Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 9 hours, 38 minutes
Those of you who are my regular readers likely know I am a huge fan of Lily Morton, and my love for her work started with the Mixed Messages series. Risk Taker is a really great addition to the series, with a strong friends to lovers vibe. It features two former stepbrothers who are best friends, housemates, and wildly in love with one another. Yet both are afraid to share their feelings, so there is a lot of pining (oh, so much pining) as they work through their feelings and get up the nerve to take a chance. The story features much of Morton’s trademark humor (though this one isn’t quite as laugh out loud funny as the first two in the series), and Ivo and Henry have a great connection.
As much as I enjoy this story, I’ll admit that I found I didn’t love it quite as much as when I read it the first time around. I am not sure if it is the longer audio format, or just the familiarity with the story from having read it once before, but I found myself frustrated at times with how long it takes these guys to finally talk to one another. Most of the book is Henry and Ivo wanting one another and not acting, and when they finally do, they still go for a long time without actually talking about the fact that they are now sleeping together. I was anxious for things to move forward and for some conversation. That said, I continue to really like this story, as well as the entire series.
This time I listened to the book in audio with narrator Joel Leslie. As usual, Leslie does a great job capturing the humor and the pacing of the story. Morton’s writing often involves quick and snappy conversations and Leslie is great at bringing that aspect of the story to life. A lot of this book is about timing, and Leslie’s performance really showcases that. I also think Henry’s narration feels spot on, and the supporting characters who have appeared in previous stories all are consistent in their voices and the way they are portrayed in past books. The only aspect that didn’t totally work for me is Ivo’s voice. I think that Leslie does capture Ivo as he is portrayed in the book. However, I did feel that at times Ivo’s French accent seemed to slip, particularly in passages from Ivo’s POV. It wasn’t really an issue with the dialog portions, but when Ivo is doing long passages of narration, at times the accent didn’t feel totally consistent.
While I did have some tiny issues here, I overall found this another wonderful installment of Lily Morton’s series. I love Henry, in particular, and after seeing him in two books, I really enjoyed getting his story. Joel Leslie does a great job bringing these characters, and Morton’s work, to life. I enjoyed this story in either format and can highly recommend them both.