Saturday, June 13, 2015

Audiobook ARC Review: Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford

Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen, #1)From the blurb:
Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.  
It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.  
But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping. 
No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn't look like Kai will be the exception.

Heather's rating:

In theory, I should have loved this book. In reality, I didn't.

To start, I love urban fantasy books. Give me a great plot, some humor, and some supernatural beings, and I'm along for the ride. I don't care if there is a lick of romance, I just need that special something and I'm in it. In addition, this book was narrated by one of my favorites, Greg Tremblay. I also adore Rhys Ford, who has written some of my favorite books in the past few years.

But when you put it all together, it still fell a bit flat.

I had a really hard time connecting to Kai, so much so that I DNFed this book in ebook form. I picked it up again in audio, but my disconnect with him was still there. He is bitter and sometimes randomly harsh on people, and I had a very difficult time getting into his mindset. There isn't much humor in this book, so that wasn't a way for me to connect, and when you combine that with Kai's sort of surly personality, I had a hard time getting engaged. I also didn't see Ryder as a strong character, and I didn't really get why he was so enamored with Kai.

To top it off, the plot felt a bit... unfocused. There was something about the pace or the set up that felt far more boring than it ought to have based on the amount of action in the story. I wasn't excited at all, and I faced the twists and turns far more casually than I usually do, especially with an audiobook.

If I had to rate this book on content alone, I would give it 2 stars. I simply didn't jive with the plot or characters all that much, and I felt very wishy-washy, overall.

However, the narration is another story. I LOVE Greg Tremblay, and I think he really did a fantastic job with this one. I loved how Kai's voice was different than Cole's (Dirty Kiss), with a faint Irish accent and far more attitude. I loved how Greg really thought about each character and what they would sound like. His narration was so nuanced that it made me able to get through a story that I had such difficulties with in ebook form. I'd give 5 solid stars to the narration, no question.

Unfortunately, a good audio does not a good experience make. I'm certainly quitting this series at this story, but I encourage other fans to give this one a shot. I think if you like something edging more towards high fantasy, this might work better for you.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

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Thanks for checking out my review!

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