Mini Review: Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost 🎧

About mini reviews:

Maybe you’re not an audio book person, or maybe you are. I provide mini reviews of audio books and give a recommendation on the format. Was this book improved by a voice actor? Would a physical copy have been better? Perhaps they complement each other? Read on. . .

Reckoning is a novella I picked up because I wanted something fun and spooky (look at that cover!) and short for my commute. I’m getting exhausted with eight-hour audiobooks; my attention span doesn’t want to go for that long, it seems. Jeaniene Frosts is not an author I’ve read before, but I learned that Reckoning is a prequel novella to a series referred to as the Night Huntress Universe. The protagonist of the huntress series is unknown to me. Reckoning doesn’t star a woman, but a male vampire hitman named Bones, who is in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. He is approached by a Cajun ghoul who claims the undead queen of the city wants Bones to destroy two serial killers in the city eating humans without the queen’s permission.

But Bones isn’t from New Orleans; he’s British. The queen isn’t his queen. And yet he decides to listen to the loyal henchman and track the serial killers, who have already been identified: two ghastly ghouls who lived in a plantation house and owned slaves when they were alive. Bones enlists the help of human hair dresser named Rebecca, who saw the ghouls just before they snatched a party-goer off the street in front of the salon.

Now, I couldn’t stop laughing at the way audiobook narrator Tavia Gilbert read Bones’s accent. He’s British, which of course demands that he should be the most British-sounding person in the world. I mean, this wasn’t far off from Dick van Dyke’s version of Bert in Mary Poppins. But not only did Gilbert’s reading make me laugh, Frost’s writing added to it. Did Bones really need to call everyone “mate” and constantly use “bloody” as an adjective? Well, he is a vampire, so okay on the bloody.

But then enters a French vampire, Romeo, trying to assassinate Bones with a crossbow that has silver-tipped arrows. Why have I never heard of a vampire that can’t stand silver? Those are werewolves, right? Romeo is even funnier. Every sentence he utters ends with “mon ami.” And Gilbert makes him the most French-sounding person in the world. I didn’t have the text in front of me, but I have wondered if Romeo had words like “zee” instead of “the.”

I laughed and laughed at the utter silliness of a story written by an author who surely has never set food off of continental U.S. According to Frost’s website, she enjoys “. . . traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.” However, I will say the ending touched me. There’s a problem with one of the characters that made me sympathetic, and when we finally meet the undead queen of New Orleans, I loved that she wasn’t just a big, bad vampire: she had been a voodoo practitioner when she was alive and has the deep trauma of thousands of dead New Orleans slaves within her. And they come out of her mouth. Whoa. It was a cool scene! Very creepy.

Pick up Reckoning if you want something short and light. Go into with little expectations other than to have a giggle. I’m honestly not sure if the text or audio version is better, so whatever you think suits your bookish preferences, go for it.

23 comments

    • If I were on a freeway, something like that, I would enjoy long audiobooks more. However, in the city, as much as I have to pay careful attention to what everyone else is doing, it can be hard to focus on an audiobook, too. If it’s a novella-length production, then I don’t have as much info to hold in my head.

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  1. Ugh I think that’s one thing that puts me off audiobooks-I read faster than the narrators would, so it doesn’t feel like a good use of my time. I also don’t drive much, so I’m lucky. My kids school and my work are all about a ten minute jaunt from my house, so I’m not in the car much. And lord knows my house is rarely quiet enough for me to listen to something, until everyone is in bed and I can settle down with my book again 🙂

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      • we have two cars so we drive everywhere, and Calgary isn’t a very public-transit friendly place. I do walk alot of places though, I could technically walk to work but I wouldn’t be able to pick my daughter up from school on time if I had to walk home and pick up the car. I’m hoping when my kids get older they can take public transit so I can walk more!

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        • I would love to live in a place that has phenomenal public transpo. I used to love driving, but then I moved to my current city with the wack-a-doodle driving, and it just stresses me out. I used to drive around to de-stress! Then again, if I relied in public transit and there were another pandemic….

