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For Real

Narrated by: Paul Berton, John Hartley
Series: Spires Universe
Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: Erotica, Fiction
5 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Summary

Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he's pushing 40 and tired of going through the motions of submission. Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can't remember being.

Toby doesn't know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love. The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won't surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have - no matter how right it feels - can't last. It can't mean anything. It can't be real.

©2015 Alexis Hall (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful.

loved this book could not stop listening and didn't want it to end. so good!

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Absorbing listen

Enjoyed this a lot and immediately went and bought other books by this author. I also like how they tackle and approach living with mental health issues and it felt more real rather than some stories that just do it for the sake of a storyline.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Love this story

It has much food for thought - and I love some of the mind games that Toby plays with Laurie.

My only moan is about the younger narrator, who makes quite a few glaring mispronunciations, for instance, calling an Aga (cooker) and A G A.

It seems that there hasn’t been an editor listening to the different narrators and comparing them for consistent pronunciation- which tbh seems sloppy.

Nonetheless, this was a story that I didn’t want to stop listening to most of the time.

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13 hours of brilliance

Loved every second of this - the dual narration worked well here and Laurie and Toby each had their completely separate personalities blended superbly. A great story well narrated.

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Careless errors, wrong accents, uneven performance

What did you like best about For Real? What did you like least?

The writing is brilliant, characterisation complex and sophisticated. There are no easy familiar scenes or patterns to this love story - more than almost any other writer, this one ignores the reader's expectations except for giving us an occasional burst of hope and a share of the characters' joy. The characters' pain is vivid as well , but never unbearable to hear about as there is always enough optimism from somewhere to keep going - Toby, one of the two protagonists, is irrepressible but also fragile while Laurie is emotionally weathered, outwardly and inwardly tough but still vulnerable. Insight into both characters comes through very explicit descriptions of their sexual involvement but also their inner thoughts in the first person. A book which I finished and immediately started reading again.

What other book might you compare For Real to, and why?

"Glitterland" also by Alexis Hall; Stacia Kane's Chess and Terrible novels;

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Sounded under-rehearsed, ill-prepared and sloppily-executed, For example - the narrator of Laurie's first-person sections gave Toby a feasible East London accent (we are told Toby's mother has an "East London" voice) but Laurie's voice is oddly theatrical and overly precise - he sounds like he is trying very hard to speak properly and it lacks spontaneity (this might be right for the character sometimes, but not when we are hearing his internal monologue surely). It is also rather expressionless and in many places there are spoken words followed by e.g. "his voice [was] breaking.." or other descriptor - when the words had not been spoken like that at all!
The narrator giving Toby his first-person voice made him sound like Prince William with a bit of estuary English with a glottal-stop "t" - sounded just like every ex-public-school 20 year old you've ever met, but this did not seem right for the character as written. A good performance but then he mispronounced not only "AGA" (the cooker) as "ay gee ay" and unforgiveably Laurie's surname "Dalziel" as "dall zeel" when IN THE BOOK on page 2 or 3 the pronunciation is subtly indicated - correctly of course - as "Dee-ell".
As often happens when actors are underprepared, and are, in effect, practising as they begin the recording, the performances improved somewhat as the actors learned their characters as time went on, but the basics of accent and characterisation by the two performers were simply not the same - did they talk to each other about it? Did anyone play each of them the other's performance? If not, then this is just cheating the listener with a second-rate performance - I felt both actors prevented from giving their best work.

Did For Real inspire you to do anything?

Pay more attention to who produces an audible recording. This writer's earlier book "Glitterland" was narrated by Nicholas Boulton who I think really gave a perfect performance.Even "Waiting for the Flood" was pretty good. In both cases the narrators had to produce two different male voices with different accents and personalities. They did pretty well especially compared to this one.

Any additional comments?

Although the narration overall was no worse than many, compared to the skill of the writing it is woeful. Audible has seriously undermined the impact of this beautifully-written book. The book itself won a RITA award and is brilliant MM erotica.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Just brilliant!!

Alexis Hall is an absolute wordsmith, and I have been waiting for the audio book of this, my fave story of his. Not sure how much input he had in choosing the narrators, but Paul Berton was fab as Tobermory although his 'voice' was a little more upmarket than I expected for someone from Shoreditch, which is definitely East End London. As for John Hartley's Laurie, well I couldn't make my mind up whether he's Australian or South African trying to read as an Englishman, but there were several phrases that gave him away, in particular I'd which came out as Ah'd, but it didn't detract from this wonderful story. Thrilled to bits with it.

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Captivating

Alexis Hall's books are a joy to read but seem to be made for audio. John Hartley and Paul Berton really bring the characters of Toby and Laurie alive