I had already read this book and loved it. I was looking forward to the audio version but was afraid it could not recreate the "noise" as written in the novel. Nick Podehl exceeded all expectations. He particularly nailed the voice of Todd's dog, Manchee, giving me moments of both wild laughter and heartbreaking tears. Bravo!
I was determined to not read this story. I don't like fairy stories and I'm not keen on animal tales either, but so many good things had been written about this book I gave it a chance. I fell in love with the written story, so I had to listen to it as well. It is now an all time favorite of mine and I am always pointing people in the direction or this wonderful novel.
The story follows Puck (Kate) and Sean, and is told in their alternating points of view. They are both competing in the annual Scorpio Races; a dangerous, free for all race involving captured fairy horses. Puck is not only the first girl to ever compete in the races, but she plans on riding her non-magical island pony. Puck is trying to save her family home and Sean hopes to win the ownership of Corr, the sea horse he has won the race with in the past. Instead of becoming adversaries, they begin training together and learning from one another. The contrast in their personalities is sharply drawn. Puck is brash, irrepressible, and always willing to pick a fight; whereas Sean is a quiet but strong presence at all times. My favorite scene that shows the contrast is when they wish each other luck before the race.
The rest of the novel works as well, from the setting (an island with a distinctly Irish feel), to the supporting characters. You feel as though Ms. Stiefvater just took up residence there, sat around the pub and listened to local folklore.
The actors who read the parts did a wonderful job. They never tried to take over or overact the roles. They just let the story flow in it's own elegant manner.
This kept me surprised up to the very last line and had me thinking about it for days. It is Ms. Stiefvater's best work yet.
This story is long and requires patience, but in the end is worth the effort. It is helpful to bear in mind that when first published in Japan, it was originally three volumes. The novel takes place in an alternate timeline to 1984; one that only a few of the characters are aware of. Very strange things happen in this 1Q84 and you can find yourself uneasy with all the fantastical, unrelated, events. It is best to sit back, relax and just wait for the disparate parts to be woven together. At some points I actually gasped at the connections (3 gasps and one -Oh my God)! The prose is elegant and the story beautiful.
The story itself is told from alternating points of view, a man and a women in the first two books and a third character in the last volume. With some novels this can be choppy and distracting, but here Mr. Murakami manages to never lose his thread. All three actors read with a subtlety that allowed the story to shine through.
I do have one warning. The story is very sexual in parts. It's not in your face, all the time- it's just very frankly descriptive when it is discussed. If you are not comfortable with this type of material, then this is not your book.
This is unlistenable. I could not make it past the second chapter. I love the sory; I read the book, as I do with most of my audible purchases, but I will not buy future books unless the actors and director are changed.
The more I listen to this the better I like it. Ms. Elbrick breathes life into Fire. I especially liked the way she was able to convey the differences in voice between the spoken word and when Fire was communicating with her mind alone. A very fine performance.
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