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Summary

Audible is delighted to bring you an exclusive, author-read production of The Very First Damned Thing. Hear it here first, months ahead of the EBook publication.

Jodi Taylor reads the long-awaited prequel in her Chronicles of St Mary’s series, as Dr Bairstow struggles to set up St Mary’s as we know it in a world still scarred by the ravages of civil war.

Ever wondered how it all began? It’s two years since the final victory at the Battersea Barricades. The fighting might be finished, but for Dr Bairstow, just now setting up St Mary's, the struggle is only beginning.

How will he assemble his team? From where will his funding come? How can he overcome the massed ranks of the Society for the Protection of Historical Buildings? How do stolen furniture, a practical demonstration at the Stirrup Charge at Waterloo, students’ alcohol-ridden urine, a widowed urban guerrilla, a young man wearing exciting knitwear and four naked security guards all combine to become the St Mary’s of the future?

©2015 Jodi Taylor (P)2015 Audible Ltd.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • attached to my headphones
  • 29-11-16

An intro....not much more

I heartily agree with other reviewers:

1 ) Don't start the series with this book - it's not the best first impression and may well turn you off the other books - which are really fun stuff.

2) Narration is fine, but better left to Zara

This book is very much a prequel, setting the back story to St Mary's, however, in order to appreciate the little bits of humour, you do need to have listened to and have an appreciation of the normal antics of St Marys - otherwise the humour / references will seem flat and out of place.

Jodi Taylor narrates her own work, which is admirable, and there is nothing obviously wrong with it - however, if you've listened to the other books in the series, it's immediately apparent that this narration lacks some of the energy and quirkiness which Zara's narration lends to the series. Given that the other books are told from Max's point of view, and this one told by Dr Bairstow, it makes sense to have a different narrator, however perhaps a male narrator would have been more appropriate? Jodi does a good enough job though, and as the author, I respect her choice to narrate it herself.

If you're a fan of the series, then you'll enjoy the back story, and the first meetings with some of the future key characters. It was a freebie download from audible, and therefore worth topping up my St Mary's catalogue with. Not sure it would be worth a full credit on its own though.....

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't start the series with this book

What did you like most about The Very First Damned Thing?

I loved that it filled in gaps I hadn't even realised existed!

What about Jodi Taylor’s performance did you like?

As others have said, she's not Zara Ramm, and it takes time to acclimatise. Jodi reads the book perfectly well, but she reads it, where Zara perfomrs and brings it to life. As I got into the story, I forgot that and it was fine.

Any additional comments?

Do not start the series with this book. Read them in the order they were written. This book would make abvsolutely no sense iff you hadn't read the others.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant but please, leave the narration to Zara

Would you listen to The Very First Damned Thing again? Why?

Yes, because the St Marys Chronicle are so enjoyable

What other book might you compare The Very First Damned Thing to, and why?

All of the stories are enjoyable

Would you be willing to try another one of Jodi Taylor’s performances?

With reservations

Any additional comments?

I love the humour in these books and with the deletion of some "yes sirs" are fast and witty. The historical pieces are so original but please, after all the stories and the incredibly generous freebies I have become so used to the quick, theatrical narration, leave it to the very excellent Zara Ramm

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyed this

Jodi Taylor writes well, and in this short story she gives some insight into the beginnings of it all. It was read well and I very much enjoyed it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Hello St Mary's

What we can surmise from this book is that the majority of historians are mad. But Jodie Taylor gives us the first book in, what I hope, a promising new series. Long may historians dig for an understanding of the past.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A nice story giving background to St Mary's

This is a nice little filler story giving the background as to how St Mary's was set up.

Really the summary given by Audible sums it up, so I won't add anything further on that.

Onto performance.

What differs this time is the change in narrator. Up until now Zara Ramm has been the narrator for these stories. Yet this time the narration is taken on by the author herself. There are always pitfalls whenever an author does this, but actually, despite the fact Jodi Taylor is not a professional narrator, it doesn't detract too badly at all. I've heard far worse, including some so called professional narrators who couldn't narrate their way out of a wet paper bag!

What Jodi Taylor does is keep it simple. So, for example, there are no false tries at creating different accents for different characters. Also, (if you've heard the other stories) once you've been listening for a while you don't try and superimpose the accents you associate with the characters that Zara Ramm has placed in your head. And by the end that also makes it more enjoyable.

Plus, let's face it; this story is currently being listed free, and for a freebie there is not really any cause for complaint.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon
  • Barton Upon Humber, UK
  • 07-02-17

Not the first book in the series

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes - another excellent chapter in the St Mary's world. Listen to the stories in the correct order as other reviewers have said. You needed to know some history of St Mary's before you get to this part of the story, although I enjoyed listening to how it all came together, and there was a short history jump as well.

What other book might you compare The Very First Damned Thing to, and why?

Just like all the other books in the series.... history and adventure but remember, it's not about time travel!

Which character – as performed by Jodi Taylor – was your favourite?

Like others, I'm use to Zara Ramm narrating these characters. However, Ms Taylor did an excellent job in her own right. The narration was clear and easy to follow ... what more do you want for the narrator?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great filling back story for loved characters

I really enjoyed listening to how some of the regular St Mary's team came to belong. As other reviews have mentioned this is read by Jodi Taylor so it may take a bit of adapting to a different voice reading the much loved characters.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Sorry could not finish it

What disappointed you about The Very First Damned Thing?

The narration was so very poor, and did not flow, resulting in a disjointed story

Would you ever listen to anything by Jodi Taylor again?

I love Jodi Taylors books by the original narrator

What didn’t you like about Jodi Taylor’s performance?

