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Middleworld / by Jon Voelkel and Pamela Voelkel ; narrated by Scott Brick

The Jaguar Stones, Book One: Middleworld - Jon Voelkel, Pamela Voelkel

Middleworld was kind of a strange book.  It was entertaining-ish, I suppose.  It did not lack action or adventure.  Max and Lola were a nicely paired couple of characters.  The scenes were vivid.  I stayed with the story to the end, so I can't say that I hated it, but I didn't particularly like it either.

 

The biggest issue I had with Middleworld was the abrupt jogs in the plot.  The story would go along a certain course just as nicely as you please, and then some event would happen that suddenly took the plot, even the feel of the story off in a completely different direction.  I have no way of describing this plot other than to say it zig-zagged.  It didn't meander--the shifts weren't subtle, but abrupt and sharp.  It left me feeling a little whiplashed, and I don't think it did any favors for the story.  The result was an overly long book that contained a story that came across as not able to decide what it wanted to be.  So there's that.

 

Then there is Scott Brick, the narrator of this audio book.  Scott Brick brings a certain narrative style to all of the books he reads, and I have not heard him vary this style no matter what he narrates.  He always employs the same tone, the same intensity to every book, no matter what it is.  I find his style to be a touch over-dramatic; a little like William Shatner acting his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek.  Now, there are some things Brick's style works well with.  Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, and Something Wicked This Way Comes spring immediately to mind.  I'm a bit ambivalent about Brick's contribution to Middleworld, though.  On one hand, I think that Brick's serious, dramatic style may have given a bit more depth and weight to a story that often went off the rails.  He kept it anchored--no small feat (see previous paragraph).  On the other hand, Scott Brick's style is completely at odds with a narrative that involves flatulent howler monkeys.  His style is simply not suited to ribald humor (one of many course changes in plot/tone  to be found in this book).  

 

Middleworld is the first book in a series.  But this book went on too long, and with too many zig-zags to keep me happy.  Middleworld sapped any interest I might have had in reading more books in this series.  I can totally walk away from Max and Lola without even a backward glance.