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Jepp, Who Defied the Stars MP3 CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Is our fate predetermined, or do we make our own fortune (or misfortune) through our actions and decisions? Marsh ponders this age-old question through the eyes of an extraordinary hero. When Jepp, a fatherless dwarf, joins the court of the Spanish Infanta, he's not prepared for the daily humiliations that become his life. He also doesn't expect to fall in love with a fellow performer, melancholy but lovely Lia. When she is raped, Jepp attempts to help her and her unborn child escape-with tragic results. As punishment for his insubordination, Jepp becomes dinnertime entertainment for the eccentric Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Inspired by friendship with Brahe's daughter, Magdalene, Jepp reveals his educated mind and is welcomed into the astronomer's close-knit circle of scholars. He even finds true love. But before Jepp can embrace this promising new future, he must embark on a journey of self-discovery to resolve his past. Marsh crafts a beautifully poignant coming-of-age tale of struggle, tragedy, and, finally, of triumph. Jepp's indomitable spirit is truly inspiring, and it is this rare quality that makes his character so memorable. The universal moral of self-acceptance is communicated skillfully. This shining gem is a must-have.-Alissa J. Bach, Oxford Public Library, MIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Living in the sixteenth century, Jepp is a 15-year-old dwarf who has never known his father. Taken from his humble home to live at court in Brussels, he enjoys the comforts and education available to him there, but he chafes at his lack of freedom and the indignity of his position as a performer. After his attempt to help a young woman ends disastrously, he is sent away to the castle of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. There he falls in love, but lingering questions about his paternity lead Jepp back to his homeland, where he finds further adventures and, eventually, answers. The book’s title refers to the ongoing question of whether people are ruled by their destinies as foretold by the stars. The novel shows a good deal of research into the period as well as Brahe’s life. Divided into three distinct parts, the story sprawls a bit and its pace is uneven, but the scenes are deftly written. Readers taken with the main character will want to read on and discover his fate. Grades 8-10. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged MP3CD edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455164194
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455164196
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,383,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Rarely do I read a book that is written with such advanced skill as to evoke images of great poetry, while at the same time possessing a level of ease allowing even the most reluctant of reader to be swept into the story.

All of this leaves only one word to describe Jepp, Who Defied the Stars.

Magical.

Now because you probably want more from a review than just one word I'll say a bit more about the book. Jepp, Who Defied the Stars is one of the best written books I've read in a long while. It is full of beautiful written scenery and descriptions, yet gripping. It is filled with three dimensional characters that you see the faults in, yet still understand there decisions, as they've been built as humans not stick figured characters. And it moves at a startlingly quick pace for a book that spends so much time describing the surrounding world and characters in such in-depth detail.

Jepp is a fantastic character. He is smart, likable, and fallible. Of course this ability to make mistakes and be swayed by emotion is one of the reasons readers will love Jepp, as they will commiserate with his journey and growth, getting chocked up at the low points and feeling elated at the high. He is a well crafted character who is just a kid learning as he's forced into impossible situations away from home.

Of course, besides making Jepp a wonderful character, Marsh also does a fantastic job recreating the world and situations of the 15 and 1600s. My personal favorite fact based location/character was Tycho and Uraniborg, which I found fascinating, reading as Tycho mapped the stars with nothing more than math they discovered and rudimentary materials. Absolutely fascinating.

As you can probably tell I very much Enjoyed Jepp, Who Defied the Stars.
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Format: Paperback
Probably one of the highlights of reading this book is that your main character is a dwarf, and the entire time I read this book, I had the voice of Tyrion Lannister running through my head. What a great way to read this book, but even without that it was a phenomenal story. Another fun fact about this book? It's written in blue ink which is so, so different and awesome.

I really loved Jepp and his optimism towards everything and that he tried his hardest to protect Lia. I loved how the story was also told as Jepp looked back on his decisions. We saw both where he was and how he got there at the same time. When the story he was telling finally caught up with the timeline, you were feeling everything that Jepp was and you wanted nothing more than to ease the pain that he was feeling.

Another great thing about this book is the setting. I loved that it was a historical fiction, but was centered around Jepp, instead of a figure that we know or being a paranormal sort of story. I loved the following Jepp's trail through Europe from Spain to his final destination.

This book really came out of left field and wowed me. Not only that, but I think it is one of the most under appreciated books of 2012. I even wish that it hadn't taken that long for me to read because otherwise I would have spent all the time recommending it to people. It was refreshing and different and I loved every heartbreaking word. If this isn't on your To Be Read Shelf, maybe it should be.
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Format: Hardcover
I think I would read more historical fiction if more of it was like JEPP, WHO DEFIED THE STARS. But part of JEPP, WHO DEFIED THE STARS charm is that it is an unusual story, charming in its lack of concern with the commercial. Katherine Marsh has written an appealing bildungsroman that will stand out.

Jepp is a dwarf living happily in his mother's inn, when a nobleman comes through and entices him to go and become a court dwarf for the Infanta. (Yes, I did have The Decemberists' "The Infanta" stuck in my head for the entire first half of the book.) At first I had trouble getting into the court scenes - they seemed like something from a bawdy farce without any bawdiness. Then I realized there was plenty of sex going on but it wasn't outright stated because the book is in young and sheltered Jepp's point of view. The second half of the book brings in the astrology (and astronomy) mentioned in the title as Jepp moves on to the court of Tycho Brahe. In this half of the novel Jepp is more worldly, but still not the best at reading people.

The historical detail of JEPP, WHO DEFIED THE STARS is fascinating. The novel moves from late-sixteenth century Holland to Spain to Denmark and features a wide range of real people. As the historical note at the end reveals, even Jepp was a real person. (Although very little is known about the real Jepp and Marsh's novel is obviously entirely fictional.) It's definitely a setting less explored than Elizabethan England or the Wild West.

The novel rests on Jepp's shoulders and they are able to handle the burden. He suffers various indignities - less than many dwarves of the time - but he always knows that he deserves to be treated as an equal.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With 25 pages left in Jepp I forced myself to insert the bookmark so I could get one more night of before-bedtime glee in reading it. It was truly a treasure and an adventure to read. I teach high school history and could not contain my enthusiasm as I described the plot to my students. I probably sounded insane explaining a dwarf inspired by Velasquez paintings and the complex intertwining of astronomy/astrology and the eccentricities of Tycho Brahe, but as I said to my students- just read it- it's captivating, enlightening, and dear.
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