Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Kevin R. Free
Length: 18 hours, 55 minutes
The Something Like… series by Jay Bell has been going strong since the first book in the series was published in 2011 (the larger series consists of the Seasons series and the Storm series). This volume of short stories marks the eighth book in the larger series. The blurb for this book states that the “series is drawing to a close.” I generally am prepared for a series to end, they all do eventually, but something about that declaration struck me as I had not considered that this series would end. All of the characters in the series are so vivid and they truly feel like real people and the possibility of not having additional stories really made me pause. But there will be two more books before we officially have to say goodbye.
This is the second volume of short stories and includes 14 different stories that feature all of the favorite characters. There’s Ben and Tim and William and Jason and Nathaniel and Kelly, Marcello, Caesar, and even Jace and Victor.
The highlight of this series for me is the way Bell can weave and overlap all the stories with new perspectives and keep the flow of the story fresh. He is able to add dimensions to stories that have already been told with details that I wasn’t even aware that I needed. I am not going to go through each story here as it feels like I would be dissecting and rating someone’s memories. None of these stories stand alone on their own and most of them have strong ties back to the many central storylines.
The stories span the timeline and we see the characters in their earliest days in high school to their current status. A couple of the stories did go a little too far back for me at this point in the series, along with introducing some new characters, but it all fills yet another piece in this world. There is plenty of Tim and Ben to be seen, but also funny moments from Lane, poignant moments from Jason, visions of Jace and Victor, alongside moments from the rest of the cast to round it all out. The last story was unique and special as it featured point of view from Samson, the cat. Samson has been a fixture throughout the series and here we meet him as a kitten and see life from his view. It was extremely special what Bell did here making Samson just the cutest thing ever, but giving him a true soul as only a pet lover can appreciate. And back around his story goes, since if you have followed the series you are aware of how both Jace and Samson’s story plays out.
Kevin R. Free continues the flawless narration of this series. It’s been about a year since I have listened to an audio in this series and the moment Free spoke, it had the sensation of coming home to the characters. He is truly the perfect choice to narrate this series. There are so many characters throughout the series and Free continues to give a voice to each of them, as well as keep them consistent throughout each audio.
He truly gives a performance as he brings each character and the events to life. Each scene is incredibly vivid as he transforms words into pictures you can see in your own mind. There were only a few times as a new story began that it took a few moments to catch on to whose story it was, but overall, it was an effortless listening experience. I have listened to each book in the series on audio and for an enhanced experience to an already exceptional series, I would highly recommend the audios for the entire series.