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Four Roads Cross
- Craft Sequence Series, Book 5
- Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
- Length: 15 hrs and 56 mins
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Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence chronicles the epic struggle to build a just society in a modern fantasy world.
The great city of Alt Coulumb is in crisis. The moon goddess, Seril, long thought dead, is back - and the people of Alt Coulumb aren't happy. Protests rock the city, and Kos Everburning's creditors attempt a hostile takeover of the fire god's church. Tara Abernathy, the god's in-house Craftswoman, must defend the church against the world's fiercest necromantic firm - and against her old classmate, a rising star in the Craftwork world.
As if that weren't enough, Cat and Raz, supporting characters from Three Parts Dead, are back, too, fighting monster pirates; skeleton kings drink frozen cocktails, defying several principles of anatomy; jails, hospitals, and temples are broken into and out of; choirs of flame sing over Alt Coulumb; demons pose significant problems; a farmers' market proves more important to world affairs than seems likely; doctors of theology strike back; Monk-Technician Abelard performs several miracles; The Rats! play Walsh's Place; and dragons give almost-helpful counsel.
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A New Narrator please
I love Max Gladstone's books. They're different They're fun to read.They're tightly plotted and written. The characters are sympathetic. The dialogue is snappy. I just really really like his books.
If I didn't like his books as much as I did there is no way I could have finished this.
The narrator was horrible. she always sounded out of breath and just so... very....something. She might be good narrating a Gothic romance set in Scotland 100 years ago or more, but not for this. She made everyone sound weak; and even when they should sound weak they just sounded bad. If it's at all possible we record this with anybody else's narrator. I volunteer as tribute!
2 people found this helpful
- Ren Crewell-Fuerst
Intricate story & characters, iffy narration
Four Roads Cross is the fifth novel in the Craft Sequence (4th chronologically, but read it 5th) and is an ambitious, intricately plotted courtroom epic that ties the previous four books together in story and theme. Its pages are alive with conflicted magic users, reluctant saints, gods who show up in your kitchen for advice, and legal battles (with weapons. and bloodshed). There’s also vampires, a dragon airbus and a skeleton king wearing sunglasses. The controlled chaos is glorious and the payoff of so many storylines into one another is a work of mad genius. Seeing these characters grow and become feels amazing. It’s a worthy close to the first “season” of the Craft Sequence.
Here’s the thing about the audio version though. I LOVE that the studio hired a Black woman to read a book starting a Black woman. Love isn’t even the right word. It’s not only emotionally right, it’s ethically right as well. I just don’t think this particular performer (who has a gorgeous voice and has won two Audie awards) was right for this novel. Ojo has a lovely reading voice, but reads the whole text in the same gentle, musical tone, where sometimes the words should have been infused with fear or grief or rage. I actually got frustrated with her. It affected my experience with the novel.
Ojo doesn’t give the story a quick pause to breathe between in-chapter scene changes, which could be confusing in a story with so many different points of view. She also isn’t consistent with character voices, even dropping them sometimes mid-sentence. In an ensemble cast novel with more characters to juggle than any so far in the series, this is a drawback. Kat’s character in particular suffers from an awkward, prim accent that comes and goes, and since her metamorphosis is central to the payoff of the story, it hurts the whole narrative. (And this after her laconic drawl as read by Natalie Naudus stole just about every scene in Full Fathom Five!)
So that’s the thing—strong, complex novel that needed an extremely skilled performer and didn’t get one. I very much hope the studio continues to hire readers that represent protagonists. It’s the only right thing to do. I just hope next time they choose a representative reader who is right for the story. It will absolutely create a stronger, clearer and more positive experience for audio readers. 💜
Struggling to Finish
I am an absolute fan of Max Gladstone. Four Roads Cross is another gem in the universe of old gods and undead kings. If you have enjoyed other books set in this universe, you will like this one, too.
My only complaint is with the medium. The choice of narrators for Mr. Gladstone's works is always hit or miss - and this time it's a big miss. Perhaps if Ms. Ojo were to read an eighteenth century romance novel, her performance wouldn't grate. As it is, she's weirdly breathless and places more emphasis on an unnatural cadence than on reading as language is spoken. And I do mean reading.
I will just have to find the time to read the book.