Review of Black Heart by Holly Black

June 21, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Fantasy Audiobook - Black Heart by Holly BlackBlack Heart: The Curse Workers, Book 3
By Holly Black; Narrated By Jesse Eisenberg
6 hrs and 33 mins – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Listening Library
Published: 2012
Themes: / Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / FBI / Crime / Curses / Magic /

Girls like her, my grandfather once warned me, girls like her turn into women with eyes like bullet holes and mouths made of knives. They are always restless. They are always hungry. They are bad news. They will drink you down like a shot of whisky. Falling in love with them is like falling down a flight of stairs. What no one told me, with all those warnings, is that even after you’ve fallen, even after you know how painful it is, you’d still get in line to do it again.

That’s Cassel Sharpe for you. He’s stuck on Lila Zacharov and stuck good. It’s a real shame that he’s under duress to work undercover for the FBI and she’s enthusiastically training to take a place in her father’s crime family. If only that were his only problem.

As in the previous two books of the Curse Workers trilogy, where certain individuals are born with the ability to curse others with the touch of a finger, we’re working up to a big con job that will save the day. Meanwhile Cassel is continually attempting to become a better person, a good person, while navigating a gritty maze of gray moral choices.

He’s given plenty of opportunities because his special curse working skill means that everyone wants to use him. Sorting through lures, threats, and blackmail from family, the mob, and the government becomes a way of life and gives author Holly Black plenty of room to weave plots.

Cassel’s mother is held hostage, a long-ago diamond heist must be solved, a fellow student needs help against a blackmailer, the government needs him for a special mission that could end bigotry against curse workers, and his roommate has girl friend problems. And let’s not forget the main attraction, Cassel’s tumultuous relationship with Lila, who now hates him. Yep. It’s all in a day’s work for Cassel Sharpe.

As always, it comes down to an elaborate con which pulls everything together and wraps things up, while managing to stay plausible. Black has the courage to bring her trilogy to a definite end and I applaud her for doing so. The ending is not tidy, but I liked it that way. It managed to be satisfying while simultaneously reflecting the uncertainty of Cassel’s life. And that is quite a feat.

Interestingly, this last book of the trilogy contained a spot where author Holly Black suddenly took a misstep in writing from a male perspective. In a love scene a guy would not be talking about his flat stomach and corded muscles … that’s a girl’s turn on. He’d be talking about her … ahem … various attributes. Black did such a good job the rest to of the time that this rang particularly false and it isn’t a big deal. Just … interesting.

Audio Notes: As with the preceding Curse Worker books, Jesse Eisenberg’s narration is perfect for conveying Cassel’s awkwardness. I particularly enjoy the moments when he portrays other characters through slight alterations which manage to communicate a surprising amount about the people he is voicing. His narration is a big part of my enjoyment of the series. Would I read other Curse Worker books instead of listening to the audio? Probably not. Eisenberg is Cassel and I like it that way.

Posted by Julie D.

The 4th Annual SFFaudio Challenge

November 11, 2009 by · 15 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

The 4th Annual SFFaudio ChallengeFor the past few years, on November 11th, we’ve offered the following challenge to SFFaudio readers:

“We’ll give you an audiobook if you make one for everyone else.”

Sweet deal huh?

And, we’re offering the same deal this year. We’ll give you a BRAND NEW audiobook if you make make an audiobook out of one of the eTexts we provide you links to. All you’ll need to do is claim a title (by email), record the audiobook using your own voice, and follow the rules (see the first comment of this post for the rules).

Still feeling a little unclear on how it all works? Then have a look at our past SFFaudio CHALLENGES:

|OUR FIRST CHALLENGE|
|OUR SECOND CHALLENGE|
|OUR THIRD CHALLENGE|

This year we’ve got 20 ebooks that need turning into audiobooks and we’ve got 20 BRAND NEW audiobooks to give away as prizes! No matter where you are on the planet Earth, if you finish and release your claimed audiobook, we will ship you your prize!

Interested?

If so, THE FIRST THING you need to do is PICK ONE OF THESE ebooks…

Challenge Titles:

***[CLAIMED BY Krisztina Hidasi on NOV. 29, 2009]
Star Dragon*
By Mike Brotherton
A 2003 novel.
*This novel is released under a Creative Commons license. I recommend confirming the audiobook version being okay with Mike Brotherton before claiming this title.
|MIKE BROTHERON’S WEBSITE|
***


***[CLAIMED BY Jerry Pyle on NOV. 13, 2009] COMPLETED
D-99*
By H.B. Fyfe
A 1962 Novel.
*This novel comes courtesy of WONDER AUDIO |HTML|PDF|***


***[CLAIMED BY Mike Hagerty on NOV. 15, 2009]
The Inheritors (An Extravagant Story)
By Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford
A 1901 novel.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|
|WIKIPEDIA ENTRY|***


***[CLAIMED BY Scott Hall on NOV. 13, 2009]
The Planet Strappers
By Raymond Z. Gallun
A 1961 novel.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Julie Davis on NOV. 12, 2009]
Breaking Point
By James E. Gunn
A novelette.
From Space Science Fiction, March, 1953
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***

