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The Lightning-Struck Heart

By: TJ Klune
Narrated by: Michael Lesley
Series: Tales from Verania, Book 1
Length: 19 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the king's wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam's 14, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At 15, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle - Knight Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can't control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the king sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan's boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or, so he thinks.

©2015 TJ Klune (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press

What listeners say about The Lightning-Struck Heart

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Love love love

Everything about this book gave me a heart boner. The narrator was amazing!! My only complaint is that it had to end <\3 I tell e v e r y o n e about this book and force them to listen to parts of it. I strongly recommend listening to the audio X

3 people found this helpful

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best narration

the narrator was amazing, the story was fantastic, laugh in public funny, and sweet. Fantastic!

2 people found this helpful

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Make it past the first few chapters!

IT GETS BETTER

That being said, the first few chapters were the weakest in my opinion, if not very cringe filled with diluted and gratutious writing.

BUT WAIT!

If you can get past the corny and camp voices that initially cause you to wince, the story blooms and characters blossom into a wonderful world called Verania. TJ's writing get's stronger and stronger and you can't help but gush at the moments all the characters encounter. Some incredible laugh out loud moments too!

...and of course, a narration that hammers down the series by Michael Lesely!

Give it a go!

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Amazing

The narration of the book is perfect and glorious. Michael Lesley brings every character to life in ways I would never have felt by reading the book alone.

The story is beautiful; it is full of sass, sarcasm, wit and sex, with enough romance, pain and struggle you find yourself invested in characters’ happiness.

There are occasional moments where the banter between characters gets monotonous, and you may be tempted to forward thorough, but it adds to the feeling of what it’s like to be there with them, having to put up with inane words as the other characters would have to do in real life.

I fell in love with so many of the characters, that I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I yelled, and I held my breath, for my new friends, as if I’d always known them.

Well worth it.

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Amazing

I absolutely love this book and all its characters, I can't wait to listen to the others from this series

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couldn't finish

very little depth or sophistication. a bit like gratuitous young adult fanfiction. couldn't finish it.

the voice narration is great but it couldn't save the vacuous storyline and characters.

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Beautifully read

What a crude, lewd audiobook. Such depravity between men, unicorns, dragons and faeries.
I love it!

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Incredible!

Michael Lesley's narration of this already amazing book was perfection! I can see myself listening to this book over and over again all because of Lesley!

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Adorable, delightful, funny and heartfelt

I was not expecting to fall in love with this book. But I did. The story, characters, narration all become so much more. *awkward hug*

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Spell Bound & Unforgettable Moments

This story had me out loud laughing, it had me in emotional suspense, it had me wishing upon the stars for Sam.
I can honestly say I Loved this book, I will 100% be listening to it again, I bought book two before even half way through this book I was so hooked!!
If you looking for the best narration of your life and a story that will surprisingly tug at your heart, then look no further this book was just “Sweet Molasses” I need more of this story in my life so onto the next book, byeeeeee

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  • Rain
  • 23-12-2015

Absolutely brilliant

I cannot say enough about this book. First, a warning; it's not for everyone. It is devastatingly funny, but the humor is sometimes crude. For me, it was quite amazing. I was constantly laughing and rewinding to my favorite parts. In over 19 hours, I never once felt like it was slow or boring. I'm doing my best to write a spoiler-free review, so it will not do the book justice.

I'm not one for warm and fuzzy relationships, nor relationships that are too easy or too anguishing. The interactions between Sam and Ryan make this relationship my favorite of all books I have ever read or listened to.

Every character was fleshed out, unique, and worked flawlessly in this story. I cared about each character, laughed at all the bad guys, and was never confused about what was going on. The details were plentiful without being too much.

The performance was phenomenal. The narrator's voices were very different, so I knew who exactly was speaking, and each matched the character perfectly. There was emotion in every word. It was not just a narration; it was a masterful performance full of emotion, laughter, and passion.

I would happily listen to anything this author and narrator ever created. I hope there is a sequel, that it comes soon, and that it has the same narrator. I will listen to this over and over again. It was more than worth the credit.

75 people found this helpful

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  • Shannon Dee
  • 30-12-2015

Best audiobook of 2015!

What made the experience of listening to The Lightning-Struck Heart the most enjoyable?

