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The narration is distractingly bad. I didn't make it 5 minutes. It sounds as if the Comcast auto teller were a 12 year old female reading to a 3 year old.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
Overall I did wind up moving on to the 2nd book in the series, so by the end I felt like the story was a good one. However, while there were some things well done, there were definitely some that could have been better.
One issue I had is with Emily Durante's performance: initially, it was extremely off-putting to me. It bothered me so much, I actually stopped about halfway through the 1st chapter and started to write a negative review based solely on that. I thought better of that though, and decided instead to try and press through, and eventually I got accustomed to it; I believe it did actually get better.
Part of the problem is that she has to do a man's voice at the very beginning, which she just doesn't do well- at least not for that particular character. On top of that, she has to emphasize the main character's native dialect, which she chose to have a distinct southern "drawl" to, but with some odd characters, almost northeastern U.S.. It made for something fairly foreign, but quite odd at the same time. It caused the character's range of emotion to fall a bit flat in the beginning. As the story progresses, the dialect fades significantly except for times when she intentionally drops back into her native tongue for effect, and becomes less of a distraction, and you can read more into the performance of the lead role.
One thing that some will like and others won't is the romance plot of the story; Yes, it does take up a significant portion of the 1st book- (quite a bit less in the 2nd). One of the things that is interesting to me about this is that the author is a woman. I did not realize that until I had finished the book and then went back and looked. The main reason I bring that up is that the main character (Devi) is also a woman, and I believe that Rachael Bach brings a bit more realism to SOME of the character's psyche because of that- there is a greater degree of nuanced uncertainly as the main character tries to figure out her relationship with her love interest through the story, to a degree that I've not seen from male authors who write about woman characters. Sanderson does a fantastic job with Vinn in his Mistborn series, but this just felt a bit more real from that standpoint.
However, at the same time, Devi also had to fit into this mold of being a "strong, self made" woman, whose main line of work is as a mercenary. That felt like a much more 2 dimensional aspect of her psyche, and less real (even if it was a likable aspect for a lead character).
The story itself is complex and engaging- there are layers of mysteries that lead to new questions and deeper puzzles- always fun to try and unravel, though it does leave you a bit confused as to exactly what is going on at some points. And book 1 leaves plenty of mystery left that you want to dive into the 2nd book to unravel what is going on- not necessarily a cliffhanger ending, but you end up with a lot more questions than when you started.
There are some minor repetitious points that the author belittled that I found particularly distracting. Both Devi's love interest, as well as the captain, do a HUGE amount of sighing. Like at every interaction they have with her. It gets old- I was concerned they were going to run out of oxygen on this ship with all the friggin' sighing that was going on! (Find another way to express regret than with a sigh please!) And Racheal talks WAY too much about how warm the cook's hands are (OK, we get it, they are unusually warm- please stop telling us every dang time she touches them- which apparently is a LOT!).
I feel like the stars above are pretty solid representations- most of the times I am wishing for half stars, but I think the overall for this one is a solid 4 stars. I've got some gripes for sure, but in the end it was worth the credit, and I was entertained.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful