Tycoon tells the story of Brynn Kelly who approaches billionaire tycoon Aaric Christos for money to start her dream business. She knew him 12 years earlier in Austin, Texas, where her family’s department store, Kelly’s, was based. Since then, Aaric (or, as she calls him for most of the book, “Christos”) has moved up in the world. Then, he was a part-time mechanic and full-time student who also looked after his sick-with-cancer mother. Now, he’s an extremely successful businessman with a reputation for choosing risky investments no-one else will touch but making buckets of money out of them. Brynn needs Christos’s particular skills as she has been singularly unsuccessful in getting any other investor or financial institution to bankroll her business.
Through a friend, she gets a meeting with Christos and the spark which was between them twelve years earlier flares again to life. This puts a kink in Christos’s plans to marry socialite Miranda. He and Miranda get along well and she has agreed to an open marriage. Christos wants a family and they “make sense”. At least, they do until Brynn enters his orbit again. Because Brynn was the one who got away.
Both Brynn and Christos have sad backstories, with Brynn losing her parents in a fire and the Kelly’s department store going bankrupt even before then. Christos lost his mother, grew up without a dad and, after an ex-hook up turned up pregnant, he also lost a baby daughter who was stillborn.
At first Brynn doesn’t want to start anything with Christos because he’s involved with Miranda. Then she doesn’t want to start anything because they’re in a business partnership. Both reasons make sense of course but both felt undeveloped and therefore a little thin within the book.
I didn’t enjoy the story. I spent a lot of time thinking “that’s not how businesses work”. From the initial meeting when Brynn expected to pitch her business idea to Christos, through his vetting process and to the lightning speed in which the “House of Sass” was created from virtually nothing. It went from being an idea and a concept only, to a retail space with clothes manufactured to Brynn’s designs and the software system/app launched and operational in the space of something like six to eight weeks. That just doesn’t happen, even if a lot of money is thrown at it.
I also spent a bit of time thinking “that’s not how words work”. Some of the word choices felt odd to me. In print I can and do skim read so perhaps I’d have given some of them a pass but on audio I hear every word and things which do not belong stand out more obviously to me. Some examples:
“He drew himself up to his full composure.”
“I still pay her life support.”
The push/pull of Brynn’s and Christos’s relationship felt forced and artificial rather than organic and character-based. When I wasn’t annoyed, I was bored.
The narration was okay but I have come to the conclusion that I’m not a big fan of Elizabeth Louise’s voice. It’s not really anything to do with her competence as such. It’s more that I find it thin and not very pleasant to listen to. It’s not grating or awful or anything. It’s just that I don’t love it. Her male character voices are sufficiently different that it was always easy to tell who was talking but they also weren’t very deep or particularly masculine-sounding. The dialogue wasn’t all that scintillating so it’s not like Ms. Louise had a lot to work with – for that reason, I have been relatively generous in my grade for the narration compared to my overall feelings about the audiobook. I expect that if I liked the sound of Ms. Louise’s voice (as, AudioGal BJ does for example) I’d have rated the narration at around the B grade so that might help listeners put my feelings into perspective.
Sebastian York narrates the portions of the book from Christos’s perspective. (I still don’t know why everyone calls him Christos. Even he calls himself Christos!) It’s not a 50/50 split. The vast majority of the book is told from Brynn’s POV. Christos’s sections were also almost entirely in flashback.
Most of these sorts of narrations are done with the narrators in separate locations and only reading their parts. I didn’t get the feeling that Mr. York had a particular handle on Christos’s character. The text bears a lot of the blame there but there was more about who he was in Brynn’s sections and I can’t help but feel Mr. York did not know about them. As a result, his portrayal felt generic and did not always sit well with the Christos Ms. Louise performed.
But, I didn’t like the story. My view of the narration was necessarily coloured by that I’m afraid.
I did think Brynn’s business idea was really good. It was innovative and interesting. If only the book could have been.
AUTHOR: Katy Evans
NARRATED BY: Elizabeth Louise and Sebastian York
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
STEAM FACTOR: 5
REVIEWER: KaetrinBuy Tycoon by Katy Evans on Amazon