The narrator seemed to truly understand and enjoy the content so it was so much fun to listen to!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Lightning-Struck Heart?

I can't even pick one! I love TJ's writing and wordplay and it was so well done by the narrator that the entire thing just tickled me!

Which scene was your favorite?

Again, not sure I could pick one but the opening scene really gets you into the style and humor of the story

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

I REALLY REALLY tried!

19 people found this helpful

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  • Belen
  • 13-12-2015

There aren't enough stars for this...

Any additional comments?

The Lightning-Struck Heart or, as it was originally titled, Unicorn Star F**ker, is a fantastic story of love, friendship, longing, loss, and hope.

Is this funny? Yes. Yes, it is. It's hilarious. Straight up - I was obnoxiously laughing so hard and so loud for so long that I actually began to feel sorry for the people around me. Sorry they were being subjected to my overt hilarity and sorry they were not reading this magnificent and wondrous book so they too could laugh uproariously.

Does this book make your heart ache? In part. Yes, it will, a little. What can be more sad than wanting someone so desperately, but knowing you can't have him?

"...I’m sorry I made an oath. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do. And I’m sorry that I can’t break it. But you have to believe me that it’s always been you. I promise. I promise." His voice cracked and my hands shook. "I promise, because when I look upon these stars, there is nothing I wish for more than you."

Is this just an OTT Fairy-tale on crack? No. No, it's not. Or, well, it's not only that. There are so many nuances to this. It has humor, heartache, and, most importantly, lessons to be learned about life, love and sometimes letting the things you love go even at the expense of your own heart and soul.

And, oh, the characters!

Wizard Apprentice Sam Haversford aka "Sam of Wilds" is maddening, fantastic and wonderful in all his blurty over-the-top goodness.

Sir Ryan Foxheart, is dashing and wonderful and...an asshole. But not an irredeemable asshole. Which is good.

The sidekick characters are utterly sublime! (Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, Tiggy, the half-giant, Sam's parents, Morgan and Randall the wizards, Kevin the dragon, Mama, Sam's fairy drag mother, the King, Pete, the guard...gods I could go on and on...) They all steal spotlight every time they appear on page again and again.

I *literally* loved every single minute of this.

If you are a fan of Monty Python, Mel Brooks, Top Gun, and The Princess Bride - then you will love this book. You will want to have this book's babies.

If you are a fan of T.J. Klune's, and love his characters Derrick "Bear" McKenna (BOATK), Paul Auster (TMIR), and Sandy Stewart (TMIR) - then you will love this book. You will beg for more ( by the way, T.J....MORE PLEASE!!! ) Literally.

Never fear, dear readers! You get an HEA, but it's also left open for more adventures. And, oh, how I want them. I literally want them so much. Literally.

Michael Lesley takes this funny, makes your heart ache, cracktastic fairy tale and maked it infinitely relatable to anyone who loves humor, sarcasm, sassiness, and even sadness.

This is fantastic in all senses of the word. Run, do not walk, to buy this audio!

HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

36 people found this helpful

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  • C. T.
  • 24-12-2015

The Go Word Is "Sam"

I love "Tell Me It's Real," but "The Lightning-Struck Heart" just took loooove to a whole other level! With best friends like Gary the hornless, gay unicorn (aka the perversion queen) and Tiggy the half-giant (who smashes and hugs with his whole heart), resigned and reluctant mentors like Morgan and Randall (respectively), a caring king and a butthole of a prince, a frustrating and sometimes stalker-y love interest (Ryan) this great book needs only one more ingredient (besides overly sexual dragons and fairy kings, though it has that, too) to make this book not just pretty awesome, but a vision of pure awesomeness almost too beautiful to put down EVER (okay, maybe that's a bit much...sort of): Sam of Wilds! With his kind heart, sassy mouth, bad sex puns and even worse jokes (love Wassa's name), and the fact that EVERYTHING wants to have sex with him, especially in front of Ryan, he makes a fabulous and fun and downright lovable main character.

And to Michael Lesley: you make this book and these characters really come alive. No other narrator that I've heard could do a more amazing job for these books and queens of sass than you!

21 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin Smith
  • 28-01-2016

Like a Sassy Gay Princess Bride

Would you listen to The Lightning-Struck Heart again? Why?

