Never Enough Bookshelves: ROSE DAUGHTER or An Old Favorite in a New Format
It surprised me to realize that I haven't talked about Robin McKinley's ROSE DAUGHTER on my blog before, and somehow haven't reviewed it anywhere either (or hadn’t until earlier this week). It may be because it's one of those books I've read so so many times that I keep convincing myself that surely I must have reviewed it on an earlier read, even though that first read was years ago and long before I started reviewing anything I read really. It's one of those books that somehow feels "timeless" as if I grew up always reading it, no matter when it was actually published. It probably has something to do with the fact that it's a fairy tale retelling, and of one of the fairy tales I loved best as a child and read over and over again in my grandmother's big blue collection of fairy tales. Did anyone else grow up with that one - the one with the Bible style pages and gilt gold edges? No, just me? LOL
Regardless, reading ROSE DAUGHTER feels like that moment when I discovered fairy tales for the first time, with McKinley’s lyrical phrasing and characters named for their stations and hobbies as often as the types of names we think of as "normal" and "ordinary" now. It amuses me a little to remember that I actually read this one before BEAUTY which was McKinley's first Beauty and the Beast retelling, one I enjoy but that felt more like a novel and less like a fairy tale than ROSE DAUGHTER if that makes sense at all.
Reading (and re-reading) ROSE DAUGHTER always makes me feel like I'm reading poetry somehow, or that I'm listening to a bard tell a tale of sisters and enchantments and roses, so many roses.
I suppose then that it shouldn't come as a surprise that I utterly LOVED the audiobook version which I finally listened to this past week.
I am a definitely fan of audiobooks as a “reading” method (and to hell with all the haters who try to claim it doesn’t count as reading), and probably easily a third of the books I finished were audio and listened on my commute or while folding laundry at home, etc. I can get a completely different picture of the story sometimes through the voice of the narrator, and several of those narrators are now my “mental voice” for a series even when I read a physical book instead of listen (Mary Robinette Kowal’s narration of Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye books definitely falls in that category). I’ve also more than once found myself having a hard time with an eBook or physical copy, only to love the story once I started it in audio. It can just change the whole experience of the book in really interesting ways. (I’ve also had the opposite reaction – a crappy narrator can turn me off a book completely if I’m not careful.)
For ROSE DAUGHTER, it wasn’t so much that the experience changed as that it deepened. Everything felt somehow lusher, more detailed, the sisters were more alive, and I just felt pulled further into the story than I ever have been before, and considering how many times I’ve read it, that’s definitely saying something.
It makes me want to re-“read” more of my old favorites via audio, to see if I’ll be as surprisingly enthralled as I was with this one. I’m tempted to try BEAUTY next, just to keep going with McKinley’s retellings via audio – or possibly SPINDLE’S END? I’ve heard that one has a great narrator too so it’s worth a shot!
Have y’all had a new experience revisiting an old favorite in a new format? Any audiobooks you especially loved the narrator of? Let me know!