- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 4 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
- Audible.com Release Date: February 23, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01C3FMN9K
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Family of Lies: Sebastian Audiobook – Unabridged
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Do you like fantasy? If so, that’s good, because I think that might be necessary. This is based in a magical world with wizards, the fey, trolls, and other magical beings. There is little-to-no-explanation or exposition about the world and all the magical beings, so you have to either go in with some idea of fairies and incubi, or just take a relaxed “go with the flow” feeling.
What this reminded me of? Argent’s style, especially with its crowds of characters, reminded me a lot of Diana Wynne Jones' books. Jones, who wrote a truckload of awesome YA fantasy books, also would often toss you into the deep end of the pool with little explanation, and you just had to swim through her imagination and magical worlds.
Argent’s style, especially MC Sebastian, who is quick with an insult, grouchy (yet secretly kind) and loves books, reminded me also of Megan Derr’s works, and other fantasy works from Less Than Three. If you like fantasy, and stories like Derr’s Dance in the Dark or Isabella Carter’s Dragon Slayer, this may also work well for you too. (I’m personally a big fan of both those books.)
What was harder for me? This book is CROWDED. Sebastian has, like, nine siblings? Plus his parents, the kids of some siblings, the partners of other siblings, his romantic interest, the prince (who is gloriously persistent against Sebastian’s grouchiness), the prince’s parents, the castle guards, some villains, LOTS of people. It took a while to sort through, and because there are a lot, I didn’t always feel connected, and at times, they just felt like listed names. I sound like one of the heartless villains, but if I could have removed 3-4 of Sebastian’s siblings, I would have been happier, although his family would not since even when they’re devising poisons for each other, they really do love each other.
The amount of characters and how there was not a lot of explanation were probably the hardest parts for me. I was more frustrated in the beginning, but then I got into the “go with the flow” vibe, and like Sebastian in the story, I warmed to this frenetic world and its devious (but loving) characters, especially Sebastian, who feels like he can never let down his shields, but then he meets his match with the tireless Turren. (I have such a soft spot for those who can wear down grouches!)
When I knew I really dug this book? I have two commute choices—the twenty minute express bus that is usually too crowded to sit or the 40 minute slower bus that leaves at erratic times but you can always get a seat. (Great for reading!) And I found myself making sure I could take the slow bus so I can spend 40 more minutes reading about what will happen to Sebastian next. After wading in, I was HOOKED, and really enjoying the story, the emerging romance, and even the crowded dinner table at Sebastian’s house. (It’s also nicely long! At over 300 pages or 100,000 words, so I was able to enjoy a few commutes with this one!)
If you’re a big fantasy fan, you may also really dig this. Heads-up that it can be confusing, and there are a lot of people running around, but within it, there’s a sweet romance about a young magical man, and his tenacious, ever hopeful prince.
Would I read more? Well, my jury is out. Sebastian was definitely my fave character, so I would be up for reading more with him, but I didn't feel much for other potential romantic leads.
I think Argent did a fun job and is an author I want to keep tabs on. You may also dig this one too.
Oh man, this is really a wonderful, unique story. Not like any fantasy book I have ever read. If you are a fan of the Nightrunner series, you will probably enjoy this. The Orwell family is a wonderful bunch of crazy, bordering on psychotic, people. There are 10 siblings and two crazy parents; a wizard and a fey. Sebastian is the youngest and hiding a secret curse; this is why he wears an enchanted hood. The siblings bickering is half the fun of this book in my opinion. It is witty and sarcastic dialogue and to an outsider it sounds like they loathe each other. However, when a threat to their family emerges, the reader experiences exactly how much they love each other and the lengths they will take to keep each other safe. Alongside this storyline is a really sweet enemies to lover romance between Sebastian and the Crown Prince. Their bickering is also very entertaining; especially during their first time having sex; so awkward. I also really enjoyed the Royal family, especially Queen Anne, the bad assed warrior wizard of the family; that was a really nice addition to the story. The story gives us a wonderful HEA and I hope there will be more with this crazy family.
The narrator does a really good job, although I thought his voice for 19 year old Sebastian seemed older than warranted. Also some of the voices blended together. But none of this took away from my enjoyment of this story.
Yes, one of the plot points is that the main character who wears a hood in public is not ugly but "magically" beautiful, so he doesn't get described. But I couldn't tell how old anyone was, how far apart the towns were, how far apart the countries were, what the countryside looked like, what the weather was like. I didn't particularly like Sebastian, the main character. He makes a lot of snarky remarks, very immature. The Prince was an idiot, falling in love with Sebastian as a child (or maybe adulescent because there's no cue on age). If they're both going to live for a couple hundred years, what's the rush to marry? Screw around for a while. Royalty does it all the time. And they're gay, no surprise pregnancies. Although I do wonder what the Prince is going to do to get an heir for the throne. I disliked that although the Prince got stabbed and poisoned, he was never in real danger because the royal wizard was protecting him. I'm not sure what the theme of the book was because a search for a magical artifact got thrown into the weak love story. So overall I was disappointed and frustrated.