- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 4 hours and 11 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Kyle Robert Shultz
- Audible.com Release Date: July 20, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07423DQWS
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Beast of Talesend: Beaumont and Beasley, Book 1 Audiobook – Unabridged
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If I had to sum up Kyle Robert Shultz' book, The Beast of Talesend in three words, those are the ones I would choose.
But, thankfully, I do not have to keep my review of this delightful tome to a mere three words. Isn't that just fabulous? Therefore, you will now get a more thorough review. Lucky you!
IMG_1666Nick Beasley is a private investigator who lives in the Afterlands, in 1922 E.A. (Ever After). It has been approximately that long since the last "happily ever after" and magic is far less common now. In fact, Nick has made a pretty fair name for himself debunking all sorts of magical hoaxes and proving that magic more or less doesn't even exist... perhaps it never did.
But his perspective on that... and everything else... is about to change.
I loved every page of this short novel. It had a hint of that 1920s, black and white, "Dragnet" or "Kojak" sort of feel to it. It was even told in that sort of matter-of-fact, first person sort of way that just has a very dry sense of humor to it.
Things I loved:
1. The characters. For such a short read (I think it took me about two hours to complete), the characters really spring off the pages. Nick is this grumpy, old-before-his-time, protective big brother who is sort of used to being right all the time. But he's got a heart of gold and he cares about people. That's the whole reason he is working so hard to prove that magic doesn't exist: he's seen too many people hurt by scam artists. Then there's the Lady Cordelia, who is the polar opposite of Nick. She is impetuous and almost obnoxious in her brashness, but her "jump first, look later" nature is born of an absolute confidence in who she is and her own skills (and she really is pretty good at things) that you can't help but admire her. Crispin is Nick's younger brother, and at first he comes across as sort of your typical lazy lay-about who can't hold down a job... but he is more capable than even he knows, and he is loyal to a fault.
2. The crime-drama aspects of the story. I love crime shows and detective-type stories. So those aspects of the story intrigued me and made me want to discover "whodunit" along with the characters.
3. The humor. Oh my goodness, the humor! This book is just dripping with snarky, tongue-in-cheek, dry humor. There were lines that made me chuckle on almost every page. And there was at least one moment where I could not even keep reading, I was laughing so hard. That is a huge win, in my book. I love a story that makes me laugh.
4. The world. I love the idea of all the fairy tales living along together in the same world, and this one was just so amusingly put together. With places like "Grimmany" and the "Palace of Villeneuve" scattered across the Afterlands, there were plenty of nods to the originals mingled together with entertaining puns to keep me begging for more stories set in this world.
Things I didn't love:
Uuuuummmmm.... I'm supposed to balance out the raving from above here, right? I mean...
Nope. Can't think of anything. Except maybe that it was too short.
And... that's about it.
I will definitely be buying the sequel(s) and reading more from this author. If you enjoy crime shows, a writing style that hearkens back to the days of Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, mixed up fairy-tales, puns, hilarity, and unlikely heroes... this is a book you NEED to go get a copy of right now!
Five extremely well-deserved dragon eggs
There's plenty of both humor and action. While a number of classic B&tB story elements are quite recognizably present, how Nick gets cursed, and the heroine's role and relationship to her father, not to mention the rose, are NOT the predictable standards. This is certainly not a simple, HEA, true-love's-kiss romance; it's about stopping one bad guy, and setting up for future adventures — which I'm looking forward to reading. N.b., the creature Nick becomes is more or less the typical Beast from Disney et al, but I've got to say that the other Beasts the rose fully transforms (not giving details, i.e., spoilers!) are freaky — if this story were filmed with realistic FX, they'd be scary!
The writing and editing quality is high. I only caught one extra "the" and one conjugation error ("took" in place of "taken"). There are a number of clever little incidentals referencing the fairytale genre in general and various well-known stories in particular, such as what KRS named the kingdoms/languages (for example, Contefais, which is essentially the French for Fairytale) — and not-so-incidentals, like the dangerously mad, but useful, Mirror.
I didn't write this review immediately after finishing the book, so I may remember something else I intended to comment on. If so, I'll come back and add it. If you're looking for some fractured-fairytale magical suspense, though, you won't regret reading about Beaumont & Beasley.
I personally have mixed reactions to the major rewriting of all the fairy tales so that everything is different than what we remember with many of the characters doing bad things. I am a romantic and like the Disney version of the fairy tales with the happy endings. I don't like the Grimm's versions either. I know there is a huge audience for the darker retellings though and Kyle Shultz has written his series opener very well. Even though some of the magic and action in the story confused me or I didn't like it, after reading "Lady Cordelia's Last Days", I understand the world better and I really do like the relationship between Nick and Cordelia and want to spend more time with them so I have purchased the next book in the series and will be reading it.
Sex - none
Language - none
Violence - some non-graphic battles using both magic and physical force, gun shots
Religion - none
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