Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity.
The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown.
But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot: one of Odin’s hellhounds has escaped, a pixie-dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is a malevolent, power-hungry queen, and she will stop at nothing to destroy the Twelve Kingdoms and annihilate the Royal Fae…unless the Woodcutter can outmaneuver her and save the gentle souls of the Wood.
©2012 Kate Danley (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Irritating drivel and fluff. Terrible exaggerated narration, poorly written, and boring. Avoid this one. Returning it post haste.
I simply did not care for this. I felt it was formulaic and suffered some internalized misogyny. For example, the woodcutter (detective) finds the body of a dead princess and remarks out loud, "What did you get yourself into, girl?"
I did not like the narrator. It was very breathy and forced almost as if it was a fake English accent. I don't know if she really is English, but it sounded like a college freshman who just landed the part of Wendy in a stage play of Peter Pan.
I actually missed my junction because I was so focused on turning this book off. The good news is that I got back on the right highway and also remembered how much I liked the Dresden Files. I listened to Dead Beat for the rest of the five hour car trip. Excellent.
Time is not an issue for me so I did listen to the whole book because of the narrator; and I had forgotten the plots of most fairy tales and wanted to brush up on them for story time with children. Otherwise it would not have been worth the listen time. However, I don't think I am the target audience, so perhaps if you were a teenager it would be.
Yes, The tone of the book is over dramatized in my opinion and never settles into something "comfortable" (and not to argue with myself, but perhaps that's because the editors wanted to convey the dangerous nature of fairy tales? Don't know, but a whole book in danger mode is overdone) . But the narrator does an excellent job at conveying emotion and range, and her tone is comfortable to listen to.
I would not have read the book, so Sarah Coomes made it bearable. After awhile, I forgot what the heck the woodcutter was doing. As soon as one issue is resolved he stumbles into two more fair tale plots. It's as if the author was compelled to cover every fable ever written weather it furthered the plot or not.
I don't think I would try another book by either the author or the narrator. The story failed as a mystery, a fairy tale, and as just a plain old good story. The narrator also does a poor job. It's a female narrator trying to narrate a male protagonist. She does not succeed.
I am not turned off from books in this genre at all. This is one of my favorite genres, but I will be cautious of anything by Kate Danley in the future.
I would have picked a male narrator. Honestly, I don't know who, but anyone with a deep, manly, woodcutter type voice. Not a high pitched whine.
The premise was good, but the execution was lacking.
If the author had developed an internal storyline more than just merging a collection of fables, it would have been intensely more commanding. Unfortunately, I found myself groaning at the "introduction" of each expected character.
No, fables/fairy tales/folk lore is such a rich and imaginative form of literature. I cannot imagine missing out on great extensions of the classics just because this was such a mash up.
I found myself distracted by the attempted character voices.
Ranks right up there due to the perfect match between the story and the narration by Sarah Coomes. We set high standards for those who tell fairytales to adults, and this narrator exceeds them.
Delaney lights up images from the folktales and fairy tales we have heard, then moves us to the viewpoints of different characters than the heroes, all the while weaving an overarching narrative that is disturbing and redemptive.
In the spirit of constant renewal of oral narrative, the author skillfully draws us into the battle between good and evil by activating connections between folktales, crime and substance abuse. While The Golden Compass places Dust at the centre of its sci-fantasy, Delaney deepens the narrative by re-appropriating pixie dust as the substance of harvesting and abuse.
As a reader, I don't really enjoy so-called "info dumps" where the writer tells you everything you need to know in one long go. As a writer, I know how hard it is to avoid info dumps, because there is so much the reader needs to know to properly appreciate the story. As a reader of THIS story, I wish that the writer had done MORE info dumping, or found a way to do the same thing. I got to the end and still wasn't sure what was supposed to have happened in the story I'd just read.
The story is about a Woodcutter. He lives in the woods. He carries an axe. But he doesn't cut wood. Instead, he goes about interacting with a dozen-or-so different characters from different stories, tied together only by the presence of the Woodcutter. The author tries for a grand story-arc with a spectral hell hound and a dastardly plot by a one-dimensional villain who is only marginally involved with the story, but really, it reads more like a series of short stories all featuring the same protagonist. There are whole chapters where the first thrust of the book, the hell hound who sucks down people's souls, is forgotten, and the Woodcutter makes the current chapter's character's problems his one-and-only aim. Okay, I can get behind that. I enjoy fairy tales and this book had a unique spin on a couple of them, most notably Red Riding Hood and the presence of fey blood in the royal lines. What I didn't get was what happened at the end, when the author tried to take the dozen short stories and tie them up in a bow with a whizz-bang of a grand finale, that was over before it had scarcely begun. I'm still not exactly sure how the hell hound fits in, or which of the one-dimensional villains is the real villain, or even what their names are. The final exposition in which events are explained so that those of us who don't live in the Woodcutter's world can understand them is missing, which is doubly frustrating in audiobook format since one can't flip back through pages to connect the dots on one's own. And speaking of the Woodcutter's world... this is the situation in which an info dump would have been extremely helpful. There are references constantly made to 12 kingdoms (13 kingdoms by the end of the book, plus a duchy that wasn't part of the kingdoms. At least at first. Maybe it was by the end? That part was confusing). And yet, for all the many mentions of the 12 kingdoms, I still don't know anything about them, save that they have some sort of pact with the fairy realms. Why include twelve? Why not five? Or twenty? There is no logic imparted, no geography, no significance at all...save that they are mentioned often. It is frustrating in the highest degree to have a tantalizing world (and it is tantalizing, I would not be so upset with the book if the world weren't interesting enough to have whetted my appetite for it and then not followed through on the promises made), and not to get to see more of it than the tiny glimpses offered.
The narrator was a confusing choice. Sarah Coomes does a good job, but, well... she's a woman. And the main character, the character whose point of view is all we see and whose voice is the one we hear while describing his adventures... is male. You see the problem. There are many, many excellent male narrators out there. Why choose a woman to be a man's voice?
On the whole, promising, and a good read for a long road trip, one where you can listen all the way through in one go and maybe keep track of the characters that way, rather than go hours between listens and forget who each of the characters is supposed to be and why they're important.
The way fairy tales show up in this story was cute... It was a rambling story and full of people so you needed to keep your mind on the story or you would get lost.
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