Audiobook Review: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

26 11 2012

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Read by Emily Bauer

Audible Frontiers

Length: 11 Hrs 20 Min

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

Quick Thoughts: Discount Armageddon is full of all the pulpy goodness you will need for a well balanced entertaining read, including plenty of music video action scenes, cool monsters, Aeslin mice, weapon concealing club clothes, an exotic and infuriating love interest, and wonderful characters both human and other.  Anyone looking for a fun new urban fantasy series to sink their prehensile teeth into should give this one a shot.

Grade: B+

If there is anything that fiction has taught me it’s that I am a pretty boring person, from a boring family, living a relatively boring life. I have no deep dark secret hovering over my soul that may one day come back to haunt me. I am a pretty straight forward human being, perhaps, even, if you would have it, a square. My family isn’t in any way aligned with an ancient order or secret society that has magical powers, or controls the banking industry or hunt monsters. While I am estranged from my father, I am pretty sure he really is my father and is in no way a fairy, werewolf or wizard.  No one in my family has been kidnapped by Orcs, sold their soul to the devil or practiced any sort of black magic. I would never make a very good urban fantasy protagonist. Yet, I have learned a lot of things that I think any urban fantasy protagonist should really learn. If, one day, you discover that your real mother is actually a fairy, or that you were hidden away among normal humans because your biological family is involved in a centuries old blood feud with cross dimensional Lovecraftian horrors, here are a few little tips. First, never utter any phrase like, "Well, at least it can’t get any worse" because, you are an urban fantasy protagonist, it probably will get worse. Secondly, that highly attractive member of the particular sex you find you self attracted to who you think is good looking but has drastically conflicting values, well, the sex will be great, but beware, it may lead to existential angst and probably a knock down, drag out alienating fight right after the first time you two bang. Lastly, this is more of a plea. I know you are trying to save the world from entities preparing to end reality as we know it, but, my insurance doesn’t cover the theft of my automobile and if you decide to toss a werewolf through my window, I will probably have to pay for the repairs. I don’t make a lot of money, so please consider us boring squares that before you act.

Verity Price is a woman of many talents. She is a world class ball room dancer, a skilled free runner, a reality TV personality and trained in various forms of martial arts. She also happens to be a cryptozooligist from a family who hunts dangerous monsters while protecting those not guilty of harming human society from an international cabal set on the extinction of Cryptid species. Oh, did I mention she’s also a waitress at a strip club? Of course, despite her desires to just live a normal life, establishing contacts with the Cryptid community in New York and trying to develop a career in Dance, Verity gets pulled into situation that may blow her cover, put those she is sworn to protect into severe jeopardy and quite possibly, kill her. Oh, and there’s a boy, of course. Discount Armageddon is a novel I had been waiting for for a while, and when I found that it finally had been released in audio form, I snatched it right up. Well, it was definitely worth the wait. I had a heck of a lot of fun listening to Discount Armageddon. Verity Price is the type of character who would scare the stuffing out of me in real life, but is a heck of a lot of fun to read about. Quirky, and sarcastic, with killer skills that will either charm you, or kick you ass, depending on the situation. I always get a little fearful of first books in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal series. Often times, an author will build their world in a heavy handed many, using long bits of exposition to explain the mythology of their universe to the reader. In Discount Armageddon, McGuire assumes that her readers aren’t stupid. She simply lets you know, "Hey, this world has monsters in it" and figures the reader will be smart enough to grasp that. McGuire instead focuses on developing a wide array of fascinating characters, and slowly building her world through there eyes, often dropping amusing hints through her characters. Maguire fills her book full of things that I would usually be deathly afraid may lead to girl cooties, things like Ballroom dancing, kissing, and shoes with various heel sizes, but you know what, she does it in a amusing way that serves as an inoculation for any strain of cooties. Discount Armageddon is full of all the pulpy goodness you will need for a well balanced entertaining read, including plenty of music video action scenes, cool monsters, Aeslin mice, weapon concealing club clothes, an exotic and infuriating love interest, and wonderful characters both human and other.  Anyone looking for a fun new urban fantasy series to sink their prehensile teeth into should give this one a shot.

With my long wait for the audiobook version of this novel, I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I learned it was narrated by Emily Bauer. Bauer is definitely a professional and skilled narrator. She reads with a clear concise style and has a great sense of pacing, particularly during complex actions scenes. Yet, her main narrative voice is always the same flavor of perky young adult. Cast in the right production and she is perfect, yet, she is way too often miscast. She’s wonderful at capturing younger, teenage characters, but will often give older, more complex characters a vapid feel. Casting her for Discount Armageddon wasn’t a horrible choice. Verity has a perky quality to her that Bauer’s voice fits at times, but it far too often fell more into the arena of petulant teenager than independent adult with perkiesque qualities. Where Bauer’s deficiency in the character was most glaring was during the more sultry moments of Verity’s internal dialogue. It just didn’t come off believable to me, seeming less like a woman comfortable in her sexuality than a young girl fantasizing about a boy. My other main complain is in her portrayal of Dominic. Bauer used more of an all purpose exotic tone for Dominic than a cultural specific accent, and at times, made him sound like a bad Monty Python character. All these complaints aside, I know that many people love Bauer, and she gives a solid reading here. She just happens to hit a few of my peevish buttons. Overall, I enjoyed the heck out of this audiobook, and most of my annoyances didn’t really distract from the experience.

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2 responses

27 11 2012
Laurie C

I don’t know if I’ve heard any books read by Emily Bauer, but I just listened to a full-cast audio where the voice of the teenaged boy sounded like a forty-something-year-old, and it was really distracting. I liked the way you styled your review. I felt kind of boring and square after reading a Patricia Briggs graphic novel about a pair of werewolves (Alpha and Omega).

2 12 2012
DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks)

I love Emily Bauer, but only when she’s playing a girl between the ages of 13 and 23.

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