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The Strange Land Trilogy

The McGunnegal Chronicles, Books 1 to 3
Narrated by: Jannie Meisberger
Series: The McGunnegal Chronicles, Book 1-3
Length: 36 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The McGunnegals are all strange, and it has been that way for generations. They are too strong, or too fast, or too smart, and odd things happen when they are around. The neighbors say they are witches or devils, or have been snatched by changelings. Mothers hold their children close when they walk by, fearing they might catch the McGunnegal strangeness. 

But when a doorway to the world of the Others is found in their great grandfather's potato cellar, two of the children fall through, and find themselves in a land where all of their strangeness will be needed to rescue its people from the dark things that have enslaved it. 

There they also discover why they are so different, and also what it means to be truly human. 

The Strange Land Trilogy is a compilation of the first three books in The McGunnegal Chronicles series, including Into a Strange Land, Taming the Goblin, and The Witch and the Waking Tree.

©2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Ben Anderson (P)2019 Ben Anderson

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

A very uneven listen

First admission, I am rating this after only listening to the first book in the trilogy.

Second admission, I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

The beginning of this book was very slow and I was driving a long trip and got bored with it. I kept with it though and it got much better. It even gave off a Narnia feel. Then near the end of the first book every "person" they met was a lesson to be learned by the children. It became too much. Narnia was never this preachy. Add that to the fact that the McGunnegals were perfect saints and the only interesting character who seemed real was the cousin. He had flaws and grew as the story went on. Everyone else was perfect or evil.

The narrator was mostly good, but that cousin I mentioned? He's a 14 year old boy and randomly had the same voice as an 8 year old girl. That got confusing.

I may eventually dive back in and finish the trilogy. I will update the review then, but can't make myself push through right now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

The Strange Land trilogy

I tried,I really did.I never connected with the story.It went SO SLOW.I set the timing to 1.25 just to be able to listen to it but still did not care for the story.I got through the first book. Janie Meisberger was an ok narrator at times. I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TU
  • 03-25-19

Fantastic!

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This was a great story that really captured my imagination and held my interest. This best comparision I can make is Narnia meets Harry Potter. The Narnia feel is definitely stronger, but to me the whole boarding school and magic reminded me of Hogwarts. Anyway, this is unique enough, and blends in some interesting historical references that make for a very engaging listen. The narration is done quite well. All in all, I would highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jayde
  • Nampa, ID
  • 03-18-19

Memories of Narnia

This is the first three books in The McGunnegal Chronicles however it truly is one story complete in the trilogy but ready for more to come.
Throughout this story I was reminded of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. There are many differences and this is a unique story but the story line resembles something from that series. Also the reading level or audience is about that level as well. I would not be afraid to let my 11 year old daughter listen to this if she were interested in such stories.
The narration was first rate and definitely added to the enjoyment of this story.
Can't wait for more. I enjoyed it that much.

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

The McGunnegals weave their magic....:)

A few months ago I listened to the fourth part of the series and as I wrote in my review, I loved the story though at first I had a hard time understanding who was who and what their relations were, as there were so many characters to follow. Now that I've had the chance to listen to the first three parts of the McGunnegals' adventures I can say "make sure you don't miss on the books" - they are definitely fun and weave their magic to the point of you never wanting to put them down:)

The overall plot is very complicated and complex, with a lot of subplots in which we follow the adventures of the individual members of the family and their friends and enemies:) Every character has their unique abilities and these skills and magical powers turn out to play important parts in the story. The books are rooted in Irish folklore, so there's a plenitude of magical creatures the McGunnegals meet on their way, and the world building is fantastic, with rich and vivid descriptions of places and creatures inhabiting them. The only fault? Each book ends with a cliffhanger, so you need to read/listen to all four of them to get to know the whole story:) But as it's so much fun following the McGunnegals, you won't regret the time spent on them.

Narration by Ms Meisberger is fantastic. Her interpretation of the story is almost as magical as the books themselves. I especially liked the voices she gave the dwarves - but all of the characters are distinguishable so you'll have no problems recognizing who is who in dialogues. She also reads at a steady pace and slow enough for you to speed the audio up a bit without loosing anything (well, it's over 30 hours of listening, 12 hours a book on average:)).

All in all, it's a book a fan of fantasy should definitely read/listen to:)

DISCLAIMER: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Epic- with refreshing take on fairytale characters

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by this author and I would listen to another right now! I can’t wait to listen to more in this series. Many characters of legend are in these books. Some are of Irish folklore and some from other cultures. I love how they have been interpreted and seamlessly incorporated into this epic tale. I can imagine anyone from preteen and above thoroughly enjoying this series.

