Narrator: John Hartley and Paul Berton
Length: 13 hours
I absolutely adored For Real by Alexis Hall when I read it last year. It is an amazing story of a 19-year-old, want-to-be Dom and an older sub who has seen it all and feels adrift. I love a good age gap story and Hall makes the most out of this dynamic as Toby’s newbie excitement and energy brings new life to Laurie, and Laurie’s strength and experience helps to ground Toby. The story is sexy and kinky and intensely hot, but also incredibly romantic as these two guys just bring each other to life. I can’t say enough good things here, but be sure to check out my original review for the full story and my detailed thoughts on the book.
Given how much I loved this story in book form, I was excited to give it a try in audio. Sometimes the audio for a favorite story doesn’t live up to expectations, but honestly this one more than exceeded anything I could have asked for. The audio in For Real is the first I have listened to that uses dual narrators, one for each character’s POV in alternating chapters. It made for a unique and really interesting listening experience that I think takes this story to another level.
Now I will admit, it took a little getting used to, especially because early on there was a bit of a volume shift between chapters. So it was a bit jarring the first few times we start a new chapter to hear a new narrator. But I will tell you, much to my surprise, it really worked. First off, both John Hartley and Paul Berton did an amazing job of embodying their character. Toby felt excited and anxious and sometimes every bit the 19-year-old he is. He speaks in a much more casual, much more youthful way that completely fits him. And Laurie’s voice also embodies his personality so well. He is polished and steady and just the littlest bit stuffy. These guys just get these characters so perfectly. The timing is great, the tone fits nicely, the side characters are handled well, and they just bring the story to life in way that really enhances the original book. I absolutely adored this story, but I felt like I was experiencing it in an all new way listening to it in audio.
So this is an absolutely favorite story of mine and I can recommend it wholeheartedly in either format. And if you have enjoyed it in book form, I’d definitely suggest giving the audio a try as well.