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Sunset Specters: The Fifth Jonathan Shade…

Sunset Specters: The Fifth Jonathan Shade Novel

by Gary Jonas

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Sunset Specters (Jonathan Shade #5) by Gary Jonas is the second book in the time travel series. They left the Egyptian period and now in 1877. Things don't go as planned, as usual and there is a lot of heartbreak but which time line is real and which isn't...it is all crazy and hard to wrap your mind around and that is half the fun. Lots of ghost, action, and sorcery. We see Jonathan grow old...wow. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Apr 29, 2017 |
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Jonathan and his friends still have the same problem; when done with each of the three years they need to visit, how will they return to their own time?

Jonathan and Kelly jump forward to the time Brand is in, only to find Brand needs their help. Once they are on their way to find Winslow, the group divides in their thinking on how to get to where they want to be. Jonathan and Kelly move forward to find Winslow's parents in California, and in turn find Winslow. But when in San Francisco they come across so many ghosts that just linger around. Esther can't even get them to talk, and she feels the pull of the area too. They deal with the ways of this era as they fight to find a way to stop Winslow.

Joe continues to be the voice of Jonathan and crew. I'm so glad he returns with each novel. He is the voice of Jonathan for me and he voices Jonathan's dry humor in a sense that I know and enjoy. Joe does do slight changes in his voice, tone, and personality for different characters. When he speaks as Kelly he has a slight accent and determination to his voice, which I would expect from Kelly with her strong personality. Even when other characters appear on the page, I get a feel for them differently in Joe's voice.

Jonathan and Kelly jump to Brand in the 1870's, with a tag-a-long guest they weren't expecting. The way of the west in this time frame is hard on Kelly. Kelly's a female and Chinese, both looked down upon. Will they fight Winslow and work to get home or fight to change the past? What Kelly witnesses in this era is hard for her to see and live with.

It's hard to come into an era where life is so different and not be touched by the way of living, even if it's bad. Our characters got caught in the Egyptian time and now they are distracted by the unfair living in the 1870's. They still work toward their final goal, but they also get involved in the life around their goal as well.

Then there are all those ghosts... What happened to have so many stuck here? Since Jonathan can see ghosts, maybe he can figure it out. (That's a story you'll have to read this book to get.)

Winslow is more powerful in this time. I was concerned with how Jonathan and Kelly would stop him now, and later. Yet there is something about Winslow that has me half believing him. Not wholly but a portion because of his actions.

I was happy to get into this book. Jonathan, Kelly, and Brand's humors are ones I smile at as I'm listening. I do enjoy their banter. But, we don't get to see Raina in the 1920's yet. We are focused here in the 1870's. But we'll get to Raina next, I'm sure.

I will say, I do look forward to the endings of Gary's books with Jonathan. Nothing is easy and I always wonder how it's going to come out right. In some strange way, Jonathan makes it work. I love these twists. Right now, things aren't looking so hot for Jonathan, and I really want to see what comes in the next book at the next time they cross paths with Henry Winslow. ( )
  MelHay | Dec 11, 2016 |
Note: This is Book 5 in the series and I recommend reading the previous books as there are major things that happened in previous stories that affect characters’s decisions in this book.

Book 4, Anubis Nights, left us with quite the cliff hanger, so I was very glad I didn’t have to wait too long for this book to come out on audio. Jonathan Shade and his crew are still hunting Henry Winslow through time. Jonathan, Kelly Chan, and Ankhesenamun were yanked from ancient Egypt into 1877 at the end of the previous book. At the beginning of this book, Jonathan & Kelly are reunited with Brand and Esther, and they all have the opportunity to bring the confused Ankhesenamun up to speed.

And that’s the perfect set up for things to go very, very wrong. First, they finish traveling to San Francisco, hoping to catch up to the sorcerous Henry Winslow before he expects it and well before he can complete the next stage of his immortality ritual. Meanwhile, Douglas Freeman, a former slave, has suffered a great loss. He’s made a list of men who must die. Vengeful, angry ghosts accompany him as he tracks his quarry to San Francisco.

San Francisco is a mixing pot of cultures but it’s far from any kind of equality in 1877. Might still makes right and being any skin tone other than white leaves you with plenty of extra hurdles. Very few establishments outside of China town will serve Kelly Chan and nearly everyone assumes she is Jonathan’s slave. This provides plenty of opportunities for Kelly to set people right, much to my amusement. I’m really glad that the author didn’t ignore these facets of historical San Francisco as it made the story very interesting; Jonathan and crew can’t help but apply their 21st century standards to whatever time period they happen to be in.

The bad guy is very bad indeed! Henry Winslow is a very formidable foe as we saw in Book 4. That continues on in this book, though his powers have grown a bit. Still, Jonathan and crew think they can take him if they can just get the right combo of might, luck, and surprise going. At the very least, they can mess up this stage of his immortality ritual. For the most part, Winslow ignores them (or tosses them over houses) until they become a true nuisance. Then, there is hell to pay. There is this one scene that was a little bit of a tear jerker. Jonathan, in the first trilogy, managed to undo a few deaths with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. However, I don’t know if that will be possible this time around. This book’s description doesn’t lie about not everyone getting out alive.

In the previous book, I felt it was a bit silly that all 3 main female characters were in love with Jonathan. That theme was carried forth in this book, but now things are more complicated. Kelly and Jonathan had this romantic relationship in ancient Egypt and they continue that in 1877, but now they have Brand (Kelly’s ex-boyfriend) and Esther (a ghost who’s had a crush on Jonathan for years) to pay witness to it. This makes for some uncomfortable moments for these friends. However, I am better with the idea of Jonathan being the center of so much female attention now that I’ve read this book, especially in light of how this one ends.

OK, leaving all this mushy romance stuff to the side, Jonathan has more than one bad guy to deal with in this book. He and Douglas Freeman eventually cross paths and a deal is struck to assist each other, as they have one bad guy in common. This eventually brings plenty of pain and a few broken bones to Jonathan as he fights a man who is near indestructible. I quite enjoyed how he resolved that issue.

In the end, this is one of my favorite books of the series. There’s a lot going on in San Francisco in 1877 and a lot going on with Jonathan and his crew. The books ends on a bittersweet note with a bit of suspense for what will come next. So looking forward to Book 6!

I received a free copy of this audiobook.

The Narration: Yet again, Joe Hempel continues to be the perfect Jonathan Shade. As per his usual performance, he does an excellent light Chinese accent for Kelly Chan and a Southern drawl for Esther. I liked the little bit of high-and-mighty he put into Ankhesenamun’s voice. There were some pretty emotional scenes in this book and Hempel did a great job getting those emotions across to the listener. Indeed, I believe he must be attached to these characters by now and that really shows in his narration. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Oct 31, 2016 |
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