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Monday, 25 June 2012

Review: BONE SHOP

Bone Shop by T. A. Pratt
Prequel to the Marla Mason series
Narrated by Jessica Almasy
Genre: urban fantasy
Format: audiobook

About Bone Shop:
Marla Mason is the chief sorcerer of Felport, a woman who's tangled with gods and monsters and come out on top (if a bit damaged in the process). But she wasn't always a formidable engine of brute force and pragmatism; she started out alone, in a strange city, without allies or any more power than the average teenage runaway on the street. Marla was always willing to do anything necessary to survive, and it didn't take long for her to stumble into a world of magic, danger... and even the occasional moment of grace.

Bone Shop tells the story of Marla's evolution from runaway to sorcerer's apprentice to mercenary magician and beyond. Fans of the urban fantasy series from Bantam Spectra that began with Blood Engines will find surprising secrets revealed about Marla's past, and new listeners can get to know the character from the very beginning.

©2009 T.A. Pratt (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
Source: Info in the About Bone Shop was taken from Audible at http://www.audible.co.uk/pd?asin=B005KSMXWU on 15/05/2012.

Review:
I find the voice of Jessica Almasy a bit shrilly but she made up for it by good reading. Good diction, good interpretation, good voice imitations, and clear words. And after some time I even stopped hearing the shrilliness.

This book should have been a well of emotional potentials that the author could mine to reel the reader in. Make the reader connect with the event, characters and the world of Marla Mason. But for some reason the author opted to gloss over it instead. What a wasted potential! Consequently as a reader, I knew in my head that I should be more sympathetic to the characters but not really feeling it. And there is a moment of disorientation, of disconnection. That makes me a cranky reader! That brought the rating of this book a notch down.

Take for example the protagonists' group dynamics between Marla and Rondeau. It was just thrust upon the reader. There was no clear previous indication that Rondeau was a forgiving character or a masochist. Yet these two now seems to be fast friends. All of a sudden? The time jumps didn't help either, it just added to the feeling of disconnection. If more background was provided, like, an interaction between Marla and Rondeau that could lead to deeper friendship betwen the two, then I could understand Rondeau's behaviour. And to top it off, Rondeau didn't seem to be too stupid to live (TSTL) by the mere fact that he survived and thrived in a competitive world with nothing but his shirt on his back to start off with. So it doesn't match that he would act masochistic all of a sudden. Or act like he is afflicted with Stockholm-like syndrome. So the dynamic between Marla and Rondeau does not feel real to me. It feels forced by the author. This brings the authenticity factor a notch down. But despite all that moaning, the cover art is undeniably awesome!! And the world building was interesting enough that I wanted to know more about what happens next in the story.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 3.5
Character development = 3
Story itself = 3
Ending = 3
World building = 4
Cover art = 5
Pace = N/A (7 hrs and 15 mins)
Narration = 3.5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

4 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Good to hear. I like the cover. Definitely eye catching.

Blodeuedd said...

I agree the cover art freaking rocks

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

I've read the novels of this one, well the first 4. I don't think I've listened to this one. And I have Broken Mirrors here on the shelf to read. But I understand your thoughts here. Wonderful review.

Cherry Mischievous said...

Jessica Almassy messaged sometime ago (I don't obviously check my messages as often as I ought to) about this review but she did not leave a means to contact her back. The account she used came up as "Anonymous", so I am replying here:
Ms. Almasy, if you have a naturally shrilly voice and decides to go into the audiobook business, expect people to notice your voice.

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