Audio Book Review: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Published May 2017 by Record Books|Length: 9 hours, 25 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Menagerie #2

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

In this riveting sequel to New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s acclaimed novel Menagerie, Delilah Marlow will discover that there is no crueler cage than the confines of the human mind…

When their coup of Metzger’s Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price. 

But Vandekamp’s closely guarded client list isn’t the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

This is another book I’ve really enjoyed!  I really liked the first one, and I’m glad I switched to the audio book, because Gabra Zackman is one of my favorite narrators, and she was a great choice for this book.

I liked seeing the aftermath of what happened in the first book at Metzger’s, and what happened once they were taken to the Savage Spectacle.  What they had to endure there was horrible- more so than what we saw in the first book, and I hated seeing them go through that.  In particular, I hated what Genevieve, Gallagher and Delilah had to go through, but I think that’s because Genevieve’s story really stood out, and we get chapters from Delilah and Gallagher’s perspective.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the different perspectives we see in the book.  I really liked in Menagerie, and I did like it in this book, but not as much as I did previously.  I think part of it is that I didn’t find the other perspectives as interesting.  And I think part of it is that it didn’t translate well to audio.  At least for me, but there were points were I was paying attention but also had my attention elsewhere, so maybe I just wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have been.

Like Menagerie, we get snippets of headlines and other stories about cryptids and the Reaping.  I’m curious to see how what’s going on now will come together with everything that happened before.  It’s more creepy and horrifying and it really opens up this world that Delilah is now living in.

Life at the Spectacle is pretty contained, much like life at Metzger’s was, but somehow, this book opened up more of this world.  I think it’s because of everything Vandekamp was trying to do, with the collar, and the clients that frequent the Spectacle.  When you have a lot of wealthy and powerful clients, it’s going to change things, and I’m curious to see the fallout from what happened there.

With being able to control them at the press of a button, and trying to break them to learn what their triggers are…it’s a brutal world they’re now living in, and it’s a lot more threatening, especially where reproduction is concerned.  There’s no consent for the cryptids (as far as humans are concerned), and that’s something to keep in mind if you pick up this book.

What’s interesting is that while Menagerie would make a great stand-alone, there’s still a lot of story that could be told in this world.  Spectacle is a great addition to the series and adds to the world we get introduced to in Menagerie.  I can’t begin to imagine what we’re going to see in the next (and last) book, but I’m hoping it’ll add more to the world while wrapping things up.

4 stars.  The brutality and cruelty was a little hard to handle, especially on audio, and the multiple narrators didn’t work as well as I thought they would.  Gabra Zackman did a great job narrating the book as well.

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Audio Book Review: Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, Narrated by Jasika Nicole

Book: Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, Narrated by Jasika Nicole

Published October 2018 by HarperAudio|Length: 8 hours, 44 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: Adult

From the New York Times best-selling coauthor of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead.

“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system – uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more, will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.

I loved Alice Isn’t Dead! Ever since I heard there was going to be an Alice Isn’t Dead book, I knew I had to read it. It’s rare I pre-order books, but this was one I pre-ordered on Audible the second it was available to pre-order.

It’s a great book, whether you’ve listened to the podcast or not. It has some of the same elements and events from the podcast and while it’s the same premise as the podcast, it’s also a completely different story. So if you’ve listened to the podcast, it’s also worth checking out the book, because it’s a different take on a story I’ve come to know and love.

I liked hearing this version of Keisha’s story, and how she went in search of Alice. I loved seeing them find each other again and what happened once everything was over. It makes me want to listen to the podcast all over again, to see how they’re different but also the same. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to the podcast, particularly the earlier episodes, and it might be fun to revisit the podcast.

Back to the book…I honestly don’t have much else to say about the book. I loved the story, the search for Alice, and how things weren’t what they seemed. It’s a very different feel than the Night Vale books, and it’s more of a thriller than whatever category you want to place Night Vale into. I know there’s no way any mention of Night Vale would happen, but now that I think about it, it would have been cool to have seen a mention of it. Still, Alice Isn’t Dead is great, regardless of connections or mentions to the same weird desert town that got me into listening to Alice Isn’t Dead.

Since I did listen to the audio book, I think I’ll talk about that! I knew I had to go with the audio book for the Alice Isn’t Dead book. I’ve loved the podcast, and I can’t imagine physically reading the book. It would be interesting to read Alice Isn’t Dead in print, but I remember the print version of the Welcome To Night Vale book not working in print, and I have the feeling it would be the same with this book.

