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Black Crow, White Snow

Narrated by: Janina Edwards
Length: 2 hrs and 37 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (7,258 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In a world where women hold all the power and men have barely been an afterthought, an intrepid shipmistress must put aside everything she knows if she is to save her people. 

Bela is at the helm of the Sandcrow, a ship sent from calm seas to the far frozen north in search of a legendary power that could turn the tide of war. Locked into ice, the Sandcrow is lost. Now, for the shipmistress and her crew, a desperate voyage becomes a chilling struggle for survival against nature, fear, and prejudice. 

If Bela can lead them to their ultimate destination, will the magic they find be their redemption - or their destruction? 

©2019 Michael D. Livingston (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Women vs Nature

'Black Crow, White Snow' tells a story from the point of view of Bela, the captain of a tall ship. The story opens right in the middle of the action, with the ship being trapped in ice, during a storm. Valiantly the crew try to free it, but the ice crushes the ship and leaves less than a dozen crew alive, trying to survive the frozen tundra and complete the mission that took them to the ice originally.

It is a women vs nature story, a group surviving the elements and the beasts that call the frozen wasteland home. It is set in a world that is matriarchal, where woman are the strong sex and are in charge. At times characters voice ideas of being 'as weak as a man', or there being some shame at having been 'rescued by a man' or similar. The group is pretty much all women, with one exception. The original mission, the reason for them being there, and the events of the world beyond the immediate is not discussed much and is generally left out.

The writing itself is great. The description of the ship breaking in the ice is visceral and brings the event to life. Other descriptions equally so, bringing the cold world off the page. However, it is fairly short and the group of survivors is large enough that most of them really get great characterization. combined with the narration (more on this later) it means that the majority of the group of survivor just becomes a interchangeable group of companions. The main exceptions being Bela, the point of view character, and the man in the group - a poet and storyteller rather than a warrior and sailor.

Narration by Janina Edwards is good, but not great. She speaks with a Caribbean (?) accent that suits the tall ship theme of the book well. While it isn't about pirates, to me the accent makes me think of pirates and tall ships. My main annoyance is that she doesn't really differentiate voices and characters. Some have minor changes (being softer or gruffer) but it is generally very subtle, so a lot of the characters just blend together, especially in group conversations. Otherwise she is well paced, clear and engaging.

There is no music, sound effect or other things included in the production. It is a straight reading of the short story text.

287 of 314 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

MEH?

The story has some potential, it seems like it is missing a clear beginning and a clear end. the story picks up on the middle of the action and has no build up and no real conclusion

38 of 42 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good writing, mediocre narration, wastes the theme

This story is fairly interesting; a good survival story though I'm not really all that interested in the genre. I picked the story up mostly because of the gender swap premise; I was expecting the story to dig into themes about gender, equality, and a woman-centric culture.

Rather, it seems to cater more to people who want to read about a world where men are secondary; it reminds me quite a lot of early Golden Age sci fi, and not the good sort. It falls into all the same tropes, but gender flipped. That in itself is meant to make a statement, but the author doesn't use the world building to make points about the central themes of the book. It reads almost like a reverse-sexist power fantasy. In a society that has criticized such things as problematic, I can't quite make myself enjoy this piece.

The offerings for Audible Originals are pretty scant this month, so it may be worth a read just to avoid wasting a selection...but don't expect anything more than is on the tin.

376 of 425 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not the worst, but pretty close

This was not the worst book I've heard, but it was pretty close. Fortunately it was less than 3 hours in length. I'm not sure if I could have taken much more. The narrator was actually pretty good. She was clear in spite of her accent. The only complaint is that the reading was rather low energy for an adventure thriller story. The write up on this book showed a role reversal between the sexes, but the book never gave any explanation of the culture or the situation the protagonists were in. That made it difficult to become invested in the characters. The love between two of the characters seemed I'll placed and lent nothing to the story. It was a relationship we cared nothing about. The end of the story sounded like something out of Harry Potter poorly rewritten. I'm glad it's over and do not recommend it to anyone.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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horrible to follow

thia is definitely not my cup of tea. I tried, I really, really tried to follow it. I tried to follow the book for an hour in and just couldn't do it. the story line is boring and because of that it is hard to follow the characters. the descriptions were even boring to follow. personally this is not my cup of tea to read, and I like fantasy and
protagonist women in stories. maybe this is someone else cup of tea, but definitely not mine.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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not my cup of tea

did not care for writing style, story line or narrator. glad it was free. couldnt make it past 20 min.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Not My Taste

I love Science Fiction, but this requires a lot patience to enjoy. I tried several times to listen to and understand, but I cannot. I am a woman who enjoys a strong character in a book but there is something I can not digest with this book. Sorry. I wish I could exchange this book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not What It Seems

I'm going to start off by saying maybe I've just misinterpreted what is going on in the story, to be fair I stopped listening about 30 minutes in. I was intrigued by the concept of the gender reversal and portraying women as the stronger people in a society. But unless I'm mistaken all he does is switch the pronouns around. At one point one of the 'women', hits the weaker 'man' and calls him a "cockless fool". In another the 'woman' notes how the 'man' must be really cold without facial hair. This to me ruins the entire point. Sure it's interesting to hear these observations from what we assume to be a woman's point of view and it feels strange for the women to be calling the men weak, but to do so by assuming that the stronger sex require male bodies to be strong seems absurd and I was super put off by it.
Sad because I liked the narrator in general, her accent added the the story, but I just can't get past this other idea. Doesn't sit well with me.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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I tried to enjoy it

The narrator had a shrill accented voice and the story even with the opening action scene, never became interesting. Didn't finish it.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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yay imagery, boo plot

This was a weird one. Loved the imagery but the plot and environment were lacking. why were men 2nd class? why were they on a boat? who are these people? sounds like this was part if a story that are missing some chapters. again the imagery was beautiful, but I could have used less words about snow and more words about why.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful