"I want to tell you something," Jake said against my ear. His face was wet.
"I've always been grateful - even when I was married, even when I thought it was over between us - that it was you I fell in love with."
And I've always been grateful that one of my very first forays into M/M was Adrien English, because this series is perfection. It punches you in the heart and fills you up with hope all at the same time. And this ending? This is proof of an author who sat down, planned out the story she wanted to write, and then wrote it. Yes, we keep asking her a thousand times a month to please give us just one more Adrien/Jake book. Yes, we keep nudging her with what ifs in the hopes of getting just a little snippet more, and we comb through her annual Christmas Codas looking for this pairing like a person dying of thirst searches for a trickle of water. Because we're desperate for more, but really, this series doesn't need more. It's complete. It gives us two complex characters, with all their good and bad qualities, all the ways they support and hurt each other, and lets us follow along as they work things out, overcome their obstacles and come out stronger on the other side. It's a fantastic series, as stark and bared to the soul as the characters within it.
Also, it gave us Mr. Tompkins, and who doesn't love Mr. Tompkins. ;)
Narration - As I've been saying, Chris Patton is the perfect voice for Adrien, and his Jake did grow on me, though I'm still not completely satisfied with it. I just wish he had more range for the other characters, because it was hard sometimes to keep track of who was saying what. I wouldn't not get another audiobook by Patton if it's one I really wanted to listen to, but he's not a narrator I'd seek out either.
Damn you, Jake Riordan! *shakes fist*
This book hurts so bad. It's the one where that Thing happens, where Jake's a giant poophead (more so than usual) and frelling Guy Snowden, spawn of Satan himself - and I mean that mostly literally - makes his first appearance. UGH! I just can't with Guy. And I can't with Jake.
Adrien's in shock. He needs a blanket. Actually, Jake could probably use one too, but he's not getting one. For reasons.
Anyway, I'm not going to write a big long review because y'all already know why this is a life-ruining, joy-crushing, hope-shattering masterpiece. 5 stars for this bloody story.
Chris Patton's narration continues to be... interesting. Adrien is perfection, and Jake's grown on me. Lisa sometimes has an accent, sometimes doesn't, whereas Guy's accent - which is meant to be fake - is actually pretty decent and consistent. So I know it's not the narrator's inability to do an accent. I have to wonder if he knew from the start that Lisa is British, or just found out when it's specifically stated in this book and didn't catch onto the verbal clues before. Though Josh worked directly with the narrator on these so, yeah, I don't know what happened there. It's strange. Patton's range is pretty limited for the other characters too, but I can forgive a lot of that because Adrien is so perfect and obviously the most important voice here next to Jake's. Still, the accent thing is annoying me now, so 3.5 stars for narration.
Finished the first Cadfael book. Have heard of this series (of course) but never read any of the books. It was great! Will definitely pick up others in time – like when waiting on another series book to come out, or just nothing in the old TBR pile is sparking. Apparently there are 20 books in this series, and everyone recommends reading them in order, so this is where you start.
Fantastic story, wonderfully written. No wonder Brother Cadfael is one of the most popular historical mystery series, even spinning off a television series (I think). I may need to track those down too.
Within the first few pages of this first book of the series, I knew Brother Cadfael would be a character that I’d want to follow through many more stories.
What I liked:
Peters captures what I suspect to be a lot of historical/ cultural nuances in simple, effective ways. There’s a huge amount of research behind this, but we’re not drawn out into these huge sweeping encyclopedia entries in an attempt to build this distant time and place around the modern reader. We jump straight in as a fly on the wall, watching and listening, wholly transported. I also liked that the religious aspects of the story were handled in a sympathetic, but I think also very honest way. The mystery itself wasn’t overly complicated, but that’s part of what made it ring true to me.
Brother Cadfael is also a very interesting character. Peters obviously wrote this with an eye toward several more books, with many hints and winks at his colorful past.
A big recommend from me if you’re into history, mystery, or even books like Game of Thrones.
Deftly blended, this combination of an alternate world history with an English country house mystery opens in 1949, but it’s not exactly the 1949 or England we know. Eight years earlier a group of conservative, anti-semitic politicians known as the “Farthing set” made peace with Nazi Germany, securing Britain’s borders after most of continental Europe had fallen to Hitler. The Germans continue to fight the Soviets, the American president is isolationist Charles Lindbergh, and the Jews left in Europe are living a nightmare.
Against this background, the aristocratic, politically powerful Farthing set comes together for a country weekend. The daughter of one of the couples, Lucy Kahn, is deeply in love and happily married to David, a Jewish man, so she’s surprised that her parents have invited them to join this gathering at her old family home. If it was up to her they’d skip it, she doesn’t like this group and they see her as a race traitor, but David thinks the invitation is a gesture of reconciliation so they go. But when they wake up the first morning they discover that a powerful politician has been murdered in his bed, and it quickly becomes clear that whoever did this is trying to frame David.
The story alternates between two very different voices. Lucy’s chapters chat to readers in the first person, while the point of view of Inspector Carmichael, sent by Scotland Yard to investigate the crime, is told through the third person. Carmichael is a principled, thoughtful man who has secrets of his own--he’s a homosexual. Though he’s working diligently to uncover the truth, he’s being pressured by his superiors to just arrest David and close the case.
Jo Walton’s versatility amazes me. The first books I read by her involved a simulation of Plato’s Republic, set up by the goddess Athena on the ancient island of Atlantis, but this is obviously a very different book, and she’s written it from two highly contrasting points of view. Tightly plotted, the tension builds quickly and continuously in Farthing, so by the time I was 80% in my heart was pounding and the book was impossible for me to put down. It’s the first book in a trilogy that I look forward to continuing once my adrenaline comes back down to normal levels.