- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 3 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: June 15, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008BUHW2U
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Greenstone Grail: The Sangreal Trilogy, Book 1 Audiobook – Unabridged
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And that also sums up "The Greenstone Grail," which gives a new spin to Grail legends. Hemingway keeps things interesting with alien universes, water demons, mysterious deaths, ancient magic and a hero who is almost as mysterious as the grail itself. And, of course, lush writing and well-made characters.
Annie and her infant son Nathan arrived in Thornyhill, with invisible pursuers following them. Thirteen years later, Annie and Nathan are living peacefully there, near their friend Bartlemy's house. But their lives are disrupted when the legendary Greenstone Grail is located, and its rightful owner is trying to get it back.
To make things worse, Nathan has begun to dream himself INTO other worlds, even bringing a drowning man back into his own world. And he soon learns that the dying world of Eos -- where magic is "like electricity" -- has a connection to the Grail. What he doesn't realize is that a water demon and a sinister dwarf have an interest in the Grail as well... and in him.
The legend of the Grail -- in this case, the Sangreal -- gets a fresh feel in this book. Though Hemingway peppers her plot with pop culture references, there is a feeling of ancient magic and mystery to this book. Her writing is fresh and vital, even when taking a sci-fi twist on the burned, poisoned planet of Eos, or in the buried chapel of the Sangreal.
Hemingway takes her time setting up her plot, with plenty of foreshadowing and descriptions of the everyday lives of the characters. Then, she slowly infuses those lives with magic and otherworldliness, even if only by a sentence. The only flaw would be the jibes at organized religion, which don't seem to serve any purpose in the plot.
Hemingway's biggest challenge is Nathan -- she describes him as a natural hero, brave and tall and intelligent, as well as being magical. It would be easy to hate this kid, but she makes him genuinely likable. Annie and Hazel serve as undeerstatedly strong characters, although Bartlemy is too nebulous a character at present.
While "Greenstone Grail" can stand on its own as a world-hopping, taut fantasy story, there are half a dozen loose threads left at the end -- incuding two magical items yet to be found. Tantalizing and entrancing.
A nice new take on the fantasy arena.
Having now finished the book (some time ago actually but just ordered a hardcover copy so its on my mind) I want to say this was really a standout book - and even though probably targeted at a younger audience, I enjoyed it immensely as an adult reader. Have not yet been able to read any of the later books in the series (how many are there?) but thoroughly enjoyed this one.
The hero is a gifted tween, but he is surrounded by a much larger and more interesting cast of secondary characters than is usually the case. It has Arthurian touches, but without all of the mismatched Arthurian baggage that usually surfaces in works like this. It has magic, witches, and spirits, but that all seems to fit seamlessly into the larger and more grounded narrative.
And, the book is beautifully written. Not overdone and not huffing and puffing toward the fey or "magical", it just reads smoothly with nice descriptive and character touches, and a very good sense of mood and atmosphere.
Just so much more than I expected when I found this overlooked work, and well worth a check out.