Monday, September 12, 2016

Audio Book Review: The Heir to the North

The Heir to the North 

By:  Steven Poore

Publish Date:  October 2015, Audiobook Release July 14, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 15 hrs 14 mins
Narrated By:  Diana Croft

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st Book in Malessar's Curse series

First Impression:  Stories in stories about the past and finding the current heir to the north.

“Caenthell will stay buried, and the North will not rise again until I freely offer my sword to a true descendant of the High Kings—or until one takes it from my dying hands!”

With this curse, the Warlock Malessar destroyed Caenthell. The bloodline of the High Kings disappeared and the kingdom faded into dark legend until even stories of the deed lost their power. But now there is an Heir to the North.

Cassia hopes to make her reputation as a storyteller by witnessing a hardened soldier and a heroic princeling defeat Malessar and his foul curse. But neither of her companions are exactly as they appear, and the truth lies deep within stories that have been buried for centuries.

As Cassia learns secrets both soldier and warlock have kept hidden since the fall of Caenthell, she discovers she can no longer merely bear witness. Cassia must become part of the story; she must choose a side and join the battle.

The North will rise again.

First Sentence:
Sorcery tore the castle to pieces around him.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository


My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Baum has his own quest, to break the curse Warlock Malessar has placed on Caenthell and heir. He will place Meredith on the throne of his lands. But there is a whole plan that needs to happen to get the heir there. The storyteller is needed and Cassia finds her way to traveling with her father, Baum, and Meredith.

This is the first time for me listening to Diana narrate, I would gladly try more of her work. She has an accent that lends to an older feel of the story. It feels to fit the time and characters. Diana does make slight tone and scratchy differences to her voice for the characters, though they are mostly similar in tone. The audio is clean and clear, nothing disrupting when listening.

I know fantasy novels are slow and steady growths. But I would have probably stopped reading this one if I was reading it. The first few chapters sets Cassia's life, how she's neglected and abused by her drunken storytelling father and comes to be purchased by Baum. Baum and Meredith have a mysterious feel to them to her with why they are heading North and how the North is to rise again. But the traveling and character drawing is the beginning.

With Cassia being a daughter of a storyteller it gives the author a way to tell the past to the reader. We get stories of long ago, though those told by the tellers now are not always right. Baum helps clarify those tales and the way of old. We don't see a lot of action in this story. We get more story of the characters and history of the High Kings and Malessar. I know this will all come together somewhere, but it doesn't all fit together perfectly for me yet, at 4 1/2 hours into the story.

Meredith comes across odd. There is something different about him. He doesn't know about traps to get food, yet after Cassia tells him about it the next night he bring food in. Though he didn't set traps... How?

Baum is the wise old mind here. He is special, and you get a hint as to why from the prologue. He does believe that the North can rise again, and he's put things into motion over the last few years to make it so. Baum wants a storyteller along to watch and recite what they witness to the world, so the world may know the truth.

Cassia keeps quiet around her father, to prevent his ire. But she seems to feel a comfort from Baum and she voices her curiosity. When her father abandons her with Baum and Meredith, Cassia asks more questions and Baum is glad to clear up and explain things to her. Though there was a time that I started to get frustrated with Cassia. She's young, I know, and I should be more tolerable of her. But she knows she's been bought, yet she's insistent on not listening when told something for her protection, pushing into areas that could be dangerous. Also, she's determined on becoming a storyteller, a position only honorably held by men. She's losing her way on the path she's to take with Baum and Meredith, to help with collecting stories of the rise of the north. I've had my speculations of Cassia for a time through this book. If this story held the POV of another with Cassia's, I may have been drawn into it more. Cassia is just a curious naive young girl and it shows.

We come across places that Baum tells of Malessar's magic, but we don't see them in action as he tells they can be. We get the lay of the land here, setting up for what's to come. (feel at 6 hrs, 15 mins) Doesn't feel as there's any high stakes danger, just curiosity from Cassia as they travel. We don't even know the plan Baum has in mind to rise the North again.

Karrak is a character I came to really like. He's learned many things over the years and as we see more of him we see that he cares.

Do I want to continue with the series? I haven't decided yet. I liked the ending, how it all comes together, but I felt most of the story was overly predictable, even the ending.  It felt slow too, not that that's bad it's just not my pacing.


Carole Rae said...

Mhmmmm not sure on this one.

Blodeuedd said...

They look cool

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Yea, the pacing does have to work or you just flip pages (ffwd in this case?). I don't think this one is quite for me either.

Anonymous said...

Great, nuanced review. Many thanks for sharing and giving a real insight into your reservations about this one:)