Amy Goldschlager Reviews Julia Unbound Audiobook by Catherine Egan

Julia Unbound, Catherine Egan; Erin Spencer, narrator (Listening Library, $32.95, digital download, 11.5 hr., un­abridged). August 2018.

The final installment of The Witch’s Child trilogy is a real race against time that practically explodes with plot. Julia’s brother Dek has been captured by the sinister Casimir and implanted with a sac of poison that will kill him in a couple of weeks. To save her brother, Julia has accepted Casimir’s ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Merry Spinster Audiobook by Mallory Ortberg

The Merry Spinster, Mallory Ortberg; Christina Tra­ister, narrator (Brilliance Audio 978-1-9786-0777-4, $26.99, 5 CDs, 5.25 hr., unabridged [also available on MP3-CD and as a digital download]) July 2018.

The narrator of this short-story collection reads with great feeling and expression. It is therefore a pity that the emotions being exhibited by these modern responses to fairy tales and classic children’s fiction primarily seem to be cynicism and contempt. I am ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Wrong Heaven Audiobook by Amy Bonnaffons

The Wrong Heaven, Amy Bonnaffons; Alex Vail­lant, narrator (Hachette Audio 9781478999676, $24.98, digital download, 6.25 hr., unabridged) July 2018.

I’m typically drawn to new audiobooks by read­ing about them. This is, oddly enough, the only instance that I can recall where I picked up an audiobook after hearing a piece of it. In November 2017, the Public Radio International show “This American Life” broadcast an excerpt of Amy Bonnaffons’s short ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Witchmark Audiobook by C.L. Polk

Witchmark, C.L. Polk; Samuel Roukin, narrator (Re­corded Books 978-1-9800-0200-0, $20.95, digital download, 9 hr., unabridged) June 2018.

Dr. Miles Singer, a doctor and military veteran of the war between Aeland and Laneer, is desperately trying to find out why his fellow veterans are com­ing home and brutally slaughtering their loved ones. Then a new mystery – and a new danger – show up at his hospital: Nick Elliot, a witch ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Brief Cases Audiobook by Jim Butcher

Brief Cases, Jim Butcher; James Marsters, Jim Butcher, Julia Whelan, Cassandra Campbell & Oliver Wyman, narrators (Penguin Audio, $29.95, digital download, 15.5 hr., unabridged) June 2018.

While we wait endlessly for Butcher to finish the next novel in The Dresden Files, here’s a short-story collection to tide us over. The stories take place at various points during the arc of the series about professional wizard and Chicago PI Harry Dresden, ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Dragon’s Path and The King’s Blood Audiobooks by Daniel Abraham

The Dragon’s Path, Daniel Abraham; Pete Bradbury, narrator (Hachette Audio 9781549118821, $24.98, digital down­load, 14.75 hr., unabridged) June 2018.

The King’s Blood, Daniel Abraham; Pete Brad­bury, narrator (Hachette Audio 9781549118838, $24.98, digital download, 14.75 hr., unabridged) June 2018.

When The Dragon’s Path, book one of The Dagger and the Coin, first came out in 2011, I searched for an audio version of the book so that I’d be able to ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Born to the Blade, Season 1

Born to the Blade, Season 1, Episodes 1–6 (of 11), Michael R. Underwood, Marie Brennan, Cassandra Khaw & Malka Older; Xe Sands, narrator (Serial Box, $1.59 per episode, digital download, 1-1/5 hr. per episode), April–May 2018.

This new shared-universe effort created by Michael R. Underwood is a fun little exercise in political fantasy that boasts several sorts of magic. A some­what contentious alliance of floating island nations practice diplomacy on ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Blackfish City Audiobook by Sam J. Miller

Blackfish City, Sam J. Miller; Vikas Adam, narrator (Harper Audio and Blackstone Audio 978- 1538497173, $39.99, CD, 10.5 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) April 2018.

