Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Kevin R. Free
Length: 14 hours, 18 minutes
I reviewed the eBook of Something Like Lightning and am now also reviewing the audiobook. Why you might ask? Well the answer is easy. I use audiobooks as a way to re-read old favorites, which is a big thing for me, having a busy schedule. I also find that if done right, the narration can add so much depth and extra life to a story, totally a win-win-win situation! Below is a slightly shortened version of my original review of the book, along with a commentary of the audio. I hope you enjoy.
While coaching his best friend Jared for a triathlon, Kelly Philips and Jared discover that the victory is not guaranteed when William Townson makes his prowess on the track, in the pool, and on a bike known. Being united against a common foe is short lived when Kelly comes out to Jared, who turns out to not only be homophobic, but also has racist tendencies. Despondent over the loss of his best friend, Kelly befriends his former foe, William, and the two become inseparable.
Their opposing views on so many issues slowly drive a wedge in their relationship, which culminates in what is sure to be the last argument, except that Kelly knows which buttons to push and William reaches the tipping point. Unfortunately, William’s anger causes them to be in an accident, which leaves Kelly an amputee, all hope of an Olympic career destroyed.
Enter enigmatic Nathaniel, who intrigues Kelly as they spend time together and get to know each other better. Kelly thinks that Nathaniel is not only hot, but that they could be good together. Sadly, Nathaniel is only interested in one night stands, while Kelly believes they can have so much more.
Although this is the first book in the Storm series, it features secondary characters from Something Like Spring, including Kelly, William, and Nathaniel. So it would be a good idea to read these stories in order.
I have to be honest here and say that I really, I mean really disliked Kelly for the first third of the book, not finding him likeable and could best describe him as the hot head who creates the tension, and who is angry, holds a grudge, is immature, and is insecure. Not a pretty picture, that’s for sure, but given his circumstances, not out of character. William, on the other hand, was the amiable push over, rarely standing up for himself and I could not help but like him. I mean who doesn’t want to spend time with a calm, peaceful person?
What made the difference? What changed the tide from (justifiable and well written) annoyance was the introduction of Kelly’s counsellor Allison from the Seasons series. I just love Alison so much. Her personality is a breath of fresh air and her role in Kelly’s life enables him to grow, learn, and move forward. From the point that Kelly and William break up, things progress with Kelly befriending Jason Grant, who in turn sets in motion a chain of events that lead to Kelly and Nathaniel getting together. I can’t say that Nathaniel was a particularly deep character, but that was okay, Kelly was had enough personality for both of them and he did his part well.
It is rare that I would find something that felt “off” to me. It is obvious that Kelly and William are attracted to each other, yet William is not out, and then William changed his tune overnight. We are shown that he is afraid to meet Kelly’s family, but comes out at school soon after I would say that this was the only thing that caught my eye as inconsistent in terms of William’s character, or even in the entire book.
In the end, Bell created a complex character in Kelly, and as you gathered from above, I honestly could not stand him and almost regretted the decision to read the book until the supporting characters from the Seasons series arrived on the scene. Not a ringing endorsement, you might think, but as I am fond of saying, it is easy to write happy characters, but much harder to write an unpleasant character that the reader can relate to or empathize with to one extent or another.
As usual, Free did a great job with the narration, having brought the characters to life, both good and bad. Funnily enough, he made me dislike Kelly even more, which is not necessarily a bad thing, considering what I mentioned in my opening paragraph. I was impressed with the range of voices Free brought to the various secondary characters, with the exception of Bonnie, who didn’t sound like a teen girl, her voice being oddly deep and masculine, and not “right” like all of the other character’s voices. nyone who knows me, knows that pace, diction, and intonation are a big factor for me when listening to audiobooks, and here again, I commend Free for a near flawless performance in this regard.
I am getting ready to continue my Storm series journey with the audiobook of Something Like Thunder and, that review will be posting next week.