Saturday, November 3, 2007

Deep cleansing breaths

Next up in this week of Iowa power listening: Breathe by Penni Russon. This is an Australian title, published by Bolinda, and is the sequel to a book called Undine. Oh, it says here, there's a third one out (in Australia) -- thank god! because I just did not get the ending of Breathe. Anyway, I did the bad thing and read Undine just before listening to Breathe (I believe I've owned up to this before), and it's my belief that one would be quite at sea (I've made a pun) if one didn't have Undine's backstory when reading/listening to Breathe.

So, Undine learns in Undine that she has magical powers. In Undine, she saves her best friend and neighbor Trout, but now Trout is pretty much unable to cope with the fact that she saved his life. He's also not dealing with the fact that his love for Undine seems destined to be unrequited, so Trout is now roaming the streets of Hobart, Tasmania is search of the answer to capital-C Chaos. Meanwhile, Undine has made a promise not to use her magic, but it's calling to her. And that's just about as simple as I can make it ... and you still really have no idea what is going on, do you? Trout gets in a whole lot of trouble, and Undine disappears entirely ... or does she?

I like listening to the Aussies read their books -- it makes for such a pleasant change. This narrator sounded 100% authentic, so much so that occasionally I had to think twice about what she was -- in fact -- saying. The setting of the book seemed so rooted in Hobart and the ocean that (although atmospheric music was included) you really had a physical sense of where the book takes place.

Still, I didn't much care for it. Nothing in particular (beyond the sequel issue), it just didn't stand out for me -- either as a story or as a listening experience. The ending was most peculiar, although that appears to be explained if you read the brief bit about Drift (the third book) at Russon's website. I can certainly see how teens might like it, though, so I think I'll order the audios for my library.

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