After a variety of political and environmental disasters, most of the great nations of the world are either gone or on the verge of collapse. One of the few refuges remaining is Qaanaaq, a city floating on the waters of the Arctic ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

The Queens of Innis Lear, Tessa Gratton; Kate Reading, narrator (Macmillan Audio, $39.99, digital, 26.5 hr., unabridged) March 2018.

This magic-infused retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear aims to add backstory and depth to the tragedy, and even rewrite the fates of some of the favorite characters. When Queen Dalat died, her two elder daughters blamed their father King Lear for her demise, and King Lear intensified his study in star ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum

The Coincidence Makers, Yoav Blum; Ira Moskowitz, translator; Fred Berman, narrator (Macmillan Audio, $20.99, digital download, 8 hr., unabridged) March 2018.

Guy, Emily, and Eric are Coincidence Makers; they receive assignments in sealed envelopes to set up chains of seemingly accidental events with profound effects. A synching of traffic lights here, a spilled coffee there, can irrevocably lead to two people “unexpectedly” encountering each other, or a buttoned-up number cruncher ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Beneath the Sugar Sky Audiobook by Seanan McGuire

Beneath the Sugar Sky, Seanan McGuire; Michelle Dockrey, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1427293794, $28.99, CD, 4.25 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) January 2018.

One day, a young woman tumbles out of the sky, falling into the lake near Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children, a refuge for children who found portals to other worlds where they had fantastic adventures and then eventually (and usually unhappily) returned home. Rini ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Mad Hatters and March Hares Audiobook, Edited by Ellen Datlow

Mad Hatters and March Hares: All-New Stories from the World of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Ellen Datlow, ed.; C.S.E. Cooney & Eric Michael Summerer, narrators (Tantor Audio 978-1-5414-1327-6, $42.99, 10 CDs, 12.5 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) December 2017.

It is an interesting experience to listen to an anthology inspired by two so intensely visual books. Both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Audiobooks by Neil Fishman & Harvey Edelman and Margaret Atwood

Spin: The Audiobook Musical, Neil Fishman & Harvey Edelman; narrated by Jim Dale and a full cast (HarperAudio and Blackstone Audio 978-153851884-7, $19.99, CD, 1.5 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) January 2018.

Angel Catbird, Margaret Atwood; performed by a full cast (Audible Studios, $21.83, digital download, 2.75 hr., unabridged) February 2018.

I admire the efforts of audiobook publishers to provide audio experiences that go beyond a written ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Senlin Ascends Audiobook by Josiah Bancroft

Senlin Ascends: The Books of Babel #1, Josiah Bancroft; John Banks, narrator (Hachette Audio 978-154916787-4, $24.98, digital download, 14.25 hr., unabridged) January 2018.

There’s been a quiet buzz about this steampunk­ish series ever since the author self-published the first book in 2012; the Hachette Book Group has picked the books up for wider distribution, and I’m happy to have this chance to review this first audio production, narrated with calm ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The City of Brass Audiobook by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty; Soneela Nankani, narrator (Harper Audio and Blackstone Audio (978-153845611-8), $55.99, MP3-CD, 19.5 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) November 2017.

In Napoleonic-era Cairo, Nahri makes a living as a con artist and thief posing as a fortune teller and healer, while concealing the magical talents she actually does possess but does not understand. One night, her grift goes terribly wrong: during a ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr Audiobook by John Crow­ley

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, John Crow­ley; narrated by the author (Brilliance Audio 978-154361416-9, $14.99, MP3 CD, 15.5 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) October 2017.

In a not-too-distant future short on resources and rife with disease, a dying man rescues an injured crow. They somehow learn to communicate, or at least the man believes they do, and the man hears the story of Dar ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Power Audiobook by Naomi Alderman

The Power, Naomi Alderman; Adjoa Andoh, narrator (Hachette Audio 978-1-47899990-4, $24.98, digital download, 12 hr., unabridged) October 2017.

