📚 Compulsion by Martina Boone

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Heirs of Watson Island #1

Description⎮Reviewed Jul. 2016

Narrator: Joell A. Jacob
Length: 11h 29m
Publisher: Tantor Audio⎮2015

4.75 ★ Audiobook⎮ The 4.75 star rating I’m awarding this story is a direct result of tabling done right. “Tabling” is my version of DNF-ing (did not finish-ing), albeit more temporary. If ever I am not feeling a certain story, for whatever reason, I’ll “table” it until a later date. Sometimes, I’m just not in the mood for a particular type of story or it may not appeal to me at that time. I think that was largely the case when I first picked up Compulsion last year.

I purchased it because it checked so many boxes on my list of interests: a Southern Gothic setting, characters with rich family histories, ancient curses, magic, and mystery. Considering all of that, it would be putting it lightly to say that I had high expectations going in. Unfortunately, the beginning of this story felt weak by comparison to those expectations. I quickly became annoyed with the main character and the author for not being able to hold my interest. The beginning was super slow and I was being picky and terribly impatient, so I decided to table the story.

Fast forward 8 months and I finally decided to give it another shot. Maybe it was the heat and humidity of a sticky Southern summer, but I suddenly could not get enough of Martina Boone and Compulsion. I can’t explain my sudden change of opinion any better than that.

The story may not be for everyone, especially those expecting to be blown away. This is one of those books that could easily be picked apart and dismissed, as I originally did. But is also one that can engulf you, if you let it. I took .25 off of the overall rating because the beginning was a little tedious to get through, but the remaining 4.75 stars were pure enjoyment.

I found the character growth especially enjoyable and refreshing. The top most areas in which Boone most certainly did not disappoint were the development of characters, background, and setting (the writing trifecta!). I’m glad that Boone decided to stick to a relatively small, but well-rounded, cast of characters. This gave the characters room to grow and the reader time to connect with them.

Stories with rich background development are always a huge draw for me and Boone did an excellent job of painting a detailed family portrait (x3) in Compulsion. The setting beautifully balanced modern-day Southern culture with that of long ago in a way that echoes the atmosphere of the real towns, small and large, that dot the region today.

Narration review: I’m new to Joell A. Jacob’s narration, but I’m fast becoming a fan. She provided just enough characterization for me to be able to distinguish between voices, without any of them being over-the-top. I felt like she integrated characters’ personality traits into their voices very effectively, which aided the writing tremendously. I’m happy to have discovered Joell’s work and I certainly hope she will stay on as a narrator for the rest of the series. ♣︎

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