Source: Audavoxx – I received this in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.
Series: The Unseen Chronicles #1
Narrator: Elizabeth Phillips
Edition: Audiobook, 7 Hours 56 Minutes
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Essie Brightsday has never heard a rock basilisk scream. She has never worn magical armor, stood up to a queen, or run from dragons. Instead, Essie, her sarcastic cat Tigrabum, (just call him “Tig”), and her secretive family struggle to survive on their small farm nestled against the forbidding cliffs of the Valley of Fire.
But all that is about to change when a rebellion against the cruel interim ruler is sparked. Forced to flee for their lives, Essie and Tig lose themselves in the twisting labyrinth of the ancient lava flow. When Essie finds proof that the missing King Mactogonii may be alive, she is given the opportunity to help restore stability to the kingdom. But the course of her journey will force her to face her deepest fears and unravel the mystery behind her own blindness…if Essie can survive the encounter.
A Hero’s Curse is a middle grade fantasy that centers around Essie Brightsday, a twelve year old blind girl, and her cat Tigrabum as they are forced to flee their home leading them on a long return journey through a land that is cursed and dying.
Essie Brightsday is a girl who, somewhat unwillingly, finds herself on the same path as their missing King and is forced to choose between trying to return home to her family or trying to find an end to the curse placed upon the land by a demon. I love that this journey really tested Essie, not just physically but mentally.She starts off as a strong willed and independent girl, but the moment her security is wrenched away from her she must learn what it truly means to be able to rely on herself alone. It pushes her and she learned how to push back before the end. Essie has to learn that her blindness doesn’t define who she is nor what she can do, and seeing her rise to each task was such a treat. Tigrabum, or Tig, is her cat companion gifted the speech in the common language and lends his help to guide her through out her life. He’s sarcastic and surly, and I feel in love with him pretty much instantly. He too does some growing as well, and while I love his high and mighty attitude (he is a cat after all) I also love seeing him humbled a bit. These two make quite the duo.
The writing is lush and surprisingly vivid given that our main character can’t see the world around her anymore, and the world building was phenomenal. I do like the way the writing centered on the feel of the places, from the desolate wastes to the bustling cities filled with noise and smells. The narration was just as phenomenal. Elizabeth Philips really gets into the story and brings the characters to life in their unqiue ways, and isn’t afraid to really go for it. Not to mention the use of vocal effects in one portion of the book was a nice touch. I think I’ll forever be fond of little Chatter because the way Philips read her lines, it’s so adorably perfect.
If you enjoy middle grade fantasy, especially those like Narnia, then this is certainly one to check out.