Dissonance by Shira Anthony ~ Audiobook Review by Christine

Title: Dissonance
Series: Blue Notes #7

Author: Shira Anthony

Narrator: John Solo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Story Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Release Date: 11/04/2016

Length: 09 hours 24 minutes

Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance

Summary:

British noble Cameron Sherrington has hit rock bottom. The love of his life, opera sensation Aiden Lind, is marrying another man, and Cam knows it’s his fault for pushing Aiden away. As if that’s not enough, someone is trying to take away his family business, and the US authorities are pursuing him on charges of money laundering. Fearing for his safety and unable to return to London, Cam runs, but he’s too broke to find a place to stay, and his fugitive’s life doesn’t even remotely resemble a Hollywood thriller.
Desperate and betrayed by the people he thought cared about him, Cam takes refuge in the subway station where Galen Rusk plays his trumpet for tips. Though Cam hears the beauty in Galen’s music, it’s Galen’s firm hand on his shoulder that stops him from throwing everything away. Their unusual relationship takes a turn that surprises them both, and neither man is sure he wants the complication. Galen is fighting the ghosts of his past, and Cam has his own nightmares to face. When Cam’s troubles threaten to tear them apart, Cam figures he had it coming – that it’s all penance due for a life lived without honesty or love. But he never considered the possibility that he might not survive it.

Story Review:

This is the second of the Blue Notes Series that I have read, and though it was a good m/m romance with interesting characters, a compelling premise, and a vibrant setting, I was left feeling a bit let down by Dissonance as a whole.

Shira Anthony does a marvelous job of weaving the world of music into this series, and it is what has drawn me to the books. In Dissonance, the reader is swept into the gritty world of the New York subway, where main characters Cameron and Galen meet. I have a soft spot for buskers as characters, and Galen had my heart from the get-go. Cameron, not so much, but then he is a self-proclaimed douche-bag and it’s expected that readers might take a while to warm up to him. I loved that he was a British lord who didn’t care about the title and truly wanted to make something of himself. Having to overcome a good deal of self-hatred and childhood trauma with Galen’s help also gave him a more sympathetic edge as the story progressed.

This is also where I had some issues with the story. First, there was an unfortunate lack of background for Galen’s character. What he experienced in his past was horrible enough to cause a suicide attempt, and yet his story isn’t fully revealed until close to the end of the novel. This darkness hovers and causes a distance between the reader and Galen, in my opinion, and I felt a bit cheated in not getting to know him better. He is a wonderful character with his talent, his penchant for nearly impossible yoga poses, and his positive, gentle personality. Yet what makes him tick is a mystery to both the reader and Cam until it’s too late to really get a full understanding of him as an individual and the reasons for his reticence in committing to Cam.

Secondly, I have to mention that though there are no trigger warnings in the blurb, there are flashback scenes of child molestation that are particularly disturbing. At one point, I almost stopped listening to the audiobook due to the level of discomfort these scenes invoked. I feel readers should be aware that these instances exist within this novel and to be prepared. Related to this is the fact that as these memories re-surface, the victim as an adult doesn’t seem traumatized enough considering the seriousness of the violations that occurred in childhood. He seems more concerned with external conflicts he faces than with the internal damage caused by his rape as a child. The whole thing was not only disturbing but just felt “off” in relation to the storyline and characters.

Overall, however, there are enough positives within the book to help balance out these issues. The musical themes that continually bring light and beauty to the pages, the interesting, baffling, and vivid details of the New York subway, and the growth of the main characters through self-realization kept this story going for me. I appreciate Cam’s development as a character throughout the novel, and the circular closure at the end is particularly satisfying. Though not entirely necessary, I think perhaps reading prior installments to the series is a good idea, as previous characters re-appear and play important roles in the resolution of this particular book. I recommend Dissonance for its wonderful themes of music, healing, and self-redemption, with the caveat that there are scenes that may be distressing to some readers.

 

Narration Review:

This was a relatively good narration, though I felt that John Solo’s performance of the British characters was too affected and unrealistic. Other character voices were more believable and enjoyable.

Links

Dissonance on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Audible

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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