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I've enjoyed Tanya Huff's work for years, and as usual, this was a fun urban fantasy story with quirky characters that frequently made me laugh out loud.
There are two big objections I saw in the other reviews that made me hesitant to buy that I wanted to respond to:
1.) The narrator: I'm sorry to agree, but I really wish there were another reader. There are some things she does wonderfully. She voices the Aunties beautifully, but she's uneven. Many other aspects of the pacing & narration were just flat, leaving me a bit confused as to what was going on. Several times something big had happened & I had no clue & had to back up a bit because there were absolutely no vocal cues.
That said, it wasn't enough to stop my enjoyment of the book, but enough to bug me from time to time.
2.) The Gale Family relations/incest: This gave me pause before buying, and I was leery going in, but in the context of the story it makes sense & isn't actually disturbing. (And believe me, I get wigged pretty easily by the topic - it's hard to read the word incest without an assumption of sexual assault and THAT is not my idea of fun reading.)
The Gale family is different. Alien. (Not as in they landed from outer space, but for all I know...) Not entirely human, with different rules and codes governing their behaviour that strikes me as reminiscent of some kind of wolf pack or minor fey court. If you're familiar with Tanya Huff's other work, then you can rest assured that the incest theme isn't like those in Fifth Quarter, in which it did thoroughly skeeve me out & kept me from enjoying the story. If it was a purely human family, it might've bothered me more, but the way their family is run reminds me a fair bit of royal dynasties - cousins marrying cousins to keep the blood pure. Only with inhuman pheromones & different standards. Really different standards.
Which is to say that if you're usually squeamish about such things, you don't need to let the other reviewer put you off.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
I love this book and have read it many, many times. I purchased the audiobook so I could listen to it on a roadtrip, but the narrator is just horrible. For example, there are several occasions where the narrator reverses the voices in a conversation, most memorably in a conversation between Allie and David near the end of the book. As it is written, it's perfectly clear. As it is recorded, it makes no sense at all. Odd words are emphasized in many, probably most, of the sentences in the book. Pauses are inserted where there's no cause for them. This is honestly the worst narrator I've ever heard. For this book, buy the hard copy.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
The main characters are funny and likeable, and love's course certainly doesn't run smooth - it's a great long yarn of a tale which will happily fill a few long journeys. I loved the central device of the abandoned bric a brac shop and actually would be really pleased if Tanya Huff was to write some more stories, perhaps jumping off from magical objects found in the shop. That's a measure of a good book to me - do I like the characters enough that I'd spend more time with them? And in this case...yes, definitely!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this - got a bit confused with all the names at the beginning (you can't flip back the page and check with an audio book!), but I got there, and I knew from other reviews that the start built slowly, which it does, so I was ready for that.
This book offers nice, strong, capable but not ballsy women, with strong and capable men who aren't threatened by them; some nice dry humour; a suitably nasty baddie with some ambiguously are they /aren't they other baddies (or not) thrown in, and a nicely developed romance. I was, and still am, a tad unsure about the underlying mythology of the family, and didn't really get what happened to David at the end - methinks the editors pen cut a bit deep there.
I thought it ended it bit fast, all that slow build gone in the last hour and a bit, but that's not to say I didn't really enjoy it.
Well read with a variety of accents, some better than others - can't judge how the Canadian ones went, but the English wasn't bad, and the Irish was only a tad 'oirish an' bejabers' at times!
One I'll certainly listen to again, and one I'll probably track down in print to read - I have several other books by this author that I rate.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful