Juniper & Thorn

HarperAudio. Jun. 2022. 11:55 hrs. ISBN 9780062973191. $27.99. FANTASY
Stina Neilsen narrates Reid’s (The Wolf and the Woodsman) gothic fairy-tale retelling with an affect that matches the grim quality of the story. She ably voices the naïveté of the abused witch Marlinchen as she matures into both her strength and her sexuality and learns to change her fate. Listeners should suspect that a dark fantasy novel based on the fairy tale “The Juniper Tree” will take them to gruesome and violent places—and it does—but Reid adds additional real-world horrors as well. The dread-filled tension is sometimes alleviated by moments of whimsy and wonder and Reid’s gorgeous writing style, but these moments will cause readers to worry even more about the fate of Marlinchen. Nielsen’s ability to voice the beautiful prose is matched by her ability to take listeners to monstrous places and leave them unsure of exactly how events will play out even if they know how the original fairy tale ends.
VERDICT Suggest to fans of horror and dark fantasy.
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