Young women suddenly gain the power to deliver powerful electric shocks, brutally upending the power differential between men and women, eventually leading to a matri­archal society 5,000 years later in which women can’t even imagine a time where men were physi­cally, politically, or artistically dominant. The present-day story is told from the ...Read More

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2017 in Listening by Amy Goldschlager

Here are a few loosely connected thoughts about the previous year in audio, and what we might expect in 2018.

Old Favorites

This past year, new audio productions allowed us to revisit freshly relevant classic works of science fiction. George Guidall, himself a classic voice in audiobook publishing, lent his gravitas to Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven, which raises issues about the devastation of climate change and ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Artemis Audiobook by Andy Weir

Artemis, Andy Weir; Rosario Dawson, narrator (Audible Studios, $29.95, digital download, 9 hr., unabridged) November 2017.

Jazz lives on Artemis, the only city on the Moon. She is an intelligent young woman with a good heart, a hot temper, a penchant for making rash decisions, a fierce desire for money, and a really, really poor ability to read people emotionally. All of that explains why, despite a high aptitude and ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage Audiobook by Philip Pullman

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, Philip Pullman; Michael Sheen, narra­tor (Listening Library 978-052552298-0, $60.00, 11 CDs, 13 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) October 2017.

Set a little over a decade before the beginning of The Golden Compass, this poetical volume – the first in a projected trilogy – tells the story of Malcolm, an intelligent 11-year-old potboy, and 15-year-old barmaid Alice, who find themselves the ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews That Inevitable Victorian Thing Audiobook by E.K. Johnston

That Inevitable Victorian Thing, E.K. Johnston; Katherine Kellgren, narra­tor (Listening Library, $25.00, digital download, 8.5 hr., unabridged) October 2017.

This thoughtful yet frothy confection is set in an alternate future that developed when Queen Victoria rejected the repressive Kensington sys­tem so definitively that her daughter, not her son, succeeded her, and that heir fostered the belief that marrying among the various peoples of the Empire would strengthen it. And it ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale Novel Audiobook by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale Novel, Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor; Cecil Bald­win, narrator (HarperAudio 978-006247610-4, $39.99, CD, 9.5 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) October 2017.

This is the second standalone novel associated with one of my favorite podcasts, Welcome to Night Vale, set in a strange desert town in which all conspiracies are true and anything can hap­pen (and usually does). At the behest ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews An Excess Male Audiobook by Maggie Shen King

An Excess Male, Maggie Shen King; James Chen, Tim Chiou, and Elaine Kao, narrators (Harper­Collins/Blackstone Audio 978-153845408-4, CD, $44.99, 14 hr., unabridged [also available as a digi­tal download]) September 2017.

This spec-fic debut explores a potential inevitable consequence of China’s One Child policy in a so­ciety that values boys over girls: a future in which the men vastly outnumber the women. In 2030, the competition for wives is so fierce, ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Iraq + 100 Audiobook by Hassan Blassim

Iraq + 100, Hassan Blassim; Peter Ganim, nar­rator (Macmillan Audio, $17.00, digital down­load, 7 hr., unabridged) September 2017.

As Ra Page notes in the afterword to this collection, it has often been suggested that rather than showing the future, sci­ence fiction really depicts the present in which it was written. That is never more true than in these stories, in which Iraqi authors were di­rected to focus on a future ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Moon and the Other Audiobook by John Kessel

The Moon and the Other, John Kessel; Fir­dous Bamji, narrator (Recorded Books 978-150194830-5, $34.99, digital download, 18.5 hr., unabridged) August 2017.

The matriarchal Society of Cousins is experi­encing unrest. Some men are pushing for the right to vote, a secret agitator who calls herself Looker is posting provocative videos, a famous martial artist and son of one of the lunar colony’s most prominent citizens is suing for custody of his ...Read More

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