Jodi Taylor may be a very good writer but her narration was amateur, with pauses in the wrong place, the intonation in her voice was all wrong, There was no emotion in the narration, and it left me feeling cheated

What character would you cut from The Very First Damned Thing?

no characters, just the narrator

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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a great beginning

This is a great start to the chronicles of St Marys. I really think it should listed as a prequel rather than a short story. It is great to hear the voice of the author who after , I think a slightly shakey start improves tremendously.
As I have already said do try to read this first before you break into the wonderful humerus, sad, great and very interesting series that these books are.
Thank you so much Jodi Taylor with providing me and many others with hours of pleasure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Krista
  • 09-12-15

Loved the story. The narration was ehh...

Maybe I got spoiled with Zara Ramm's narration, as I read the entire main series before starting on the short stories. I know, I should have checked the reading order first, but didn't. Zara Ramm is a great narrator. In books 1-6, she did an excellent job with the different voices, the emotion, the sarcasm. While I love Jodi Taylor and she has a fan for life, it was difficult to listen to M.s Taylor after the exceptional job that Zara Ramm did in her narration of the other books. If I had listened to this one first, maybe my expectations would not have been so high, but... Jodi is articulate, clear and easy to listen to, but all of the voices and accents are the same, so they are very hard to differentiate. Other than that, I enjoyed hearing how Dr. Bairstow recruited all of his people and established St. Mary's.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sheryl
  • 05-11-15

Wait for it on Kindle. Not the best on audio

This is a delightful short story "prequel" to the St. Mary's series. Any fan of the series should enjoy this short foray into St. Mary's past. Do NOT start the series with this title, however, as it will likely make no sense and not be very interesting. It really is meant for those who are already familiar with the series. That said, I would recommend waiting for the release of the kindle edition of the story rather than listening to the free audio on Audible. I'm very thankful to Ms. Taylor for offering this for free and I feel very bad saying it because I love her as an author, but reading the story herself did not do it any justice. She has a very pleasant voice but she does not do anything to distinguish between characters nor does she put much (if any) emotion into her voice. It makes for a rather dull reading and often a rather confusing one, as it is sometimes difficult to distinguish who is saying what. 4 stars for the story, but only 2 for the audio.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Milton
  • 25-10-15

Beautifully phrased and clearly stated

A treat for the ears to listen to, and a story of romance and daring. I think I have just gotten hooked on another series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Regina
  • 06-11-15

Fabulous storyline

What did you love best about The Very First Damned Thing?

Everything, the story is like a roller coaster, it's exciting, dramatic, funny. I can't wait until the next episode.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Malcolm, he is so funny and he is always getting into trouble.

What does Jodi Taylor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She brings her story to life, more authors should narrate their stories.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I almost did.

Any additional comments?

Love this fun series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Colonelswife
  • 30-10-15

Too short . Loved it.

Highly recommend Jodi Taylor's The Chronicles of St. Mary's series- which are cleverly written & ,highly entertaining
All Jodi's novels are marvelous, and very addictive.
In her time travel series you will find humor , adventure, history, romance , & lovable characters .
Her Frogmorton Farm series is just as entertaining and fun . Once you start , you can't get enough.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • luizfabricio
  • 23-01-18

Boring

Maybe its good for the readers of the series. As it was free, I thought it would be a good introduction to the books. The humor is fine; witty brit humor, actually. But the story is boring. At least, not engaging. I didn’t feel compelled at all to keep reading. Maybe some other time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan M.
  • 12-11-17

I loved this book!

Since starting this series I have enjoyed every book immensely, and have become a fan of Jodie Taylor. I particularly liked this book because it backtracked the series, providing additional historical information and filling in the gaps. I really appreciated the humor and adventure of this book, as well as how well it adhered to the premise of the series. This is another stellar smash for Jodie Taylor, and I already have the next book in the series on pre-order.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Valerie
  • 05-10-17

Glad this was free

The story is interesting and has potential, but it is poorly written and edited. The narrative is repetitive with Dr. Bairstow 'smiling' and 'regarding' more often than not. It was distracting and annoying. Also, it was strange how the author read her own story with little to no expressiveness in her voice. There was no animation or emotion and the story fell flat as a result. I'm glad that this was a free audiobook and that I didn't have to pay for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robin
  • 09-06-17

I love this series!

I've read all the books in this series on Kindle, and will now listen to them on audible. This "time travel" series is smart, funny and engaging. And, I was shocked to find out after listening to this prequel, so ably read, that the author is narrating this one. Usually, that is the death knell for any audible selection. What a talented author. Even if this is not your genre (it wasn't mine), give the series a try (book one is "Just One Damned Thing After Another").

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ben
  • 05-06-17

Boring and confusing story and author's narration

I was quite disappointed by this short prequel to the Chronicles of St. Mary series. I got the author-read novella from Audible with quite a few other books in the series as the descriptions (mainly of the other ones) seemed really great: what would happen if a bunch of historians actually got the chance to travel back in time to the events they wanted to study? I decided to go chronologically, starting with this prequel before getting into the actual books, as it might give some good background. Unfortunately, it was a random plot with very boring narration.

The author does not have a good voice for narration and story-telling. It was stilted, very few accents, and too soft (or possibly even just a poor quality recording). The story was also very confusing, starting as if all naturally made sense (I suppose this prequel comes with the expectation you will have read the entire series already) and then moving through scenes of poorly-described encounters with people the main character may or may not already know, talking about future events that already happened (but that we the listener/reader don't know?), and with some time travel/history elements thrown in. I was lost, confused, bored, and disappointed. I did read the first book in the series (review to come soon), which features a different narrator, and liked the story better, but don't think this was much of a prequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful