February 8, 2011

Tween Tuesday - Audio Review: Dandelion Fire

From Goodreads
Henry York never dreamed his time in Kansas would open a door to adventure—much less a hundred doors. But a visit to his aunt and uncle’s farm took an amazing turn when cupboard doors, hidden behind Henry’s bedroom wall, revealed themselves to be portals to other worlds. Now, with his time at the farm drawing to a close, Henry makes a bold decision—he must go through the cupboards to find the truth about where he’s from and who his parents are. Following that trail will take him from one world to another, and ultimately into direct conflict with the evil of Endor.
My Review (with help from my daughter)
Over the last few weeks my daughter (11), son (9) and I (nope not gonna share my age), listened to Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson.  Both my daughter and I had read the first book, so we knew the background and were curious about what the next step would be.  I'll tell you this - it wasn't a good start.  Both her and I were ready to quit listening several times at the start.  Here's why:
  • nothing was happening
  • it's told 3rd person omniscent so it went from person to person and we'd almost forget what was going on with the other person
  • lots and lots of description!
What happened is we'd say "just one more day then we are done".  After that day we'd say it again.  Then the tide turned and we couldn't listen fast enough!  Here's what got better:
  • the author stayed with each character longer so the story gelled better
  • the action pictued up
  • twists and turns in the plot kept up gasping
It got lots and lots better.  I'd have to force myself to shut off the car, so we could go into school!  Henry is such a likable young man.  He grew throughout this book and by the end had really become a strong determined young man.  But really the character I saw the most change in was Henry's cousin Henrietta.  At the start of the book she was a bossy, sneaky, almost selfish little girl.  Almost a complete 180 by the end - thankfully! She carried a huge chunk of the story, so if she hadn't changed it would've been hard to follow her. 

The other thing we liked was the humor scattered within some very tense situations.  We'd find ourselves bursting outloud laughing several times.  It was a nice break from all the suspense. 

I do have to comment on the description.  There is a TON of it in the story.  Towards the end it was really beginning to wear on me.  Henry would be in the middle of a very very tense scene.  I'd be holding my breath and then it would go into what I could only assume were paragraphs of description! I was almost yelling at the narrator to skip it!  I do think if we hadn't been listening to it, all the description might have turned me off.  I worry that it would turn a lot of middle grade readers off. 

The narrator:  Loved him! He did a great job with all parts of the story - especially the voices. 

Final thought:  Twists, turns, changes, challenges and laughs.
Best stick-with-you image:  Calling sandwiches "gamblers" :)
Best for readers who: Can push through descirption to stay with the action
Best for ages: 11+ (although my 9 yr old enjoyed listening to it)

Tween Tuesday was started over at GreenbeanTeenQueen



  1. Isn't it funny how books can change like that? For paaages it's slow and boring. Then, all of sudden it's like a switch goes off and you're like holy moly! This is fantastic! :)

  2. Whoa. Brilliant cover.

    What a great fun review!

  3. I started listening to this as a library loan and loved the narrator. Unfortunately, I work night-shift and he we so soothing I fell asleep every time and had to get the book!

  4. I'm glad that the book changed for you! And how cool that you got to share it with your kids!

  5. What an adorable header...Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Party.

    Stop by my blog to see the "teaser" post for a blog hop giveaway.

    Details will be posted on Saturday.