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I have now finished the seventh book in the House of Night Series, "Burned" and I think (finally) my desire to read more and more is waning - reasons why? Well let me explain...
Seven books on, we are following the same gang with a few amendments here and there. Following straight on from the dramatic end to "Tempted" (of which I won't go in to as I'll probably get told off for spoiling things) Zoey's soul has shattered and she has gone to the other world. For all intents and purposes, she is dead - although her soul, spirit, whatever you want to call it is wandering free until someone can work out a way to save her.
Queue Stark. Stark is a late addition to the gang at the House of Night and although he has had several ups and downs, it is only in the last book that we really see him take a step into the foreground in terms of important roles. Stark - who has taken it upon himself via an oath to become Zoey's guardian - is beside himself with guilt for not protecting her from what happened with Kalona. Therefore to redeem himself he is determined to bring Zoey back from the other world, despite the risk that she may come back a changed person in terms of her feelings for him. With the help of Stevie-Rae and Aphrodite, Stark figures out a way to get Zoey back even though it puts him in great danger.
IN the meantime, Stevie-Rae is having her own issues. Her (quite frankly bizarre) relationship with Kalona's half-bird half-man son is still going strong and now she has to try and keep secrets from her friends and her boyfriend whilst she figures out what she is going to do.
*** Audio books ***
So let me tell you how I found all these goings-on. Firstly, as you will see from this category, I had this book as an audio book on my iPod. This is the first time I have ever done this, as it was suggested to me by my fitness-nut best mate that I give it a go to keep me less bored in the gym/running. However, I didn't find the distraction a good one. The American voice of the narrator put me on edge a bit (couldn't help it, maybe it's just the American accent) making the sometimes cringey characters even more cringey in my head. They sounded bad enough when I had created my own pictures of them, but with someone else putting their spin on it, it seemed even worse.
Secondly, I found myself drifting off and thinking of other things. I have to admit now this may be due to my level of fitness; after pushing myself more and more on the treadmill, I realise that I may not be one of those clever women who can multi-task; listening and taking in a story whilst running and gargling my heart in my throat is clearly not a skill I've mastered.
Lastly, it just took so bloody long to get through! Again this may be the fact that it's an audio book which I clearly didn't love but the beauty of these stories up until this point was that they were a quick, entertaining read. I think I was in the gym for 2-3 months every day before I got anywhere near finishing the story. I suppose that's good value for money!
*** And the rest? ***
Now that I've got my gripes about Audio books out of the way, I shall attempt to give you the rest of my opinion on the book.
The parts that I did find interesting were that for once, the story was told in several different voices (although hard to distinguish with one voiced narrator..sorry! Last mention!) Zoey at times seems a little self absorbed with all her boy trouble and it was at least nice to see the point of view of Stevie-Rae, Aphrodite, Stark and even Rephaim for once. As I have mentioned, I found the whole Stevie-Rae/Rephaim story a bit disturbing but towards the end of the book I found some of the elements around Rephaim and their relationship a bit easier to swallow.
However, this is possibly my only highlight to this story. I found it drawn out and frankly quite dull. This book seems to have totally pulled away from the original premise, and if I hadn't read any of the other books, I would be hard pushed to know it was about vampires. I can't even say there is plenty of drama - I felt that a lot of the time I was listening to drawn out chapters where there was no story or character development. The sections with Zoey in the other world were also completely boring and long winded.
*** Overall? ***
I don't think I need to spell it out anymore, I found this a really poor book to listen to and I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I won't be reading the next one. I have a colleague at work who has suggested that the next book is much better, but unless I am low on reading material, I will be staying well clear.
As for audio books, who knows? Maybe hearing a book where I don't know anything about the characters will help. I'll perhaps give it one more shot!
*** Additional Info: ***
Audio book bought from Amazon for £8.99 - now selling for £12.10!