Immortal Descendants #2
Description⎮Reviewed Jan. 2016
Narrator: Gemma Barrett
Length: 15h 0m
Publisher: April White⎮2015
4.5 ★ Audiobook⎮I’m giving this installment of the Immortal Descendants series .25 less of a star than the first because, although I am still completely enthralled by Saira and her world, the premise of this particular story (time-traveling to Tudor England) just did not captivate me quite as much as Jack the Ripper did in the first installment. The story seemed to slow down when Saira was in the 16th century and I found myself longing for her to return to St. Bridget’s. I’ve fallen so much in love with the world and characters April White has created that I hardly wanted to depart from it/them in order to move the story forward. This was surprising to me since I am such a lover of royal history and the primary reason I was initially looking toward this installment was because of the Elizabethan storyline. While I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with that part of the story, the historical elements weren’t as enticing to me as in the last book. Luckily, everything else was and I became even more invested in Saira (and “Ringo”) in this book. I still love the concept of Time, Nature, War, Fate, and Death being portrayed as people and having modern day descendents with special abilities. However, I’m still not crazy over Saira’s romantic interest being a vampire (did he have to be a vampire? Really?). This series has so much uniqueness going for it that a vampire love interest feels a bit like settling for mediocrity. Thankfully, this author is not keen on shoving love scenes down her readers’ throats. The very minor parts of this book that I did not fully enjoy were definitely overshadowed by those that I did, so I really have no reason to complain. This is still an extremely under-appreciated series that deserves more so much more exposure than it gets.
Narration review: Now, onto the part of this review I have been just itching to write: the narration critique. As my name suggests, I primarily listen to (and review) audiobooks and this is an audiobook I absolutely cannot recommend. This was, by far, the worst listening experience I have ever had with an audiobook. It bears no reflection on the story itself (which was reviewed above), but on the narrator and whomever approved this audiobook. Firstly, I have no earthly clue as to why someone thought it was a good idea to hire a British-accented narrator to voice a Californian protagonist. Seriously, no clue. It made this book feel like part of a completely different series than the first. But I could get over that. The worst part was that I could hear audible swallowing from the narrator. That may not sound like a big deal, but after the first five minutes I wanted to claw my eyes out from sheer frustration and annoyance. It took every ounce of will I had to stay focused on the story. If this story had been even the tiniest bit less incredible, I would have given up on it in under an hour, just because of the narrator. This audiobook sounded like an amateur recording on YouTube. So, unless you have the patience of Job, read the physical book.
Update: Just to clarify (because it isn’t very clear in my original review), my annoyance was with the production/audio quality and not the narrator. I am certainly not faulting her for swallowing/ being human. I was simply annoyed that those noises were picked up by the microphone, which was disruptive to my listening experience. Gemma Boyle has a lovely voice and none of this has to do directly with her or her narrating ability. I am happy that the third installment seems to have none of these issues! ♣︎
$ Available at The Book Depository (paperback) and Audible