Yes! Just pure entertainment, It's wonderfully funny, yet has it's balance in the achingly familiar longing for what you dream (but don't think you can have). It is an adventure tale that is both filled with excitement of perilous situations and the great delight of the just plain wacky ones.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Lightning-Struck Heart?

There really are too many great moments to pick just one. What stands out is the sheer abundance of little moments. A line here and there, or the description of a scene or situation in the voice of the main protagonist and storyteller.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are so many scenes that I could think of, but then immediately think of others that could also be considered as a favorite. While not a scene, the relationship between the three friends (Sam, Tiggy The 1/2 Giant, and Gary The Hornless Unicorn) is so well done and complex it makes every scene between them eligible for the title of favorite.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is extremely funny, and I found myself laughing out loud many, many times. But underneath the goofy situations, and sassy dialogue, is the ache of life not being like your dreams, or even easy. Characters that seem shallow and one-dimensional can open up for a moment and show their own aching heart.

Any additional comments?

A lot of "gay" fiction centers in the theme of not being accepted, by yourself or by society. It is refreshing that in this book being gay is thought of as just as valid as being straight, and not treated as anything but just another way of being.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Tina
  • 13-12-2015

Awesome!

This book was exactly what i needed, I love this book I was laughing my ass off it was awesome, the narrator was great. This audiobook is Hilariously funny and enjoyable wow so must fun thanks TJ Klune and Michael Lesley for making my day. ( Warning DO NOT listen to this book outside you home because people will think you are losing your mind or high). I highly recommend it 5 star.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Donald
  • 08-04-2016

Beyond the stars...

I have always enjoyed TJ Klune's work but this story has got to be one of the best that I have listened to since I began listening to audiobooks. The author's wit and writing style had me experiencing every emotion that one could possibly consider. They dynamic between Sam, Garry, and Tiggy was just awesome and the love between Sam and Ryan could be felt (physically) through the words. Adding to the majesty of the words is the excellent narrative abilities of Michael Lesley. Each character was brought to life with the differing vocals assigned to each. What an amazing talent he is! Exceptional is not nearly a strong enough adjective to describe the awesomeness of this book!!!

11 people found this helpful

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  • NJ Nubian
  • 17-03-2016

Prepare to get awkward stares

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

Absolutely! I almost gave up in the first 30 minutes because I'm thinking what nonsense is this! Are they for real? I am sooo glad I stuck with it. The reviews were fantabulous so I trudged on. By 1 hour in I was hooked! There was kerfluffle after kerfluffle and I could not stop laughing. I made the mistake of listening to the audio in public and I just didn't care. At one point it became a little awkward because I couldn't breathe from laughing so hard.

What other book might you compare The Lightning-Struck Heart to and why?

This is classic TJ Klune. But the best by far!

Which scene was your favorite?

Any scene with Kevin! I played those scenes over and over again as I missed most of the scenes though my hysterical laughing.

Any additional comments?

I am not certain if I would have enjoyed this story as much without the magnificient narrator. What an absolute talent! Best narrator I have heard so far!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Riva
  • 16-01-2016

Epic and Magnificent!!

Epic and Magnificent!!! That is how I would describe this wonderful book and performance. For have not doubt, Mr. Lesley does NOT read this book; he performs it in a way that you "experience" this book. The combination of TJ Klune's imaginative, funny and poignant fantasy adventure and Micheal Lesley's amazing performance is the stuff of dreams. The story of Sam and Ryan and their marvelous Scooby gang of friends and family had me grinning from start to finish. At 19 hours you would think it would drag, but it didn't. And that is primarily due to TJ Klune's wonderful writing. He makes these characters so endearing that you can't help but get swept up in their lives. Of course there is the usual warning about listening in public. You will laugh out loud and get strange looks and wide berths. But it is so worth a little public shaming. The ending seemed to infer they may be more adventures to follow. I really, really hope there are.

10 people found this helpful

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  • K.S.
  • 20-12-2015

LOVE T.j klune

This author is absolutely amazing. I am in awe of the way his mind works. His books are serously funny mostly because of the fact that the main chacter telling the stories are sarcastic, unlucky and batshit crazy. This book is not different than his other books in that regard. It is however a lot different than the bear, otter and the kid series since this one is set in a fantazy world. The love story always seem to be the background story in the book and you do not get to know the love interest of the MC very well - he seems mostly to be "the pretty one" that he pines after due to his look. But it does not matter since i generally never listen to his books for the romance but for all the the snipy comments and impossible happenings that makes them fun to listen to. I still like the bear otter and the kid series better but this is absolutely worth the time too.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Louise Smits
  • 18-01-2016

Utterly hilarious

So incredibly entertaining. Narrated in a magnificent way.
Loved the diverse characters. Loved the modern culture injected in a fantasy novel.

I listened to the whole thing in a few days... They were fantastic days!

4 people found this helpful

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  • LB
  • 09-01-2016

Great fun

A great story told with gusto. The narration really suited the characters and the storytelling

3 people found this helpful

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  • alex
  • 25-12-2015

a light hearted tale,funny yet thought provoking

What made the experience of listening to The Lightning-Struck Heart the most enjoyable?

the narrator, very good all the different characters all had a life of there own...

What did you like best about this story?

the love between friends, i.e. Sams love for Gary and tiggy and theirs for him

Which character – as performed by Michael Lesley – was your favourite?

well Sam of course.. and Gary.. and Tiggy..

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

the ballad of Sam, Gary and Tiggy.. really moving

Any additional comments?

I agree with other reviewers, this is very funny in the main, sad at times and thought provoking at others. some things where predictable.(as you would expect) but mainly a good tale with plenty of action..I have slated one of TJ Klunes other books, but this one is really good, and I look forward to the next one. if there is to be one..

2 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen, liverpool
  • 17-10-2017

very camp

i must admit when i first started listening to this book that i had made a mistake. It dad take a few chapters to get into the style of narration and story. I kept at it and eventually appreciated the story. very camp very funny and a very good book, if you want to laugh this is the book for you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Book addict
  • 10-10-2017

A very fun read

Ridiculous at times, but a really enjoyable read/listen all the same. I was completely immersed in the whole story and barely put it down until it was finished. The ending didn’t quite wrap up or resolve all the issues I had with their relationship and how much messing around with emotions there was, but that’s only a small niggle.

The narrator really made this book - what an absolute talent he has! I listened to an audio sample several months back and was put off by how overly camp it was so didn’t purchase it. However it still kept popping up as a recommendation and the reviews on Audible and Goodreads are great, so gave it a go in the end. How wrong I was! Yes there is a certain level of campness with some characters, but it’s done so tremendously well and the narrator has such an exceptional range of characters completely nailed and developed. I’m going to look up other books he narrates. A true actor who becomes each character rather than just reading the story like some narrators do. Not sure whether the audio sample has changed because when I listened this time it wasn’t so extreme and didn’t put me off?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 27-08-2017

WOW!!! Entertaining

Would you listen to The Lightning-Struck Heart again? Why?

Oh Yes, without a doubt, Humours, Heart touching and down right funny in places

What did you like best about this story?

Hard to pick just one thing, But you got to Love Gary the Gay Hornless Unicorn

What does Michael Lesley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The voices for each character's was amazing and brought them to life :)

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Chuckles, laugh out loud, and sad rarely have listened or read a book that has done this

Any additional comments?

Can't recommend this book enough I love it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jason g. ogilvie
  • 27-07-2017

Laugh out loud

Would love this to made into a Disney film lol
Fantastic farce can't wait for the follow up

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. N. Baker
  • 19-07-2017

Epic and Awesome

A joy to listen to
Characters are brought to life impeccably and once again TJ Klune has proved that LGBT fiction and fantasy can be fun, engaging and positive. Bravo to all involved. Now can we have the sequel?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Madeleine Lewis
  • 15-10-2019

Bloody brilliant

Absolutely hysterical. It is like someone put all my favourite things together and wrote a book for me. Klune is bloody brilliant. Not to mention that Michael Lesley is perfection - the timing, the accents, the sass! God of Sass.

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  • H Woodrow-Hill
  • 26-08-2019

Oh my Gods!

This book has made others see me as a complete lunatic as it has made me laugh out loud in many public places, including the gym!
Michael Lesley’s narration is nothing short of genius even if it did take me a minute and a half to get used to it, and I love the camp deliciousness of Sam and Gary amongst others. The story is wonderful and the characters even more so but the underlying humour has lightened my very own lightning struck heart! Thank you so much to TJ Klune for giving me this experience. Can’t recommend highly enough.