Written by Stacia Kane
Performed by Bahni Turbin

Just listened to this today. The whole thing. Today. For reals, good thing the pups didn’t hafta go out too much.

The names confused me a bit: Chess, Terrible, Bump, Lex, Randy, Doyle, Brain, several Goody peoples, and a couple Elder somethings. Oh, and that other guy, Slog something? And some guy named Tyson who was a host for something?

Whatever. Just ask my bestie, I can’t tell the difference between Charlie Hunnam and Alexander Ludwig, so obviously names are not my thing.

Anywayz, this freebie comes with my Audible subscription, and the blurb sounded intriguing. Like so many books that need to build a complex world with compelling characters, the start was a bit confusing. Afterall, you have to get sufficiently immersed to feel what’s going on.

The author does a good job of balancing show, don’t tell with the expediency of telling. For those who aren’t fiction writers, it’s describing the emotion, such as, “biting her lip while staring at the hem of the boy’s shirt nestled in her tear-stained hands,” versus, “she was upset.”

Albeit sometimes the protagonist’s logical leaps didn’t make any sense to me. Then again, Chess is a drug addicted Church-witch, so it’s pretty safe to say our brains work differently.

This book is a great example of both character development and world building. The audiobook was released in 2010, and takes place in 1997, but is written like a dystopian future kinda thing.

Chess, short for Chessaria, is a fairly high-functioning drug addict. Even the drugs are particular to this world, meaning yet another suite of terms to learn. Funny how many of the reviews on Audible think that terms like “high-functioning” and “addict” are mutually exclusive, like all they know about addiction is those egg sizzling in a frying pan ads.

Also, some of the dialects take a bit of getting used to. “Ain’t know it possible, me,” for “I didn’t know that was possible.” Kind of like a gruff, street, southern, backwoods amalgam, with more of an uneducated foreigner’s cadence than a native speaker with a library card.

And I’m off to listen to book two, Unholy Magic.