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For all that this is a high fantasy novel with Mages, Fey, Trolls, Wizards and more, and that this is also definitely a mystery to be unraveled, it's also got a very nice bit of romance as well.
Take one ornery wizard, add a headstrong Crown Prince with his own agenda, and a meddling family and you have the recipe for a thoroughly entertaining story. When you also add a seriously talented narrator to the mix it's practically magical!
I don't want to give anything away, part of it's charm for me was unraveling the many different plots, but you should know going into this that there is a really large cast of characters. Sometimes it was a bit confusing. The Orwell family alone is ten children, their spouses and children, and Lord and Lady Orwell to boot. The fact that Cornell Collins was able to give different character voices to each of the roles, as well as the other major players (the Prince, Queen and King, and other Mages and Wizards) was a minor miracle.
Let me just say - I am impressed. While I may have scratched my head at some of the accents, the fact that I could tell each character apart was a major, major feat.
The story is very interesting and engrossing, and the world building is fantastic. However, for me, the biggest surprise (and a really happy one at that!) was the love story between Sebastian and Prince Turren. Turren getting through all of Sebastian's prickly walls was thoroughly entertaining. I loved seeing the two of them together despite all the odds against them and getting to be a part of their HEA.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
Oh man, this is really a wonderful, and more importantly, unique story. Not like any fantasy book I have ever read. If you are a fan of the Nightrunner series, you will probably enjoy this. The Orwell family is a wonderful bunch of crazy, bordering on psychotic, people. There are 10 siblings and two crazy parents; a wizard and a fey. Sebastian is the youngest and hiding a secret curse; this is why he wears an enchanted hood. The siblings bickering is half the fun of this book in my opinion. It is witty and sarcastic dialogue and to an outsider it sounds like they loathe each other. However, when a threat to their family emerges, the reader experiences exactly how much they love each other and the lengths they will take to keep each other safe. Alongside this storyline is a really sweet enemies to lover romance between Sebastian and the Crown Prince. Their bickering is also very entertaining; especially during their first time having sex; so awkward. I also really enjoyed the Royal family, especially Queen Anne, the bad assed warrior wizard of the family; that was a really nice addition to the story. The story gives us a wonderful HEA and I hope there will be more with this crazy family.
The narrator does a really good job, although I thought his voice for 19 year old Sebastian seemed older than warranted. Also some of the voices blended together. But none of this took away from my enjoyment of this story.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Sam Argent or narrated by Cornell Collins?
Yes I would read the author, but the narrator totally ruined this for me. I should have learned my lesson by now, never buy without listening to the sample first but I was so excited to see this book available I just checked it wasn't Matthew Lloyd Davis and clicked, only to find it was MLD by another name. Serves me right.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I loved Sebastian. He's very funny
How could the performance have been better?
This narrator is, and I appreciate, this is only my opinion, completely wrong for these types of books, he reads clearly, but it's like listening to Jackanory, yes, he'd be great with kids books but not this.
Did Family of Lies: Sebastian inspire you to do anything?
On audible it inspired me to switch it off after the first minute. I'm going to return it.
Any additional comments?
Listen before you buy, and don't forget narrators use more than one name!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
There are a number of issues that this book suffers from and the poor world building and number of very similar characters have to be the weakest points. This could have been better.
The overall plot was basic but enjoyable however there were so many characters thrown at you it was difficult to keep track of who was doing what and why. Further they all argued so intensely it became quite stressful. The romance aspect of the book was ok but felt slightly rushed and immature in many ways.
I feel like the book was further let down by the voice actor who was stilted and often didn't represent the emotion in the text poorly, continually breaking the reader out of the experience.