Wednesday, January 28, 2015

audiobook review: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

narrated by Julia Whelan

The backstory: As a holiday gift to members, Audible enlisted its 2014 narrator of the year, Julia Whelan, to record a new edition of the classic fable, The Snow Queen. (It's free on Audible until January 31, 2015.)

The basics: The Snow Queen, most recently made more famous as the inspiration for Frozen, is the story of two friends: one who gets lost in the woods and the other who goes on a journey of rescue.

My thoughts: I was curious to listen to this inspiration for Frozen. I assumed it would look quite different than the film, which I liked but did not love the way everyone else seems to. And it did, but it was not quite the cozy, winter read I envisioned. The story is divided into seven parts, and I found this structure odd, as not all of the pieces seemed essential.

Perhaps the most unexpected part of this story was how overtly Christian it was. Comically, when the story veered to the religious, I turned to look at my car's dashboard and nearly asked it aloud, "really? You're going there?" I suppose in hindsight it makes sense, given what I know of Hans Christian Andersen's religious views. Still, the infusion of religion felt out of place.

The verdict: As I sat down to write this review, I could not believe this book is only an hour and fourteen minutes long. It seemed so much longer while listening, despite Whelan's strong narration. This book is clearly not my preference, but perhaps those who enjoy fables or fairy tales will find more to enjoy in this classic. Over all, I wanted more vivid descriptions of the journey. For a book with so many interesting elements, the narrative was dreadfully dull.

Audio thoughts: Whelan's performance was, predictably, excellent. She took a very dramatic approach, including different voices for different characters. As I found the story itself rather dull, I appreciated her attempts to liven it up.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Length: 1 hour 14 minutes
Publication date: 
Source: Audible

Convinced? Treat yourself! It's free from Audible until January 31, 2015.

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  1. Ha! I was first intrigued - free book! always captures my attention, and a free audio book at that? Bonus. Then I kept reading. "this book is only an hour and fourteen minutes long. It seemed so much longer while listening," tells me everything I need to know.

    I haven't seen Frozen (my kids are teenagers) so I have nothing to compare, but I am invariably disappointed by fairy tales. Sigh.

    1. I am okay with the fact that I don't like fairy tales or religious stories, so it's really no surprise I did not enjoy this one.

  2. I have to write my review of this one tonight, and I was dreading it. I have never seen Frozen (yay!), so I wasn't certain what to expect. I was not expecting this however. I'm still trying to figure out why Andersen titled this fable The Snow Queen when we really don't see her. Like you, I wasn't a fan.

    1. Michelle, I'm so glad I'm not alone! I always feel like such a curmudgeon when I dislike a book so much. I will look forward to your review!


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