Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Cornell Collins
Length: 4 hours, 21 minutes
I read When I First Saw Red when it was released back in June 2020, and like all of the books written by Kasia Bacon, it was fascinating. Red is in an intriguing and compelling character, and I was not passing up the chance to listen to the audio version of his story. The combination of reading the story first and then listening to it only enhanced my love for these characters and their story. It’s the story of Red, who lives with a demon inside of him. Red has to cater to the demon’s insatiable lust desires and makes his living, and his life, in a brothel. It’s also the story of Sergeant Lázhien Jhagán, who is not aware that he is Red’s mate.
The world building in all of the author’s books is exceptional and there is something a little extra special about this story. Bacon excels at the shorter story format and the backstories of both Red and Lázhien are brought to life in fewer words, still creating full character development that showcases the author’s incredible skill with this format.
Cornell Collins brings this story to life with his narration. I have listened to several narrations from Collins and, for me, his voice has not lent itself well to younger characters. However, he’s a great choice in narrating this story. His inflection and tone and mood and vibe evoke the setting and the range of emotions the characters go through. From Red’s dry humor, to Lázhien’s military presence, to their exasperation and love for each other, Collins creates a world worth visiting. My only hesitation is the voices for Red and Lázhien are not always distinct or varied enough from each other and that is something I do look for in a narration. An added bonus is getting to hear the many varied names and locations in this world recited out loud and I would encourage you to both read and listen to When I First Saw Red.