Audiobook mini-reviews: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson; Torment by Lauren Kate; American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson

Title: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves
Author: M.T. Anderson
Genre: YA historical fiction
Publisher: Candlewick
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Peter Francis James
First line: The rain poured from the heavens as we fled across the mud-flats, that scene of desolation; it soaked through our clothes and bit at the skin with its chill.

I liked this second installment in Anderson’s series better than the first. It was incredibly moving and perception-changing to view the American Revolution through the eyes of a slave. For instance, George Washington is continually called, “that slave-holding general.” The irony of a young nation fighting for freedom while denying that very freedom to blacks is heart-breaking. Anderson writes as if he lived at that time – the language, the topics, the settings, the dialogue – all put the reader (or listener) right at the heart of the action. And Peter Francis James is one of my favorite audiobook readers, so this was a great listen.

Title: Torment
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre: YA paranormal fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Justine Eyre
First line: Daniel stared out at the bay.

I had the opposite reaction to Torment, the sequel to Fallen, which I enjoyed. The author followed a similar plot – move the heroine to a new school so she’s not only dealing with the fact that she’s somehow cosmically connected to a fallen angel, but she’s the new girl. Again. It worked well in the first book, but felt old in this sequel. Plus, the author is taking too long to reveal the secrets of Luce’s past lives. She gives out information in a dribble. I don’t mind the idea of secrets being withheld, but if you give out so little that the reader is continually frustrated, you’ve got a problem. I haven’t decided if I’ll continue with this series or not.

Title: American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
Author: Craig Ferguson
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: It Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Craig Ferguson
First line: “I see England, I see France, I see the first lady’s underpants.”

This is a terrific memoir – Ferguson tells his story of growing up in Scotland, his early days as a musician and comedian, his move to the United States, and becoming an American citizen. He’s the best kind of patriot – one who loves his country with his eyes wide open, seeing the faults and problems, but still loving the ideas it was founded on. If you’ve ever watched Ferguson’s late night talk show, you already know he’s funny. He’s also a tad irreverent with a bit of a fowl mouth, but all dirty words sound hilarious when spoken in a Scottish accent. 🙂

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4 Responses to Audiobook mini-reviews: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson; Torment by Lauren Kate; American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson

  1. Fyrefly says:

    I did like Octavian Nothing Vol. 2 better than Vol. 1 but I found it so hard to connect with Octavian as a character that I wasn’t really crazy about either of them.

  2. I heard Craig Ferguson speak about his book and if it’s half as funny as he is, it’s hilarious!