Don’t Switch Voice Talent in the Middle of a Series

You know, the wordier cousin of ‘don’t switch horses in the middle of the stream.’

If you listen to audiobooks, of course the reader is important. Their pacing, inflection, and interpretation of the material set the stage along with the actual words they’re reading. Some readers are iconic, some are annoying. A bad reader can make a book not worth listening to.

The powers that be opted to change readers between books 2 and 3 of the Red Cell Series and I thought it was for the better, at first, but then…

In Red Cell Seven [yes, that’s an affiliate link, if someone is masochistic enough to buy the book after this not-exactly-a-review], book 2 in the series, we meet a big bad that carries us through to book 3. I don’t recall if the Gadanz family was definitively identified by ethnicity, but I got the impression (from the family names) that they were vaguely Eastern European in origin. The reader did nothing to dispell this notion, especially with his pronunciation of Jacob as Ya-kob. So imagine my surprise when the reader of Book 3 voices Gadanz as a sinister Slowpoke Rodriguez (that would be the cousin of Speedy Gonzalez, for those who don’t remember their Looney Toons). Someone didn’t do their homework!

But that wasn’t my only complaint about the rest of the series (like it would be that simple, hah!).

Book 2 left me with character whiplash. Not just from the dumping of all sorts of players into the mix (though there were a lot of moving parts, or should I say targets) in this one. No, it was the waffling they did on their positions, like they didn’t even know their own mind. One presumes that the Frey had it planned out (not a given, but you always hope), but you couldn’t tell it by the characters. And while you can get away with a reveal or two (dun-dun-DUN) but I lost count how many characters switched position or motivation how many times.

Finally, in Kodiak Sky, came the biggest annoyance of any series: the giant inconsistency.

The following could be considered a spoiler, I suppose, but not much of one. You’ve been warned, in any case.

In book 3, Karen is said to know a little bit about Red Cell Seven because Jack told her some of it, but she didn’t know a lot. Uh, wait just a minute. In book 1, when Jack goes off to solve the mystery of Troy’s death, Jack tracks Karen down as her fiance died in similar circumstances to Troy. She, in turn, has a letter from Troy telling her to go to her late fiance’s family’s cabin up north (I don’t remember which M-state it was located in and don’t care enough to go look it up), where he (Troy) has hidden the story of Red Cell Seven and it’s believed betrayal by one of the higher-up members. It’s supposedly a pretty comprehensive missive. And Karen read it before Jack even did.

And that’s about where I would have checked out, but for that I was driving and it was better than the static-y morning shows that I could have switched to while on the highway. Instead I finished the blasted trilogy and, frankly, I’d well rid of it.

I can’t, in good conscience, recommend the series, even if you are his target audience. These are but a few of the annoyances, though they are the most glaring. It wasn’t so bad that I just couldn’t make myself finish the series, but it was more just to have something on and save me the trouble of finding a new, better book to listen to.

Hopefully my next read/listen will be more rave-worthy, right?

 

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