07 October 2016

Sound Recommendations: 3 Fantasies for Fall Listening

If you follow me on Litsy, then you already know I've been listening up a storm these days. Here are three fantasies that came to me through my earbuds.

3 Fantasies for Fall ListeningN. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season belongs in that category called: Why the heck didn't I listen to this one sooner? On the other hand, perhaps my timing is perfect seeing as book 2 is already available. I almost passed this by because I heard it described as science fiction, which doesn't always sit well with me. And, yeah, okay, it does have sci-fi elements, but there is also fantasy, deep history, a unique world, and interesting beings, some of whom eat stones and others who can control energy (called orogenes). The story is told in three linked threads: a young girl who is taken from her home so her gifts for manipulating energy can be trained by the government; a young adult who is ordered to breed with a man who is one of the strongest orogenes; and a slightly older woman who is in search of her daughter who was kidnapped. How their stories intertwine and what they have to do with the future of earth lured me in, but the deeper themes -- such as prejudice, gender roles, parenting, and government authority -- and the unique universe are what completely won me over. Audiobook: Narrator Robin Miles does a brilliant job with the wide range of emotions and excellent pacing. One of Miles's talents is her ability to fade into the background, so the performance immerses you in the story seamlessly. I found it very difficult to turn off the book. (Hachette Audio; 15 hr, 31 min)

3 Fantasies for Fall Listening Frostborn by Lou Anders is the first in the Thrones & Bones series, geared to a middle grade audience. This world consists of giants, dragons, trolls, humans, and other beings and seems to have a kind of Scandinavian feel to it. There are good guys and bad guys and family issues and friendships and a little magic. In the human realm, the ability to play board games, including one called Thrones & Bones, is a highly regarded skill and one of our young heroes wants to leave his family farm to become a game player. In the giant realm, a young girl is having trouble fitting in because her mother was human and others tease her for her mixed heritage. There is good humor and a promise of action and adventure. I can't tell you more because I had to bail on the audiobook. I think younger listeners would really enjoy Fabio Tassone's narration, but for me it was too over the top, too theatrical. I could have lived with that, but Tassone's performance didn't allow me to form my own opinions; his voice heavily signaled emotional cues, such as this is funny, this is scary, and this is sad. While I enjoy and, in fact, appreciate an expressive performance, I want to decide for myself when it's time to laugh. I'm going to pick this book up again in print. (Listening Library; 8 hr, 40 min)

3 Fantasies for Fall ListeningKendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns takes place in an island nation, hidden by the mists from the mainland (which is what the people call the rest of the world). Every generation the reigning queen gives birth to triplet girls, who each shine in a particular form of deep magic. When the sisters are about six, they are separated and raised by foster families who can help the girls develop their unique skills. On their sixteenth birthdays, the triplets are reunited in ceremony that sets them on the path to murder; only one of the girls will survive to become the next queen. I loved this world and the stories of these sisters, each with her own talent (controlling the elements, poisons, and nature). The girls are raised to accept their fate, but they don't all have the same attitude. One seems to be reluctant to kill; two think their powers aren't strong enough; one tries to run away. They all have friends (boys and girls), mentors, and some kind of relationship with the ruling church and powerful families. There is quite a lot to like here and a couple of surprises (some of which you may figure out early, but that won't hurt the story). Audiobook: Narrator Amy Landon kept my attention throughout with her thoughtful characterizations, nice pacing, and sensitive level of drama. My only issue with the audiobook is that sometimes it took me a moment to register that the point of view had switched to a different sister. But this was minor, and I can still recommend the audiobook without hesitation. (Harper Audio; 9 hr, 52 min)


rhapsodyinbooks 10/7/16, 6:56 AM  

I have never read Jemisin but maybe I will, because the idea that I would regret not having read her before is kind of exciting - I love discovering new authors I love and finding I have much more to read by them!

bermudaonion 10/7/16, 8:55 AM  

My sister would probably love all of these.

Kailana 10/7/16, 9:30 AM  

Yay for me all ready having two of these. lol

Daryl 10/7/16, 11:10 AM  

ok .. i downloaded (again apparently) audible app ... and amazon offers the fifth seasonas part of their free prime audio trial ... so once i get through with the book i am reading i am going to give audio books another shot ... last time i tried it was so soothing it put me to sleep

Sue Jackson 10/7/16, 7:14 PM  


I just wanted you to know that I mentioned your wonderful blog today as one that makes me happy in The Happiness Tag:


Don't feel obligated to re-post, unless you want to (it took me two months to find the time to do it!), but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your blog.


PS More good fantasies to note down for my son! He has read & enjoyed Jemisin before.

Katherine P 10/7/16, 8:48 PM  

I'm adding these to my TBR (or should it be TBL?)! Fantasy is a genre I've been wanting to read more and these all sound great. Thanks for sharing!

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