What I’m Reading: Hunted (Spirit Animals #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Audiobook Review: Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater

The first book I listened to on my long road trip was Hunted, Spirit Animals #2 by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a middle grade fantasy series, and a bit of change of pace from my regular Young Adult readings. I really enjoyed the first audiobook in this series, read by Nicola Barber. Hunted was also read by Barber, and again she did a fantastic job.

IMG_0523

The Spirit Animals is a great light read, and the audiobooks would be great listening for a family road trip. The second book felt a bit formulaic (different events happened in much the same pattern as the first book), but they were paced well and still kept me alert. The four main characters (Conor, Rollan, Meilin, and Abeke). Each book in the series is written by a different author, but Hunted had much the same feel as Wild Born, which was written by Brandon Mull.

I really enjoy these books on audio, as they are only around 5 hours each (opposed to YA books which tend to be around 10-15 hours). That means I can listen to a full Spirit Animals book on one road trip, or one week at the gym. (I haven’t been going to the gym much lately but that is kind of beside the point). I don’t think I would get the same enjoyment out the books if I read them, but I might pick one up in order to compare the audio experience to the print one.

If you’re a fantasy lover who needs something to listen to during a long drive, or a bit of action to get you moving at the gym, then you might want to check out this audiobook series.

4/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Young Adult Audiobook Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Late last year I listened to the first book in this series on audiobook, and it was fantastic! The second book did not disappoint, but I will say that there were fewer surprises.

Laini Taylor’s world of Eretz, on the other side of the portals from Earth, is full of mystical creatures and angels, and lovely, fun, lively, and sometimes hilarious, characters. Zuzana is the primary comical relief character, and like in the first book, she is my favorite with her sparkling personality. Things grow darker in the second book, and things are more difficult for Karou as the narrative pushes forward.

img_0211

My favorite thing about Laini Taylor’s books is her amazing way with language. She fills the page with surprising word pairings and description that brings the world to life. The audiobook, narrated by Khristine Hvam, is also brought to live through her wonderful reading and embellishment of character voices. I love how Hvam performs each character in a subtly different way, though, like in the first book, I don’t like the voice of Razgut, mostly because it creeps me out.

I can’t wait to listen to the third and last book of this trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, which I’ve already checked out from my local e-library. I highly recommend these ebooks, but be warned, each book clocks in at over fourteen hours of goodness, which for me means an awful lot of time at the gym.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Listening To: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

A Young Adult Audiobook Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Early this week, I mentioned I was going out on a long road trip. Audiobooks always make the time go faster, so for this trip I borrowed a copy of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Taylor, Laini Unabridged Edition (September 27, 2011) (associate link), as presented by Hachette Audio and performed by Khristine Fran. I’d heard about the book a few times and seen it around. It sounded interesting enough (and was immediately available) so I picked it up. I was pleasantly impressed.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone begins by following the Story of Karou, who lives in Prague, and whom we slowly find out isn’t quite human. I found it a bit slow to start, there is action right away, but not too much knowledge, which means I didn’t immediately understand where the story was going. But the writing is beautifully descriptive, which I love in an audiobook, and the dialogue was snappy and fun. There was a shift three-quarters of the way through the book, which changed the pace a bit, and slowed things down at a moment when I wanted them to pick up, but then I fell into the second story and began enjoying everything again.

fullsizerender-8

The audiobook itself was well done. The narrator overall did a pretty good job voicing the characters. I especially liked her voice for Brimstone and Zuzana. There were a couple points where the voice for Karou got a bit high-pitched for my liking, but they were few and far between.

The whole, side 1 vs side 2 storyline is a bit old hat (I found this a bit like The Girl at Midnight, though both stories are very unique), but this book is well done with strong characters. My only real complaint would be all the discussions about how “beauty doesn’t matter”, yet everyone in the book is “achingly” beautiful I *almost* wanted to puke. But enough about that. Well, not enough. I wrote a short essay about that, which I’ll post tomorrow.

But for now, if you’re looking for a good Young Adult Fantasy Story on Audiobook, this might be the one for you.

4/5 Stars.

J. E. Hunter is the author of the Black Depths Series. Tales of a Redheaded Sea-Witch, and Broken Tide, the first two books of the series can be found on  Amazon,  Kobo,  iBooks,  Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. The third book, Dark Shores, was released April 1, 2016. The fourth and last book of the Black Depths series, Twisted Currents, will be released in the fall of 2016, after Dead Water and Doomed Seas, two Novellas featuring Caesar.