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This one might be over the heads of the average reader. The plot actually unfolds on multiple layers. One layer is the actions of the main character and her troupe, another is within the stories she tells. Thats something that must be understood for this book to work, the stories are EXTREMELY important - if you tune them out or fast forward past them (as one reviewer did) you wont understand anything that happens outside of them. One major character is actually introduced in the form of a story, as that story is taking place.
The method of using stories to tell a larger story may actually be unique - the only thing I can think of that comes close is Heart of Darkness, where the entire plot is a story within a story, but this takes the concept to a whole new level with multiple nested tales that sometimes aren't quite what they seem to be.
I've read both books in the series, and here are my only complaints: 1) This series should have been a single book, it would have made a ~20h audiobook, which isn't huge, and the point where the second picks up is the same instant the first stops and there is no conclusion of any kind between the two - as a single volume this would work much better (and cost half as much). 2) The reader probably isn't the best choice for this, she sounds like a very young child and this definitely isn't a children's book. 3) The buildup in book 1 is a bit long, and the importance of the stories is not immediately clear.
Also, I'd estimate that roughly 2/3s of the people that read the series wont like how the story ends, even if they liked everything else. Its a reaction that I see a lot when the story outlasts the characters - this is not to say that anyone dies (though some or all might), but rather that this story offers perspective on itself outside its own scope. Personally I get a sort of cathartic pleasure out of such endings, but they always bring tears to my eyes.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
I can't really understand how anyone could find themselves unable to follow this story. The underlying plot is obvious from the very first chapter. The retelling of fairy tales so that they fit into Shadowbridge gives the world a texture and depth a lot of worlds in modern fantasy lack. Every time I think the fantasy genre is played out it comes up with something like this to surprise me.
The narrator is somewhat annoying and takes getting used to. However the little girl voice fits the main character, even if listening to the male voices is a bit painful.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful