Review posted November 17, 2008.
Full Cast Audio, 2007. 8 compact discs. 7 hours, 21 minutes.
Winner of a 2006 Newbery Honor Award.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2008: #6, Audiobooks
I read and reviewed this book in the print version when it first came out.
At the time, I wasn't quite as enchanted with the book as with Shannon Hale's other books. I think it suffered just a little because my expectations were so tremendously high. This time, listening to Full Cast Audio's fabulous production (complete with songs sung in between the chapters), the book was even better than I remembered it.
I think the problem before may have been that I read the book too quickly. There are some issues at the beginning where I wasn't quite tracking with Miri. She felt like her obviously loving Pa was ashamed of her. She was prejudiced against lowlanders. And she was trying to get out of going to the Academy even when it would get her family in trouble.
However, all of those issues are resolved, and as the story goes, it gets better and better. I like the way Miri discovers the magic of the mountain and all the village girls learn to use it together. I like the way friendships are formed, and Miri becomes proud of her heritage. There's danger and cleverness, and even a sprinkle of romance.
Full Cast Audio's production, as always, enhances the book beautifully. They truly use a full cast of different voices for different characters. This production made an already wonderful book even better.