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The Dark Wife is a book I've been meaning to read for years but just finally found the time in the form of hour-long commutes to work. The story of Persephone and Hades has always been a favorite of mine, especially when you delve deep into the various interpretations of the "original" translations. To make them lesbians and reveal Zeus to be the douchebro we all know him to be is just awesome. The story is well-written and while I would've liked a little more focus on the external plot, I absolutely loved the romance.
What isn't awesome is the audiobook. I honestly regret not reading the book myself because the narrator is the worst narrator I've ever heard. Let me give you a brief overview of the issues:
The narrator is inconsistent in pretty much everything. In the span of one paragraph she'll pronounce things differently, the most notable being Gaia (Guy-uh to Gay-uh) along with other general Greek pronunciation problems (Rhea, specifically). She gives each character a different manner of speech and I've found that narration immediately following dialogue keeps that character's voice rather than Persephone's (since the story is in first person). There are even times when the narrator drops Persephone's voice during narration, as if she's gotten tired of it.
Speaking of Persephone's voice, it is honestly the most grating sound I've ever heard. Persephone is a strong, capable heroine who is taking control of her own destiny. The way the narrator voices her, however, makes her seem meek and on the verge of tears constantly. Even if all she's doing is picking flowers. Everything seems like a sorrow, which is completely out of character. It honestly affects the way the character is interpreted, though most of the characters end up with voices that don't match their character -- Hermes' voice is slow, Pallas is childish, Hades is monotonous and masculine.
As I said, this is just a brief list but these are the most egregious issues that pull me out of the story.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is a great story! I loved it!
The other reviewers are right, the narration is a bit tough to get through sometimes, but I put it on the faster playtime and it was a little bit better. I appreciate that this was recorded, and still really, really enjoyed it.
Would you listen to The Dark Wife again? Why?
Not only is the narration utterly stunning the story itself is just divine. There are so many wonderful women in this story, that is at it's core a story that really explores the depths and complexities of female characters and lesbian love stories without fetishisation or stereotyping. There is not your typical slice of white bread discovers she is the chosen one. This is a story that while spoken of gods resonates so beautifully with the lives of so many, be it that in the LGBT community or otherwise. The way these characters are balances is utterly brilliant, their endless lives somehow manage to investigate a fascinating side of humanity that so few writers ever reach. I could write a novel itself about this story, but the most important thing to me is that these women are treated as people, two women who both hold love within their hearts for at one time perhaps another woman, but eventually for one another. As a Lesbian myself it is so so so wonderful to experience lesbian relationships written in a normalised manner, which sounds crazy considering the context of gods and myths but once again that shows the power of this story.
What did you like best about this story?
The use of language, which is rich but not loquacious to a point that is tiring as many authors can be. The diverse range of characters and beautiful portrayal of several lesbian relationships.
What about Veronica Giguere’s performance did you like?
Everything, honestly, her ability with voices is stunning and I just found myself lost in the world over and over again as if I were in the most beautiful of waking dreams.
Any additional comments?
Listen to this book, just please, no matter who you are, listen, it is stunning.