#1 New York Times best-selling author Pat Wrede returns to Scholastic with an amazing new trilogy about the use of magic in the wild, wild west.
Eff was born a thirteenth child. Her twin brother, Lan, is the seventh son of a seventh son. This means he's supposed to possess amazing talent - and she's supposed to bring only bad things to her family and her town. Undeterred, her family moves to the frontier, where her father will be a professor of magic at a school perilously close to the magical divide that separates settlers from the beasts of the wild.
With wit and wonder, Patricia Wrede creates an alternate history of westward expansion that will delight fans of both J. K. Rowling and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
©2009 Patricia C. Wrede (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Interesting characters, creative blend of existing and imaginary.
The main character and the many different kinds of magic. Who knew?
She has the ability to give each character their own voice. Easy to listen to and understand who is speaking.
Nope. But I ended up buy and listening to all 3 stories one after the other.
If Ms. Wrede does not make this a longer series, I will be seriously annoyed with her.
The narration was so awful on this book that I could not finish the book, so I do not know if I would read ( listen ) to another of her books. The premise sounded so interesting that I was seduced into buying the book. I tried three times to listen to it but the voice used for the little sister was so nasal that I finally gave up.
The narration, I just couldn't get passed it.
Very unpleasant,nasal,high pitched voice used for the sister who was the first person narrator of the story.
I was really sorry that I had spent my money for this book, when. I could have been listening to something I would have enjoyed.
Too bad I didn't listen to this before I purchased it.
This book sounded from the synopsis and the rave reviews like it was going to be so great, but partway through, I caught myself continuously checking the 'time remaining', first to see if I could figure out if/when actual plot might happen and eventually to see how much longer I was going to have to suffer. Basically, the book drags on and on without any change whatsoever to any of the characters (main or otherwise) or any important plot.
I suppose it's trying to be a coming-of-age story about Eff, but as a character she doesn't grow at all. From the start of the novel (where she's the world's most precocious five year old...I mean really, has the author met many five year olds??) to the end (Eff is 18 then), neither her inner dialogue or her actions nor her interactions with others change in any way shape or form. Sure it's sort of about her getting over being a 13th child, but since she's the only one who gives a hoot about that fact after the first few chapters, it's hard to see it as a major influence in her life. Maybe if the bullying and whatnot had continued when they moved west, I could see it more, but it's mostly abandoned through the book.
My other major problem with the book was the author's cavalier attitude towards background. There were a lot of weird historical changes that were completely unnecessary to the plot (like changing it from North America to North Columbia) and weren't explained in terms of including magic into history. Whenever I see this sort of thing in books, it just makes me think that the author was too lazy to do proper research and so just changed a few things in order to claim that any rational historical criticism can't apply. Frankly, I hadn't reviewed the plot summary before I started the book and for the first few chapters I had no idea if it was taking place in 1800 or 1950.
This author does not understand that repetition does get old. Wow
The performance & story was ok it was just her repeating and only caring about her being the 13th child that sucked big time.
After the first 4 times I would stop talking about her 13th child crap unless the story actually changed a bit from it.
This book had so many things going for it but somehow just didn't connect. I found the main characters rather annoying. The world created was quite interesting...the creatures were fascinating, but the people were just oblivious. The book didn't work for me.
intriguing, encouraging, amazing
I would say when she realized that one day she would be the teacher, after Wash gave her the wooden charm.
It feels like she is Eff. You feel more connected to the main character because of Amanda Ronconi.
A book lover with a romantic soul, but willing to take a leap of faith. I LOVE to get sucked into a story and live there for a bit.
This book tries really hard to be dystopic but they take normal words like "Child" and makes it into "childlings" which is somehow supposed to make us believe that society is that far away from our reality that it changes the venacular. Sigh...
There is also the problem with believing that these people can do magic, but then there are people who prefer not to do magic and want to live without it (WHY?) and then there is the whole problem with re-writing history and making the founding fathers magicians... Double sigh....
There are a whole lot of holes in the plot and even if you can suspend your disbelief, you still have to get through the book, which is alright, but not wonderful or transforming. I woud say it would be wonderful for a 7th grader. No major love interest or plot twists except that it is a BIG DEAL that she is the 13th child, until suddenly it isn't... IDK
I in fact have listened to it and its two sequels again, multiple times. The narrator's voice is calm and soothing but still conveys emotion and humor, AND she's fantastic at doing lots of different voices.
The story itself is light - it's not one of those dark, gritty stories, nor is it a hair-raising thriller. It's just a lovely story about a girl named Eff and her life, as she lives it - there are adventures, to be sure, in both this book and the sequels, but the big climatic problems and resolutions, interesting as they are, pale in comparison to the world building and depth of character Wrede portrays.
There are definitely similarities to Laura Ingalls Wilder's works, which lends even more verisimilitude to the story.
Her voices! The story itself is in first person, and she portrays all of Eff's emotions and wry humor in an easy, effortless manner that really makes it sound like someone just telling you their own life story. That she could give other characters such distinct voices, even in the midst of large amounts of dialogue, was also very impressive - I like full cast readings, how much realer they seem, and she practically was a full cast in of herself.
The very first scene Eff describes, one she goes back to again and again throughout the book and even occasionally in the later books, stuck with me just as much as it stuck with Eff, which I think is testament to the skill of Wrede's writing. (not described here because I think you should hear it for yourself.)
I'm almost sad this was the first new audiobook I got from audible, because it's set the bar so high - I can listen to this series again and again and enjoy it every time, and it's disappointing to then listen to other books and just enjoy listening to them the once.
Couldn't you be as lovely to listen to as these books, other audiobooks? I'd really appreciate it. (Although I suppose my wallet might not.)
I do have to add a disclaimer here that I do regularly re-read and re-listen to my favorite books so it's not like it's a completely unique experience for me - although I have never listened to a series repeatedly like this before, where I started listening to the first book again the moment the third was done.
I like outer space, artichokes, and good fiction. Welcome to whatever this is.
Highly! It was a fun read, easy to follow and the characters were so likable, even when you got mad at them.
William, or Eff. I like them both and I like the relationship they share. William seems to keep Eff grounded and she keeps him on his toes. It seems so realistic.
At first I was a little bothered by her voice, but as I listened I came to love it! I think the problem was that I came into the book with absolutely no idea of what kind of story it was, so the whole western thing threw me off a bit. So at first her accent seemed weird, but then made sense. I took one star off, but her performance was really a 4 1/2, because some of the voices she did sounded very similar.
I loved the way that the world itself was constructed. I was a bit disconcerted, trying to figure out what was going on, like a blind person in the dark. But once I got my "night sight" and fell into the rhythm of the story, I loved it.
I would recommend this book to anyone! I read a comment somewhere else and unfortunately don't know who said it, but someone had mentioned that this book is like a blending of "Little House on the Prarie" and "Harry Potter" and I would say that is an extremely accurate description. So if you're a fan of both, go ahead and try it!
It wasn't my favorite, but it was a far cry from my least favorite.
I was actually pretty bored, and had to force myself to focus on the story. I think this is a book better left read by the junior high crowd.
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