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Magic Stars

Grey Wolf, Book 1
Written by: Ilona Andrews
Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
Length: 2 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Romance, Fantasy
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From award-winning author Ilona Andrews, an original novella set in the New York Times number-one best-selling Kate Daniels world and featuring fan favorites Derek, Curran, and Kate's very independent ward, Julie.

Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack and is truly a lone wolf. With no family, he answers to no one but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So when several of those close to him are murdered, he'll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.

Never one to be left on the sidelines and equally determined - some might say stubborn - Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit, and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

©2015 Ilona Andrews, Inc. (P)2016 Ilona Andrews, Inc

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Moi_Natasha
  • 2016-03-16

Bad Narration Distracted from Story

Narrator's cadence was too fast for me and while there was a chance in rhythm and pitch it came across as monotone (put me to sleep a number of times). Did not mind the gravel tone as the character, if you know from past books, had a ruined voice but it didn't become part of the story. I normally wouldn't have finished the book but I love the author(s) and this story line so struggled through. Unfortunately, I still can't review the story as I was so distracted by the irritating narration I found myself listening to the voice rather than sinking into the story and being swept into the experience. Will have to read the story to put a better mental voice to it to really experience the story.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Natasha
  • 2016-02-16

Not the best narrator

Ugh.. I'm so used to Renee Raudman! I know that this story is told from the POV of Derek, so I'm sure they thought they needed a male voice. Jeffrey Kafer, though, just didn't do the job. The sound of his voice is okay, no mouth or breath noises.. which I hate. My problem is that he isn't performing. He is just reading. I think he finishes every sentence the same way every time. Same tone of voice. I can't explain it any other way. I ended up speeding up the book just to get through it.

Please! If you need a male voice.. Try to use someone else for the next one if you continue the series! Sebastian York maybe?

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • l johnson
  • 2016-02-27

Excellent Writing as Always

If you could sum up Magic Stars in three words, what would they be?

A great novella.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the interaction between Julie and Derek, although Derek is still a bit flat. He's a very insular person.

What three words best describe Jeffrey Kafer’s performance?

Read, not performed.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not without revealing a spoiler.

Any additional comments?

I understand the decision to change narrators, but it doesn't seem to be a good fit. It's not horrible but Mr. Kafer doesn't use much emotion in his voice. This kind of works from Derek's point of view, although it's hard to believe that he's truly emotionless, but it doesn't work with Julie. Julie is an emotional person.
There needs to be more variation in tone for the listener to remain engaged in the audiobook. As it is, it is very easy to start tuning out.

I prefer Ms. Raudman for these books, but if they keep Mr. Kafer, I'll keep buying.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • 2016-02-20

A Caution About Changing Narrators

This is a story about Derek a young werewolf who has survived an attack with molten silver which even his remarkable healing powers can not repair and Julie foster daughter of very powerful people with issues of her on. None of this slows them down, nope not a little bit.

The very thing that makes this series so wonderful is also the thing that makes discussing the last book so difficult. Its hard not to speak about how much these people have grown since the first book. These authors are the rare writers who write straight forward exciting thrillers with every character given the depth and breadth that the main characters are given. Absolutely every character from the beginning to this 8.5 book grows and evolves. Somehow all the threads of these people are woven around the main characters without a mishap, and no matter where a reader picks up the thread, there is still a good story, without a slowing down of info dump.

Which brings me to the change in narrator. Renee Raudman voiced Derek and Julie for eight books. Her male voices, female voices, young girl voices are like old friends for these characters. If Miss Raudman becomes available for any of the Ilona Andrews stories GET Her.

Sometimes a change in narrators works. The Outlander series is voiced by Donada Peters. The Lord John spinoff is voiced by Jeff Woodman and that works. So I took a chance on this, since I know Jeffrey Kafer to be very good. Having bought it, I wish I had not.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa Hung
  • 2016-02-25

Great story, but the narrator was off

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jeffrey Kafer?

Renée Raudman, Robert Petkoff or Phil Gigante

Any additional comments?

I love the story. Thought the narrator has a nice voice, but it was too monotone (not for this book). He does not have emotional range or differentiation in the male/female voices. It was disappointing. I hope that the narrator will be changed for the next book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ruth May
  • BUDD LAKE, NJ, United States
  • 2016-02-21

Narrator was way off.

