I bought this after seeing it recommended on a list of credit-worthy listens by Audible and was not disappointed. It is hard to find a fantasy story w..Show More »here both the author and narrator are as good as the standard here. I would personally class this story as a fantasy romance but don't be put off by that if you are not a romance fan because the romance is mild, while the story and characters are strong. I wasn't board once in eighteen and a half hours and will be buying the squeal if it also comes to Audible.
There are many things I like about this story. The fantasy universe is well realized. The author has merged aspects of quite dark subjects and characters, with aspects of almost child like wish fulfillment, providing something new and interesting for her readers. There are several interesting plot's converging in the book and the writing is of a good standard in all the things that are most important to me as a reader: characterization, imagery and plot.
The narrator is also excellent. Time and again I am put of wonderful stories by the grating and robotic tones of a narrator. Alexandra Harris on the other hand, tells the story in a lively and engaging manner, voicing the different parts for the characters. She is one of the few American narrators of a fantasy book that I would recommend and I only wish there where more like her.
Why isn't it a five? Partly it's a four because I'm comparing against my favorite authors like Terry Pratchett, Patrick Rothfuss and Anne McCaffrey and if I give this a five, I have nowhere to go for them.
DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO READ THIS STORY UNSPOILED.
Another reason I haven't given it a five star rating, is that there is a vast and interesting background plot which, if given more focus in this novel, would have greatly improved the story. Instead the author appears to have chosen to tell it over a series and the story looses a bit of momentum and potential because of that. Also, it has to be said that the heroine is the typical outcast who quickly brings anyone of importance round to caring for her, sacrificing some credibility and potentially interesting plot developments because of this.
I can't think of another author quite like Anne Bishop her worlds are so different to anything else out there. Her characterisation is so good that yo..Show More »u're often seeing the world from several conflicting points of view and often sympathizing with all the main characters. Her description and sense of her world is so real that many other writers feel bland in comparison.
She contrasts the engaging almost childlike hope and innocence of her heroine with a complex world where fairy tale creatures fluctuate between benevolence and horrific actions, many humans are worse still and the socio-economic climate is ruled by a powder keg of racial and political tensions.
I'd put this series in my audiobook top ten. I've already re-listened to the previous novel before this came out and found it to be one of the few that I enjoyed just as much the second time and it will be the same with this book. You do need to read this series in order.
Alexandra Harris is a brilliant narrator not only does she draw you into the story like any good narrator but she is so good at voicing the male as well as the female characters, that I often forgot that I was listening to just one woman.
Anne Bishop clearly writes for a female audience but although I heard the first book in the series referred to as young adult, having read the second I personally wouldn't put such a tag on this series. I'm in my late thirties and can see the book appealing to a much wider audience. The heroine is 24 not a teenager and Bishop doesn't flinch away from any of the harder issues which although not gratuitous are clearly spelt out.