I’m glad Jasika Nicole narrated the book- she did great as the voice of Keisha on the podcast, and I knew she would be great at narrating the book too. It’s definitely worth listening to, especially if you’re a fan of audio books. Something about the story works so well on audio- it’s like it was written for the audio book listener in mind.

One last thing I’d like to talk about: Keisha’s anxiety. It’s definitely present throughout the book, and the thing I loved the most was that it wasn’t cured or magically gone by the end of the book. You see how she copes and deals with it, and I loved Keisha more knowing that she was still the same Keisha we saw at the beginning of the book.

5 stars. I loved Alice Isn’t Dead, particularly as an audio book. If you like a little bit of horror and road trips and thrillers, this is the book for you!

Audio Book Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Book: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, Narrated by Casey Turner

Published March 2018 by Audible Studios|Length: 8 hours, 59 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I really liked this one! I ended up reading it pretty close to Halloween, which was the perfect time to listen to it. It was also great as an audio book, and I’m really glad I decided to take a listen.

The whole time I was listening to it, I was reminded of Hocus Pocus, which is one of my all-time favorite Halloween movies. It doesn’t feel like Halloween until I watch it, and if you love Hocus Pocus, this is a great book to check out. It had a really similar vibe to it, but it is pretty different.

For one thing, the book takes place in the summer, not on Halloween. And it’s set in Oregon, not New England- which is where I thought the book was taking place. I was surprised when I realized the book was set in Oregon, because there were things I didn’t expect, but I thought worked well for the story.

I liked the idea of the sisters coming back to possess three girls and lure boys to their death. I wish we saw a little more of that, because I thought it was interesting. Especially with one of the sisters (whose name I unfortunately cannot remember) and how she was involved. You get such a good sense of who each sister is, and while we see one more than others, I still wish we saw more of the other two sisters as well. I get why we see the one sister, but still. I just really would have liked seeing the other three.

It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I realized the book was described as Hocus Pocus meets Practical Magic. The Hocus Pocus vibe is very strong with this book, but I do see the comparison to Practical Magic. Granted, the last time I read Practical Magic was in high school, so it’s been a good 14-ish years since I’ve read it. From what I vaguely remember about it, though, it’s a good comparison as well. Take that one with a grain of salt, though.

I also really liked the narrator! She was a great narrator and I can’t see anyone else narrating Penny’s story. I’m definitely going to have to see if Casey Turner has narrated anything else, and I’d definitely listen to other books she’s narrated.

4 stars. I didn’t love it (and I can’t exactly say why) but I did really like it. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves Hocus Pocus, and it’s a great book to read in October.

Audio Book Review: Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Book: Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Published January 2017 by Harlequin Enterprises, LTD

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Soulfinders #3, Study #6

Genre: Adult Fantasy

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person’s resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

I still can’t believe it took me so long to actually get to this book!  I’m glad I did, but it’s bittersweet.  I mean, I’ve enjoyed this series since the very beginning, and I was excited to see it end, but at the same time, I’m sad it’s over.  I really like all of the characters, and I really like the world, but I’m also excited to see what Snyder will write next.

So, at this point in the series, I never felt like they were in any danger.  Things were really bad, of course, with the cartel taking over Sitia and controlling everything.  And the whole possibly being invaded by Ixia thing.  But I didn’t get the sense they were in horrible danger, like I did in the first 3 books.

I’ve really liked Valek in books 4-6.  He’s very protective of Yelena (but not controlling), and he’s different than the Valek we saw in the first half of the series.  Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve read those books, but he is different than I remember.  Clearly, he wants a more calm life with Yelena.  Well, as calm as things can be when these two are involved in pretty much anything.

I loved following all of the characters, and it was great to see characters like Leif, Ari and Janco, but it was also great to spend time with characters like Reema, Fisk and Teegan.  It was good to have some chapters from Valek’s POV, but I think that’s part of why I didn’t feel a sense of danger, you knew what was going in Sitia and Ixia, and it took away from it a little bit.  At the same time, though, it was nice to get more backstory on one of my favorite characters.

I missed seeing Yelena use her magic, and I missed her conversations with Kiki most of all, but I also liked seeing her learn how to live/survive without it.  Also…I know this is the last book in the series, but part of me wants a spin-off or sequel focusing on her child.  I really do wonder what her abilities are, and it would be cool to see how the child of Yelena and Valek turned out.  One can only hope it’ll happen someday, but even if it doesn’t, at least we know how things turn out.  Things did end up on a good note, and I’m pretty happy with how things were resolved.

I also love Gabra Zackman as the narrator.  She’s been an amazing narrator this entire series, and I can’t imagine the series being narrated by anyone else.  I specifically got Snyder’s Touch Of Power series on audio because it’s narrated by Zackman, even though I already have the e-books.  Zackman really brought Yelena and Valek to life, and I’m glad she was the sole narrator, because I can’t imagine anyone else narrating Valek’s chapters.