***[CLAIMED BY Evan Wade on NOV. 12, 2009]
The Night Of The Long Knives
By Fritz Leiber
A novella.
From Amazing Science Fiction Stories January 1960.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***

***[CLAIMED BY Kevin Jackson on NOV. 13, 2009]
Pariah Planet
By Murray Leinster
A novella (34,000 words) – but advertised as a novel.
From Amazing Stories, July 1961.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Matt Soar on NOV. 13, 2009]
The Iron Heel
By Jack London
A 1908 novel.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|
|WIKIPEDIA ENTRY|***


***[CLAIMED BY David Sobkowiak on NOV. 12, 2009]
Empire
By Clifford D. Simak
A 1951 novel.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Danielle Blake on NOV. 15, 2009]
Pagan Passions
By Randall Garrett and Larry M. Harris
A 1959 novel.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Kelly Fann on NOV. 13, 2009]
Ministry Of Disturbance
By H. Beam Piper
A novelette.
From Astounding Science Fiction, December 1958.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Chris Johnson on NOV. 13, 2009]
A Slave is a Slave
By H. Beam Piper
A novella.
From Analog Science Fact—Science Fiction April 1962.
PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Ross Smith on NOV. 13, 2009]
Sweet Their Blood And Sticky
By Albert R. Teichner
A short story.
From “Worlds of If” November 1961.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Ted Puffer on NOV. 18, 2009]
The Impossibles (Book 2 in the Psi-Powers series)
By Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer (writing as Mark Phillips)
A 1963 novel.
Published in Analog as “Out Like a Light. This is the sequel to Brain Twister.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Bruce M Campbell on NOV. 13, 2009]
Cubs Of The Wolf
By Raymond F. Jones
A novelette.
From Astounding Science Fiction November 1955.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Karen Savage on NOV. 13, 2009]
Ultima Thule
By Mack Reynolds
A novella.
From Analog Science Fact & Fiction March 1961.
Part of the “United Planets” series.
|GUTENBERG.ORG|***


***[CLAIMED BY Lee Huttner on NOV. 12, 2009]
Spring-Heeled Jack – The Terror of London
By anonymous
A 1840s penny dreadful novella.
|GUTENBERG AUSTRALIA|


***[CLAIMED BY David Drage on NOV. 12, 2009]
The Thing On The Roof
By Robert E. Howard
A short story.
First published in Weird Tales February 1932.
|GUTENBERG AUSTRALIA|***


***[CLAIMED BY Mary Casey Walsh on NOV. 13, 2009]
Pigeons From Hell
By Robert E. Howard
A novelette.
First published by Weird Tales in 1938.
|GUTENBERG AUSTRALIA|***


***[CLAIMED BY John Aho on NOV. 12, 2009]
The Air Ship Boys (or The Quest of the Aztec Treasure)
By H.L. Sayler
A 1909 novel.
|PROJECT GUTENBERG|***

SECONDLY, you’ll want to DEEPLY CONSIDER all that your project will entail. [THINK AHEAD, PLAN IT OUT]

After you’ve carefully thought it through you can write me an email, with the details of your plan.

Answer these questions:

1. How are you planning to release your audiobook? Via LibriVox? Podiobooks.com? In your own podcast? Through Audible.com? Somehow else?

2. How long do you expect it to take? When will you be finished? How many hours will it take to record it? Will you proof listen as you go?

Answer those questions in your email to me. Emails that show a lack of forethought WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. So, have a bit of a read of the ebook you’re interested in narrating. Consider the difficulty involved, and then, if you’re still excited about The 4th Annual SFFaudio Challenge, email me with your plan.

My email address is:

[email protected]

Make the subject line:

“The 4th Annual SFFaudio Challenge”

Once an email is received, showing the appropriate forethought required, I will stake your claim in this post.

LASTLY, here are the goodies available (provided by Simon And Schuster Audio, Brilliance Audio, Poe Audio and The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society)…

Prizes:

Simon And Schuster Audio - Swoon by Nina MalkinSwoon
By Nina Malkin; Read by Caitlin Greer
8 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: May 2009
ISBN: 0743582004


Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Trek by Alan Dean FosterStar Trek (Movie Tie In)
By Alan Dean Foster; Based on the movie written by Roberto Orci and Alex Hurtzman; Read by Zachary Quinto
7 CDs – 8 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780743598347
|READ OUR REVIEW|


Simon And Schuster Audio - The Dragon's Eye by Kaza KingsleyThe Dragon’s Eye (Book 1 in the Erec Rex series)
By Kaza Kingsley; Read by Simon Jones
8 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: April 2009
ISBN: 0743581393


Simon And Schuster Audio - The Monsters Of Otherness by Kaza KingsleyThe Monsters Of Otherness (Book 2 in the Erec Rex series)
By Kaza Kingsley; Read by Simon Jones
9 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: April 2009
ISBN: 0743581415


Simon And Schuster Audio - The Search For Truth by Kaza KingsleySearch For Truth (Book 3 in the Erec Rex series)
By Kaza Kingsley; Read by Simon Jones
11 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: June 2009
ISBN: 0743583868


