April 1, 2016

Review: Arrows

Arrows By Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Narrated by Laura Knight Keating and Nick Cordero
Available now from Recorded Books
Print version available from Delacorte Books (Penguin Random House)
Review copy

At least once a year, I listen to an audiobook.  They'll never be my favorite way to experience books, but they've been growing on me.  ARROWS had the advantage of being a mere 6 and a half hours long.  It took me a week of driving to listen to the whole story - but far better than one of those 24 hour audiobooks that would take me a month.

ARROWS tells the story of Aaryn, son of Cupid and Psyche, and Karma, a human.  (Great thing about listening: I didn't have to look at that spelling of Aaron for the entire book.)  Aaryn was supposed to shoot a couple with arrows to become a cupid himself, but he accidentally misplaced one while busy with social media.  The result: Karma is hopelessly in love with Danny, who takes her for granted (and worse).  Aaryn has to get Danny to fall in love with her in return or be banished.  The problem: No one would wish Danny on their worst enemy, much less a perfectly nice girl.  Even worse, Karma got pregnant, and so him being a terrible father is also a factor.

I preferred Laura Knight Keating's narration to Nick Cordero's, but I enjoyed the sections of the story through Aaryn's point of view more.  (Cordero did grow on me.)  The result of the arrow is just horrific.  It's not like real love - Karma physically feels herself getting sick if she gets angry or upset with Danny.  She can't even think ill of him when he hurts her.  It was hard to hear her continually stuck in that rut.  Aaryn, meanwhile, gets to be more dynamic and realize how broken the system he dreamed of becoming a part of is.

Remember the 6 and a half hours running time?  ARROWS is a short novel.  That can be an advantage, and I don't think there was more story to explore.  (Except maybe any sort of explanation for why Karma, a serious dancer, never seems to have considered an abortion.  She clearly didn't keep Nell to make Danny happy.)  But I felt like what was there spent too much time spinning its wheels and that the climax played out too quickly.  In ten minutes, everything gets resolved.  I was also bothered that Karma seems to overcome her cursed love for Danny more for Aaryn than herself.

Listening to ARROWS livened up my commute, but I think I found it more disturbing than it was meant to be.  I might, however, look for more novels narrated by Laura Knight Keating.

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