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Publisher's Summary

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

It's Carnival time and the Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint is celebrating with music, dance, and pageantry. Masked "Midnight Robbers" waylay revelers with brandished weapons and spellbinding words. To young Tan-Tan, the Robber Queen is simply a favorite costume to wear at the festival - until her power-corrupted father commits an unforgiveable crime.

Suddenly, both father and daughter are thrust into the brutal world of New Half-Way Tree. Here monstrous creatures from folklore are real, and the humans are violent outcasts in the wilds. Tan-Tan must reach into the heart of myth and become the Robber Queen herself. For only the Robber Queen's legendary powers can save her life...and set her free.

©2000 Nalo Hopkinson (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Robin Miles's voice is deep, rich, and rolling. The story is written in a kind of patois, and her narration makes it easy to understand—probably easier than reading it in print. She effortlessly creates unique characters—whether male, female, young, old, sentient birds, ghosts, or aliens." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • mary
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 12-11-12

Even Through the Dimensions, Girls Are Not Safe

Robin Miles narrates Midnight Robber with a strong patois that was initially a turnoff for me. It was like listening to narration in a foreign language. The story itself is an unusual mix of old and sci-fi, there are 'aware' buildings with artificial intelligence the characters interact with and devices like toilets that measure one's physical health. There are also 'duels' with machetes and a lot of rank poverty. It reminds me of Firefly, with its combination of space ships and people riding horses. I believe the narrator's patois is of Haitian derivation, lots of 'oui's' and I definitely learned to love it. I found it musical and mesmerizing when all was said and done, DoDo. I listened to the novel at least three times and found things I missed in each subsequent listening. I grew to love Tan Tan, the main character in the novel. We meet Tan Tan when she is about 7, and lord, does this child have trials and tribulations to endure! In the end endure she does. I felt the story was also a reflection of the treatment of native, indigenous peoples. I find Nalo Hopkinson an engaging artist, introducing characters of locales of interest. I found the primary story line sad, however. Even into the future, across dimensions, girls are not safe. Despite that, I gave the novel top ratings across the board. I will read Nalo Hopkinson again. I actually think there is a good possibility of a sequel to Midnight Robber. I want to know what happened to Iony, Melon Head, Chichibaud, Tifa and other characters it would be a spoiler to mention here. I recommend the book, it is very good and I'll probably listen to it a fourth time. That's one of the things I love about audio books, you can always invest in another reading!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amber
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 05-23-15

A fabulous narration bolsters a pretty good story

You will probably either love or hate the narration style. But if you aren't immediately comfortable with it, I urge you to relax, be patient, and let it flow for a while. Robin Miles is a capable and versatile narrator, and this is some of her best work. Her rich, smooth voice really brings out the most of the island-style pidgin in which the characters speak, and she uses that accent for the exposition as well, fully immersing you in the sounds of the people of Toussaint and New Half-Way Tree. Before it was over, I found myself wanting to talk that way, because face it, it's kind of fun.

There are a lot of unfamiliar Caribbean words, some of them French-derived and some African, and it helps to make occasional reference to the text preview available on Amazon. Some examples:

pickney: child
doux-doux: sweetie (no, they're not calling their loved ones "doo-doo")
compere: sir, or perhaps more equivalent to the Communist "comrade"
mako: big (sometimes used with big to mean really big)
bassourdie: addled or dim-witted
tout monde: everyone, or people generally
leggobeast: a loose, filthy, or disgusting person
duppy: ghost
rass and clot: both sort of generic curse words

The story is also filled with references to real-life Afro-Caribbean legends and traditions, such as Mami Wata, Granny Nanny, Anansi, duppies, mako (or moko) jumbies, the rolling calf, and of course the titular Midnight Robber. Ignore them if you wish, but your enjoyment and understanding of the story will be enhanced and deepened if you take the time to look them up. I spent the whole story not understanding the mako jumbie reference (on New Half-Way Tree, it's a huge, long-legged, predatory bird, but there's more to its name than that), and I really wish I had looked it up early.

