Essie Brightsday has never heard a rock basilisk scream. She has never worn magical armor, stood up to a queen, or run from dragons. Instead, Essie, her sarcastic cat Tigrabum, (just call him "Tig"), and her secretive family struggle to survive on their small farm nestled against the forbidding cliffs of the Valley of Fire.
But all that is about to change when a rebellion against the cruel interim ruler is sparked. Forced to flee for their lives, Essie and Tig lose themselves in the twisting labyrinth of the ancient lava flow. When Essie finds proof that the missing King Mactogonii may be alive, she is given the opportunity to help restore stability to the kingdom. But the course of her journey will force her to face her deepest fears and unravel the mystery behind her own blindness. If Essie can survive the encounter.
©2015 Parker Broaddus (P)2016 Parker Broaddus
I love being surprised by a good story. A Hero's Curse was one such surprise.
In the vein of CS Lewis, this children's story is full of adventure, imagination, meaningful moments, and original application of classic ideas.
The book's blind heroine paints complex world by describing her surroundings by sound, smell, and touch. While she thinks of the world as a dark place because that is all she sees, the reader begins to see that she is a central piece in a stunning world of color.
Each new character she meets marks the story with meaning, heart, and fun.
In the audiobook, the main narrator was excellent (the few side voices, didn't impress me, but they were not bad.
I greatly enjoyed this book.
A Hero's Curse is a middle grade fantasy that centers around Essie Brightsday, a twelve year old blind girl, and her cat Tigrabum as they are forced to flee their home leading them on a long return journey through a land that is cursed and dying.
Essie Brightsday is a girl who, somewhat unwillingly, finds herself on the same path as their missing King and is forced to choose between trying to return home to her family or trying to find an end to the curse placed upon the land by a demon. I love that this journey really tested Essie, not just physically but mentally.She starts off as a strong willed and independent girl, but the moment her security is wrenched away from her she must learn what it truly means to be able to rely on herself alone. It pushes her and she learned how to push back before the end. Essie has to learn that her blindness doesn't define who she is nor what she can do, and seeing her rise to each task was such a treat. Tigrabum, or Tig, is her cat companion gifted the speech in the common language and lends his help to guide her through out her life. He's sarcastic and surly, and I feel in love with him pretty much instantly. He too does some growing as well, and while I love his high and mighty attitude (he is a cat after all) I also love seeing him humbled a bit. These two make quite the duo.
The writing is lush and surprisingly vivid given that our main character can't see the world around her anymore, and the world building was phenomenal. I do like the way the writing centered on the feel of the places, from the desolate wastes to the bustling cities filled with noise and smells. The narration was just as phenomenal. Elizabeth Philips really gets into the story and brings the characters to life in their unqiue ways, and isn't afraid to really go for it. Not to mention the use of vocal effects in one portion of the book was a nice touch. I think I'll forever be fond of little Chatter because the way Philips read her lines, it's so adorably perfect.
If you enjoy middle grade fantasy, especially those like Narnia, then this is certainly one to check out.
Thoroughly enjoyed both story and performance. Elizabeth does an excellent job with all the characters, especially Essie. Can't wait to read/hear book two!
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A Hero’s Curse by P.S. Broaddus is the first novel in a series called The Unseen Chronicles. This story follows a young blind girl, Essie, who is accidentally set on an adventure with her talking cat companion, Tig, at her side. When Essie’s parents are taken away, Essie soon finds herself alone and away from home. With her heightened senses and the help of Tig, she traverses the land moving from one hazardous environment to another, meeting new creatures, and following, accidentally, in the footsteps of the missing King Mactogonii. She must overcome her own physical constraints that those imposed by her surroundings to try to find and save King Mactogonii and maybe even warn and save not only her parents, but also the people of her land, from an unearthly threat.
I felt that this novel was great for its genre. While I enjoyed the storyline, the story is really for younger young adults or even older children. Essie is a 12 year old girl who is faces a variety of physical and mental challenges throughout the novel. As the story progresses and Essie faces and overcomes a variety of challenges compounded by her blindness, she begins to come to terms with the reality of the world around her and her own blindness. Essie’s growth is really apparent as the novel progresses. The storyline is filled with a lot of action and interesting supporting characters as well, most importantly Tig. The end of the novel leaves the story open for the next challenges in Essie’s life, but provides a satisfying conclusion. However, while charming and exciting, it may not be a good fit for an adult reader not accustomed to reading children’s novels. As it is a novel for young adults, the writing is not overly complex and there are portions of the storyline that can be read as simplistic.
The narration by Elizabeth Phillips was good. I felt that the characters were distinct and the story came alive through her voicing. The production quality was good as well. I would recommend this novel to young adults or older children who like fantasy adventure stories.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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