Monday, July 8, 2013

Audio Addendum: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy
~Grave Mercy~
His Fair Assassin
Book 1
By Robin LaFevers
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Original Review

Approximate Reading Time: 6 Hours

Audiobook Review
Read by Erin Moon
Length: 14.3 Hours
Listened at 2.5x Speed

A couple things bothered me about this particular recording. Upon first reading the book a year ago, I was pleased at the historical tone of the writing, how characters and even the narrator were historically accurate in speaking without any contractions. This recording, however, throws in contractions at almost every single instance, shortening "will not" to "won't", "cannot" to "can't" and "that is" to "that's" regardless of who is speaking. Perhaps the director chose to shorten things to have it better 'fit in' with other YA novels, but I for one was disappointed that the historical nature of the writing was pushed aside.

Also, the recording suffered from very long pauses at every track break, which I noticed even upon listening at twice normal speed. The sample from the Audible page has a pause at exactly the same place, so I can only assume digital copies would possess these breaks as well. This is the first audiobook where I've had this issue, and as such I don't understand why the track breaks were added or not fixed. I don't think the issue is so bad as to ruin the entire production, but I do think it detracts from the immersion, having unscripted/unwritten pauses all over the place, sometimes even in the middle of paragraphs.

As with most audiobooks, I was thankful of the helpful pronunciations given, especially with the many, many French names, locations, and swears. I'll admit that the sudden French accents for these words was jarring at first, especially with completely American/English-sounding narration, but as the book wore on it was less of a jolt and more fluid.

Overall, this recording had its fair share of oddities, but on the whole I'd still have to recommend it for any fan of audiobooks. I don't know that the director's choices in transcription and pausing would win over new fans of the audio experience, but for those accustomed to the medium and interested in the story, I think it's worthwhile to give it a try.