This audiobook edition of Sherwood Smith's famous fantasy combines Crown Duel with its sequel, Court Duel, as the author originally intended. The result is an engrossing adventure of epic proportion, its two parts respectively following young Countess Meliara from blood-soaked battlefields to the peacetime political wranglings that define life in Remalna's royal palace. Performer Emma Galvin personifies Meliara as she endures the death of her father, political revolt, and captivity, lending the countess a voice that is fittingly dour and hardened, while nevertheless sonorously regal. Galvin captures the old-world enchantment and alluring atmospherics that color Smith's fantasy world of Sartorias-deles, while likewise betraying the heart-palpitating emotion and intrigue that propels Meliara's plight.
Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king.
That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows, in peacetime. Meliara is summoned to live at the royal palace, where friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fills the dance halls and the drawing rooms.
If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting - with wits and words and secret alliances. In war, at least, she knew in whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one.
©1997 Sherwood Smith (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"Great story, mediocre narration"
I loved the story! Though I generally like Emma Galvin's narration, she was not at her best with this one. Too many awkward pauses in the middle of phrases, stilted reading of the old fashioned language. The story was good enough to make up for it, but I'd have loved to hear this done by a narrator (or producer) with more passion for putting out the best product. It seemed like the recording was done in too much of a hurry for it to be smooth.
"love this book, not really the narrator"
So I've read this book probably 10 to 15 times and I was excited to see it on Audible. I clearly love the story and I can't say enough about it. However the narrator told the story in a style that didn't work for me. She Americanized the pronunciation of Marquis (instead of Mar-key she pronounced it as Mar-quiss) which drove me crazy the entire book. and she talks very slow. These are preference things and I could work around the talking very slow by speeding up the book (I recommend x1.25). So overall I'd say give this book a shot
"Do they listen before publishing?"
First off know that I really enjoy Sherwood Smith's books, but I couldn't make it past 30 minutes with this narrator. It was like listening to a 3rd grader stumbling through a book. Read 3 words...pause...another 3...pause. There was no fluidity or rhythm to anything she read. I'm going to give up and read the book.
"Love the book!"
I love this book. I would even say it's my favorite. The narrator isn't the best but I love being able to listen to this book as I'm doing other things, so it balances out.
I read this story as a teenager and loved it so much! I was delighted to find an audio version, and I was not disappointed when i listened to it. Yes, the narration is stilted in some places, but overall, it's a glorious opportunity to re-engage with this splendid tale! I also loved the 3+ hours of extra stories from Vidanric's point of view!
"I'll stick to reading it myself"
great book just didn't like the narrorator, felt like she half assed the characters and scenes.
"Actor leave me wanting more.."
Love this author and the story. Not a fan of the performance...but once you get caught up in the story you can kind of forget about her.
"Love the book, not the reading"
I read this every couple years. I first read it when it came out, when I was in middle school. Now I read it as a comfort read. I love Sherwood Smith's world building.
Stilted, unvarying, acceptable. Her voice is fine, but she needs to relax more. There were a lot of awkward pauses and weird phrasing. For the price, I could live with it.
Love the story, love the characters, can't stand the narrator. I could get past the American accent, the strange pronunciation of place and personal nouns, what I can't get past is her inability to scan a sentence properly. She pauses in all the wrong places, runs together where she should pause, and generally ruins the flow of the story. If I didn't already love the story I'd probably give it up in disgust.
"Left a lot to be desired"
Many reviewers loved this book, but I found it superficial and cheesy. None of the characters had much depth or intrigue to them. Everything was very angsty, and I HATE when authors use angst as their main method to build tension between characters. It is so immature and feels like being in high school. The characters were silly, and the story was unimaginative. It honestly had the potential to be a great story, had it been written by someone with more scope for imagination and a better ability toward world-building.
Emma Galvin was great in Divergent, but in this book she was horrendous. Literally throughout the entire book she would pause at random inappropriate spots in a sentence, which made it feel like she had lost her place. She just stumbled through the entire book. It was awful.
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