I'll say right out that I loved the story. Though previous reviewers have been negative about the essentially manipulative and incestuous nature of the Gale family, it should be noted from the start that the family is set up as being Not Human. They are presented as having their own internally-consistent behavioural code. The reader (listener) is left to make up his or her own mind about it. I don't think I'd ever want to deal with them in real life, but reading from a safe distance is really fun. The story is engaging urban fantasy with a great sense of humour.
Unfortunately, the narrator, through no real fault of her own, kind of makes it impossible for me to listen. Until I'd got about halfway through, I couldn't put my finger on what was irritating me, and it wouldn't really have mattered if the book were set in the US or had been written by an American - but that's really it. The narrator speaks American. The pronunciation of certain words was consistently off - the name "Graham" is in the States pronounced "Gram", and by most Canadians as "GREH-am", for example. In the name "Calgary", the second syllable is usually only barely skipped over, and "Cal-guh-ry", as in this narration, is a highly unusual pronunciation.
These, I could live with. But the EMPHASIS -onthewrongwords- DROVE -meinsane. Maybe someone else wouldn't have noticed, but the narrator CONSTANTLY stressed the wrong words in a phrase - likely only "wrong" from a Canadian standpoint, but hell, the book is Canadian.
I don't really blame the narrator. If I (a born-and-raised Canuck) didn't realise it until halfway through the book, how could she? Otherwise, her narration is really good. She differentiates the characters' respective voices in really interesting and novel ways, and her diction is clear and precise. This is just a warning to the other Canucks out there - if that's likely to annoy you like it does me, you might want to give this one a miss.
If it won't, dig in!
This book is a beautifully written account of what it can be like to grow up with different interests from everyone around you. It's not over-the-top on melodrama, as some "geek anthems" can be, but it's by no means boring. It's thoughtful and feels, above all, honest. As a reader, I felt less like I identified with Mor, and more like she and I might have been friends had we met in school; or maybe we'd have been in the same book club.
Katherine Kellgren was excellent. She has really crisp diction and clear delivery, imbuing the words with emotion and emphasis without overdoing it. I really enjoyed her Welsh accent - I have family in Wales and I've always loved the musical quality of the language, and Ms Kellgren did not disappoint. It also fits the story, naturally enough.
All around, a personal favourite.
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