Reread Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Reread Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn MoriartyA Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
Narrator: Andrew Eiden, Fiona Hardingham, Kate Reinders, Peter McGowan
Length: 11 hrs, 25 mins
Series: The Colors of Madeleine #1
Published by Scholastic Audio on May 28, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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three-stars

The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from best seller Jaclyn Moriarty!

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds - through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...

Though I usually don’t take the time to reread books I didn’t like much, I’ve been wanting to experiment with audiobooks. What I love about them is that they can, when done well, take a book that one did not enjoy in print and open up the joy of it. While the story in A Corner of White still didn’t move me, the terrific audiobook performance did make the story substantially more enjoyable than it was for me this past March.

What I Thought Then:
You can check out my original review here. My main reaction to A Corner of White was that, either you’ll find it humorous or you won’t. Unfortunately, I did not. The entire book tries for a comic effect, along the lines of Jasper Fforde or Gail Carson Levine, but ends up more like the latter, whose works have not ever charmed me. I can see why it’s meant to be funny, but nary a thing made me chuckle.

At that time, I also found the characters very distanced and not at all lifelike. As a result of that, I mostly felt incredibly bored all the way through the book.

What I Think Now:
Unlike my reread reviews for books written early on in my blogging, I largely agree with my original review, and I suspect I would feel precisely the same had I tried to reread the book in print, not that I would. However, the format change DID make a fairly large difference, though it didn’t work miracles.

My opinions on the humor and the plot are largely unchanged. If anything, I feel slightly better disposed towards them, simply because I was able to pay more attention listening than I was bored out of my skull. Still, it’s just not a story that quite works for me. It’s like when I watch Family Guy; I can see the appeal, but it most definitely does NOT appeal.

The difference lies in the characters. Good audiobook narrators can breathe life into fairly static characters, and Scholastic Audio went all out putting this one together. There are multiple narrators, used to great affect. One read the bits set in our world, one read the bits set in Cello, one read the snippets from books or newspapers, and the fourth…well, I’m not entirely sure what she did. Anyway, the narrators manage to breathe distinct personalities into the voices and made me much more interested in the characters than I was the first time around. I am a bit puzzled as to why the people in the Kingdom of Cello are American-accented, but whatever.

Though this still came out to a mild level of like, I would go so far as to consider listening to the next book in the series, presuming they keep the same cast. The audio version’s really good, and would be even more so if the humor herein works for you.

Tl;dr – Book in a GIFfy:

ella enchanted dance

2 responses to “Reread Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty”

  1. Nafiza says:

    Try the second book. Way better and funner. I think the first one involved way too much set up and way too little action. The second one is really fun. Read it! I’ll give you cookies!
    Nafiza recently posted…Art Spotlight: EscumeMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oooh, if cookies are on the table, then I may have to. The audiobook was fun enough that I just may read the second.

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