Narrated by Emma Faye
Run time: 13 hrs and 4 mins
A sheltered princess and her amazingly hot, super masculine military escort of one take a dangerous journey across brutal lands to deliver her to what’s probably going to be a life of misery married to an evil louse so she can rule a kingdom well and help people. She’s also got cool magic powers she’s just discovering.
- Main characters: Princess Lillian – tired of being the perfect little princess, wants to help people. Major Brock Langdon – just wants to deliver the princess, of course, falls for her; that’s not a spoiler. It’s shouted across almost every line since we’re introduced to his rough, rude self with the heart of gold.
- Narration was a bright spot. The various characters had unique, well-chosen voices.
- Characterization issues: The other nobles and royals are to a man or woman unfeeling, unthinking caricatures with zero redeeming qualities. Brock raised himself on the streets (after losing parents to a murder while he was a young boy) and is pretty much a saint.
- In the beginning, we hear about the evil, selfish, bratty Prince Levant (sorry about spelling, I heard the audiobook) who uses kitchen staff at will, has no real love for his father, kingdom, et cetera. And then he disappears from the book. Same for the king. He’s got his own nefarious plans for ruling the world and then we don’t hear from him for hours. The evil step-mother queen has promise then drops out of the book until literally 2.5 hours from the end. When they show back up, it’s for a brief recap of everything we knew before (10 hours earlier).
- Content issues: It’s difficult to believe this crazy-naïve, sheltered girl who doesn’t know how to boil water understands the intricacies of how charities work to the point she can show contempt for the thief who donates a lot to his own charities but only has 2% going to really help people. She also somehow knows that the royals raise the taxes any time they want something.
- Brock leads them straight through a swamp. She gets leeches; he does not. She gets covered in mosquito bites; he does not (that could happen but he mentions they usually are attracted to him.)
- They fight a great beast (which is oddly not described) that jumps them in the middle of the night, and pebbles and rocks in the eyes is what distracts it. Brock goes to “load” the bow and arrow and she stops him, telling him there’s no time. If they’re that close-quarters, bow’s probably not the best choice for one of the greatest soldiers in this land to be picking. Also, how do they have any time to be chatting when the beast was supposedly literally on top of them? They run. He later thinks that he would never think of that (dust in the eyes of the beast).
- Sense issues: One lone soldier sent to fetch the princess and escort her back. It’s kind of glossed over, but he “ran out of all his ammo” fighting stuff just getting there. Neither kingdom thought “hey, we should probably send an expedition to protect this girl?” I get that that wouldn’t work with the discovering new powers and growing closer together angles, but it still doesn’t make sense. Presumably, these people want the alliance to work. They would make a better show of it. Near the end of their journey, they reach a village and he sends a messenger to the castle to inform them they’ll be there within one day of the messenger arriving. How the heck does he know that? He then makes arrangements to board the ship and asks for an escort from the shipyard to the castle. They’re on a ship at the end and it’s indicated the trip will take several days. How can he even afford the boarding passes?
- They are moving as fast as possible through the journey, knowing the end will change everything.
- They go to a hoedown style dance. She’s the most beautiful but there’s no jealousy from any of the other women.
- At one point they’re really wanting to cross a bridge, which is mysteriously gone. The next section is about them climbing a cliff. I’m not sure about the mechanics of this. Bridges tend to span things that are even or almost even elevations.
- Pacing issues: Descriptions are very detailed. Things get said multiple ways. I think one point spent four minutes of audio describing birds. Pro: gets one immersed in the world. Con: Makes one feel like absolutely nothing is happening for very long periods of time.
- A three-week journey took them 11 ish hours of a 13-hour story. It might be longer, but that’s not entirely clear. At one point she asks how long they’ve been traveling, and he answers three weeks.
- He “taught” her to hunt with one lesson.
- Little girl pegs her for a princess. She gives the kid a jeweled necklace. She gives them gold.
- Annoying: Parts are repeated. Not verbatim, like the audio is busted. Repeated like one person thinks through some stuff then it switches perspectives and the same thoughts are covered. (Like around 11:10-11-14 she’s thinking of his life…then he’s thinking of his life and the same 3 talking points are mentioned.)
- Neutral: religious system is unclear (they say God and Almighty occasionally, sometimes with reference, sometime in vain), there are several dialogue recaps (sometimes helpful, sometimes annoying)
- Corny point: Her refrain is “for the people.” She has no idea what the normal people are like. She’s been in a box her whole life.
- Her nausea amuses him. His solution is to take off his shirt to wipe her forehead.
- Cool points: Visions, shared visions, nice nicknames (Wildflower), chapter names are great; awesome cover.
- Medium marks for Closure: It’s heavily implied they will make it to their destination. But all those threads about how she’s going to be an amazing queen and use her powers for good go nowhere. That’s forgivable in the sense that it’s clearly the first book in a series.
Emma Faye’s performance is worth listening to. If you have a much better suspension of disbelief system than I have, go for this story. *spoilers after ads*
33 of my 35 audible titles are listed on Audiobooks Unleashed.
Whether you’re looking for mystery or suspense or fantasy, I’ve got a title for you. Never Again (mystery, suspense) and Reshner’s Royal Ranger (epic sci-fi) just made it there.
Note: Filter by US if you’re looking for those codes as many titles are out.
Ones I think may still have US codes: Reshner’s Royal Ranger, Never Again, Innova, The Golden City Captives, The Holy War, Reclaim the Darklands, Eagle Eyes, Treachery Makes it Tense, Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, The Dark Side of Science, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, and Varick’s Quest
Devya’s Children Series Links:
Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – short stories featuring Jillian.
The Dark Side of Science – official prequel to Devya’s Children; Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Genetically altered Dream Shaper learns her gift.
Nadia’s Tears – Jillian tries to awaken her sister, Nadia, from a coma.
Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings try to save a friend’s mother.
Varick’s Quest – Jillian and Danielle get kidnapped. Nadia’s also in trouble.
- Magic system isn’t well defined: It falls more into the category of “let’s give her this, it’ll be cool.” Part of the book revolves around Princess Lillian discovering her powers. That’s a great aspect. I’m assuming the magic system will be better defined as the series moves on. Let’s see, she can unwittingly affect the weather, swap memories with Brock, setting wildfires and creating acid rainstorms. (They should probably be more concerned over that.) She can project her needs to Brock, breathe underwater, miraculously heal, cause avalanches, control the wind (with enough control to help Brock lasso a tree), and have visions of her real mother.
- I think my main problem with the magic system is that she doesn’t have any control over her powers. That’s cool for the start. Later, her control is a matter of thinking soothing thoughts and thinking “for the people” on loop. Control turns out to be a matter of her finding herself. What exactly does that mean?
- Brock’s solution to their problems is to hire a wizard to set back time. What exactly does he think that’s going to solve?
- Things that busted through the fantasy allure: Christmas, books (not unusual in itself but these sounded like paperbacks/ romance novels), cans of soup, bow and arrow and guns (can you have both? Absolutely, but if you’re on a long journey and having to carry everything, you probably wouldn’t take more than you need), horses, 90-lb pack, yacht, superhero, thinking “outside the box” (it’s a very modern notion for something set in an era of early guns and bows and arrow), being a “voice for the voiceless,” clog the drain, pump water into the tub, lotion/ products, renaissance style homes, running hot water (she says there might not be any hot water when she’s done her bath), boarding passes, real world, china (like dishes), clutch purse, charter ship, steam engine, luggage, twin-size bed. These are some examples. Other objects, words, and phrases also didn’t fit well.