Audiobook Double Review: Finna & Defekt - the LitenVerse Series


Finna and Defekt by Nino Cipri | Finna narrated by Amanda Dolan | Defekt narrated by Ramon De Ocampo

Finna and Defekt are books #1 and #2 in the LitenVerse series by Nino Cipri. Novella length books, they are both fantasies set in an alternate timeline, where most of the action takes place in and around a Swedish big box home store called LitenVärld (in an obvious reference to Ikea). I listened to the audiobooks of both novellas, checked out through Libby from my local library.

In Finna a young woman stops at the customer service desk at the Chicago LitenVärld to report that her grandmother seems to have gone missing. It’s not an unusual occurrence at the big box chain, as the stores are laid out as an interconnecting set of rooms, each a showcase for the products of a particular LitenVärld line. This labyrinth of rooms often confuses customers. It also seems to have a confusing effect on the space time continuum, which means that LitenVärld stores are often plagued with wormholes to other universes.  Turns out Grandma has disappeared down a wormhole, and two employees, Ava and Jules, are “volun-told” to go after her. 

Our two heroes succeed in their mission, after a fashion, but they have to face a series of challenges over a set of strange worlds, as well as their own unresolved tension from their recent breakup. The book tells the story from Ava’s perspective, and the narration is ably handled by Amanda Dolan.

Defekt has a timeline that slightly overlaps Finna, but centers on another employee of the Chicago LitenVärld named Derek. He’s an odd duck. An overly loyal employee, he lives in a shipping container at the end of the parking lot. Derek is plagued by feelings of inadequacy and of not belonging but he takes tremendous pride in his work and the praise that comes from his manager. One day he develops a weird throat infection, and, with some prompting from Jules, determines that he’s due a sick day and calls off from work.

This does not sit well with the manager, who assigns Derek to an overnight inventory of the store, staffed by an offsite team. Suddenly he's face to face with employees who all seem to be clones - of him. To complicate matters they aren’t really doing an inventory, but are exterminating “defective” pieces of furniture and household items among those that LitenVärld has sourced from other universes (in a rush to the cost-of-goods bottom) - pieces that have the unfortunate tendency to come to life and attack people. 

Defekt is told from Derek’s perspective, and Ramon De Ocampo brings just the right amount of company-nerd gusto to the narration. 

On Cipri’s website they give the trigger warning for Defekt that it has “graphic violence against anthropomorphic furniture.” That should give you some idea of the keen and quirky sense of humor that animates both books.  Both poke at capitalism and elevate marginalized folks. 

Also on their website Cipro describes themselves this way - “Nino Cipri is a queer and trans/nonbinary writer, editor, and educator”, and both books have queer and transgender characters.

Of the two audiobooks I liked Defekt best. But both were lots of fun to listen to.

RATING: Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Borrow or Purchase both Finna and Defekt audiobooks here:

📙 Finna: Borrow fromm: Libby | Listen through subscription to: Audible | | B&N Audiobooks, or buy from:  Google Play |  

📘 Defekt: Borrow fromm: Libby | Listen through subscription to: Audible | | B&N Audiobooks, or buy from:  Google Play |   

Title: Finna

Audio Publish Date: September 22, 2020

Title: Defekt

Audio Publish Date: March 1, 2022

Author: Nino Cipri

Publisher: Tantor Audiobooks

ISBN-13: Not Provided for either audiobook.

Publisher’s List Price: Not provided for either audiobook. Publisher points you to Audible and