When your partner-in-crime lives 6 hours away, and you’ve got a lot of books you want to get started on reading but don’t have that much time for…audiobooks really start to sound like a good idea! With that in mind, the last time I visited Maryland, I decided to download Audible onto my phone and prepare my ears for a really good time.
To be frank: I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Renée Raudman is a fantastic reader for all of Ilona Andrews’ books (from Kate Daniels to Clean Sweep), and her voice brought each character to life in a truly genuine way. I think my favorite bit of her readings was the accent she gave to Derek – a charming Southern drawl for the Georgia native, innocent yet overprotective to the last. I would absolutely recommend tuning in just to hear everybody get a different voice and a new layer of attitude that you can’t always get when you’re reading it in your head. Admittedly, I’ve seen complaints that she doesn’t have quite enough ‘umph’ for Kate or the level of toughness that her character commands, but I found it to be enjoyable despite that drawback.
Audible itself is a product of Amazon, where you can download literally thousands of books onto your computer, tablet, or smartphone for easy, on-the-go listening. What I liked about Audible was the ease of use (*specifically on the Android app), and the fantastic selection of books to choose from. You’re able to download your first book totally free (which is what I did) with a 30-day trial membership, and you can cancel at any time without being charged a dime. With the membership, you pay ~$15/mo for any 1 book each month plus 30% off each additional book, and you can receive a full refund for books you aren’t satisfied with after listening. Even if you cancel after 30 days, you can still keep all selected books to listen to on your app.
What I didn’t like was how expensive this is. $15/mo is pretty good if the book is new and still close to $30 in-store, but depending on what books you get, it’s not worth your money in the long run. Without a membership, books you can pick up for less than 3 dollars end up costing nearly 25 bucks. I ended up cancelling my membership when I realized that I can request up to 10 audiobooks at a time from my local library with a (free) library card. Even though my library’s audiobooks are only available in CD format (or MP3 Audio eBook, if you’ve got a Kindle), it’s perfect for me to listen to while I’m driving long distances in a car that only plays CDs, without having to drop a lot of money every month for only a single book to listen to.
Verdict: I think it’s worth a shot to try Audible, see if you like it, and if you can afford their monthly membership, the long term benefits sound pretty cool. If you’re a broke college student like me, I’d recommend sticking to the library copies.
AS FOR THE BOOK ITSELF: This is my 3rd reread of the series, so I’m already pretty familiar with the characters and the story. I love going back and seeing how Kate & Company evolves throughout the series, and how the writing improves as the story moves forward. Kate may be one of my favorite book characters to follow, but I have to admit I found all of the “I can’t talk about it / I can’t tell you / If I tell you, I’d have to kill you” moments pretty excessive. However, I fully recognize that part of her character development is learning to let people in, and to not be afraid of feeling friendship and love. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when characters think that everything will be fine as long as they don’t disclose all relevant information to everyone involved. You see the issue here? (Spoiler alert: so many characters do not. Kate included.) Julie is introduced in this book as Kate’s ward/adopted kid, and she definitely stole the show towards the end of the story. I think this time around she made me smile more than usual, especially when I could hear the echo of my teenage little sister in her words. And then Curran, as his annoying and stubborn yet still somehow appealing self. Yum.
Bonus question: Who’s with me on wanting to see a super kid team-up between Julie and Jesse from Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)? I truly feel like they’d be the best of friends.
Originally read February 2013.