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Kingfisher - the title itself a delicate play on words - is set in a world with both cell phones and sorceresses, knights, guns, goddesses, wyverns, Friday Night Fish Fries, and small, tinny, fuel-efficient cars - and even a hint of Faerie. The prose is brisker and doesn't have the crystalline beauty of McKillip's other fantasies, but is still mesmerizing. The story is complex, moving back and forth among three (at least three) sets of characters (although the sets shift occasionally) until they converge for the denouement. Running through all the well-turned phrases is water imagery which is totally appropriate to a story focused on rivers and coastal fishing communities, and which help draw the disparate elements of the story together.
Bernadette Dunne is fun, as a reader. She is at the high end of competence among even good readers, virtually never mispronouncing a word or mis-anticipating where a sentence is going. She is also infinitely better than some other readers McKillip's work has reaped, whose breathy girlish wonder destroys the actual wonder of the writing. Dunne still has moments where she can't quite relax and let the prose do all the heavy lifting - which is the only way to be entirely successful at reading such a well-crafted book - moments where she forces the wonder and amazement with her tone instead of letting the story carry it. But she's so much better than readers like Gabrielle de Cuir (who might be excellent reading something entirely different from McKillip, but I'll probably never know) that there is no real comparison.
I finished listening to the book with the simultaneous gentle regret and deep satisfaction that is the hallmark of a good story and a good performance.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I usually love Patricia Mckillip's tales in audiobook form, but I found this very hard to follow. I kept feeling that it would make more sense if I were reading it. Perhaps this novel really requires a voice actor who can read in many distinct voices, because it often wasn't until well after a character had been speaking that I knew who it was. In general, the voice was nice and suited to McKillip'd style.