Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Audiobook Review: Crossing Over by Anna Kendall
Author: Anna Kendall
Series: First book in Souvline Moor series
Genre: YA historical paranormal
Length: 9h 34m
Read by: Simon Vance
Audio publisher: Blackstone Audio, 2010
Story: Roger can talk to the dead. He doesn't talk to ghosts. He goes to the land of the Dead and talks to them there. But Roger has to be careful. If anyone finds out about his talent, they'll think he's a witch, and witches are burned in the land of the Living.
Thoughts: There are several striking things about this book. First, the land of the Dead is great. It's huge and constantly changing. Roger has been crossing over since he was little and is completely unfazed by it. The inhabitants follow certain rules that Roger figured out a while ago, but I wonder how accurate he is. I would have liked Roger to use some trial and error during his trips, explore a little, and try new things. Have fun with his superpower! Instead, Roger treats his crosses like a dreary job.
Roger is not a hero. He admits to being a coward, but he's only afraid of the living. He's completely self-centered and self-absorbed. This is understandable since he's been abused and pretty much on his own, but he has no empathy. Roger is the only person he knows who can go to the land of the Dead and return at will, but he has no curiosity about why this is or desire to find anyone with similar abilities. He crosses to get information to further his aims, but he has no desire to learn about the people who are there or to help them in any way, even when his actions have unexpected consequences. He doesn't care much about the living, either, except for the targets of his obsessions.
I liked the theme of misinformation that runs through the book. Roger is constantly lying to people and they are lying to him. Most of the time, Roger doesn't care that they're lying. He doesn't try to figure out the truth. He just wants to survive. I like that a lot of things are never explained. People just say things and we never find out if it's the truth or not.
Although Roger's gift is the ability to cross over, he doesn't do it very often. The majority of the book follows Roger as he survives his harsh world of an abusive uncle, scarce food, and constant fear.
The tone of Crossing Over reminds me of the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. In both series I want to be sympathetic to the protagonists but they keep doing unsympathetic things. Both series left me with a feeling of unease, that something's wrong. When I was enjoying myself, I felt like I shouldn't be.This feeling continues until the end of the First Law Trilogy, and I wonder if the Crossing Over Trilogy will have some kind of twist in the third book that will explain and justify this feeling.
This is the first book in a planned series, but I couldn't find anything about the rest of the books. Crossing Over does a good job standing alone. It does seem more on the adult side of YA, with a lot of discussion of sex and disturbing violence. Update - Simon Vance was kind enough to let me know the second book in the Souvline Series, Dark Mist Rising is available now on Audible. Thanks, Simon!
Reading: Simon Vance can do no wrong. He was great reading this book. I especially liked all of the different accents and the different voices for the women.
Final thoughts: In the end, I liked Crossing Over. It's for people who want a little harder-edged YA fantasy, but don't mind long stretches of daily court life and intrigue.
Grade: 4 out of 5
This will be one of my last posts for MX3 from Jenn's Bookshelves and RIP VI from Stainless Steel Droppings. Sad