As I previously mentioned, I got this book for my grandson, Jake, a big fan of Timothy Failure books. I'm a big fan of Craig Robinson, so I figured, Why not? I think Jake the Fake is funnier than Timothy Bottom books which I found boring. This is a Middle School book! If you have a middle schooler, I recommend it for the comedy.
I'm on page 46 of Jake the Fake Keeps It Real: I got this book for my grandson Jake because of the title and because it reminded me of one of his favorite books, the Timmy Failure series which he loves. But when I got home i noticed one of the authors names was Craig Robinson. I thought could this be the actor Crqig Robinson from The Office? He's one of my all time favorite actors. I found out now it is, it is! So I'm reading it before I send it to my Jake. So far, I find it a lot funnier than Timothy Failure.
I realize now, the problem coming up later that has to do with reading two similar short story collections at the same time - going back and forth between them - is that I won’t remember which collection was better. everything is going to merge together. but then again, I have not disliked a story yet, and my hazy feeling is that both collections are sort of evening out, in terms of number of stories that are (a) good, (b) great, or (c) beyond great. shoulda kept notes on the stories, I guess...but blame the optimist in me: if enjoyment level stays where it is, or spikes, well we’re looking at two 4-star collections, overall...at least. loving the Weird West!
There is a lot going on in this story! Rolland has fallen on hard times since his mom died and his dad disappeared. He’s been trying to finish out highschool on his own, living out of a car when he can’t hang at a friend’s house. His pride keeps him from telling people his true situation, that, and a healthy sense of self-preservation. It’s always good to not appear vulnerable. Right away, I was cheering for Rolland and wishing him well on whatever horrible undertakings he might be forced into.
Then Time Knights! Yes, I think they need their own theme music. They swoop in and change his life forever, which includes the unfortunate permanent demise of his car and all his possessions. Sephone, Tina, and the old Prof Turtledove try to ease him into his new life, but there’s just no easy way to rewrite your personal history, is there? Rolland has little time to absorb the truth about his parents before fate sweeps them up into a dangerous adventure that involves Andrew Jackson. Yep. Prepare yourself for some fascinating US history (and not the boringly bland stuff you had to learn in school).
I did find most of the ladies and their interactions with Rolland to be silly. Tina dives right into some pre-teen-ish lust thing that just comes off awkward and weird. Meanwhile Rolland is having his own lustful thoughts about Sephone. Later Joan joins the mix, but she’s totally worthy (and great at hand to hand combat). Then we get Blaisy (spelling?), a Native American princess who pulls her own weight. These last two ladies made up for the short comings of the other ladies. I just couldn’t see Tina being the successful leader of anything.
Andrew Jackson is written as a villain in this tale and he’s right up there with the Time Villain (cue evil theme music) Edward Vilth. I will say that Jackson is the better written villain as we get details about his mindset and lack of consideration for others. Tho that hypnosis bit was silly. Vilth is indeed a bad guy but he’s covered all in shadows and doesn’t really stand out at any point in the story.
Towards the end, I did get a little battle fatigue. There’s a lot of back and forth with alliances, new enemies around every corner, but, hey, wait, maybe they could be temporary allies as we kick some butt over here, but then yet another person is kidnapped and held hostage while the others try to rescue them or are forced into doing things their mom told them not to do. So, yes, the story could have been shortened up a bit in this area and it would be more exciting.
All told, there’s a decent story here with a blend of scifi and fantasy going on to propel the time travel. 3.5/5 stars.
The Narration: This is where this audiobook fell down for me. Williams decided to narrate his own book and with some polishing, he could manage it. He has distinct voices for each character most of the time. His female character voices are feminine. His verbal pacing is good too. However, there’s several repeated half sentences, mispronounced words, mouth noises, and why is he pronouncing Rolland like ‘Rawlins’ most of the time? There are significant issues with the recording as well. Sometimes it sounds tinny, sometimes like it was recorded in a cavern. There’s these odd pop sounds (and I’m not referring to the finger snaps) that I think might be from bumping the mic. Then there’s the rustling sounds (paper I think). Also, irregular long pauses between chapters too. If this book was narrated by a professional, it would be so much better. As it was, the narration/recording made it a chore to finish. 2.5/5 stars.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Brett Matthew Williams. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.