The first #WhispersyncDeal roundup of 2017 is here! As usual I’ll run down my picks among this month’s Whispersync-for-voice-enabled Monthly Deals in Kindle Books, also known now as eBooks with Audible Narration, of which there are 536 to scan through this month. Well, I’m going to keep calling them “Whispersync deals”, and here’s what most caught my eye and ear this month; don’t wait too long as these deals expire on January 31:
Island by Aldous Huxley, read by Simon Vance for Tantor Audio for $1.99+$3.99 — Orwell’s 1984 is a best-seller again, though I might suggest Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for a more apt parable for our “road to dystopian” times, not to mention it’s read superbly by Claire Daines, but I’m quickly losing track of what I wanted to say here. Huxley’s Brave New World is his most well-known work, also depicting a dystopian future, though one of control through entertainment and drugs rather than fear and misinformation. Here, though, is a utopian novel, and one we could all stand to revisit, and hope upon, under the superb narration of Simon Vance. “In his final novel, which he considered his most important, Aldous Huxley transports us to the remote Pacific island of Pala, where an ideal society has flourished for 120 years. Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala, and events are set in motion when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Faranby doesn’t expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and—to his amazement—give him hope.”
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison, read by Angela Dawe for Brilliance Audio for $1.99+$1.99 — A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016, a Tiptree recommendation, and Philip K. Dick Award Winner, rather than a strictly dystopian tale, a post-apocalyptic feminist speculative novel. “When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead. In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it. A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence. After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.” A sequel, The Book of Etta, is forthcoming in February.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, read by Anne Flosnik for Tantor Audio for $2.99+$3.49 — “The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good…and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission…and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland.”
Wisp of a Thing: A Novel of the Tufa by Alex Bledsoe, read by Stefan Rudnicki for Blackstone Audio — This Audie Award Winner, Fantasy, 2014, is the second book in Bledsoe’s “Tufa” series, though they do stand alone, and I recommend them all. “Alex Bledsoe’s The Hum and the Shiver was named one of the Best Fiction Books of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews. Now with Wisp of a Thing Bledsoe returns to the isolated ridges and hollows of the Smoky Mountains to spin an equally enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills…. Touched by a very public tragedy, musician Rob Quillen comes to Cloud County, Tennessee, in search of a song that might ease his aching heart. All he knows of the mysterious and reclusive Tufa is what he has read on the internet: they are an enigmatic clan of swarthy, black-haired mountain people whose historical roots are lost in myth and controversy. Some people say that when the first white settlers came to the Appalachians centuries ago, they found the Tufa already there. Others hint that Tufa blood brings special gifts. Rob finds both music and mystery in the mountains. Close-lipped locals guard their secrets, even as Rob gets caught up in a subtle power struggle he can’t begin to comprehend. A vacationing wife goes missing, raising suspicions of foul play, and a strange feral girl runs wild in the woods, howling in the night like a lost spirit. Change is coming to Cloud County, and only the night wind knows what part Rob will play when the last leaf falls from the Widow’s Tree…and a timeless curse must be broken at last.”
Book of the Night: The Black Musketeers by Oliver Potzsch, translated by Lee Chadeayne, and narrated by Will Ropp for Audible for $1.99+$1.99 — “In this thrilling adventure by bestselling author Oliver Pötzsch, thirteen-year-old Lukas has been trained as a swordsman by his father, a nobleman who was once a famed Musketeer. When the threat of war and accusations of witchcraft spread across the land, Lukas’s life is forever changed. He flees his home and vows to find his missing sister. Surviving as an outcast, Lukas encounters thieves and mercenaries, a strange astrologer, and a master swordsman. He also meets three other fencers—Giovanni, Paulus, and Jerome. Each brings a special talent to their team that leads them to the Black Musketeers, the best fighters in the army. But living with the black-armored Musketeers is nothing like they imagined. In his quest to find his sister, Lukas learns of a legendary book that holds powerful magic. As he fights to keep the Book of the Night out of the hands of his greatest enemy, Lukas discovers the secrets of his own family and what it really means to be a Musketeer.”
Chased by Fire and the rest of the Cloud Warrior Saga by D.K. Holmberg, read by Nicholas Techosky for $0.99+$1.99 (Books 1 and 2), $1.99+$1.99 (Books 3, 4, and 5), or $3.99+$1.99 (Books 6 and 7) each — “An ancient artifact that must be found… Terrifying creatures from dark and dangerous Incendin… And long-forgotten elementals again unleashed on the world. As an earth senser, Tan is tasked with helping guide the king’s servant through the dangerous mountain passes in search of the artifact before Incendin can reach it first. But after losing his father to the war, Tan wants nothing to do with the king’s demands. When everything he knows is lost, he is forced to risk himself to save the one person who can find the artifact – a beautiful girl who has lost as much as Tan. In doing so, power the world hasn’t seen in nearly a thousand years is awoken, and a warrior long thought dead returns to claim the artifact for himself.” (Books 8, 9, and 10 are yet to come to audio, and the concluding Book 11 is set to be published in March.)
Kids: Septimus Heap, Book One: Magyk by Angie Sage, read by Allan Corduner for HarperAudio for $1.99+$4.49 — “A baby girl is rescued from a snowy path in the woods. A baby boy is stillborn. A young Queen is taken ill. An ExtraOrdinary Wizard mysteriously resigns from his post. And all on the same night. A string of events, seemingly unconnected, begins to converge ten years later, when the Heap family receive a knock at the door. The evil Necromancer DomDaniel is plotting his comeback and a Major Obstacle resides in the Heap family. Life as they know is about to change, and the most fantastically fast-paced adventure of confused identities, magyk and mayhem, begin.”
Kids: Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colusses Rises by Peter Lerangis, read by Johnathan McClain for $1.99+$5.49 — “Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones in the New York Times bestselling epic adventure Seven Wonders! The Colossus Rises is the first book in a seven-book series. This first installment chronicles the story of Jack McKinley, an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die—unless he finds seven magic Loculi that have been hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.”
Want even more? Well, there’s quite a few repeats this month, but if I had to pick a few more to check out, just in case you’ve missed them: Casino Royale and the rest of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series; The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg; Pines and the rest of the Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch; The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler; and Ink Mage and the rest of the A Fire Beneath the Skin trilogy by Victor Gischler.
And lastly, as usual, one “random” title not on the official Monthly Kindle Deal listings:
Weaveworld by Clive Barker, read by Simon Vance for Crossroad Press for $0.99+$1.99 — “Here is storytelling on a grand scale — the stuff of which a classic is made. Weaveworld begins with a rug — a wondrous, magnificent rug — into which a world has been woven. It is the world of the Seerkind, a people more ancient than man, who possesses raptures — the power to make magic. In the last century they were hunted down by an unspeakable horror known as the Scourge, and, threatened with annihilation, they worked their strongest raptures to weave themselves and their culture into a rug for safekeeping. Since then, the rug has been guarded by human caretakers. The last of the caretakers has just died.”
All right, that’s all I’ve got this month. Happy #WhispersyncDeal hunting!