Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below this review. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.
The Chronicles of St Mary’s #1
Reviewed: Apr. 2017
Narrator: Zara Ramm
Length: 9h 30m
Publisher: Audible Studios⎮2014
Synopsis: “History is just one damned thing after another.”
Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is
taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power – especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.
Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim isto observe and document – to try and find
the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re
Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake….
3.25★ Audiobook⎮This story was a hot mess. Just One Damned Thing After Another is better compared with cozy mysteries than the Science Fiction genre. I didn’t realize this until I was listening to the last 30 minutes. If the Science Fiction genre had a lunch table, Just One Damned Thing After Another would not be sitting at it. If I have realized that earlier, I might have been less scrutinizing of the story.
As it was, Just One Damned Thing After Another seemed fully ridiculous to me. As in, “Why am I listening to this nonsense?”. It was humorous at times, but hard to take seriously in any respect. Just One Damned Thing After Another was only 9.5 hours long, but seemed more than twice that length. That’s never a good sign.
The title became frustratingly appropriate as the story droned on. The underlying plot was difficult to find, let alone follow. Taylor threw *ahem* one damned thing after another at the reader/listener, haphazardly stringing them together with the thinnest of connections. And the reader/listener is just supposed to “go with it”… That’s sloppy writing, in my opinion. A writer has to work for my suspension of disbelief. The overall feeling was of chaos and disorder. As for development,… Wait, there was none.
None of the characters were relatable or memorable, probably because they were as flat as paper dolls. They all fell like characters in the story, merely serving the “plot”. I was never able to form connections with them because it was difficult to remember who they were. They were all interchangeable in my mind and were drowned out by the action. The main character (whose name I can’t recall) was an out-of-the-box type who was just as underdeveloped as the minor characters.
The most frustrating thing about Just One Damned Thing After Another was that the writing was better than the storytelling (and the writing wasn’t that great!). Taylor gave the impression of someone who was trying too hard to impress someone else in a “Look what I can do” manner. All flash and no substance. Just One Damned Thing After Another could have been greatly improved if the story had been better balanced, maybe even broken up into two installments in order to give it breathing room. The action was suffocating to any potential development. Even the non-action scenes felt like action scenes, which became very tiring.
I think I can see what Jodi Taylor was trying to accomplish with this series, but it was just executed so poorly. I cannot fathom why there are 10+ installments in this series. Needless to say, I won’t be going near any of them.
Narration review: Zara Ramm did an admirable job narrating Just One Damned Thing After Another. Her vocal distinctions did more to separate the characters in my mind than the writing did. I am interested in hearing more from Zara, just not in this series. If you are interested in this series, I do recommend listening to it over reading it. ♣︎