4 stars.  I didn’t love it, but I still really enjoyed it, and it’s a great ending to the series.

Audio Book Review: The Book Of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor, Narrated by Robin Miles

Book: The Book Of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor, Narrated by Robin Miles

Published September 2015 by Audible Studios|Length: 8 hours, 50 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Who Fears Death #0.1

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Dystopia

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell….

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman” – only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading ebooks, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7. Then one evening Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life.

Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape. But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future. 

I really liked The Book Of Phoenix!  Nnedi Okorafor always writes really interesting books, and this one was no exception.

This one is a prequel to Who Fears Death, and I kind of wish I had re-read that one first, just to get back into this world.  Also, I couldn’t begin to tell you how the two books are connected, but maybe I’ll re-read Who Fears Death just to see.

I did like Phoenix, and I thought it was horrible what people were doing to the biologically altered.  I do remember wondering how we got to the future we saw in Who Fears Death, and I am thinking that maybe everything we see in this book is what leads to that future.  I could be wrong, and I really am wishing I had re-read Who Fears Death.  But that is what I get for randomly deciding to read a book without re-reading any of the other books in that series.

That being said, I thought the book stood on its own really well, and I don’t think the order in which you read the books matters.  Also, you could probably read just this one, and be fine.  It is its own story, and I liked seeing Phoenix try to take down the towers and fight back against her controllers.

The Book Of Phoenix worked really well as an audio book.  It’s an oral history, told by Phoenix herself, and I felt like Phoenix was telling me her own story, which really worked.  Also, it’s narrated by Robin Miles, who is a fantastic narrator.  I’ve really liked the books I’ve listened to that have been narrated by her, and this one was no exception.  I’m really glad I went with the audio, and I wholeheartedly recommend the audio book.

4 stars.  I wish I had more to say about this book, but I don’t.  I really liked it, and I love how Okorafor blends fantasy and sci-fi.

Audio Book Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma, Narrated by Priya Ayyar

Book: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma, Narrated by Priya Ayyar

Published May 2018 by Listening Library|Length: 7 hours, 7 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star. 

Like an expertly choreographed Bollywood dance scene, Nisha Sharma’s off-beat love story dazzles in the lime light. 

I really liked My So-Called Bollywood Life!  It’s really cute, and I think it’s a good read-alike if you like When Dimple Met Rishi and Anna And The French Kiss.

There were times when I really liked Winnie, but there were times when I didn’t like her at all.  I liked that she did question the prophecy, especially with how things with Raj turned out.  It was clear that the prophecy was a big part of her life, and though I don’t put a lot of emphasis on prophecies, I did like seeing how important it was to her family, and how astrology did play a big part in their lives.

I also liked how she a blog where she reviewed Bollywood movies.  Film was really important to her, and it’s what she wants to do career-wise.  I think it was that part of that made me think of Anna And The French Kiss.  It’s really cool to see books where the main character is into movies and wants to be a film critic, instead of an actor or director.

It was cool to see how much she loved Bollywood movies, and how it’s something she shares with her dad.  It’s interesting, because I feel like it doesn’t happen a lot in YA.  Of course, that would require parents to be around in YA, and that’s something that doesn’t happen often.  It’s nice to see her relationship with her family, and it was clear that family is important to all of them.

Wanting love and a happy ending was important for Raj, Dev, and Winnie.  In the case of Raj and Dev, it didn’t feel fake, and it’s nice to see a book where guys believe in love.

One thing that I thought was interesting was how each chapter started off with a rating of a Bollywood movie.  It was different, but I thought it really worked.  At the end of book, we also get Winnie’s reviews of each of the movies mentioned in the book.  I don’t know if it’s different in the print version, since I went with the audio book, but it was fun to hear her actual reviews.  I thought it worked well at the end of the audio, especially because I don’t know that it would have worked at the beginning of each chapter.  It would be cool to see it worked into each chapter in the print version.

Speaking of the audio book, I really liked the narrator!  I felt like she really captured who Winnie is as a person.  I’m glad I went with audio for this one.  Looking back, I don’t know if I would have liked nearly as much if I read it, but it worked really well on audio.

4 stars.  I really liked My So-Called Bollywood Life.  It’s a really cute contemporary romance, and worth reading!

Audio Book Review: Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho, Narrated By Jenny Sterlin

Book: Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho, Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

Published September 2015 by Recorded Books|13 hours, 9 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Sorcerer Royal #1

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Magic and mayhem collide with the British elite in this whimsical and sparkling debut.

