professornana (professornana) wrote,

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audio marvels

In preparation for a presentation on audiobooks at the ALAN workshop at NCTE this week, I took some time to listen to two books by one of the panelists, Tamora Pierce. I was already a fan of Pierce's work but selected two audiobooks I had not read yet. WILD MAGIC and TRICKSTER'S CHOICE also represent two types of audio. WILD MAGIC is a Full Cast Audio recording and TRICKSTER'S CHOICE is a single narrator.

WILD MAGIC introduces readers to 13 year old Daine, an outcast who is searching desperately for a way to earn her keep. Daine finds employment with Onua, the Queen's horse mistress. Onua quickly spots Daine's extraordinary ability to speak with animals and brings her to Tortall to battle the dreadful immortal creatures that have recently begun to attack the kingdom. Tamora Pierce is the voice of the narrator. This bit of ingenuity helps bring the story sort of a grounding in reality. The cast is splendid, the pacing flawless.

TRICKSTER'S CHOICE focuses on Aly, 16, daughter of the warrior Alanna. Aly wants to become a spy like her father but feels confined in the kingdom. She steals away, is captured by pirates, and ends up a slave. However, this is where the adventure begins, where Aly uses her skills as a spy. As a servant to Duke Balitang, she meets the god Kyprioth, the Trickster, and strikes a bargain: if Aly keeps the Duke and his family safe for the summer, Kyprioth will return her to her family and persuade her parents to let her be a spy.

In some ways, fantasy is especially well suited to audio. Names of people and places are pronounced so there is no question about how to approach them. Somehow I seem to be able to make more connections between the books as I listen as well. Audiobooks are in their infancy in educational settings; however, I see tremendous potential for them in classrooms. One bonus is that they open the world of a gifted writer like Tamora Pierce to many more readers.

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