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Jodi Taylor reads the long-awaited prequel in her Chronicles of St Mary’s series, as Dr Bairstow struggles to set up St Mary’s as we know it in a world still scarred by the ravages of civil war.
Ever wondered how it all began? It’s two years since the final victory at the Battersea Barricades. The fighting might be finished, but for Dr Bairstow, just now setting up St Mary's, the struggle is only beginning.
How will he assemble his team? From where will his funding come? How can he overcome the massed ranks of the Society for the Protection of Historical Buildings? How do stolen furniture, a practical demonstration at the Stirrup Charge at Waterloo, students’ alcohol-ridden urine, a widowed urban guerrilla, a young man wearing exciting knitwear and four naked security guards all combine to become the St Mary’s of the future?
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Krista on 12-09-15
Loved the story. The narration was ehh...
Maybe I got spoiled with Zara Ramm's narration, as I read the entire main series before starting on the short stories. I know, I should have checked the reading order first, but didn't. Zara Ramm is a great narrator. In books 1-6, she did an excellent job with the different voices, the emotion, the sarcasm. While I love Jodi Taylor and she has a fan for life, it was difficult to listen to M.s Taylor after the exceptional job that Zara Ramm did in her narration of the other books. If I had listened to this one first, maybe my expectations would not have been so high, but... Jodi is articulate, clear and easy to listen to, but all of the voices and accents are the same, so they are very hard to differentiate. Other than that, I enjoyed hearing how Dr. Bairstow recruited all of his people and established St. Mary's.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By Sheryl on 11-05-15
Wait for it on Kindle. Not the best on audio
This is a delightful short story "prequel" to the St. Mary's series. Any fan of the series should enjoy this short foray into St. Mary's past. Do NOT start the series with this title, however, as it will likely make no sense and not be very interesting. It really is meant for those who are already familiar with the series. That said, I would recommend waiting for the release of the kindle edition of the story rather than listening to the free audio on Audible. I'm very thankful to Ms. Taylor for offering this for free and I feel very bad saying it because I love her as an author, but reading the story herself did not do it any justice. She has a very pleasant voice but she does not do anything to distinguish between characters nor does she put much (if any) emotion into her voice. It makes for a rather dull reading and often a rather confusing one, as it is sometimes difficult to distinguish who is saying what. 4 stars for the story, but only 2 for the audio.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Robyn on 11-29-16
An intro....not much more
I heartily agree with other reviewers:
1 ) Don't start the series with this book - it's not the best first impression and may well turn you off the other books - which are really fun stuff.
2) Narration is fine, but better left to Zara
This book is very much a prequel, setting the back story to St Mary's, however, in order to appreciate the little bits of humour, you do need to have listened to and have an appreciation of the normal antics of St Marys - otherwise the humour / references will seem flat and out of place.
Jodi Taylor narrates her own work, which is admirable, and there is nothing obviously wrong with it - however, if you've listened to the other books in the series, it's immediately apparent that this narration lacks some of the energy and quirkiness which Zara's narration lends to the series. Given that the other books are told from Max's point of view, and this one told by Dr Bairstow, it makes sense to have a different narrator, however perhaps a male narrator would have been more appropriate? Jodi does a good enough job though, and as the author, I respect her choice to narrate it herself.
If you're a fan of the series, then you'll enjoy the back story, and the first meetings with some of the future key characters. It was a freebie download from audible, and therefore worth topping up my St Mary's catalogue with. Not sure it would be worth a full credit on its own though.....
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By kate on 10-26-15
Don't start the series with this book
What did you like most about The Very First Damned Thing?
I loved that it filled in gaps I hadn't even realised existed!
What about Jodi Taylor’s performance did you like?
As others have said, she's not Zara Ramm, and it takes time to acclimatise. Jodi reads the book perfectly well, but she reads it, where Zara perfomrs and brings it to life. As I got into the story, I forgot that and it was fine.
Any additional comments?
Do not start the series with this book. Read them in the order they were written. This book would make abvsolutely no sense iff you hadn't read the others.
19 of 21 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kaz on 11-03-17
Best to read this out of order
This book is marked as 0.5 in the series and indeed, in chronological order it does come first (yes, I do realise that for this series stating that there is a chronological order is almost contradictory). However, I only came across this book after reading the first two in the series and I believe that reading those two first gave me a lot more insight, and enjoyment, than I would have had if I had truly read this one first.
I love these books by Jodi Taylor, but I woods urge you to read this particular one out of its numbered sequence in order to get the most from the story. Having said that, this book gives you an understanding of the history of St Mary's and Dr Barstow's role in setting up the zany institution.
Finally, I have become accustomed to hearing the stories narrated by another narrator and was slightly less enthusiastic in hearing the author narrate her own book. Nothing wrong with her reading of course, it was simply different to the usual narrator.