Saturday, October 1, 2011

Audio Review: Pirate King by Laurie R. King

Pirate King is the 11th Mary Russell book by Laurie R. King. When I found out there was a new book in this series, I couldn't wait to read it. I was surprised I could get it through my library on Overdrive. I still like Mary Russell, but this wasn't my favorite book of hers.

Genre: Historic mystery adventure
Length: 11h 12m
Audio publisher: Recorded Books, 2011

Recap: Mary and Holmes are caught up in another adventure as Mary infiltrates a silent film company to investigate allegations of illegal activity.

Review: I am a huge Mary Russell fan. She's independent, she speaks seven languages, and she can throw a knife. However, this book does not showcase her many talents. Pirate King is subtitled "a novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes." Unfortunately, there is a lack of suspense, little Holmes, and even Mary is missing for a stretch.

The movie industry is one of my least favorite settings. I've seen these stock characters and standard situations before. I was hoping in  a Mary Russell book some people might buck their stereotypes. Maybe the director could be accommodating or the female lead humble. No such luck. Even Mary falls into standard cliches as she travels and doesn't listen when her translator warns her about cultural differences. Listen to your informants, Mary. You're better than this.

The sections with Holmes were excellent, as always. I would have liked to have more time with him and Mary together. It would be great if they could just be home to see their day to day interactions.

Reading: For me Jenny Sterlin is Mary Russell. Her voice takes some getting used to. It's a bit gravelly, and she makes Mary a little more sarcastic than I picture her, but the reading is so energetic I just get swept away. This story had a couple British pronunciations I liked. Shiek is pronounced "shake" and harem "har-eem." It's always fun to learn a new language.

Final thoughts: For anyone who likes Sherlock Holmes or strong women characters the first Mary Russel book, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, is great. Pirate King might be for people who like early cinema or Mary Russell completests. I'm looking forward to the next book, when Mary goes to Japan in the space between The Game and Locked Rooms.

Grade: 3 out of 5

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