Published on audio 2013
Narrator: Chelsea Mixon and Cast
Length: 6hrs 30 mins
My daughter and I decided to simultaneously read the book and listen to the full cast audiobook version and it was an awesome experience! We don't usually read fantasy fiction but decided to give this book a try and discovered why everyone raves about Shannon Hale. This is an author who knows how to fully immerse her readers into the worlds she builds where her strong female characters are good, loyal, intelligent and brave.
Dashti is a mucker maid, who, along with her mistress Lady Saren, is shut in a tower for seven years because of Saren's refusal to marry the despicable Lord Khasar, a brute of a man. Dashti is a happy person who takes delight in even the small things in life and tries to make the most of their situation, but Lady Saren is depressed, despondent and miserable. Khan Tegus, one of Lady Saren's suitors arrives outside the castle and wants to talk with Lady Saren, but she refuses, asking Dashti to pretend to be her. Khan Tegus and Dashti exchange pleasant and intimate talk until the day he leaves never to return.
As the days trickle into years, Dashti does all she can to minister to Lady Saren, singing her the healing songs she learned as part of her mucker culture. When food starts to run out, Dashti knows it's up to her to do something or they will both starve to death. Through her resourcefulness and courage, Dashti makes decisions that will save both herself, her mistress and the villagers of the Eight Realms, the fantasy Mongolian setting of this story.
The story is told from Dashti's point-of-view through journals that contain some sketched illustrations. We loved Dashti's voice both written and spoken. She is charming, witty, and full of life and spunk. She has lost her mother but speaks of her lovingly when she refers to their past life together. She is honest and pours out her feelings in her journal book. She is a wonderful heroine!
This story is based on the Brothers Grimm story of Maid Maleen, but of course, Hale has infused this one with an exotic fairy tale setting, memorable characters, romance and a plot that had me and my daughter guessing how it would all end. The full cast audiobook version is fantastic, with the beautiful and passionate voice of Chelsea Mixon that was perfect for Dashti. We also loved Khan Tegus' voice, which had us imagining a handsome and kind young man. Lord Khasar's deep voice exuded the right amount of growling disdain that suited his character. My daughter thought that Lady Saren's voice sounded too old for her. Besides this, listening to a full cast was just great, with exotic music in the background that got us right in the mood of this exciting tale.
This is a clean novel with an unforgettable strong female heroine that is a good role model for young girls. The full cast audiobook brings out Shannon Hale's beautiful writing and wonderful storytelling. Truly captivating and memorable!
Note: This book is rated C = clean read.
Reviewed by Laura and Daughter
Disclosure: Thanks to AudioGo and Audiobook Jukebox for sending us this audiobook for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
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