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.