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          • When I lived in the country as a teenager I would borrow my Dad’s car and drive around to de-stress, and I know for a fact he does that still. Living in inner city now, driving is definitely not going to help with that haha

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  2. I’d argue that Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney accent is actually the least and not the most British-sounding British accent in the world (but your comment made me laugh)! Lin Manuel Miranda ran him pretty close in the sequel, though I think that might have been an homage to Van Dyke.

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    • LOL! What I was trying to say is the Van Dyke’s accent is so bad because he was trying to sound “very British.” It’s the stuff of legend in the U.S. — and a benchmark — for how to do a British accent incorrectly.

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  3. I totally dig audiobooks, long drives or cleaning around the house is much better with stories read aloud. I enjoy hearing it when the author reads that’s pretty cool because you can get the intention behind it a bit more… or when you get someone like Morgan Freeman’s voice as a narrator the story totally engages you! My kids like it too they particular enjoyed Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan audio version a lot.

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    • I know in the U.S. everyone wants Benedict Cumberbatch to read everything. I like when the author reads their own work if it is a memoir, typically. People like Tiffany Haddish and Jonathan Van Ness!

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  4. YES EXACTLY. THAT IS HOW BONES TALKS ALL THE TIME. And the craziest part? His best friend is referred to as the MOST BRITISH VAMPIRE EVER. (Spade is a Duke, so obviously, his Britishness is more British). Now you know why I cannot stop reading these books. They are so bad. And yet so readable. And yet so silly. And yet so sexy. And yet so…. Yeah. It’s a lot.

    Also, apparently Bones was born in England and shuttled off to Australia as a criminal. So his accent should really be more Australian than British… That comes up often in the books, you might be surprised to hear. Everything must be shared a billion times.

    I didn’t know that this novella existed. I’ll check it out, eventually. We’re always told Bones was a bounty hunter before he meets Cat, but told and shown are very different.

    That said, I’m glad I haven’t listened to any of these. Over the stop accents always shut me down.

    Hehehe. I’m glad you read this just so I don’t feel so alone now.

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    • LOL! I’m glad we now have a Frost book to share in our repertoire. 🙂

      The voice narrator definitely used a British accent, nothing even close to Australian. I know people’s accents can change a bit based on where they live, but I’ve also heard that once your accent is established early in life, you can never be rid of it forever. I’m not sure how true that is. I think I learned that on a true crime documentary about a French guy pretending he was a man who went missing as a boy years ago — in Texas.

      Bones is doing bounty work in this novella, but it seems like he gets caught in loads of nonsense. I even forgot he was a bounty hunter for a while, because he gets distracted by this and that.

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  5. Having listened to the entire night huntress series and many other audiobooks, I think Tavia Gilbert did a fantastic job of bringing each character to life. I also completely understand from that series why Bones would not refuse Marie Laveau. I am a fan of audiobooks because I am able to accomplish tasks, long drives to my kids sports events, and I’m extremely busy having 4 kids do online learning right now. That being said, had I not read the night huntress series I would find this review extremely off-putting and would not choose to listen to this book. I do like Jeaniene Frost’s writing and the reading of her books. I personally will listen to this book based on my previous experiences of listening to her audiobooks and enjoying them.

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    • Another commenter named Jackie B just pointed out that the way the voice narrator in the audiobook reads is pretty much the same as how the books read! I’m glad there are fans of this series (Jackie B has read loads of them), and I’m so thankful you stopped by my blog! 🙂

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    • Thank you! I like to try and look for positives in all books. Usually, I only really “trash” a book in a review if it’s saying derogatory stuff, if it’s utterly unreadable, etc. There’s a reader for every book, and a book for ever reader.

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  6. A potentially spooky read that ends up making you laugh a lot sounds like a good find! Campy supernatural stuff can be great. And the overdone accents in the audio sound like a fun time, content aside!

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      • Oh, that’s interesting! Honestly I probably would’ve loved anything with a good Twilight comparison back in the day. Lately it’s mostly nostalgia for me with Twilight so I’m not sure if I’ve got enough of that reading taste lingering to connect with something new along the same lines, but hey, don’t knock it til you try it, right? I’ll keep the series on my radar. 🙂

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