Friday, June 22, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Hellbent (Cheshire Red Reports, Book 2) -- Cherie Priest

SOURCE: Won in author contest

I've been a fan of Ms. Priest's Clockwork Century stories since their inception, but I have been resistant to read much of anything labeled "urban fantasy" of late because the stories have become formulaic. While Ms. Priest has devised the typical kickbutt heroine, Raylene is nothing like the white-washed vampires of popular literature. She's smart, sharper than a pair of stiletto heels and the biggest sparkle associated with her may well be gems she's stolen.

A self-styled recovery agent, aka "thief," Raylene takes on the big money jobs regaining lost artifacts for their new masters. Her case in this book literally causes quite a "bone of contention" when she's sent by a somewhat skeevy acquaintance to claim some bacula from quite rare species, including lycanthropes. Of course, the multimillion dollar job that'll set Raylene and her newly adopted clan of misfits, including a blind vampire, two homeless kids and an ex Spec-Ops drag queen, up for life.

In the midst of this, Ian (the aforementioned blind vampire) gets word that his father is dead. Since he's the chief candidate for the head of his House in San Francisco, his brother wants him to return home. There's just one thing holding Ian back -- his lack of sight will get him killed and this is the permanent kind of dead.

Naturally, there's more, but I'm not spoiling this story for anything. What I will say is this audiobook was interesting enough to keep both my husband and I diverted during a boring drive through Texas and Arkansas.

I probably should mention at this point that my spouse is not really a fan of fiction. It's a rare piece of fantasy he'll read. He loved the audiobook and the characters as much as I did.

Can you read (or in this case) listen to this book without reading Bloodshot? Absolutely! But I ordered the first book in this series as soon as I got home. The spouse is planning on listening with me.

Hellbent is not the first ebook I have had read to me via Brilliance Audio and it certainly will not be the last. The quality of their recordings and the readers Brilliance selects has consistently impressed both my husband and me. If you're expecting some boring narration, you're in for a big surprise. Natalie Rose is a consummate voice artist. Every character has a distinctly different voice listeners can recognize without any tagging. This is definitely not the old-style ebook that would put you to sleep at the wheel.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, June 2012

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