Orphaned by the brutal death of her mother right before her very eyes, a young Anati child flees into a nightmare of lonely survival, desperate hunger, and fearfully haunted nights. In the very same city, a young, purebred Nephti kit has everything she could ever want - prestigious parents, a noble family house, and a well-appointed lair. These two will become the heroines of their age and legends of the ages to come, but the path that leads them there will be neither easy nor glorious.
Vanarra Anasto grows up as an outcast, hiding from society while Sahnassa de Orturu flees from the expectations her parents and family lay upon her. As Vanarra claws her way slowly forward, hoping to survive and find a future, Sahnassa's future is challenged and undermined by the very family sworn to protect and nurture her.
When the two meet, necessity pulls them together, but the clash of their different worlds constantly pulls them apart. Although they settle into an uncomfortable friendship, Sahnassa's family begins making overtures of reconciliation towards her. Vanarra feels bitterly betrayed, and the pain and hurt of so many seasons of abuse and neglect from the paws of purebreds causes her to lash out. Emotionally wounded, Sahnassa flees back to her family, wondering if a purebred can ever understand the soul of the mixed blood.
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A prequel that stands on its own
I've heard audiobooks and audio-dramas that include things like ambient sounds, sound effects, and multiple speakers, but that's not the approach taken in 'Purebred'Phillips does an excellent job adjusting herself to the various cast members. Would the story have benefited from someone with a more masculine tone taking some of the male roles? Yes, it would have (especially Flint, who is not only masculine, but VERY masculine, in comparison to others of both his heritages). But given that none are mentioned on the author's site as stepping up to the role, Phillips adapts well enough to the wide spread of different characters and emotional portrayals. So it ranks high in my marks regardless. There are moments where, whether you've read the other volumes in the Thurian Saga or not, you genuinely feel for the characters being portrayed, which is a hard thing for not just an author, but for a voice-actor to pull off.If you have read the other works, it's likely that you'll agree that this volume (being a prequel to the prior works) was a good one to put to voice before the others. It covers backstory, but does so without completely spoiling the plot-points of the books which follow it in chronology, but not release order. It hints at the story's major plot-points to come, but doesn't draw a solid line between anything, so there's still a sense of revelation when stuff comes about.
I have two favorite characters in this piece. Not the mains, however.Ashalam, and Flint.I will not give away spoilers in a posted review, of course, but these two resonate not just in emotional appeal, but also in how they effect and influence the main characters of the story (Van and Sahni). Flint, in particular, is a character I'd like to see developed more beyond the books, since he clearly has that potential, and direct connection to Van, who is one of the main cast.
Sahni, read through Phillips' voice, resonated with me much more than Van. Sahni felt more nuanced, developed, and relatable. Phillips' tone and inflection just seemed to lean more towards that character. She did well conveying Van's personality, but not -as- well, at least as far as what I read when reading the book itself as to what the author intended. One character seemed to read as softer, more emotional, but with a bit of a hardened core (Sahni), while the other was more the opposite (easily what the author intended in the text, but not conveyed as best as possible in the narration).
*Spoilers for any that read this. Skip this section*Ashalam's passing was very powerful. This was one of the parts of the book where Phillips' voice seemed to fit Van very well, and the emotion conveyed in such an unjust situation was well represented. It was -wrong-, in every sense of the word that anyone who is reviled by the concept of inequality would find it, and Phillips nailed the delivery of that injustice and the harm it imparted on the character suffering through it, and to Van, who had to watch it happen.I do feel Phillips conveyed Sahni best through-out most of the book. But in that chapter, Van not only carried the story, but Philips' voice carried Van through the story just as strongly.
Heart wrenching and powerful read