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Sci-Fi & Fantasy

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Darwin8u

Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States Member Since 2011

A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

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  • "One of the Greatest Fantasy Novels ..."

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    *** First a preamble:

    Just so you know, this audiobook contains Books 1 -4 of The Once and Future King AND Book #5 (The Book of Merlin). I didn't know #5 was included, but was thrilled to discover it came with the rest.

    *** OK, preambulations are done, on with the real review:

    I loved it and my two brats (11 & 13) absolutely enjoyed it, even if many of the jokes, the funky anachronistic blending of the Medieval with the Modern, might have floated a bit over their tiny wee heads.

    Anyway, I think White perfectly captured the magic, power, fears and the joy of both youth and myth with this retelling of early Arthurian legend. White's theme of power and justice ("Might Makes Right") seem to perfectly capture the political Zeitgiest of now. Perhaps, White like Merlin was just writing through time backwards and wanted to capture the queer contradictions of Imperial Democracy in the global 21st century, but wanted to write it in the 1930s so Disney would be around to animate it (ugh) in the 60s and thus make his point resonate better in the early 21st century.

    You might think a novel that basically focuses on a love-triangle (a quadrilateral if you include God), several affairs, a man's struggle between his love for a woman, love for God, love for his best friend, would not hold the interest of a 13 and an 11-year old for long, but this is T.H. White. The characters are so human, so filled with frailties, heroics, and insecurities that White could have written about cooking for 300 pages and my kids would have been rapt from page 1 to the end.

    The story turns, about half-way through, solidly to Lancelot. It is impossible to understand Lancelot without looking at Arthur, Guinevere, Elaine & Galahad. And White digresses throughout TO&FK to capture these stories. The middle of the book pivots as Camelot, under Arthur's leadership, undergoes a change from physical quests (Round Table v. Might makes Right) to spiritual ones (Round Table > Grail quest). This change captures/mirrors the dynamic of Lancelot's own story (the vacillation between the physical and spiritual).

    Finally, the weight of the conspiracies, the betrayals, the killings, and the expulsions are all there pushing against the King (I love when T.H. White calls Arthur - England) and his faith in man and justice. It just isn't to be. Do I need to hide the ending? Am I going to spoil the book for you? Come now, we are all mostly adults here. Camelot fails, but T.H. White explores the failure almost as beautifully as he does the magic of Camelot. He captures the magic of Camelot by focusing on the humanity of the people. He isn't satisfied with making (or keeping rather) Lancelot, King A, Guinevere, and even Mordred locked up in the stale symbols they often become. The trite shadows of type is not T.H. White's jam. He wants to humanize everybody. He wants to show the motives, the nuances of character that makes the reader LOVE these figures not because they symbolize things like bravery, chivalry, or justice ... but because they remind the reader of elements, times, moods and flaws found buried within. T.H. White started with a fantasy novel, but ended with an exploration of war, humanity, love, and hope.

    Look, I'm skeptical of fantasy novels. They aren't my thing. I want literature. I want something that pushes you against the wall of your own head and dares you to think bigger. I think T.H. White was aiming for that -- and holy anachronisms - he nailed it.

    More

    The Once and Future King

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1156)
    Performance
    (966)
    Story
    (961)

    The complete "box set" of T. H. White's epic fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. The novel is made up of five parts: "The Sword in the Stone", "The Witch in the Wood", "The Ill-Made Knight", "The Candle in the Wind", and "The Book of Merlyn".

    Bookoholics Anon says: "Fabulous reading, epic story and a new chapter!"
  1. The Once and Future King
  2. .

A Peek at Samuel Montgomery-Blinn's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
334
 
Durham, NC USA 44 REVIEWS / 150 ratings Member Since 2001 152 Followers / Following 73
 
Samuel Montgomery-Blinn's greatest hits:
  • The Dragon King

    "Nice (very) short fairy tale for kids"

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    I quite often listen to audiobooks with my kids, when I saw this short (short!) story pop up with the description "The brave Japanese warrior Fujiwara Hidesato was always in search of action and adventure..." I was quickly interested.

    My kids are actually quite accomplished and discerning listeners. They've enjoyed Roald Dahl reading his own "Fantastic Mr. Fox". They've enjoyed Neil Gaiman reading his own "Odd and the Frost Giants". They've enjoyed Emma Thompson reading her own "The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit". (And re-listen again and again to their favorites -- my son has been on Marc Brown's "Francine Believe it or Not" (from his Arthur stories) for a good long while.)

    Our first listen was in the car -- a 13 minute story is about perfect for a drive to or from an errand. Both kids (my son is 6 and my daughter 4.5) listened with rapt attention, with a few questions, e.g. "What is a quiver?" But the true test is whether they request a re-listen. (I know this from telling them my own stories; no matter how proud I might be, and how I think they liked it the first time, a second hearing? Most likely, not a chance.) Well, this one did pass that test, both kids wanted to hear it again later, and again listened attentively.

    The story adapts a Japanese fairy tale "My Lord Bag of Rice" in which a young warrior Fujiwara no Hidesato encounters a dragon princess and slays a giant centipede for her, earning magical gifts. In other versions, rather than turning into a princess, the dragon becomes a "strange small man" -- the eponymous Dragon King, but other essentials remain. It's told quite straightforwardly and to a young reader's understanding, with a few possibly new words to consider (e.g. "quiver", above) and some vivid visual descriptions, particularly of the giant centipede's emergence from the mountain. There are some typical fairy tale features here (naturally Hidesato has three, and only three, arrows, and needs each and every one of them) but overall it was definitely something different for both me and the kids and we enjoyed it.

    Some nitpicks on the (overall excellent) narration and production:

    * Pronunciation of "horror" was a teensy bit suspect
    * Gaps between sections were overall much too long - particularly next to last or so.
    * Conversely, gaps at beginning and in particular the end were too short.
    * One section - the first appearance of the centipede on the mountain - was noticeably quiet compared to the rest.

    These are noticeable and fixable issues which (other than "horror" which is I suppose acceptable) I would expect a professional production to correct. I do have another suggestion for future releases: A good choice of intro and (in particular) outtro music would have been excellent improvements here. The story does (as fairy tales often do) end abruptly, just in time for the closing credits to rush right in, dispelling the created mood.

    I've never heard Ken MacMillan narrate before and he seemed exceedingly well cast, and did a good job with the story, with enough animation in his reading to keep kids interested. Overall: definitely pick this one up for your wee listeners, though I do hope Nation9 fixes some of the production glitches, and make sure you are careful to not use a credit rather than the retail/member price.

    Nation9 also has produced an Android App which combines text, illustrations, animation, and narration, and a Kindle version which has at least some of the same illustrations as well, minus the narration and animation. These aren't applicable to me (I don't have such a device) but the App might be of interest for listeners as well.

  • Railsea

    "Not quite as sophisticated as expected; good fun."

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    So. I came here on Mieville???s name, and on some early burbs which seemed to indicate that there would be some meatier undertones on power and hierarchy; but what I found instead was a fun, tracks-whirring-by story in a deeply stratified Mievillian world of old tech, advanced tech, giant moles, and the Railsea.

  • The Prophet of Yonwood

    "A bit pale in comparison to the rest of 'Ember'"

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    I would recommend this book primarily only to someone who really, really loved the world of Ember and wanted to learn a bit more of the author's imagined history behind it. There are some fun moments and interesting characters, but hardly any of the magic (figuratively) and mystery which makes the rest of the Ember books so endearing. Still, I enjoyed it enough as I do fall into that segment of curious wonderers who were looking for any bits of Ember-related lore to listen to.

  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Chapter Book

    "It is what it is: a simplified story for the film."

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    Story

    While there are a few low points in the writing ("the bad guys"...) it's a fun little story that my kids enjoyed well enough, with an entertaining enough production to keep their interest. As far 1-star reviews complaining that this isn't the full novelization of the movie: it's in the title. "The Chapter Book." There are two primary print products, one being the full novelization, the other being a short chapter book meant for even younger readers. This is the latter.

John Reader

John Reader 03-18-14 Member Since 2004
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  • "Even better than the first!"

    4 of 4 helpful votes

    What the author did with time travel was very creative. I'll never look at time travel the same way again. It's not confusing, just very very well done. And how he was able to take a book written in the first person and give you views that weren't from the main character's perspective was very crafty.

    The author laid very nice ground work in book one, but this book is where the series really shines. A great story with great characters.

    Two thumbs up and five stars all around.

    More

    Noah Zarc: Cataclysm: Noah Zarc, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By D. Robert Pease
    • Narrated By David Radtke
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
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    (3)

    Thirteen-year-old Noah Zarc rockets to Venus in a quest to learn more about his past. He refuses to believe his father is really the monster everyone says he is. Could there be valid reasons for everything he's done, including abandoning Noah at birth? While searching for answers to secrets no one wants to talk about, even those that have remained hidden for over a thousand years, Noah becomes embroiled in a mission that could cause the greatest cataclysm in the history of the solar system.

