Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 9 hours, 32 minutes
Rule Breaker started my love affair with Lily Morton’s writing and it still remains one of my favorite of her books. I picked it up for our 2017 Reading Challenge Month knowing pretty much nothing about it and absolutely was blown away by the story, the great characters, and the wonderful humor. I have since gobbled up just about everything Morton has written, but this story always holds a special place in my heart as I just adore Gabe and Dylan together. So when I got a chance to listen to it in audio, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to experience it again in a new format.
Before I go into the audio, let me just say a bit more about the book itself. This is a story that just captivated me and I loved everything about it. First off, the humor is incredible and I love the witty banter between Gabe and Dylan. I’ll be honest, this book (and much of Morton’s writing) is my gold standard for this type of banter between characters and it just done so well here. But I think what impresses me even more is how Morton so perfectly balances this story. I love the way the humor counterbalances with the more intense moments — places where Gabe hurts Dylan, where it seems like things will never work out, where we learn about Gabe’s very tragic past. I also love the way we can be furious at Gabe and think he is acting horribly (and he is), but also come to love and understand him and believe in him just the way Dylan does. And what I love best about this story is how warm and wonderfully it all ties up, how rewarding it is when we see these men finally find their way together. I had forgotten that we get part of the epilogue from Gabe’s POV and it is just perfect. For the first time we get to hear his voice, his thoughts on everything. And the way he loves Dylan is just so gorgeous and lovely it made me all swoony all over again. For my full review of the book itself, check out my original review here.
So as I said, I couldn’t wait to experience this book in audio and as perfect as I found the story itself, the audio was equally wonderful. Joel Leslie really showcases what is best about his work in this narration. This is a story that really requires perfect timing and pacing to capture the banter and the humor and Leslie gets it spot on. There is a quickness to these guys and the way they interact that could have been lost with the wrong narrator, but Leslie does an excellent job and keeps things crisp and amusing. I particularly loved Gabe’s sort of posh drawl, the way his smugness and arrogance comes across so well in his voice. But Leslie also captures the vulnerability that both of these men show and the quieter moments are handled just as well as the more amusing ones.
Dylan and Gabe have very distinct voices and it is clear right away who is speaking. The cast of side characters are also well done, and I particularly appreciate Leslie’s habit of giving even one-off side characters diverse voices that represent different cultures and regions, rather than making everyone sound like the same generic white guy. It is something I have noticed in some of Leslie’s other work and appreciated again here. I also loved how he voices Jude (Dylan’s best friend) and it is making me even more excited for Deal Maker to come out in audio.
So I am a huge fan of this story and am thrilled that the audio really enhances an already wonderful book. I love this story in all its formats and if you haven’t had a chance to start this series, I can’t recommend it highly enough.