Audiobook Review: Voyage of The Defiance: Breaking Free Pt. 1 by S.E. Smith

Author: S.E. Smith
Voyage Of The Defiance: Breaking Free Pt.1
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
Publisher: Susan E. Smith
Unabridged Audiobook
Length of Production: 7hrs & 56 mins
Year of Publication: 12-15-15
Rating: 1.5 stars  :/

Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Copy received graciously from Audiobookjukebox in exchange for an honest review.


An act of defiance that will either kill her or change her life forever…

Sixteen year old Makayla Summerlin enjoyed one thing in her crazy, messed-up existence: hanging with her friends at school. Her life is uprooted when she suddenly finds herself forced to live with the grandfather she barely remembers.

One act of defiance will change her life forever when she sets sail in her grandfather’s old sailboat after she has trouble adjusting to her new home. On a journey that will challenge everything she has ever believed about herself, Makayla must overcome her fears if she, and a surprising stowaway, are to survive.

Audiobook Review (Spoilers)

By now, you all should know that if it takes me longer than a week or so to post a review for something that it’s usually because I did not like it. This audiobook is no different and just as a heads-up, this is  no where near a favorable review of this story. I finished this audiobook over a month ago and have since re-listened to a majority of it in the hopes of drawing a different and more positive conclusion than the one I had the first time around.

Overall I was bored, disinterested and at a few points personally offended, but before I get into all of that I feel I should mention that this material did not seem suited for the audiobook format.

At least, that is the impression the listener will get based on the performance of the narrator of this story. The dictation, tone and emotionless dry-speech strung together made it difficult to concentrate and empathize with any of the characters, whom all came across as whinny and two-dimensional. What was worse was not being able to understand the main character, Makayla’s, motivations. Growing up with a drug-addicted mother whom lives with a shady, drug-dealer boyfriend, she ends up living with her distant—and to all intensive purposes non-involved—grandfather in a safe and welcoming home.

This change of location took her away from her friends, sure, but it was what Makayla’s character seemed to want from the moment the listener/reader meets her. Yet, she beings to lose interest when a guy, she barely knows, tells her he has to go away to college and then decides to run away after a school fight.

Makayla’s character was constantly back and forth with what she wanted to do and where she wanted to be and the hands off, non-parental cluelessness of her grandfather did not make things any better. To sum it up, the story in general wasn’t attention grabbing or exciting. I mean, by the time the book got to where Makayla takes her grandfather’s boat, the narrative focuses on Makayla and a classmate, Tyrell, struggling out at sea nearly 5 % before the end of the book.

At first, I thought the concept of Makayla’s situation was really interesting, but I was disappointed by the author’s lack of unique perspective, or a digressional approach with the narrative, and the core of the second half of this audiobook only seemed to offer a not-so-subtle inclusion of stereotypical characterization and micro aggression.

Without over exacerbating these commonalities in a lot of fiction material out there, I’d like to use two quotes from this book to emphasize my point.

“Ten points for the black guy with a brain.”- Makayla

“White girls were crazy.” – Tyrell

When I heard the first line, I had to stop and listen to it again because I was certain I had heard it wrong, but sadly, I did not. And not five minutes after that, Tyrell’s line followed (and to some moderation, several variations of that same line followed through the remainder of the book.)

When I found out that Makayla was going to interact with a person of color for the remainder of the book, I was excited because it was an unexpected detail. However, the author’s ill-informed approach toward their kinship in the second half of the story left a bitter and discurious taste in my mouth.

Overall, I am sorry to say that I am not interested in the books to follow in the rest of this series, but if the points I mentioned do not bother you and the synopsis of this book interests you, then try the series out for yourself.

Thanks ever so much for reading, guys.

Until the next post,