I won't say much about the story except that it is a story of love, hate, exile (not once, but over and over and over), betrayal, hardship, discovery, and ultimately, redemption. It is a story of survival in difficult circumstances and coming of age. There are classic science fiction tropes like floating cars and AI, and there are highly fascinating aliens, but curiously, the twain never meet. Trigger warning: There is graphic sexual abuse.

I found that it started slowly, but I really enjoyed the second half of the story. But I was slightly disappointed by the ending.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Incredible book. Stellar performance!

I listened during an eight hour drive. when I arrived at my destination, I stayed in the car listening another fifteen minutes. Do. Not. Miss. This Book. Big Bonus for writers: you'll learn as much or more about story, pacing, and craft listening to this book than by taking a novel writing course.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Life Renewed

The story is Nalo Hopkinson's best. i like how it brings together all cultures of the Caribbean and its African roots, and its African-American antecedents, how it takes the story of yet another male folkloric figure and feminizes it, giving the woman voice, empowering her to rescue herself from invisibility and anonymity, and how it turns death into life renewed. I like the performance of the reader because it brings the characters alive, representing their uniqueness, and staying true to their Caribbean accents, languages, and culture. I would, however, have liked her to sing those little folkloric ditties so well-known to everyone who has grown up in a Caribbean space.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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!!

I didn't think I could handle the subject matter, but I took a risk because Nalo Hopkinson.

it was the right choice.

this book takes some trust. trust it, even though you might not fully understand for a while. you'll get there. it's taking you places, you just have to hold on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I enjoyed the performance

Where does Midnight Robber rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Midnight Robber ranks almost at the bottom of the books I've listened to.

What could Nalo Hopkinson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I think the author lied when she set up the father and the little girl as good characters in the beginning of the book. As the story went on, I found them both morally bankrupt and could not enjoy the story. The only reason I finished it was because I thought that Robin Miles' reading was sublime and I enjoyed the uniqueness of the patois.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Literally best book I heard this year

I can't imagine reading this and not hearing the beautiful narration. And the story was gripping, I was hooked from start to finish. But reader beware, there is some very emotionally charged situations in the story, so definitely it comes with a trigger warning for rape and domestic violence .

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glorious

An amazing tale punctuated with a moving audio performance. Fairytale, griot tradition and heartache come together in one of the best audible experiences I have had to date.

A must-listen.

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Engaging Book

If you could sum up Midnight Robber in three words, what would they be?

Trip into an Afrofuturistic world.

What other book might you compare Midnight Robber to and why?

None very different

Which scene was your favorite?

Daddy Tree Rebirth

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The Dwen leaving the Dadi Tree.

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mixed signals, difficult accent

I like the reader, who also did a fantastic job with Fifth Season. This must have been difficult to read because of the pidgin but she did a good job. I wanted to like the story more but it sent mixed messages about justice, repro rights etc. Also there's queer flirtation aspects that could have been explored but weren't because of what I can only describe as serious pacing issues. Just as the main character begins to really claim her agency rather than just having stuff done to her, they end the book in a kinda trite, overly convenient way that just isn't internally consistent. Near misses on more interesting stories of fomenting revolt, unexpected technological evolution, sentient animal behaviorism and displacement of indigenous populations. Oh well...

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  • Rudy Lorentz
  • 09-05-16

Great book and reading

This is a great book, really nice that it's partly patois. Such an enjoyable story overall (although there's a couple of horrible sexual violence bits). And the reading of it fitted perfectly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kristin
  • 11-09-16

Vibrant, passionate story

I loved the voice of this story, the linguistics and culture behind it. It's so rare to read sci-fi that is so unapologetically not based on a western perspective. The story was rich and riveting and often hard to endure for its heavy themes. But it is a story of survival, and it is stronger for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful