Lea's Audiobooks Hensley's Reviews > Lord of Ice

Lord of Ice by Gaelen Foley
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's review
Jan 13, 2012

did not like it


Review for 2/7/12 Speaking of Audiobooks column http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=7704:

Narrated by Emma Greene

Eagerly purchasing the audio version of Lord of Ice the day of its release, I paid no attention to the narrator although it did appear to be a first for Emma Greene. Surely I’d find something to enjoy in this, my favorite of Gaelen Foley’s Knight Family series. Oh…how wrong I was.

A worshipped war hero, Damien Knight, the Earl of Winterley, has just returned from the Napoleonic wars. He suffers from what we would refer to these days as post-traumatic stress disorder and prefers to live by himself at his run down estate. When a close friend is murdered and he is named guardian of his illegitimate young daughter, Damien travels to her school only to find she is actually 19-years-old and sneaking out of the strict school nightly to act and sing in local performances. He has personal knowledge of her acting since only the night before he had been fascinated with her performance and attempted to seduce her. Now he sees that as his ward, she is off limits and realizes he must provide another home for her. She wants to continue acting. He wants to find her a husband. It’s a wonderful romance in print – with sort of a 1990s romance feel to it.

During my first years of reading romance, I felt obligated to finish every book and therefore, I understood clearly the desire to throw a book against a wall in disgust. Now if I dislike a book after giving it a good hard try, I don’t put myself through the anguish of finishing it (unless it is for review). Fortunately I’ve had few instances of disliking an audiobook so much that I had the urge to throw it at something but listening to Lord of Ice vividly brought back that frustration. After two hours, I quit listening and ranted about my disappointment over at our Goodreads group. After cooling off for several days, I decided to finish listening and write a review since some things just need to be said.

Why such great frustration? Lord of Ice is a book I have read in print several times and I know these characters well, especially the hero Damien. He is a strong leader of men, a man who stands up to what he believes, and says what he thinks. He’s sexy, he’s confident, he’s physical, and he doesn’t take any crap. But in the audio version, he’s a big wimp. Narrator Emma Greene performs Damien in a high, whiny voice speaking at times in little more than a whisper. Even when the author states that he bellows, all you hear from Damien is a begging sort of feminine voice. Kind of a “Ahhh, come onnnnn, you don’t want to talk like that to me??? Please???” With her characterization, Ms. Greene emasculates Damien – a big no-no for a romance hero. And the heroine, Miranda, is given a lower and stronger voice to boot.

It doesn’t matter if the written page states that Damien is deep voiced, taunting, arrogant, speaking with authority or condescension, haughty, intimidating, growling, harsh, warning, thundering, talking briskly or with a hard tone, he is performed as soft spoken, with an air of timidity, and more likely to whimper than remain strong. There is also a snobby whiff of conceit that is contrary to the nature of this hard yet kindhearted leader of men.

If a narrator chooses to perform rather than just read a book, I want to see it performed as written. Either Ms. Greene didn’t research her characters before recording Lord of Ice or she doesn’t understand the romance genre. Harsh words – I know. But why choose to produce such a treasured book with no knowledge of what is required for a successful audio end product?

Notes before finishing the book:
Just posted this over at Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads group, but felt it needed to go here as well:

I'm going to start off the morning with the scream I felt coming on last night as I finally gave up on the narration of Gaelen Foley's Lord of Ice. I REALLY like this one in print and have read it several times over the past ten years.

From the first moment I heard the hero's voice as well as his brother Lucien's, I told myself "Don't overreact - give the narrator a chance." Well, I did for two hours and finally gave up.

The problem? The men's voices - particularly given to Damien and his brother - but since this is Damien's book, I'll concentrate on it since it's the one I need to be RIGHT now. The heroine's voice is actually deeper than the hero's and his is not only high but whiny! Even when the book states that he bellows, it's only a begging sort of feminine voice. Sort of a "Ahhh, come onnnn, you don't' want to talk like that to me??? Please???" Wish I could post an audio example of that passage...

Greatly disappointed. As far as I can see, this is the narrator's first project and she doesn't understand romance if she believes both Damien and Lucien should be so completely emasculated with her characterizations.

I may go back and finish - slowly - as I was planning on writing a review for SOA. Fortunately it's not an official review book so I don't have to but I may. Some things just need to be said.
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Comments (showing 1-9)

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message 9: by Mia (new)

Mia Aw,I should have read your post before purchasing the audio...

Lea's Audiobooks Hensley Now that it has been over a day, I'm determined to finish it. I was so looking forward to listening and so disappointed. I want the narrator to suddenly change her characterization but I'll admit - I'm an optimist.

First time narrators combined with popular older releases - usually not a great thing for romance listeners.

message 7: by Karen (new)

Karen White Lea, I just did a little research out of curiosity. From what I can find, she's not a trained actress. She is in NY trying to get acting work, but she didn't study in a training program.
Which I think may be important....

Lea's Audiobooks Hensley Karen wrote: "Lea, I just did a little research out of curiosity. From what I can find, she's not a trained actress. She is in NY trying to get acting work, but she didn't study in a training program.
Which ..."

I agree - very important. I do wonder if this is ACX at work.

message 5: by Karen (new)

Karen White Interesting thought. Audible is listed as the publisher, but they do also publish titles. My title on ACX has Harper listed as the publisher, but maybe when the rights are held by the author its different?
Several of the pubs, including Audible, are working hard to find lots of new narrators. I just hope they are discerning in their search.

message 4: by Brittany B. (new)

Brittany B. Thanks for audio review. I like Gaelen Foley and have come close to purchasing. You saved me from a waste of time and $.

message 3: by Brittany B. (new)

Brittany B. I reread this review. I love it. I love the part about forcing yourself to finish a novel when you were first reading romance. But I am sad that the book is disappointing in audio.
Many have praised it in print, as you do.
Audiobooks have come a long way. But not as much for historical romance. I would love to see this series with a decent narrator.

message 2: by ElaineY (new)

ElaineY I'm not a historical fan but thought I'd try (again) to find one I might like. I'm so glad I stumbled onto your review as I was about to buy the audiobook. Your criticism of the narrator is exactly the type of complaint that would have sent off my rocker had I listened to it.

Lea's Audiobooks Hensley ElaineY wrote: "I'm not a historical fan but thought I'd try (again) to find one I might like. I'm so glad I stumbled onto your review as I was about to buy the audiobook. Your criticism of the narrator is exactly..."
I still recall my extreme frustration with this one. An example of all of the "no-nos" of romance narrating!

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