Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: The Speaker by Traci Chee

The Speaker by Traci Chee. Sea of Ink and Gold #2. Unabridged audiobook on 11 compact discs. 14 hours, 12 minutes. Read by Kim Mai Guest. Listening Library, November, 2017. 9780525495277. (Review from audio borrowed from the public library. Own the hardcover.)

Teen Tuesday features The Speaker by Traci Chee. Astute TMS Readers may recall that I featured The Storyteller a couple of weeks back on a Waiting-on-Wednesday post. I was reminded that I had not read The Speaker when I realized that the conclusion to the trilogy was on the horizon and borrowed the audiobook from the public library. No second book slump here! 

Archer and Sefia are on the run. Archer is tormented by nightmares of his time as prisoner of the impressors, where he was forced to kill or be killed. Sefia is trying to plan their next move. They stumble upon a gang of impressors and decide to fight them and free the boys that are being held. The boys pledge their loyalty to Archer who vows to hunt down each impressor crew and free their captives. As Archer's fame as leader of the freed fighters grows, Sefia worries that Archer might be the warrior the Guard is looking for. 

Plenty of threads are tied together here as the reader learns more about other colorful characters like, Captain Reed and Jules, and Tannen (spelling?) and even Sefia's parents' stories. But just as those connections are made, new threads emerge to follow, new mysteries and new betrayals. There are also new characters introduced and some deaths to mourn. Yes, there were tears. Sefia's world is dark and brutal. There is a lot of violence and one wonders how either Sefia or Archer will emerge unscathed.

Readers who love rich fantasy will have no trouble immersing themselves into The Reader. I do not recommend that you start with The Speaker, the story, saga really, is too involved to truly appreciate without having read the first book.

Kim Mai Guest is becoming a favorite narrator of mine. She has a nice range of voices and pacing. She can also ramp up the excitement and not sacrifice the clarity of her reading. That said, I think I will be reading The Storyteller with my eyes. As I mentioned in my review of The Reader, there is a story within a story that is sometimes not obvious when listening. Also, there's a map! Maps are helpful.Then there's the issue of the spelling of character names. Finally, there were plenty of times that I was so surprised that, were I reading with my eyes, I would've flipped the pages back to reread. Now, you might argue that I can rewind the audio and, sometimes I do, but it's not quite the same. 

Even though I love to read arcs and new releases, sometimes it's nice to be a bit behind in my reading. The reveals in The Speaker have me panting for the next book. Now, I don't have to wait too long!

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