It takes a while until we get an understanding of how these kids are different.It’s not really until they are around their cousin and there is a comparison. The story takes place during the potato famine. With their mother missing, their father accepts a risky offer (in which they could loose their farm) and allows their well-to-do aunt/uncle to take them to Wales and place them in a boarding school. The uncle is conniving and wants to get his hands on the farm.
As they are about to leave for Wales, Colleen sneaks off the ship and their cousin Frederick follows her. Accidentally, they pass through to the world of the Little People. Here they learns clues to the fate of her mother and the dire situation of the people in this land.
Meanwhile, the other McGunnegal children make their way to the school. Whilst there, they learn more about the strange things going on in the bog near their farm and about why they are different. By happy coincidence they find a person familiar with these strange things. He becomes a great ally, but also has many secrets.
Back on the farm, their father also becomes somewhat enlightened to the strange goings on.
Eventually, all these story threads mingle and converge, and the story becomes richer and more wonderful. There are also many fantastic characters in the land of the Little People whom play a large role.

This is the first book I’ve listened to by this narrator ( Jannie Meisberger ) and I would listen to another- definitely! She’d narrated the book so well (with great expression and personality) that along with the fantastic story, she helped me get swept up in the book. When I was done listening to the book, I did not have visions of a narrator in my head, but instead visions of the characters.

There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Exceedingly difficult to pause!


We are introduced to the McGunnegal family as they endure the potato blight spreading in Ireland. It is a difficult time where many people are starving and some in their community disappear. Mr. McGunnegal, whose wife disappeared, is sending his children to a boarding school out of the country. He funded their education with a loan that could cause him to lose the farm, but he will stop at nothing to protect his children.

Soon the children get separated and the story follows the McGunnegals as they struggle to reunite and right the wrongs they find during their unique journeys. Colleen and her cousin, Frederick, fall through a portal into a world where magical beings live and they are certain Colleen's mother is there too. Angus, Bran, Bibb, and Henny travel to the boarding school where they meet Professor McPherson who has many secrets but is willing to help them.

This book devotes around 15 chapters wrapping up all of the different plot points. Each one of those chapters was incredible. I was laughing out loud, moved to tears, and pumping my fist in the air as those chapters unfolded. I really loved this book and its satisfying end.

Jannie Meisberger's narration was excellent. It seemed to help me continue to listen carefully to the first few chapters when the story was not yet engaging on its own. She gave voice to so many interesting characters and did it well, like when she communicated the sweet innocence in Henny, the earnestness of Colleen and the delightfully mysterious Oracle. Oh, and how I loved how she voiced Oracle's unintelligible words. It was so funny, so very funny! I only have two complaints with this book, the slow beginning and that the author did not write more parts with Oracle's adorable gibberish so that Jannie could make me laugh even more.

I received a copy of this book per my request in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful and original

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Wow. Not what I was expecting. A fantastic combination of genres. We had history, fantasy, mythology, space, all wrapped up with a Christian bow.

This story may be intended for a younger audience, but as a 40 something sci-fi, fantasy loving Christian I have to say it was a great listen. Lots of lessons we all can stand to learn. Please don’t be afraid if you’re not a believer, there’s plenty of action and adventure for all.
The narrator is also fantastic. This was my first audiobook with her as narrator, but won’t be the last.

Thank you very much for the privilege to listen to you books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Trip Back to Story Time

After finishing Anna Karenina, I was going to treat myself with something short and easy. I wound up picking up this trilogy instead. Boy am I glad I did. It reminded me why child me loved fantasy in the first place. My only regret is that I don't have any kids to share this wonderful series with.
The narrator did a wonderful job. It was like being in kindergarten story time all over again. She did distinct voices for all the characters without becoming ridiculous or exaggerated.
The story was exciting and engaging. It reminded me of Song of the Sea (probably because of all the Irish lore) and Chronicles of Narnia. The characters were exciting and grew as the story went along. I got my heart stolen by a goblin, which was unexpected. Basically, I can't recommend this series enough .
I was given this book for free at my request in exchange for a fair review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Epic Irish Story

An epic tale of children trying to make their ways in the worlds of magic and reality reminiscent of the books by C.S. Lewis.


Jeannie Meisberger does a great job if narrating the story as if she were telling it in front of fireplace to entertain those who would listen.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful