The roaring twenties setting, a speakeasy, some magic, two brooding female leads, werewolves, and Federal officers. Hmm. Okay, let’s go. But then the narrator started talking and–*shudders*–yeah, it’s not good. Soft spoken, weird accent, and not enough character in the voices makes this story a tough “read.” But I finished it and was pretty disappointed.
On top of the–how do I put this nicely?–less than desirable narrator, the story is written in 1st person present tense. At first, I was really excited by this, because some of my sci-fi stories (that I’ve attempted to get published) have been written in 1st-person present. And you know what? I hate it. I hate it a lot. So much, I want to go back and translate the old work to 3rd past. So, this whole story is something of a train wreck (though I don’t mind 1st-person at all. I like it quite a bit, actually).
Now maybe Pauline and Madam M., the two female leads, are well-known characters in Vaughn’s other works, and fan will just be able to jump right in, but I was bored, found it difficult to buy-in to the plot, and was waiting for the scheme to unfold. If it did unfold, it was so subtle that I didn’t notice. Next thing you know the story was over and while some interesting things were revealed, I found myself relieved it was over, so I could move on.
Unless you’re a fan of Carrie Vaughn already, I think you’re pretty in the clear to skip “The Roaring Twenties”. But I guess it should be added that maybe reading this would be different than listening to the audiobook. The narrator really, really drove this one into the ground. All the way into the territory of super-boring and borderline unlistenable. Maybe her approach was period–really trying to grasp the 20′s / noir theme–but if she nailed it, I would never know. *shrugs*