posted at Friday, January 30th, 2015 at 8:00 AM | Audiobook Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories by Rae Carson
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda, Luis Moreno
Published by Harper Audio on August 26, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Short Stories
Pages: 6 hrs, 58 mins
Amazon • The Book Depository • Audible
Get swept away in the world of Rae Carson's acclaimed, epic, New York Times best-selling Girl of Fire and Thorns series with these three novellas. Before Hector was Commander of the Royal Guard and Elisa's true love, he was a young new recruit. In The King's Guard, watch him prove himself—and uncover a secret that he must keep forever. In The Shadow Cats, discover how Elisa's rivalry with her older sister looks from Alodia's point of view, and why Alodia agrees to marry her sister off to King Alejandro. And in The Shattered Mountain, learn how Mara survived her village's destruction before she became Elisa's best friend and handmaiden.
A must-have for every fan of Rae Carson's stunning fantasy trilogy!
As of this writing, I was chatting with Debby (Snuggly Oranges) about this series very recently. That made me reflect on how much my attitude on this series has changed. Though I read the first book twice, I still can’t say I liked it, and, even now that I know how good the series gets, I still highly doubt I’d like the first book. Yet, here I am now, enough of a fan to read accompanying novellas that aren’t essential to the overall story, something I rarely bother to do.
The short stories themselves remind me mostly of all the things that I ended up loving about the Fire and Thorns series. I love how brutal Carson can be to her characters. Pretty much every story is one of some level of despair. The story about Mara is deeply sad. Hector’s story has a scene that will probably haunt me forever it was so disgusting.
I also think that Carson’s genius is inherent in the way she can make you reevaluate a character, just like she took me from loathing Elisa to respecting her. That’s not an easy thing to do. I love that there’s a story from Alodia’s point of view. Elisa spends a lot of time hating on Alodia, her all too perfect sister. It’s nice that she gets a chance to speak for herself, and I also like getting to see Elisa through her eyes.
Mara’s story, “The Shattered Mountain”, ended up being my favorite one. Mara isn’t a character I really remembered too much about from the series. Yeah, I remember her romance and that she was part of the group, but that’s about it. I recall her as being somewhat prickly. If I’m right about that, then I can see why. She’s been through so much tough shit, because of family and the war. I would like to give her massive hugs.
Hector’s story was probably the most fascinating in terms of relating to the plot of the overall series. You learn things both about Alejandro’s previous marriage and about how Hector ended up being made the head guard at such a young age. Sure, I would have preferred some extra adult Hector time, since I can’t swoon over fifteen-year-old Hector, but it was good.
The stories also reminded me how badly I loathe the words “rear” and “belly,” of which Carson is overfond. You know how most people feel about the word “moist”? That’s how I’ve come to feel about those two words. Partly, it’s because they feel like words someone might say to a child and partly because I can’t imagine men really using them to describe their bodies. Sure, the feel isn’t modern, but also it’s a fantasy and there has to be some other word for it. If I ever read part of this series again, I’m taking a shot every time I hit one of those words and reporting back how drunk I get, because that will be more fun than wincing every time.
The rest of my problems all stem from the audiobook, which is a shame because I loved the audiobooks for the series. First off, they used the same narrators from the rest of the series. Using the same Hector narrator makes perfect sense, but I’m not sure why Jennifer Ikeda is reading for Alodia and Mara. I like her narration, but I associate her voice with Elisa. Yes, those two POVs are third person, but I still don’t like that they don’t get their own voices. I had to keep reminding myself, especially with Alodia, that I wasn’t listening to an Elisa story.
More problematic is Hector’s story. For some reason, the production on “The King’s Guard” was terrible. If it had been the first story, I would have DNFed the audiobook immediately, but, since it was last, I was stuck. It’s not Luis Moreno’s fault. It’s like they forgot to edit his section. His breaths have been left in, from deep gasps to little pants. It’s deeply unpleasant to listen to. Every so often, I could even here some background noises. I’m hoping that I somehow got an early version from Harper, but I couldn’t verify that since the Audible sample only has Jennifer Ikeda’s narration.
Rarely, in my audiobook reviews, am I going to tell you to go with the print over the audio (assuming you’re an audiobook fan). I try not to listen to the audiobook version if I feel like it’s negatively impacting my experience. However, this one snuck up on me, and I’ve got to say I don’t personally recommend this format, unless someone can tell me Hector’s section is fine in the purchased version.
Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:
This is how I feel about the audio, not the stories themselves to be clear.