    John Reader says: "Even better than the first!"

What's Trending in Sci-Fi & Fantasy:

  • 4.8 (121 ratings)

    A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Cressida Cowell
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (115)
    Story
    (114)

    Hiccup is lost in the Library Labyrinth and the Driller-Dragons, Madguts and Murderous, are on the prowl. Hiccup's birthday is not going to be the quiet affair he hoped for.... This book also contains a comprehensive Dragonese Dictionary for those who'd like to dragon-whisper themselves.

    Christopher says: "Not Unabridged"
  • 4.8 (13 ratings)

    Dark Days: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Derek Landy
    • Narrated By Rupert Degas
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    What can we say, without giving too much away? Not much, is the answer. But what we CAN say is that this book is hilarious, it’s tense, and it’s packed with all the eye-popping action, crackling one liners and imaginative set pieces you’ve come to expect. There’s a new threat to our plucky heroine, of course. But that’s not all. There’s also the little fact of the Big Bad, the uber-baddy who’s going to come along and really, really destroy the world. (Really.)

  • 4.8 (12 ratings)

    Halt's Peril: Ranger's Apprentice, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Flanagan
    • Narrated By William Zappa
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    The renegade outlaw group known as the Outsiders may have been chased from Clonmel, but not before killing Halt's only brother. Now Rangers Halt and Will, along with the young warrior Horace, are in pursuit. The Outsiders have done an effective job of dividing the kingdom into factions and are looking to overtake Araluen. It will take every bit of skill and cunning for the Rangers to survive. Some may not be so lucky.

  • 4.8 (10 ratings)

    Slaves of the Mastery: Wind on Fire Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By William Nicholson
    • Narrated By Samuel West
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Five years have passed. The city of Aramanth has become kinder - weaker. When the ruthless soldiers of the Mastery strike, the city is burned, and the Manth people are taken into slavery. Kestrel Hath is left behind, separated from her beloved brother, Bowman, and vowing revenge. Now Kestrel must find Bowman again, and Bowman must learn the secrets of the Singer people. Only then will they break the power of the Mastery.

    Erica says: "Great Book, Great Series"
  •  
  • 4.9 (10 ratings)

    How to Train Your Dragon: How to Be a Pirate

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Cressida Cowell
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Follow the further adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as his Viking training continues and his father leads a stranger and the Hairy Hooligans to the Isle of Skullions in search of a pirate's treasure.

  • 4.3 (4805 ratings)

    The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Philip Pullman, full cast
    Overall
    (4805)
    Performance
    (1338)
    Story
    (1357)

    When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder, and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra's unfettered imagination has conjured up.

    Arnold says: "A Terrific Book"
  • 4.3 (3563 ratings)

    The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Philip Pullman, Full Cast
    Overall
    (3563)
    Performance
    (988)
    Story
    (1002)

    In this stunning sequel to The Golden Compass, the intrepid Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld, Cittagazze, where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. But she is not without allies: twelve-year-old Will Parry, fleeing for his life after taking another's, has also stumbled into this strange new realm.

    Geoffrey says: "The second book in a fantastic trilogy!"
  • 4.5 (3456 ratings)

    Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3456)
    Performance
    (1517)
    Story
    (1543)

    Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspiring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems.

    Teddy says: "You see growth in the Author"
  • Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Christopher Paolini
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3456)
    Performance
    (1517)
    Story
    (1543)

    Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspiring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems.

    Teddy says: "You see growth in the Author"
  • The Sea of Monsters: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Jesse Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2479)
    Performance
    (1238)
    Story
    (1269)

    After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson, a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any "normal" friends.

    Bridget Westhoven says: "great family fare"
  • The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Jesse Bernstein
    Overall
    (3399)
    Performance
    (1556)
    Story
    (1590)

    Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure he believes himself.

    Teddy says: "Fun KIDS Book"
  • The Titan's Curse: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Jesse Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2082)
    Performance
    (1046)
    Story
    (1056)

    When Percy Jackson receives an urgent distress call from his friend Grover, he immediately prepares for battle. He knows he'll need his powerful demigod allies, Annabeth and Thalia, at his side; his trusty bronze sword, Riptide; and...a ride from his mom.

    Craig says: "Percy's not just for kids"
  •  
  • A Wrinkle in Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Madeleine L'Engle
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (399)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (356)

    Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a "tesseract," which, if you didn't know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg's father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?

    Patricia says: "Thank You for a New Narrator"
  • The Once and Future King

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By T. H. White
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1156)
    Performance
    (966)
    Story
    (961)

    The complete "box set" of T. H. White's epic fantasy novel of the Arthurian legend. The novel is made up of five parts: "The Sword in the Stone", "The Witch in the Wood", "The Ill-Made Knight", "The Candle in the Wind", and "The Book of Merlyn".

    Bookoholics Anon says: "Fabulous reading, epic story and a new chapter!"
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth: Percy Jackson, Book 4: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Jesse Bernstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1907)
    Performance
    (964)
    Story
    (982)

    Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.

    Felicity says: "The best of Percy Jackson series."
  • The Son of Neptune: The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Joshua Swanson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1849)
    Performance
    (1654)
    Story
    (1659)

    In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a quest.

    Dana says: "Another great adventure from Rick Riordan!"
  •  
  • The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Philip Pullman
    • Narrated By Philip Pullman, full cast
    Overall
    (4805)
    Performance
    (1338)
    Story
    (1357)

    When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder, and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra's unfettered imagination has conjured up.

    Arnold says: "A Terrific Book"
  • The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By Joshua Swanson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2144)
    Performance
    (1302)
    Story
    (1321)

    After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own.... In a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they'll need the help of some familiar demigods.

    Matthew says: "Great Book, The Narrator Was Alright"
  • Journey to Rainbow Island

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Christie Hsiao
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Burnet
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
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    (0)

    Yu-ning thinks her perfect life on Rainbow Island will never end -- until a nasty dragon called the Obsidigon returns from beyond the grave. Now her beloved island is in flames, her best friend has been kidnapped, and the island's Sacred Crystals have been stolen. To make matters worse, she must venture into the dark corners of the world to uncover secrets best ignored, find a weapon thought long destroyed, and recapture seven sacred stones -- without being burned to a crisp by a very angry dragon.

  • The Last Unicorns

    • UNABRIDGED (4 mins)
    • By Edward D. Hoch
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    A pair of unicorns has been spotted and one young man is intent on buying them from the old man. The pair were purchased in Africa and brought to the region as beasts of burden and for breeding purposes. Will the young man be successful - or turned away? An interesting fictional twist on a familiar tale. Narrated by Glenn Hascall.

  • A World Without Princes: The School for Good and Evil, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Soman Chainani
    • Narrated By Polly Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    In the epic sequel to the New York Times best-selling novel The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected. When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed. Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered.

  • The Fairytale of the Morley Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (41 mins)
    • By Mike Dudek
    • Narrated By Fiona Schirmer
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    This is a Fairytale of Johnstown, PA's Morley Dog. In this version the history of the dog is revealed with the magic of how the dog comes to life to save people.

    Supposedly eye witnesses describe the events of the dog coming to life, even though they have had several beers. The history traces it back to a meteor that was used in the metal of the mold, and the mold itself being made in the Black Forest of Germany. You know, the Black Forest of giants, witches, princesses, and wizards.

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  • How the Dragons Got Their Colors

    • UNABRIDGED (6 mins)
    • By Cheryl Matthynssens
    • Narrated By Valerie Gilbert
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    One day, a little gray dragon decided that being gray was just not right when the world was so full of colors. Follow the little dragon on his journey to gain color for his scales and learn how being kind gave him a special magic to become King of all the dragons.

  • The Roar

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Emma Clayton
    • Narrated By Jane Collingwood
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    In the future, twins Mika and Ellie live behind The Wall, a concrete barrier made to protect humans from animals that have gone crazy with plague. Then Ellie goes missing, and Mika is the only one who believes she’s still alive. Mika can feel Ellie’s presence through a futuristic arcade game released by the government, and the farther he gets in the game, the more he realizes their entire world is built on a foundation of lies.

  • Cinder Fella: Prince for a Day

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 27 mins)
    • By Kevin Scannell
    • Narrated By Kevin Scannell, Abigail Scannell
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    On the fictitious island-nation of Fiaba (which is the Italian word for fairytale), there is great unrest. After succesful revolutions in America and France, citizens on the poor side of the island demand change. In an attempt to subdue the revolt, the king offers the princess's hand in marriage to a commoner. It is just a public relations scheme to placate the poor. Marco Palladio, aka Cinder Fella, is an 18th century slacker who wins the lottery when he wins the competition to marry the princess.