Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake by Jonathan Fesmire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Different Sort of Western ...
To start … and I am fan of westerns and I would place the story firmly in the middle of that genre (note there is an extremely wide variance here). If that were all, there really wouldn’t be much to make it standout from the crowd, but this story added a steampunk flare and zombies to make a fusion genre that is just fun to read/listen to (and would be right at home in the tabletop strategy game known as Malifaux by Word Games (which I also play) … which is a round about way of saying that I am probably the target audience to this series (ad why it scores as well as it does). The world-building is pretty basic and even a tad silly, supporting a storyline where a resurrected lawman investigates the illegal used of the “tech” that keeps him alive and is centered in Southern California (Frisco and south) where we have corrupt police and politicians that facilitate and take advance of, the human trafficking of Chinese prostitute … where one such anchors the plot of this specific story as Creed tries to find justify for the woman who died in his arms while also possessing the “magic mechanicals” (the same tech Creed himself has) that both enslave and enhance the Blossoms … the euphemism for indentured prostitutes. As might be expected, there is a Chinese criminal underground that protects this practice, so Creed has his work cut out for him as he tried to get the answers he needs.
The narration is a mixed bag … the individual voices were excellent, but the pacing and enunciation was often awkward and felt unnatural … however, that didn’t really take away much from the enjoyment of the total performance, which was still very fun to listen to.
I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.