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

I really liked Sorcerer To The Crown.  It was hard to get into, especially at the beginning, but by the end of the book, I was really glad I stuck with it.  I loved Prunella, and she was such a cool character.  It’s interesting, because you’d think she wouldn’t have a huge role in the book, but she turns out to be pretty important.  I’m hoping there’s more of her in the next book.

I think the one thing that kept me going with this book was the fact that I listened to.  I originally tried to read it in print, got a few pages in, and decided to give the audio book a try.  I’m glad I did, because I really liked the narrator.  She really brought the humor and time period to life, and I think if you like Gail Carriger’s books, you’ll really like this one.  There’s something something about the history and magic and humor, though her books are quite different from this one.

There were times where I wasn’t paying attention, but I suppose that’s what happens when I’m listening at home while I’m cooking or something.  At least it didn’t fade into the background the way The Reader did when I listened to that recently.

Still, it was fun to listen to, and there were quite a few times when I couldn’t help but laugh.  And there were some really interesting things about the book as well- Zacharias has a lot of enemies, and there are a lot of people who don’t think he should be in the position he’s in, just because he was a former slave, and because of the color of skin.  And when you add in Prunella, who’s at a school because women are seen as unsuitable for magic.  I think some of that got lost in the audio book, though maybe those were the points where I wasn’t completely paying attention.

I like that it’s set in an alternate Regency England.  Can this type of fantasy stay around for a while?  It’s a nice change from the medieval Europe fantasy that seems pretty normal for fantasy, and it’s nice reading something different.  I think that might be why I liked it so much.  Plus, even though there is a sequel (which needs more Prunella, because she is absolutely amazing), it’s pretty self-contained.  It makes me curious to see where things are going to go, but there is enough going on in the book that there’s so much she could do with another book.

I also really liked the narrator.  I liked her enough that I think I want to at least see what else she’s narrated.  Her narration, like I mentioned earlier, is what kept me going with the audio book, especially since I struggled with the beginning.

4 stars.  I really liked Sorcerer To The Crown, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Audio Book Review: The Reader by Traci Chee, Narrated by Kim Mai Guest

Book: The Reader by Traci Chee, Narrated By Kim Mai Guest

Published September 2016 by Listening Library|12 hours 31 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Sea Of Ink And Gold #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

I’m honestly not sure what to think of The Reader.  Here’s the thing with this book- I tried reading it ages ago, found it didn’t work in print, so I switched to the audio book, thinking that would work better.  I ended up finishing the audio recently, only to find that I wasn’t paying attention to it, and that it pretty much faded into the background.

That’s not what you want with an audio book, especially because I couldn’t even begin to tell you what had happened.  Instead of listening to it again (for fear the same thing would happen), I decided to borrow it from the library when I happened to be wandering around in the YA section and saw it sitting on the shelf.

It turned out to be okay for me.  I didn’t particularly care for the stories of the pirates and assassins- especially the assassins.  It made things more muddled and confusing, and it didn’t feel personal.  At least the assassins related to the story.  As for the pirates, I liked that they were clearly stories, and I found that when I went to it in print, it was clearly distinguished from the rest of the book.

That part was nice, but I vaguely remember that it wasn’t clear when you switched perspectives in the audio book.

The story itself was interesting, and I really liked the idea.  It was hard to believe that Sefia was able to figure out how to read, especially in a society that’s illiterate.  Especially since they seemed to be advanced in other ways.  Do they have some sort of record-keeping system?  That’s what I want to know, but I don’t know if I’m interested enough to keep reading to find out.

One that I also didn’t like was how some people were referred to- The Arbitrator, the Assassin, the Second.  It didn’t work for me, and it made me not care.  I felt distanced from what was going on, even there were other characters, like Sefia and Archer involved.  It tended to happen in the assassin chapters, but you saw it at other times too.

Everything did come together in the end, but by then, I didn’t particularly care about what was going on.

I will say that I did like Kim Mai Guest’s narration.  While I ended up re-reading it because I wasn’t paying attention, I did like her as the narrator, and me not paying attention is nothing against her at all.  She’s good at what she does, at least in the couple of books I’ve listened to that she’s narrated.

2 stars.  The story was okay, and I had a hard time paying attention to the story.  Chee’s writing was lovely, but I had a hard time getting into the story.

Book Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer, Narrated by Rebecca Soler And Dan Bittner

Book: Renegades by Marissa Meyer, Narrated by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner

Published November 2017 by MacMillan Audio|Length 16 hours, 58 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Renegades #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

I really liked Renegades.  It’s odd, because it’s a mix of dystopia and fantasy, but I thought I worked really well.

