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I loved this from start to end. Essentially a coming-of-age story, its diary format does not lend itself to strong plot points, and my major criticism is that the denoument is rather rushed at the end. But you can't help falling for Mori, especially for me, as she is such a SF/Fantasy nut and *devours* books.
But I adored Katherine Kellgren's performance, and was amazed to find out she's from the US. The "singsong" accent, with its "changes of inflection" was, to me being a Celt, a really great Welsh accent, along with good Southern English and west-country accents. Well done Katherine! Yes, it may be a little difficult to get used to, but on the eastern side of the pond it works really well.
Give it a go. It's a simple character piece that will make you smile.
40 of 41 people found this review helpful
There are several different ways you could go about narrating a book. You could simply read it aloud, you might go so far as to add inflection to the spoken parts. And if you want to stand out, you try to give each notable character a distinct voice. But if you seek to be as extraordinary as Katherine Kellgren, you must bring the story to life, imbue every word with color. There are some wonderful pieces online about the lengths Ms. Kellgren goes to achieve such dynamic performances, and it truly shows. The result is that this reading is anything but stayed, the narration achieving an artistic quality all its own. Of course, this means that it is even more a separate and distinct creature from the words on a printed page than any audiobook already is, and to some that might be a bad thing, possibly a very bad thing. But with a case such as this where the experience is far more about the person telling you the story than her story per se, the end result is truly delightful.
It is understandable that for someone used to traditional narration, this performance might take some getting used to, because the emphasis on reproducing the character's voice occasionally overrides clarity, requiring you to pay closer attention than you might be used to. But this is more than worth it because if you give in to this way of relating the story, it's very much like listening to Mori speaking to you through her diary entries rather than listening to a woman read.
This approach helps the presentation of the material immensely, since this is so much about one person's journey, her thoughts, fears, ambitions, and observational asides along the way. You cannot help but love this girl who has suffered so much but still loves so dearly in her own way.
As for the end, it is rather sudden, especially given how the beginning so wonderfully takes you by the hand and leads you deeper and deeper into a world where magic is real, but always deniable, infinitely subtle and incalculably powerful. This book is a nominee for the 2012 Hugo Award for best novel. And though there are other worthy candidates this year, I would be very happy if it won.
34 of 37 people found this review helpful
This book was one of my favorites to listen to since I started my audible subscription. The narrator is wonderful, and the welsh accent makes such a difference (an accent I know I wouldn't have been able to keep in my head if I'd read the book instead of listened to it). The story is complicated to explain, but not complicated to listen to, and the book is addictive in the best way.
And for a fan of science fiction, it was like a hot bath and a comforting meal - even though the main character Mori read few of the same authors as I did, the feeling was the same, and it reminded me of how much love I felt for reading when I was a teenager, the way I devoured books and how much they impacted my life and my imagination.
Just a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I wanted a nice gentle read with a bit of fantasy thrown in and thats what I got. I so loved this book and will listen to it again and again. I loved the accent, which was wonderful and left me wishing for more. It takes you through some of the issues faced by young girls as they enter womanhood especially those that are a bit different.
It entwines the real bland and everyday reality with that of magic mysticism and escapism. It questions if one creates the other and is it reasonable or even advisable to try and control these – after all who wants to live with puppets or to become one.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The lit and tone of the narrators voice, becomes very annoying after a period of time.
I enjoyed this story of Mori, a young girl who has to battle her half-mad witch mother in Wales and the fantasy devoid life of boarding school in England. The story is, in part, told through Mori's diary so can sometimes feel that the plot is moving slowly, but at all times Mori's intelligence, frankness and bravery shine through.
Whilst the story telling involves Mori's love of sci-fi and fantasy novels, don't let this put you off - I know nothing about these genres but still loved Mori's descriptions of the books and authors.
The narrator is absolutely fabulous - making the Welsh accent simply beautiful to listen to.
A very different 'coming-of-age' tale (at least for me) with elements of fantasy, yet very much based in the real world.