The story was good, Ilona Andrews always delivers. The narration was all wrong! The narrator made it sound like a noir detective novel. It drove me nuts, I am glad it was a short story because I would not have made it through a full length book. It would be infinitely preferable if Renée Raudman were to perform all of the books set in Kate Daniel's world.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DeeAnn B.
  • Wayzata, MN, US
  • 2016-02-20

Story Great--wish for a different narrator

Would you listen to Magic Stars again? Why?

To be honest, I am not sure, but probably. I love the Kate Daniels series and have listened to it several times, but the narrator of this book was difficult.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Derek is always a great character, there is so much depth there. Julie is becoming a very well rounded character as well.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narrator has a very nice voice to listen to, but he simply read the book, not performed it. As I listened, I kept thinking of Dragnet's Joe Friday "Just the facts, ma'am" delivery. It was distracting to me.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • mlsimmons
  • 2019-10-05

I do love Derek and Julie

When I heard that Derek was getting a book, I was ultra-excited. Then I heard that the book was going to published as an audiobook, SCORE!! However, Ilona Andrews decided that since this book was told from a male’s POV, it needed a male narrator. I’m not sure that I agree with that philosophy, but it is their book, so they can make that decision. I decided that I would give this new narrator a try. I will admit it took me a little bit to get used listening to a Ilona Andrews book that wasn’t narrated by Renée Raudman. After a few minutes, I settled into this book just fine.

So this book takes place between books 8, Magic Shifts, and 9, up and coming Magic Binds, in the Kate Daniels series. I don’t think you can read this without having read the Kate Daniels series. I will also mention that I think this book is important piece to the Kate Daniels storyline. I’m not sure if any of the information from this book will mentioned or referenced in Magic Binds, but it was important in the world and the lives of both Derek and Julie. I will also mention that it hard to talk about this book without giving away some spoilers about some Kate Daniels series. So if you’re way far behind on Kate Daniels, beware.

Derek is looking into the murder of a family. As he does more investigate. He runs into Julie, who comes along and helps with the investigation as well. We get to see them work together as a them, not only as they try to figure this mystery out, but also fight together.

They are a great match together. I could also see them matched together a future romantic pairing. There is a bit of an age issue. Julie is 16 and Derek is 20. He has been around her since she was 12, which makes things weird. He will want to continue to see her as the little girl to protect, not the woman she is growing into. Julie is a lot like her adopted mother, and she will fight for what she wants and I think we all know what that is.

Derek is still looking for how he will fit into this new world outside of the pack and without his looks. Julie is wanting to learn as much about the enemy as she can. She has a great source, but a dangerous one. She has great instincts. She has learned something that Kate didn’t want her to know. She really wants to know how to fight her enemies and and willing to do whatever is necessary to win this future battle and protect those that she loves, whatever the cost. She is more like Kate than she will ever know.

This book was really hard for me. First, it is a very short story, so we don’t get as much depth as we’re used to in an Ilona Andrews’ book. Second, it is told from Derek’s POV, which means we don’t get the snark that we’re used to from Kate or Andrea like we have in previous books. There is some snark from Julie and even some from Derek, but just not the amount that we are used to from an Ilona Andrews’ book. This was a good story, but just not the great story that I normally expect from this writing team. I will say that I’m very excited for the next Kate Daniels book and that I enjoyed this look into Derek’s head. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Narration
This is the first book that I’ve listen to with Jeffrey Kafer as the narrator. Like I said above, it took me a bit to get used to him. Add that to the fact that this was a very short book in two hours, I would’ve preferred to not have the change in narrators for the series. However, I don’t think he did a bad job with the narration. He is following up one of my favorite narrators in the business and that is a tough job for anyone. He did a good job with both Derek and Julie’s voices along with the other characters. I thought his tone was perfect for the scene he was working. I thought he did a decent job. Not my favorite, but not bad. I would be willing to listen to him again. I think it is wrong to compare him to Raudman. They are different people, I’m not going to fault him because he has to replace such a great narrator here. That’s just not fair to him. He did a solid job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca
  • 2018-07-01

Derek's POV

nice to see a different POV, however, v the reading c SUCKED! almost every sentence ended on a down note. super irritating.
keep the same narrator, please. this is NO good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • 2016-03-23

Very Entertaining

Looking forward to seeing where this series is heading!
Enjoyed seeing more into the minds Julie and Dereck.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful