Lord Mouse, by Mason Thomas
Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Series: Lords of Davenia, Book One
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Audiobook Release Date: March 10, 2017
Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job.
But that could change.
When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn his back on that much coin—enough to buy a king’s pardon for the murder charge hanging over his head.
Getting Garron out of his tower prison is the easy part. Now, they must escape an army of guardsmen, a walled keep and a city on lockdown, and a ruthless mage using her power to track them. Making matters worse, Mouse is distracted by Garron’s charm and unyielding integrity. Falling for a client can lead to mistakes. Falling for a nobleman can lead to disaster. But Mouse is unprepared for the dangers behind the plot to make Lord Garron disappear.
It’s the rare occasion when I pick up an audiobook of a story I haven’t yet read. Most of the time, I use an audiobook as a companion to my Kindle or paperback versions because I love the story and want the full book experience from written to oral.
It’s also a rare occasion when I don’t check who the narrator is before choosing an audiobook, because no matter how great the book might be, a narrator can make or break a story. A lesson most audiobook listeners have regretfully discovered.
In the case of Lord Mouse, though, I broke from protocol on both these counts and ended up with a big old DNF, something I hate doing because I always want to give a book plenty of opportunity to redeem itself.
So, what happened here?
Firstly, the story takes an inordinate amount of time to start. I mean, this is supposed to be a rescue mission, but before we even get a sniff of adventure, Mouse has to meet with umpteen different people to find the person, who knows the whereabouts of another person, who knows the place where people meet, to discuss the rumors about the place where the Prince is being held. In other words, it takes forever – FOREVER – for things to get started.
Now, if I was reading the book, I would have skimmed over a lot of this stuff to finally get to the meat of the story. But you can’t really do that in an audiobook, so you are forced to listen to each excruciating detail before the adventure portion starts.
Which brings us to the narration.
Full disclosure: Joel Leslie previously narrated one of the worst audiobooks I’ve ever had the displeasure of listening to, so hearing his voice on Lord Mouse was a grim reminder of that book-that-shall-not-be-named. I openly admit that there may have be some narrator bias on my part from the outset, but I determinedly plugged on, hoping to overcome that memory. But between that, the s l o w first half and the many, many accents the narrator employs, not always successfully, listening to this book felt like a punishment. I wish that was an understatement.
Anyway, I pretty much gave up just as Mouse FINALLY gets to Lord Garron because by then I had a) fallen asleep several times while trying to get through the slow parts and b) got annoyed by the narrator’s odd voice and continually dropping his accent.
Look, this audiobook has a lot of great reviews on Audible, so it’s entirely possible that this narrator just doesn’t work for me. Plus, I don’t think this book really lends itself to the audio experience. In fact, I’m very tempted to pick up the Kindle version and read it myself, because I *think* this could be something I could get into. Hey, at least I got through all the preamble already, so I can go straight to the adventure without delay!
If anyone wants to read a more comprehensive review of Lord Mouse (the book only), Elyse wrote up an excellent review here. But for my part, I just cannot recommend the audiobook.
Mason is still just a nerdy teenager, although his hairline and belt length indicate otherwise. When his fingers are not pounding away at a keyboard, they can usually be found holding a video-game controller, plucking away at an electric guitar, or shaking a twenty-sided die during a role-playing game. Mason will take any opportunity to play dress-up, whether through cosplay, Halloween, or a visit to a Renaissance Faire. He pays the bills by encouraging middle school students to explore ideas and make a mess in his science classroom. He and his very patient husband, who has tolerated is geeky nonsense for two decades, love to travel whenever they can, but they spend most of their year residing in the amazing city of Chicago.
You can purchase Lord Mouse from:
Barnes & Noble
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.