Book Review: Chasing the Moon by A. Lee Martinez (Audiobook narrated by Khristine Hvam)
Diana doesn’t have much going for her–a bad job and perpetual unwanted singledom, plus she’s been sleeping on friend’s couches since losing her apartment. So when a room in a building with a quirky landlord shows up, she grabs it instantly. Only to discover that a monster called Vom the Hungry is in her closet waiting for her to let him out, at which point he will probably eat her. In fact, the whole building is oddly connected to other dimensions full of monsters, creatures, mayhem, and madness….not to mention tentacles.
I obviously had to read this book. The cover has tentacles on it, and it’s clearly a Lovecraftverse story. These are both basically automatic must reads in Amanda-land.
The storyline is fairly straight-forward as far as the Lovecraftverse goes. There’s a place where the lines between dimensions and reality fade and threaten mere humans with madness. The monsters that Diana meets within her own apartment are fairly creative. There’s Vom the Hungry who is pretty endearing, there’s the hedgehog looking guy (whose name I can’t remember and can’t look up because: audiobook) who spawns copies of himself when he’s upset, and of course there’s the giant floating eye with tentacles who tries very hard to be prim and proper. They’re creative and funny.
The foes–the cult of the moon god–are not so creative. They’re your typical moon-loving shapeshifters, and the moon god even has three forms just like a certain other god of a religion we’re all familiar with. Compared to the creativity of the apartment and the apartment’s monsters, it just doesn’t feel like a worthy foe.
Similarly, although I liked Diana and the world she’s living in, she has basically no backstory. I have a hard time believing she’d have such an easy time mostly abandoning her friends and family from her time prior to the apartment. I can believe she’s not afraid and can handle the horrors, but it’d be nice if we got at least a toss-up to the concept of her having a family or even a mention of estrangement from them, if that’s the case. That doesn’t happen, so I was left feeling that Diana is very two-dimensional.
Given these elements, I’m sure I would have skimmed through it very quickly in print and probably missed the humor that it does contain, except that I read the audiobook. The audiobook narrated by Khristine Hvam. And she is an incredibly talented voice actor.
Every single character had their own entirely unique voice, and the voices perfectly matched the character, even an eyeless faceless omnivorous Vom the Hungry. Hvam is just….just so amazing to listen to! I kept listening more to just hear her perform than due to a true vested interest in the story. In fact, I looked up her voice actor page on Audible after just to maybe get another one of her books. She mostly narrates scifi/fantasy, unfortunately mostly YA, which we all know I don’t like. But I will be keeping my eye out for more of her adult work. She is just so amazingly talented.
So, overall then, the story itself rates 3 stars, but the narration rates 5, so my rating must average those two out. Be aware, though, that I recommend Khristine Hvam over the book, but if you are intrigued by the book and don’t mind a lack of backstory or average villains, then I recommend picking the audiobook for twice the fun.
4 out of 5 stars