Simon And Schuster Audio - The House Of The Scorpion by Nancy FarmerThe House Of The Scorpion
By Nancy Farmer; Read by Raul Esparza
9 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: October 2008
ISBN: 0743572467


Simon And Schuster - Leviathan by Scott WesterfeldLeviathan
By Scott Westerfeld; Read by Alan Cumming
CD – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: October 2009
ISBN: 0743583884



Simon And Schuster Audio - The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra ClareThe Mortal Instruments (includes City of Ashes, City of Bones, and City of Glass)
By Cassandra Clare; Read by Ari Graynor and Natalie Moore
MP3 3 CDs? – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: October 2009
ISBN: 1442303778


Simon And Schuster Audio - Hush Hush by Becca FitzpatrickHush, Hush
By Becca Fitzpatrick; Read by Caitlin Greer
8 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: October 2009
ISBN: 074359956X


Simon And Schuster Audio - The Search For The Red Dragon by James A. OwenThe Search For The Red Dragon
By James A. Owen; Read by James Langton
8 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 074356913X


Simon And Schuster Audio - Here There Be Dragons by James A. OwenHere There be Dragons
By James A. Owen; Read by James Langton
7 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 0743569105



Simon And Schuster Audio - The Shadow Dragons by James A. OwenThe Shadow Dragons
By James A. Owen; Read by James Langton
9 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: October 2009
ISBN: 0743583744


Simon And Schuster Audio - The Indigo King by James A. OwenThe Indigo King
By James A. Owen; Read by James Langton
8 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: October 2008
ISBN: 0743574710


Science Fiction Audiobook - Earth Abides by George R. StewartEarth Abides
By George R. Stewart; Read by Jonathan Davis
13 CDs – 15 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781441806147
|Listen to an AUDIO SAMPLE|


The Dunwich Horror by H.P. LovecraftSFFaudio EssentialH.P.Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror
Based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft; Performed by a full cast
1 CD – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: HPLHS / Dark Adventure Radio Theatre
Published: 2007
|READ OUR REVIEW|


The Shadow Out of Time by H.P. LovecraftH.P.Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time
Based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft; Performed by a full cast
1 CD – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: HPLHS / Dark Adventure Radio Theatre
Published: 2008


Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. LovecraftH.P.Lovecraft’s Shadow Over Innsmouth
Based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft; Performed by a full cast
1 CD – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: HPLHS / Dark Adventure Radio Theatre
Published: 2008

Poe Audio - Edgar Allan Poe Audiobook Collection 6-8: The Cask of Amontillado and Other StoriesEdgar Allan Poe Audiobook Collection 6-8: The Cask of Amontillado and Other Stories
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Christopher Aruffo
3 CDs – Approx. 3 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Poe Audio / Acoustic Learning
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780980058147

Poe Audio - Edgar Allan Poe Audiobook Collection 9: The PioneersEdgar Allan Poe Audiobook Collection 9: The Pioneers
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Christopher Aruffo
6 CDs – Approx. 7 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Poe Audio / Acoustic Learning
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780980058154

Poe Audio - Edgar Allan Poe Audiobook Collection 10: Deus et MachinaEdgar Allan Poe Audiobook Collection 10: Deus et Machina
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Christopher Aruffo
4 CDs – Approx. 4 Hours 39 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Poe Audio / Acoustic Learning
Published: September 2009
ISBN: 9780980058161

As claims are accepted they will be noted on the list. As prizes are shipped they will be noted on the list. Links to where the completed audiobooks can be found will be added to this post!

Get selecting folks!

[extra thanks to Gregg Margarite and Rick Jackson]

COMPLETED TITLES:

LibriVox - Ultima Thule by Mack ReynoldsUltima Thule
By Mack Reynolds; Read by Karen Savage
13 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 2 Hours 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: November 23, 2009
Ronny Bronston has dreamed all his life of getting a United Planets job that would take him off-world. He finally gets the opportunity when he is given a provisional assignment with Bureau of Investigation, Section G. But will he be able to complete his assignment and find the elusive Tommy Paine? First published in Analog Science Fact & Fiction March 1961.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/rss/3735

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LIBRIVOX - D-99 by H.B. FyfeD-99
By H.B. Fyfe; Read by Jerry Pyle
20 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: January 03, 2010
EARTHMEN IN TROUBLE Harris was caged in an underwater “zoo” by a pack of blue lobsters. Maria drew a five-year sentence on a puritanical planet for trying to buy a souvenir–and for being excessively feminine. Taranto and Meyers had committed the crime of being shipwrecked on a planet that didn’t like strangers. Gerson was simply kidnapped. And nobody had any idea why five citizens of Terra were being held on other worlds–and the ultra-secret Department 99 existed only to set them, and others like them, free. This tense novel is the story of one evening’s work for Department 99–their successes and failures–and of the strange crisis that almost wrecked D-99.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/3755

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

The audiobook is also available in two etext formats |PDF | and |HTML| – in case you’d like to read along!

Posted by Jesse Willis