I really liked Nova and I felt really bad for her.  The book is narrated by both Nova and Adrian, and I found I cared for Nova’s story more than Adrian’s.  Since I listened to it on audio, there was no skimming over Adrian’s sections, and I did notice that it wasn’t the typical alternating chapters- it was sections.  They each got a few chapters where one would narrate, and than it would switch to the other one.

I was more bored with Adrian’s, like I mentioned, and I think it’s because he’s one of the “good guys.”  By the end of the book, I thought the Renegades were a lot worse than the villains.  There’s one moment in particular that made me hate them, and I hate both what they were doing, and how they went about it.  And people think they’re the good guys?  Never have I so badly wanted them to be taken down, and I need Nova to be the one to do it.

I think part of why the Renegades seemed horrible was perspective.  Especially when Nova was narrating.  She has every reason to hate them, and with everything she’s learning about them, it’s hard to like them.  You do see that at least some of them have the best of intentions, and maybe that was the Renegades at the very beginning, when they first came into power.  But as they are in the book?  They are not the good guys they think they are.

One thing I thought was frustrating was the secret identity thing.  I thought it should have been a lot more obvious to the characters, but maybe that’s because I knew things the characters didn’t.  That was something that kept me from loving it, and I kept waiting for them to figure it out.  Maybe in the next one?

And the ending!  I’m curious to see how things go in the next one with how things ended.  I’m not going to say what happened, but because I was listening to it in my car, I was yelling at the audio book.  It’s not bad, but…it’s a cliffhanger?  Which I kind of expected, but not like that.  It really took me off guard, but in a good way so I’m anxiously awaiting the next one to see what happens next.

Since I mentioned I listened to it on audio, I should probably talk about the narration!  I really liked Nova, and I liked Rebecca Soler as her narrator.  I thought Dan Bittner did a great job narrated Adrian, but I did like Soler’s narration more.  I don’t think I’m completely used to male narrators, and it’s pretty rare that I’ll listen to a book narrated by a guy.  Still, he did do a great job as Adrian, and I could picture both of them as the characters.  I’m also glad they went with two different narrators, because it really helped distinguish between the two characters and what was going on, especially when they were in the same scenes, and you;d switch from Nova to Adrian, or Adrian to Nova.

It’s also pretty long, so it took me a while to get through it.  I definitely had to take a break and listen to the radio every once in a while.  Not being it was boring, because it wasn’t!  I just need to have something fade in the background every once in a while.

4 stars,  I really liked Renegades, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Audio Book Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, Narrated by Full Cast

Book: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, Narrated by Full Cast

Published April 2016 by Random House Audio|Length: 8 hours, 28 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Themis Files #1

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a literary thriller fueled by a quest for truth – and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery – and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

I really liked Sleeping Giants!  It was one of those books I tried reading ages ago, before realizing I’d like it a lot better as an audio book.  I’m glad I switched to the audio, because I really liked the audio book.

I think the comparison to World War Z and The Martian is actually a pretty good one.  The interviews and such we see in Sleeping Giant did make me think of World War Z and The Martian, and I think the fact that it’s told through interviews translated really well to audio.  And why I struggled with it when I tried reading it in print.

I really liked seeing all of the people involved in trying to figure out the giants.  It’s definitely a mystery, and I feel like you really get to know the characters.  Because of how the story is told, you don’t get the inner thoughts of the character, and you do see things from a distance, but even then, I still felt like I got to know the characters and what they wanted.  Even the interviewer, and he somehow seemed more anonymous, which meant I was more intrigued with him than with anyone else.

There is a lot of backstory that we don’t get.  There are all of these different files, but some are skipped over- we’ll go from, say, File #12 to File #23.  It means there’s a lot that we don’t get, and I’m wondering if we’ll get more in the books to come.

I also really liked the idea of the novel.  I mean, a giant hand is discovered and they’re trying to figure out what it means, and how it got buried on earth?  What’s not to like?  I just want to know what it all means.  I guess I’ll have to listen to book 2 to find out.

As for the narration, I really liked it!  World War Z is the only book I’ve listened to that had a full cast, and wasn’t narrated by 1 or 2 people.  I liked that it had multiple narrators, because it really made each person distinct.  I mean, I wasn’t completely paying attention to who was who, but I did like all of the narrators, and thought that they each had their own voice and personality.

4 stars.  I really liked Sleeping Giants, and I especially liked it as an audio book.  I know certain files were skipped over, and I kind of wish that we knew what happened in those gaps, and that we knew more about the mysterious interviewer.  But overall, it’s a pretty interesting story.