Review of Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara

December 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Cast in ShadowCast in Shadow (The Chronicles of Elantra #1)
By Michelle Sagara; Performed by Khristine Hvam
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: November 2011 (Audible)
[UNABRIDGED] – 14.5 hours

Themes: / urban fantasy / orphans / crime /

Seven years ago Kaylin was an orphan living in the fief of Nightshade but live was very unsafe because something was killing children and after their death the children were found with marks tattooed on their skin – at the same time these odd marks began to appear on Kaylin’s arms. Eventually Kaylin flees to the Hawk fief and begins life anew. For the most part she is successful but the murder of children has begun again in Nightshade and this time Kaylin is an officer and Hawklord has called her into investigate. Kaylin is a natural choice as she survived the killings the first time and knows the street of Nightshade well. But the Hawklord will not send her in alone instead he will send her with a Dragon and her childhood friend/enemy Severn and now Kaylin must confront her past.

I started this book on audio and at first I thought I was not paying enough attention because I had no idea who these races of people are and I did not understand the history of the Barrani nor the Leontines. After starting over a few times I decided to borrow the book from the library to catch up and you know turns out the information was never there. Listening to this book was a challenge, the narrator does a nice job keeping the voices somewhat distinct but the vagueness of the writing made it difficult to follow along. For example there is a lot about Kaylin trying to kill Severn but I was more than halfway in before I found out why then when we get the why behind why she wants to kill him and even then it does not fully make sense why she would run and not get understanding or ask questions. Then there are other descriptions that I did not understand for example there is a lot of commentary about the Leontines paws being moist or dry but I know nothing about cats is this supposed to be good or bad?? The author tells this story from Kaylin’s POV and unfortunately she is rather ignorant in everything. I guess the intent would be for us to learn along with her and while that has the potential to work in many series it only adds to the confusion in this one.

The story was not all bad, I found myself interested in the world and the side characters – like the Fifelord of Nightshade and Severn. I also enjoyed the narrator once I gave up trying to understand and just went with the flow. I will also say the author tried the trick of leaving out details so your imagination can take over and while I appreciate this we need a bit more detail to have something to fill in. By the time I got to the last few hours of the tape I just wanted it over and while I am curious to see what happens with the Fifelord and Severn next time I will read the book and it will be a while before I get around to it.

Posted by Dawn V.

LibriVox: Heidi by Johanna Spyri

June 24, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’m not sure Heidi can be properly classified as an “adventure” novel. But it sure has one adventurous little girl as it’s star! PLUS, Kara Shallenberg’ narration is TRULY OUTSTANDING! She’s got what sounds like an authentic pronunciation for all those Swiss place-names. And, be sure to check out the gorgeously illustrated edition on Gutenberg.org! Here’s an illustration from the edition that my great grand parents gave to my uncle Paul on August 2nd, 1955. It was his birthday present and he had just turned 8 years old.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

LIBRIVOX - Heidi by Johanna SpyriHeidi
By Johanna Spyri; Translated by Elizabeth P. Stork; Read by Kara Shallenberg
23 Zipped MP3 Files – Approx. 9 Hours 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 8, 2006
Hear Heidi if you’ve ever longed to see the Swiss mountain slopes. This story transports the listener from the fine air and freedom of the mountaintop to the confines of Frankfurt, back to the peaks again, bounding in flowered fields with goats at your heels and sky utterly surrounding you.

We meet Heidi when she is 5, led up the mountain by her aunt who has raised the orphan but must leave now for a position in Frankfurt. In a mountain cottage overlooking the valley is Heidi’s grandfather, and there with him the girl’s sweet, free nature expands with the vista. The author’s voice is straightforward, and so is our reader’s, with the child’s wonder, devotion, and sometimes humorous good intentions. When Heidi is taken from the mountains and nearly doesn’t make it back again, the most humorous as well as most heart-wringing scenes occur. All she learns during her absence from the mountain she brings back as seeds that will grow to benefit everyone around her.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/heidi-by-johanna-spyri-solo.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #050 – READALONG: The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James

March 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #050 – Jesse and Scott discuss The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James.

Talked about on today’s show:
An excerpt from the lecture: Masterpieces Of The Imaginative Mind (Lecture 6: H.G. Wells: We Are All Talking Animals) by Professor Eric S. Rabkin, James thought novels ‘must explore an individual’s psychology’ but H.G. Wells asserted novels ‘must explore the great social forces that shape all of us.’, The Teaching Company, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, Blackstone Audio’s version, PaperbackSwap.com, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast show on The Invisible Man and More Invisible Men, LibriVox.org, LibriVox’s FREE version of The Turn Of The Screw, Stephanie Beacham, War Of The Worlds, The Time Machine, Donald E. Westlake, John Irving, James Lee Burke, Pat Conroy, literary fiction, ambiguity, deliberate ambiguity, the framing sequence, Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, outlining the plot, country estates, England, governesses, orphans, corruption and contamination, ghosts, Christmas, Why is it called The Turn Of The Screw?, Is this a double ghost story?, if the governess is crazy doesn’t that make the story pointless? sexism, solitary decisions may not be wise, what happens to Miles? The Innocents (1961), sexuality, James called The Turn Of The Screw “a shameless potboiler”, adaptations and interpretations, The Turn Of The Screw (2009), The Others (2001), Marlon Brando’s prequel The Nightcomers (1971), Thomas Kuhn, incommensurable literary paradigms?, Margaret Atwood, literary Science Fiction, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Handmaid’s Tale, governess stories, tutors, teachers, surrogate parents, William Makepeace Thackeray‘s Vanity Fair, Johdi May, The Turn Of The Screw (1999), is the governess an unreliable narrator?, The Adventure Of The Copper Beeches by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, Mystery and Science Fiction are very closely aligned, tales of ratiocination, Edgar Allan Poe, The Turn Of The Screw in comics, Pocket Classics, Oscar Wilde, The Importance Of Being Earnest, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: The Innocents, Blackadder II, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow as read by Martin Jarvis, RadioArchive.cc, The Turn Of The Screw BBC radio drama, Saturday Night Theatre.

The opening of The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James – Pocket Classics edition (ISBN: 0883017393):

Pocket Classics - The Turn Of TheScrew by Henry James (ISBN: 0883017598)

The Turn Of The Screw - illustration by Lynd Ward
The Turn Of The Screw - illustration by Lynd Ward

Posted by Jesse Willis