Devastating, beautiful, realistic. There is no doubt that this book is about heavy and difficult topics. Josh and Nastya have both lost a lot of the wonderful parts of their life, and are forever changed by it. Yet they come together in an almost magical way, that at the same time still feels completely normal. The characters are all wonderfully developed, and true to the emotions you know they must be feeling.
I don't think I had a favorite character but both the narrators did a fantastic job. Candace's performance of Nastya's inner monologues could be sad, bitter, or a total hoot, and Kirby brought great emotion to Josh as he transformed from standoffish and detached at the beginning to passionate and engaged by the end.
Definitely, especially as the book got going and the relationship between Nastya and Josh started to develop. The author did a great job of injecting some mystery into this book as you don't know exactly what happened to Nastya til most of the way through. I immediately started listening again, and it was just as good the second time through, and subtle comments and hints about Nastya's past all came together.
I would definitely recommend this audiobook. Kristin Cashore writes wonderful stories that are much more thoughtful and insightful than a lot of the young adult fiction out there. The issues being dealt with in this book are serious, but that is one of the things that I like about Cashore and other writers such as Melina Marchetta. These authors take events and issues from the real world, and write about them in a fantasy setting that makes the stories feel timely and even more worthwhile. There is a great deal of mystery in this book, which makes for an involved and lengthy story, but I thought the complexity was great, and kept me wanting to listen to a little more, and then a little more....
Xanthe Elbrick is hands down one of the best narrators I have ever heard. She gives so much personality and life to each character, and differentiates them all to a remarkable degree. I loved Saf, but also loved Teddy and Katsa, and many others.
I have not read the print version but now that I have heard the audio edition, I would probably just listen to it again instead of reading the book.
Seraphina make me think of Kristin Cashore's books, Graceling and Fire, as they are also about a young woman with special abilities living at a palace and taking part in secretive, covert affairs.
I liked all the characters. Mandy Williams has a nice and interesting voice that is great for performing books.
I try to pace myself with audiobooks to make them last, but there were definitely times that I listened for an extra long time because I couldn't stop and had to find out what happened next.
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