Welcome to the December 5th review stop on the blog tour for Shadows of Lela by Tessonja Odette, organized by Audiobookworm Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, audio excerpts, character profiles, character interviews, author interviews, and other reviews!
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About the Book
Shadows of Lela
Lela Trilogy Book One
by Tessonja Odette
Published 9 February 2018
by Crystal Moon Press
Published 22 October 2019
by Crystal Moon Press
Narrator: Emma Faye
Length: 8 hours 44 minutes
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
A forgotten princess.
A deadly quest.
A threat that hides in shadow…
Sixteen-year-old Cora is a princess with a dark past. Exile has kept her safe. But when she rescues a dying unicorn from a mysterious band of hunters, her identity—and her life—are in danger.
Prince Teryn has the perfect plan—win the quest, marry his betrothed, and become king. But his mission goes awry when he faces a feisty young woman in the woods. Although they meet as foes, she shares a secret that bonds them.
Teryn and Cora’s fates are entwined in a plot far deadlier than they ever imagined. Can they face the threat together? Or will a terrifying enemy destroy the land they love?
Shadows of Lela is Book One in the Lela Trilogy. If you like swoon-worthy romance, adventurous quests, breathtaking magic, and surprising twists, then you’ll love Tessonja Odette’s epic fantasy tale.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads
I was granted complimentary access to the Audible audiobook edition of Shadows of Lela through Audiobookworm Promotion in exchange for an honest review as part of my participation in the blog tour for the new audiobook edition. Thank you to Tessonja Odette (or publicist) and Audiobookworm Promotions for the opportunity. This has not swayed my opinion. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Shadows of Lela reminds me of the sort of fantasy books I admired on the book store shelves in my preteen and teenage years but rarely purchased, only to have them show up at Christmas and birthdays anyway. I was a hardcore science fiction fan and hadn’t yet allowed myself to enjoy fantasy, but gosh darn it those Tamora Pierce books everyone thought I wanted really were cleverly written, and the gorgeous medieval women riding horses on the covers of Marion Zimmer Bradley novels made my horse-loving nerdy heart dream. Shadows of Lela reminds me of those books but aged down to present characters with the thoughts, goals and concerns of a teenager. Perhaps if I had read books like this one when I was 14 or so I might have realized how great the fantasy genre really is before D&D player boyfriends in college made me look again.
Shadows of Lela sets up a well-built fantasy world full of political intrigue, strong young women, and telepathic unicorns, and I’m in love! I’ll definitely be following this series to see what happens next.
That said, I wish I had read this book with my eyes and not my ears. This book has so many POV characters, and I’ve discovered from checking reviews written by those who read print/ebook copies that they are clearly distinguished in print. In audio… the narrator gave a distinct voice to Morkai and the unicorn, and that’s about it. Morkai’s voice was over the top evil and the unicorn was apparently Irish. Beyond that, if I zoned out for a paragraph it was entirely possible I didn’t even know if the character I was now listening to was one of the guys or one of the girls. I think there were two important teenage girls (one being Cora) and two important teenage boys (one being Teryn, and they were brothers,) but I can’t be certain. Again, I would really like to re-read it with my eyeballs.
I will say the narrator was pleasant to listen to (when she wasn’t voicing Morkai, that voice got on my nerves) and paced well enough that those of us who like faster playback can still process what we’re hearing at 1.5-2x speed. I do wish this had been an ensemble cast project or even just a duet, but give the male roles to someone with a different voice and the ability to distinguish them without venturing into the cartoon villain range. The two main girls were far easier to figure out even though they sounded the same because their stories are so vastly different. The main boys are brothers. Different motivations but coming from the same starting point, the same back story. They need to sound different.
The story gets a 4-4.5 out of 5 stars for me, this is a great book and I may even bump that to a full 5 if I get a chance to read it visually. The audiobook narration gets a 2.5-3. She’s absolutely not a bad narrator, but I don’t think she’s suited to a large cast with several points of view. Overall I’ll call the experience an optimistic but solid 4.
About the Author
Tessonja Odette is a fantasy author living in Seattle with her family, her pets, and ample amounts of chocolate. When she isn’t writing, she’s watching cat videos, petting dogs, having dance parties in the kitchen with her daughter, or pursuing her many creative hobbies.
About the Narrator
Emma Faye is an actor and audiobook narrator with 20+ years of experience on stage, screen and voice over. Being an LA trained actor, Emma is great at bringing characters to life, very versatile with voices, and draws the listener into the story. She loves doing audiobooks and specializes in Clean/Sweet/Christian books. She is a proud cat mom to 4 fur babies and runs a local community theatre.
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