This is the first box set of the series. Imagine a world where witches, weres, and vampires work among us. The paranormals came out to the world during World War I. History as we know it took a left turn as world events changed. World War II never happened as we remember it. The Empire of Japan still exists. As does the British Empire. America is finding itself overwhelmed by magic. Particularly the FBI. Agatha Blackmore is a witch and she has all but been drafted by the FBI to help. Demons, dragons, weres, and fae are her opponents. What can one small witch and her pet unicorn do against the world? Listen to the prequel and books one and two to find out!
Born a Witch...Drafted by the FBI! Conjuring Quantico Magical Probi
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Honestly it sounds like it was recorded on microprocessor in a shower, sometimes, then it gets bass-y clips and distorts, then squeaky, then it sounds like someone's cleaning windows in the background, and the narrator's normal voice is rather nasally, plus there's all the breath sounds, and there are obvious jump cuts, lots of them. This obviously wasn't recorded on a professional bi-directional mic with a filter. more like a dollar store headset. And it changes from book to book, it's somewhat improved in the 3rd book but by no means good.
Seriously the publishers should get a decent narrator Laurel Schroeder (Who's always fantastic, put her in a room with Luke Daniels and you have my dream team) or Dara Rosenberg (She did a really good job with the Ash Trilogy, suits a young character and has the range for convincing male characters) And have it all rerecorded, after a little editing, release a second edition and give gift codes to anyone who's bought the original.
Personally I don't have the attention span to read books as text, I read too slow, forget the previous paragraph, the plot drags along and it drives me crazy. If you don't suffer from such maladies then get it on kindle.
The Story / Writing
It's a cute premise I get it's told from the perspective of a teenager but at the same time there's death and demons and blood and guts galore so it's kind of weird that the book at times sounds like it was written by someone younger than the protagonist. I assume this more is supposed to be Young Adult rather than Urban Fantasy, but even young adults don't need language dumbed down this much. Please use longer and more complex words rather than 20 simple ones. Also the unicorn isn't Oberon (If you aren't familiar with the Iron Druid series then screw this review and go buy that) a side character like this is supposed to be there for witty banter and much needed comic relief. Example ... *Atticus fighting for his life* "Oberon buddy I need you to circle around back of those trolls and see if you can district them okay?" "Okay sure but then we're going for that steak you promised right?" "Sure just as soon as everyone and everything stops trying to kill me" "Oooh and maybe some of those smoked applewood sausages" "Anything you want bud, I'm not really in a position to barter right now." "No problem, they won't know what hit 'em...oh Atticus?" "Yeah?" "There's a vampire behind you." --- This isn't a quote from Kevin Hearn but I'm sure fans will agree it's pretty close to his style. Where was I? oh yeah so the unicorn pretty much just whines and complains constantly, and occasionally butts in to conversations, and his existence has to be explain over and over with every new character we meet. I guess he's supposed to be funny but I don't know, maybe 7 year olds would find him funny (don't give this book to a 7 year old unless you want them to read about human sacrifice in gruesome detail) He has the potential to become a genuinely interesting character, he just needs to actually have slightly more character than hating cats, liking hay, and wanting to screw everything in sight". Then you get into all the random drifts off into irrelevant exposition, constantly putting the plot on hold, almost as if instead of a novel this was a kid's diary "Dear diary today I worked at the FBI we're on this case hunting a rogue warewolf oh and then I met this super cute guy I liked and he said he liked volley ball and I was like me too so he asked if I wanted to play some time of course then I had to go cos these bikers were shooting at us..." I'm exaggerating here but by the 20th time it starts to get annoying."
Otherwise it was an okay story, despite the dreadful audio I enjoyed it, there have been plenty of paranormal whatever works with the cops *cough*Dresden*cough* Urban fantasy series written but this one felt like it had a bit of a fresh feel to it, the one nice thing about them being young is that they're generally peppy rather than groaning and dragging themselves through John McClane style. There were a few instances of the characters being head deskingly more stupid than the reader but over all the execution was okay, it was reasonable paced but it was short, it really needed a side plot or two, stupid things they have to deal with delaying them from getting on with their work.
Well if you read all that you'll see I've been crazy critical, honestly I think just because there isn't really much point lumping on praise for all the things the author did right, just like the 10,000 other UF authors. If I didn't mention it, it's what you'd expect from a book in this genre. Despite all the flaws do I recommend this? Yes I do (I really, really want them to re do the audio, and believe me it will drive you mad) but I believe the series will continue to improve and I really hope some royalty cheques will pay to rent time in a recording studio. Also as our protagonist ages it's going to be interesting, she's a powerhouse but lacks control, that will improve in time and she'll be a force to be reckoned with, I'm sure there'll be a love interest at some point, and the writing will hopefully start to sound more mature.
So if you're reading this T.S. Paul, first you have Linsey Hall to thank for introducing me to you and second, keep writing it really does get better with practice, so many authors I know grown when the look at their early work.