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The gods of old are infamous for playing with humans, giving out tokens of favor or destroying bloodlines over some trivial slight. Taking one of the most famous tragedies by Shakespeare, Kate Danley weaves a new twist in which the mythological gods play an intricate and deadly role. The houses of Montague and Capulet are the key victims being used by both Queen Mab, the bringer of nightly dreams and Faunus, the bringing of day dreams to get what they want. However, Queen Mab discovers true love and becomes transformed trying to prevent Faunus from destroying the houses and her true-love.
Danley stays true to the story being careful to weave in hers without taking away from Shakespeare’s infamous love tragedy. Danley did not attempt to write in the eloquent Shakespearean style; her writing is different yet just as expressive and fluent in a simpler style.
Shakespeare is known for intrigue and Danley continues with the tradition; her intrigue clearly compliments and fits with the classic tale making her story of Queen Mab richer and more powerful. It is never a good thing when gods interfere; they are seen as petty and selfish. While Queen Mab begins that way, her character grows revealing that even gods may have a depth of kindness hidden somewhere deep within themselves.
As an English major and fan of Shakespearean writings, I was not sure that I would like this book. I had my doubts that anyone could make Romeo and Juliet better. Danley is a gifted and skilled writer. She successfully tied in her story without breaking the integrity of the original story.
The characters were well-developed moving one from disliking Queen Mab to feeling a range of emotions from dislike to pity to sadness to cheering her on. When a character goes through such powerful changes and grows, the listener cannot help but change their opinion.
The narrator, Julian Rhind-Tutt is talented. His narration was flawless. I liked that he spoke clearly and with a cadence that felt comfortable – not too fast nor too slow. His vocal expressions were strong especially during pivotal times. I enjoyed hearing his voice; soothing and even. Well done!
There were no issues at all with the production and I have to say while there was definitely an opportunity for it to sound more theatrical with sound effects, I am delighted that the production company chose not to go that route. This was already a rich tale, it needed nothing more than a talented narrator which it has. Anything more would have taken away from the story.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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10 of 12 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Queen Mab again? Why?
I would gladly listen to this story again, not only for Julian's voice but also for hearing the twists to the story as I would now know how it ends and could pick up some smaller details in the wavy road we take.
What does Julian Rhind-Tutt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Okay, the first thing I noticed as I listened to the first words of the story, the seductive voice of Julian. *sigh* His accent and flow of his rhythmic tone had me at the first sentence. He uses his breath with the words to draw me to the feeling of the romance present with the characters. Good gracious! I wanted to listen to him for ever! Okay, the quality of the audio - it's splendid. It was clear and clean, nothing to distract for his amazing voice. Julian also did slight differences for the characters that indicated their emotions and personality as he spoke for them.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I found I was tearing up at one death. Saddened for the lose of life and the lose of a love that was finally felt. In the end, Kate's words and Julian's voice brought pools to my eyes, all works in my heart with the way this ends. Kate has done a splendid job of mixing what Shakespeare created with Romeo and Juliet and Queen Mab with her own story involving Queen Mab and the reason she's the way she is. I thoroughly enjoyed the story while I listened to it.
Any additional comments?
I do enjoy the poetic flow of descriptions written by Kate. It's similar to Shakespearian and, as the fairy descriptions do, has a unique feel to drawing images in our minds. Even what they do in action has a hidden meaning to get to what they want. And the fairy beings have centuries to wait for what they truly want, as they are immortal. And that the do here.
In the beginning things feel simple, the fae and their mischievous ways and Mab reck her revenge on those involved. Easy to understand and follow, which gives us the grace time to slip into thinking used to the speak of poetic words. We get the history and important events leading up to the big show of what happens with Romeo and Juliet. Bringing us the details from a few different POV's that tells what the characters are working toward, what they desire in doing all they've done. We mostly get the POV of Mab, but we do slip to Juno's head as well as Faunus too.
Oh, even Queen Mab has an equal out there that puts her in her place. Mab is not the only powerful being in the realm. Learning this in the story, we see Mab suffer from coming toe to toe with another powerful being. And there are lessons to be learned. In the fairy way, things twist and turn to bring those involved to do opposite what they thought they would do. There is always one pinning for power, and will do anything for it.
For what do the fairy of old compete over? Power? Affection? It seems that love is at the root of all, to feel or not feel love. But, the question is who was scorned deepest, as it seems several are seething to get revenge for the lack of love in their live. Love seems to be one emotion to easily manipulate to get what you want, yet you stand the chance of losing to love as well, which can be good and bad and what Mab learns here.
When I finished this story, I thought this could be one that young adults could listen/read as well. There was no terrible language or overly intimate scenes. It's about finding love. This could easily be read/listened to by all ages.
Who was the true player of these games? In the end I wonder if it wasn't Juno, who knew all needed to learn lessons and come to who they are.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful