Jennifer Anne Davis
January 29th, 2013
Source: For review from author.
Synopsis via Goodreads
During her abduction and assault, Audrey begins to hear a voice. She hopes she's not going crazy, because after what she's experienced, that's the most logical explanation. However, as she begins to listen to the voice, Audrey realizes that someone may be telepathically trying to help her.
Unfortunately, rescue isn't all she needs. In order to leave behind the constant reminders, she flees to her Aunt Kate's house in San Diego, and assumes a new identity. It works until the eighteen-year-old twin boys who live next door threaten to break through the protective walls she's worked so hard to build.
Between Caleb going out of his way to befriend her and Justin avoiding her at all costs, Audrey doesn't know if normalcy will ever find her again. But one thing is certain: When a familiar danger resurfaces, it's the same voice that she turns to -- a voice that is not only real, but a lot closer than she realizes.
Gripping and tastefully told, The Voice is a story of healing, trust, and courage.
I received The Voice for review from the author while in attendance at YALL Fest this past November. The author was super nice and I'd reviewed for this publishing house before so I was looking forward to reading this book. While I didn't like it as much as I had hoped, it proved to be a worth while read.
As per usual, I will begin by discussing the characters. There was a wide variety of both main and supporting characters scattered throughout The Voice, all of whom proved to be at least somewhat significant in one way or another, which I appreciated. One of my pet peeves when it comes to books are pointless characters. Now, onto the heroine, Audrey. I had some mixed feelings about her and while I never disliked her, I never truly connected with her or loved her either. The core reason behind this was a development issue. It wasn't a lack of development, per say, because when I compare the Audrey in the beginning with the Audrey at the end, there was obviously change and progress that took place. My problem was with the actual process of her character development. Audrey, in my opinion, dramatically improved throughout the book, too much even. It all happened too quickly and then the reasons, or cause and effect, for these changes felt a little insufficient. With The Voice coming in at just over 200 pages, I believe this factor to be the culprit, and certainly not the author's lack of know how. That said, I was still glad to see Audrey come so far and I was pleased with her ability to try and move forward in life. She showed a lot of courage and strength throughout her journey, and I admired that. My one true annoyance with her? Her proneness to being completely oblivious to things going on involving Caleb, Justin, and the identity of the voice. Next is Kate, Audrey's aunt. I loved her character and she did a really good job of knowing where to draw the line between being Audrey's friend and being a responsible guardian/parent figure. Then, of course, we have Caleb and Justin. There were times when I liked Caleb and then times when I thought he was a bit of a jerk. As for Justin, well he could be so frustrating, but he was okay and I grew to like him more later on. One thing I was very glad of was that Davis made no attempt to turn this into a love triangle. I was so scared that was the direction things might head in and I was quite relieved when they didn't. Some other plot influential characters were Bree, Sarah, Drew, and Bret. There was one character, Maddie, whom I really would have liked to have seen utilized more, but because she wasn't, she came really close to being completely inconsequential to the story.
In The Voice, there are two central plot threads. One is the internal and external conflict that is the aftermath of Audrey's kidnapping and sexual abuse. The other is the mystery of the identity of the voice and the subsequent background information. To me, this book just wasn't long enough to adequately allow both of these elements of the plot to fully develop and reveal their utmost potential. I could have easily seen this book being another hundred pages. The plot tended towards repetitiveness at times, with a lot of the story being comprised of day-to-day events, many of which felt similar. One example is the beginning of several chapters with Audrey having a nightmare. This cycles back to the length of the novel because, if it had been longer, these points in the plot could have been more spread out, dissipating some of the deja vu, redundant feeling. Moving on, there were several things I thought the author did well. First up, the family dynamics of not only Audrey's family, but also Caleb and Justin's. Considering how short this novel was, these were aspects that I thought were quite capably handled. There is also the extreme originality of the plot and how Davis manages to weave the two plot threads mentioned above together into one. I would have liked a little more mystery as to the identity of "the voice", as I basically knew who it was from the beginning. However, there was still adequate suspense once Audrey started to realize that her ordeal was not completely over. There was one event in the plot that really bugged me and that was a situation that Audrey got herself into with a guy named Drew. Technically there were two of these, same guy, but while I thought the latter one to be very plausible and realistic, I found the first to be anything but. I also was not a huge fan of the romance element, subtle though it was.
Okay so this is where things are going to get a little interesting. I know how I felt about the writing but it is actually putting it into words that is going to be tricky. First off, overall, I liked the writing pretty well. It wasn't amazing but definitely above average, exhibiting potential to be more. The key area of the writing in which I felt the potential wasn't fulfilled was the emotion. I should have been feeling all kinds of emotion throughout this book, and unfortunately, I didn't. Whenever it came to Audrey's thoughts, feelings, and discussion of what she went through, it all felt very...textbook. It was almost too blunt and straightforward, like something you'd find in a guide to understanding rape victims. In other words, I felt that there was a lot of 'telling' and not near enough 'showing' of the emotion and trauma that Audrey was going through. As a result, I was left feeling disconnected when I should have been feeling sympathy and sadness. Note that this is a very subjective observation and one that someone may feel the complete opposite about. Some people can easily experience emotion whilst reading, and for others, it takes some very seriously legit writing ability, among other things, to trigger a state of genuine, say, sadness. I fall more towards the latter category.
Davis wrapped The Voice up in a suitable manner that I quite liked. However, the ending did feel very rushed, another problem that I felt came from the short length of the novel.
Characters: Nice variety of characters but a little less developed than I would have liked considering the subject matter.
Writing: Pretty well written overall but weak in the "emotion" department.
Plot: Refreshing and unique but a bit repetitive.
Ending: Rushed but tied up well.
Enjoyment/Likability: I liked reading it fairly well.
Recommendable: If it sounds interesting to you then I would say give it a shot. Despite its flaws, there is some real merit there as well. Also, many people appear to have loved this book, including a close friend of mine. So take this review with a grain of salt.
Overall: A good read with a unique plot that could have benefited from being much longer, allowing for more development, as well as more 'show' and less 'tell' in the writing. Not too heavy and not too light in the handling of a difficult topic.
Cover: Meh, okay.
I'm giving away two ARCs of The Voice by Jennifer Davis, so if you are interested in giving it a shot, this is the perfect opportunity!
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