Saturday, May 5, 2007

Valiant

Yes, Valerie is valiant in Valiant. So is Ravus, the troll she encounters after she runs away from home. Ravus is another of Black's sexy good/evil male characters, like Roiben, the fairy king from Tithe. They really are both just Mr. Rochester/Maxim de Winter modernized and with pointy ears. Yum! And Val is an alternative lacrosse player who's boyfriend has a mohawk (and is having sex with her mother). Several nice touches there.

The audio is very good ... this one might be a winner. If I could get beyond the narrator's overly midwestern vowels -- those of us who have lived among this can find it particularly annoying. Renee Raudman's doing an expert job of storytelling and emotional characterization -- she's made the distinction noted in the novel between the humans and the fairies: the fairies have gravelly voices. I never need to figure out who is speaking, and the story -- which is a combination of genuine adventure and internal discussions -- is moving along nicely.

I listened to Raudman read I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You last year, and found her southern accent to be a laughable one. (Although not to the extent as one of my colleagues -- who is, most fortunately, not on the committee this year and whose only contribution seemed to be her opinion on the authenticity of various Southern accents.) She also seemed awkward and ill-at-ease narrating. It's nice to see her gain confidence and pull off this story.

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