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Witching Savannah #1
Description⎮Reviewed Feb. 2016
Narrator: Shannon McManus
Length: 9h 6m
Publisher: Brilliance Audio⎮2013
4.5 ★ Audiobook⎮ Listening to The Line was another literary “risk” for me because the reviews I had seen were only so-so and there hasn’t been a lot of hype (especially considering the fourth installment is due to be released in a matter of months), but it wasn’t a huge risk because I could tell from the synopsis that it included several elements that I tend to be drawn toward: the Southern Gothic subgenre, ghosts, witches, voodoo/hoodoo, family secrets, etc. Naturally, The Caster Chronicles and The Raven Cycle series were big hits with me (as was American Horror Story: Coven). I would describe this series, at least what I’ve seen of it so far, to be 95% similar to the Caster Chronicles and 5% similar to the Raven Cycle. The Line reminded me so much of the Caster Chronicles, but with certain aspects that I actually think I enjoyed more.
For one thing, having a 21-year-old protagonist did a lot to shrug off any notions that this book was written specifically for tweens/teens. I found The Line to be more mature than Beautiful Creatures and a whole hell of a lot more jaw-dropping. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but when you read as much fiction as I do, it gets awfully hard to be surprised by anything because I feel like I’ve seen it all (sometimes several times over). The Line managed to completely shock my socks off not once, but twice. That was enough to earn my respect for Mr. J.D. Horn. Well done, sir.
I also commend him for rejecting the typical good-looking, sweet-talking adult hetero male trope and making Uncle Oliver’s character gay (bonus points for also rejecting the stereotypical feminized gay male trope, as well) . I found Oliver’s character to be one of the most dynamic and well-written, which was why he quickly became my favorite! There really weren’t any characters that I disliked, other than those I was supposed to dislike, of course. Each of them was so vividly written, with distinct personality traits that I never had any trouble distinguishing them. Furthermore, I felt as if I could almost to visualize them in detail.
I thought the pacing was perfect and very balanced, leading up to a climactic finish near the end. The ending itself was a little weak and really didn’t hold up to the action in the previous chapter or do anything to make me want to sell my soul to get my hands on the next installment. Of course, by that point, I had already made up my mind to continue on with the series, but if I hadn’t, the ending wouldn’t have encouraged me to do so (if that makes sense). I guess what I’m saying is with everything that had already occurred in the book, I was expecting it to end with a cliffhanger. But, oh well. I can’t have everything, even though this story came very, very close to giving me just that.
Narration review: Shannon McManus’ narration for The Line was superb! I’ve never heard her narration before, but this audiobook made me an instant fan. Her narrative skills far exceeded any I have heard in the last month. Sure, her voice had a pleasant tone and was nice to hear, but that’s not what grabbed my attention about her narration. Her tonal range was out of this world! She gave every single character a very distinct and fitting voice. Whether she did this by changing the accent, tone, or pace of her voice, I never had to wonder whom was speaking. I was most impressed by her ability to voice Mother Jilo, an old root doctor. The majority of the time when Mother Jilo was speaking, I was honestly baffled as to whether or not another narrator had been brought in for that part. This audiobook also boasted a few sound effects, which I was extremely pleased to hear. Overall, the audiobook experience was amazing! ♣︎