Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Wicked Beloved" audiobook


Novel by: Susanne Saville
Narrated by: Adam Howden

Review by: Crystal Beck

Anyone who knows me is well aware that getting me to read a romance or erotica book has as much chance as getting me to run in the Boston Marathon. I have never been the type to gravitate toward the books with covers donning buxom women caught the in grasp of, in my opinion, overly muscular men, the wind whipping through their hair as they look lustfully into each others eyes. However, I have been attempting a few recommendations from the lovely Lindsey. My attempts always fail as I hit the inevitable usage of a certain word for the male anatomy that is better suited as a synonym for a rooster. Every time I read that word I cringe. The flow of the love scene stopped with a squealing of tires. The best way to describe my reaction would be if you were listening to a piece by Chopin and someone ran in with an air horn just as it got to the softest point. That is how much I abhor that word and why I steer away from the majority of romance novels.

That being said, when I saw on Twitter that fellow gaming nerd Susanne Saville had written a sci-fi romance/ erotica that was going to be narrated by Adam Howden, I found myself salivating in anticipation. Adam Howden was known to me as my beloved Anders from Dragon Age II. The very man whose vocalizations of a first kiss with my Hawke made my lady parts all a tingle. This seriously sexy voice was going to read a romance? I had to have it. As soon as it was available on Audible I purchased it. The sexy timber of Adam Howden’s voice was apparently more than even my computer could handle as it blew up shortly after I got started and I was forced to wait to dive into what I knew would at the very least will be some yummy listening.

Months and months and months went by as I waited. The coldness of winter all the colder as I twitched wanting to hear the delightful Brit narrate some “alien porn”. I was crawling out of my skin. Yet if I had been able to think with any clarity, I would have known from the beginning that there was an app for that. It was a face palm moment as I logged in and downloaded the Audible app. Finally, I could get all warm and toasty.

I curled into my bed, earphones in place, and dived into the beauty that is Adam Howden’s voice. Again I was reminded how brilliantly talented this man is at his craft. He shifted seamlessly through tones, inflections, and vocal changes pouring over my ears like warm honey. It was hard to focus at times to the actual story as I was so impressed at how he changed from the female character to the male to a background character then back to normal narration. This was not my first audio book, but it was the first where there was this much acting by a single narrator. I was mesmerized and had to start again at the beginning.

The story of an Earth female taken to a strange, violent planet that engages in the slave trade to placate their violent natures even further and is bought by a young, handsome assassin at a shelter merely because she piques his curiosity and promises to be the most obedient slave ever is the start of Saville’s “Wicked Beloved”. A female who some may not see the strength in because she does obey her master, is actually quite strong. She has maintained her identity, not a mindless drone jumping at every command from anyone who speaks. This spark of life and individuality in spite of her situation and what she had already endured is a triumph and is conveyed so flawlessly every time Adam Howden’s dons her voice and tells someone off or speaks her mind privately with her master.

A story that is so not my normal cup of tea. I have never been too big on BDSM or anything darker like knife play. I find “Fifty Shades of Grey” a joke and am surprised at its popularity. The kinkiest thing I could imagine would be tame to most romance readers. It is this very, not prudish but more timid, part of my nature that normally keeps me from ever finishing a book in this genre. So imagine my surprise when I finally decided to retire for the evening and saw I had been listening to Adam Howden read for an hour and a half. Talk about getting lost in a voice and story.

So the next night comes and I curl back under my warm blanket to start anew, once again getting lost in the warm, baritone voice flooding my ears making them as red as my cheeks. Then I get to Chapter 10.… the sex scene.

To say my breath quickened as I listened to the raspy voice breathing into my ear would be an understatement. I covered my face, feeling how hot my cheeks were and had to hit pause. I leaped out of bed, grabbing a drink and a smoke all the while thinking, “Jesus Christ!” and fanning my face. It was an epic school girl moment and I was actually embarrassed. It was just a book, just an actor reading, and yet it was better than if the captain of the football team has just waved at me in the halls. Insanity!

With great strength, I began again. Gulping, fanning, and biting my lip. I was fully hooked now and I was not going to close this app until I finished the entire book. So entrenched in the story and narration, I didn’t even notice how much time had gone by and let out an “Aw” of disappointment when it was over. I wanted more, more, more. I checked repeatedly to make sure it really was over, even though there is a credits so it obviously was, I still hoped maybe there was a bonus hiding at the end of the credits.

Now the roundup right? The would I recommend this, should you get it, etc. ? Not sure if I made this clear, but the answer is HELL YES! I don’t care if you don’t like romance, or erotica, or BDSM, or anything like that. You must get this and take a bath in milk and honey otherwise known as Adam Howden’s voice and acting prowess. Adam Howden’s sensual rendition of Susanne Saville’s words are not only a testament to his amazingly diverse vocal talents, but is also an eargasm for the listener. The story “capturing” you is just a bonus to his “dominating” your entire body for the duration of his narration.  Susanne Saville’s “Wicked Beloved” narrated by the amazing Adam Howden is the only audio book you will ever need on a cold winter night or hot summer day or anytime you just want to melt into a puddle.  

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