This is a wonderful novel-version of the story of Beauty and the Beast. What makes the story fascinating is the details and idiosyncrasies--the ways in which McKinley's story differs from the traditional fairy tale. Beauty, first of all, considers herself distinctly un-beautiful throughout the story, especially in comparison with her two sisters. The Beast's library contains books which do not yet exist and Beauty fights with her invisible enchanted maids over what to wear. The writing is subtle, the story is funny and meaningful. A great read (definitely for adults, too!) and a great listen.
I love this narration of Jane Eyre--all the voices are done well, and the tone is perfect. The only problem is the absolutely terrible French! Someone should have at least tried to coach the narrator a bit!
I was struck from the very first with the rather see-through plotting and cliched writing of this book....but I got caught up in the plot and couldn't stop listening till I finished! The story is addictive, but I still can't get over the cringe-worthy writing, predictability of the story, and the rather half-hearted world-building. YA fantasy can be wonderful, complex, and thought-provoking--this book is an example of the kind of YA that makes people look down on the genre. While there are serious issues (trigger warning) that I think the author handles pretty well, I would take them more seriously if presented within a well-written, well-developed novel. The narrator did a good job.
Sunshine is an old favorite; the kind of book you can read over and over again. I wanted to have it on audio, but the narration turned me off even in the sample. I downloaded it anyway, and am still disappointed in the narration. Admittedly, this is a pretty difficult book to have to narrate! But her voice distracted me from the story, making Sunshine sound kind of whiny and a bit dumb (as other reviewers have mentioned). The vampires' voices just made me laugh--which is not what she was going for, I think. I think Sunshine is really best read in print, not listened to. There's too much you can miss if your mind wanders! I do wish other McKinley audiobooks would appear on Audible!
I love this story, and thought I would love to hear it as well as read it. The Full Cast narration put me off, though. Not only was the music distracting and unnecessary, but sometimes the actors misinterpreted the dialogue! They'd say something in a way that made it clear they didn't understand the way the author intended her sentence. This didn't happen too often, but I really think one female narrator, who really understood the characters, would have been a much better fit. Also, I was annoyed at how the actress who played Katsa screamed a lot of her dialogue when it wasn't really called for. The audio version of Fire, Graceling's prequel/sequel, was very well done and I'd recommend that instead. For this one, read the book on your own!
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