Story Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Michael Ferraioulo
Length: 8 hours, 58 minutes
I am a big fan of the Forbidden Desires series by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly. I found this dragon shifter, omegaverse series to be a delightful surprise upon first reading. Delightful because the stories are whimsical and sexy with really engaging characters, and surprising in that they have more depth of story and character development than the premise might suggest. The authors really created both great individual stories, as well as an interesting plot arc that carries over the series.
I’ll admit that Bond was a book that started out a bit rough for me, in both audio and ebook forms, primarily because I felt Harry was presented as such a child-like, naive character that it impacted my sense of him as an equal partner in the story. However, as the book continues and Harry comes into his own, I found myself really enjoying his relationship with Everard, as well as his role as the leading scientist researching omega dragons and mating. You can check out my full review for the Bond ebook here.
I really enjoy narrator Michael Ferraiuolo, so I was eager to check these books out in audio. In this case, I think Ferraiulo did a great job with the story. Everard sounds appropriately pretentious and arrogant as befitting his character. He is wealthy and entitled and starts off the book a bit of an ass and that really comes through. What makes this story work well, and what the narration captures well here, is how Everard softens over the course of the book from someone stuffy and high handed to a man who is utterly besotted by his geeky love. Everard has a habit of referring to Harry by food terms of endearment (“my little chicken wing”) and I giggled every time as Ferraiuolo makes them sound both natural and amusing at once.
I did not listen to the first audio in the series, so I can’t speak to character continuity, but I do think the side characters mostly work well. I did find some of Everard’s family to be a bit over the top in gruffness — specifically Sebastian and his father — but with so many members of the same family to voice distinctly, I can understand why the narrator chose to give them really different voices. The pacing is smooth, the timing works well, and the audio has a great overall flow.
The only point where I struggled is with Harry’s voice. As I noted above and in my original review, I struggled with Harry’s childlike qualities, as they made him seem both incredibly naive and hard to picture as an equal partner to Everard early on in the story (for example, Harry believes Everard is going to eat him to death and cheerfully goes along with it for science). Ferraioulo gives Harry a voice that very much matches Harry’s description, but that only exacerbated this child-like, over the top side of his personality for me. He is so stereotypically geeky sounding with a high voice that just seems a bit caricature. It took a while for it to grow on me enough to really work fully for me in the story.
Fortunately, the overall quality of this audio is excellent and Harry’s voice is more of a personal preference issue than a failing to accurately capture the character as described. I really enjoyed the audio version of the story and am looking forward to moving on the third audiobook. This is a fun series and I can recommend it in either format.