- Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
- Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 05-08-11
- Language: English
- Publisher: Audible Studios
Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science-fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled - and her twin sister dead.
Fleeing to her father, whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England - a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off.
Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2012
Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2011
“Walton succeeds admirably. Her novel is a wonder and a joy.” (The New York Times)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Karen on 13-12-12
A spectacular ode to science fiction
This book was one of my favorites to listen to since I started my audible subscription. The narrator is wonderful, and the welsh accent makes such a difference (an accent I know I wouldn't have been able to keep in my head if I'd read the book instead of listened to it). The story is complicated to explain, but not complicated to listen to, and the book is addictive in the best way.
And for a fan of science fiction, it was like a hot bath and a comforting meal - even though the main character Mori read few of the same authors as I did, the feeling was the same, and it reminded me of how much love I felt for reading when I was a teenager, the way I devoured books and how much they impacted my life and my imagination.
Just a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Jo on 02-12-13
I wanted a nice gentle read with a bit of fantasy thrown in and thats what I got. I so loved this book and will listen to it again and again. I loved the accent, which was wonderful and left me wishing for more. It takes you through some of the issues faced by young girls as they enter womanhood especially those that are a bit different.
It entwines the real bland and everyday reality with that of magic mysticism and escapism. It questions if one creates the other and is it reasonable or even advisable to try and control these – after all who wants to live with puppets or to become one.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Eoin on 15-09-11
Subtle Character Piece
I loved this from start to end. Essentially a coming-of-age story, its diary format does not lend itself to strong plot points, and my major criticism is that the denoument is rather rushed at the end. But you can't help falling for Mori, especially for me, as she is such a SF/Fantasy nut and *devours* books.
But I adored Katherine Kellgren's performance, and was amazed to find out she's from the US. The "singsong" accent, with its "changes of inflection" was, to me being a Celt, a really great Welsh accent, along with good Southern English and west-country accents. Well done Katherine! Yes, it may be a little difficult to get used to, but on the eastern side of the pond it works really well.
Give it a go. It's a simple character piece that will make you smile.
41 of 42 people found this review helpful
By Aser Tolentino on 19-05-12
I Think it Deserves the Hugo
There are several different ways you could go about narrating a book. You could simply read it aloud, you might go so far as to add inflection to the spoken parts. And if you want to stand out, you try to give each notable character a distinct voice. But if you seek to be as extraordinary as Katherine Kellgren, you must bring the story to life, imbue every word with color. There are some wonderful pieces online about the lengths Ms. Kellgren goes to achieve such dynamic performances, and it truly shows. The result is that this reading is anything but stayed, the narration achieving an artistic quality all its own. Of course, this means that it is even more a separate and distinct creature from the words on a printed page than any audiobook already is, and to some that might be a bad thing, possibly a very bad thing. But with a case such as this where the experience is far more about the person telling you the story than her story per se, the end result is truly delightful.
It is understandable that for someone used to traditional narration, this performance might take some getting used to, because the emphasis on reproducing the character's voice occasionally overrides clarity, requiring you to pay closer attention than you might be used to. But this is more than worth it because if you give in to this way of relating the story, it's very much like listening to Mori speaking to you through her diary entries rather than listening to a woman read.
This approach helps the presentation of the material immensely, since this is so much about one person's journey, her thoughts, fears, ambitions, and observational asides along the way. You cannot help but love this girl who has suffered so much but still loves so dearly in her own way.
As for the end, it is rather sudden, especially given how the beginning so wonderfully takes you by the hand and leads you deeper and deeper into a world where magic is real, but always deniable, infinitely subtle and incalculably powerful. This book is a nominee for the 2012 Hugo Award for best novel. And though there are other worthy candidates this year, I would be very happy if it won.
36 of 39 people found this review helpful