Audiobook Review: Mad Lizard Mambo (Kai Gracen #2) by Rhys Ford

Kai Gracen has no intention of being anyone’s pawn. A pity Fate and SoCalGov have a different opinion on the matter.

Licensed Stalkers make their living hunting down monsters and dangerous criminals... and their lives are usually brief, brutal, and thankless. Despite being elfin and cursed with a nearly immortal lifespan, Kai didn’t expect to be any different. Then Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court, arrived in San Diego, and Kai’s not-so-mundane life went from mild mayhem to full-throttle chaos.

Now an official liaison between the growing Sidhe Court and the human populace, Kai is at Ryder’s beck and call for anything a High Lord might need a Stalker to do. Unfortunately for Kai, this means chasing down a flimsy rumor about an ancient lost Court somewhere in the Nevada desert—a court with powerful magics that might save Ryder’s—and Kai’s—people from becoming a bloody memory in their Merged world’s violent history.

The race for the elfin people’s salvation opens unwelcome windows into Kai’s murky past, and it could also slam the door on any future he might have with his own kind and Ryder.

Listening Length: 8 hours 49 minutes
Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Narration: 5 Hearts
Story: 4 Hearts

I’ve always loved Greg Tremblay as a narrator, but this is an especially stellar performance. Greg Tremblay with an accent through the entire book is just wow. His voice acting skills are phenomenal. I would definitely pick this audio version over the print version for this particular series. It gives it that added boost that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Hands down, the best audiobook performance I’ve had the pleasure of hearing.

The story: I should have been smarter and more observant when I picked this story. I have not read/listened to Book 1. Don’t be a dope like me. Pick up book 1 first, either in print or audio before you continue on the Kai Gracen journey. There is backstory I feel like I missed, and this dimmed the enjoyment I had. I will definitely go back and listen to book 1 because this is a great urban fantasy adventure series.

One thing I really love about the way Rhys Ford tells a story over a series is the relationship building. This is equally true in this story. Kai’s relationships with the people around him develop slowly, and I felt like I was building that relationship with him as well. It’s a pretty impressive writing skill to have, to be able to keep me interested in a character, create that connection, but not give it all in large doses. I am committed to Kai now, and I want to know how his story unfolds. This will keep me listening to the entire series as it develops, and I have faith that this author will give me what I need to feel wholly satisfied by the end.

I loved how this story merged two worlds into one and calls it “The Merge”. Pretty simplistic statement for the elfin and human worlds colliding to create one weird and wonderful world full of science and magic. There is a lot going on, but aside from the backstory of Kai that I’m sure I missed from book 1, I didn’t feel confused much by what had happened, and how the two species now co-exist. There is ample explanation as the story unfolds, where what has happened is referred to in a casual but informative way. Points for it not bogging down the story.

The characters were all strong, and so was the plot. Kai and his merry band of misfits are on a journey to find the ancient knowledge of how to make elfin babies, based on a rumour from an archeology professor. They have to travel to parts unknown, and untravelled for a long time. Of course, someone else has picked up the trail and is intent on blocking their way.

For an UF adventure story, this has pretty much everything you need. Great paranormal elements, great action, and a lot of twists. Kai is pretty much a grumpy recluse, so getting him to spill his secrets is something only time and trust will ensure. I trust that Rhys Ford has given me what I’m supposed to have in this story, and will provide me with more in the next book. I’d recommend this to everyone who enjoys these types of stories, and if you’re a first timer into the wonders of urban fantasy stories, then definitely give book 1 a try.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion .

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