought it would be neat to go to a boarding school (yes, even before Harry Potter), but I would not want Benson’s experience, at all.
Benson thought he was lucking out by getting a scholarship to a boarding school but after he’s dropped off and met at the doors by Becky, everything goes wrong. There are no grownups. No teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers, no one. The only people present at Maxfield Academy are the students. Divided into gangs, the students are monitored by cameras and recording devices at every turn, work the jobs around the school, teach the classes, act as security and even maintenance. All while trying to study and participating in epic paint ball games. Oh and detention? You’re never seen or heard from again after being sent to detention. Harshest school ever.
Benson can’t understand why people aren’t trying to escape until he’s told about the students who used to be at the school, and those who died before the gangs were formed. But he never tries to stop finding a way past the wall and the fence, back to the real world with grownups and days that makes sense. Benson is a great character, determined and strong and a nice guy. He finds himself getting caught up in the people and the school sometimes, but in the end does what he thinks is best for himself and the others. Of course, the school and the hidden people that run have something going on behind the scenes, and it’s insane. Guys, I did not even see it coming. What I thought it was, it totally wasn’t. Just when you think Benson has it all figured out and is on his way to escape, Robison Wells throws in another twist and more information that makes your brain do back flips.
Although I found it a little weird that not one of the teens at the school had anyone who would miss them or want to check up on them, I guess it could happen (the States is a big and populated place), and it makes the book work. VARIANT has great characters, and Robison Wells writes so that you can get attached to not just your primary characters like Benson, Becky, Jane or Mason but also the secondary characters. And seriously, trust no one. The gangs these teens have split into are their world in Maxfield Academy and the Society seems to run the show. The bad guys of the book (besides the people who run the school, whom we never see) are other teens and even though they’re working against Benson, you still feel for them. Narrator Michael Goldstrom does a great job of separating voices and reading so that the tension and suspense is clearly heard and experienced.
VARIANT is a great mystery with so many different genre elements I don’t even want to say them in case I give something away. This is one book where spoilers would be so upsetting to the “holy shit” moments that Robison Wells gives you throughout the course of the book. All I can say, is I can’t get my hands on the sequel soon enough. Cliffhanger of all cliffhangers in this one, you’ve been warned!