Narrator: Lesley Parkin
Series: Steampunk Fairy Tales
Published by Clockpunk Press, Self Published / Indie on 5 February 2018
Length: 7 hours
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk, Womens Fiction
Source: Author, Submitted
Ice and Embers is a retelling of the classic Snow Queen fairy tale set in Regency London.
When actress Elyse McKenna fell in love with Lord John Waldegrave, she was prepared to keep their liaison secret. What she wasn't ready for was how her newfound love would rock her relationship with her dearest friend, Doctor Kai Murray.
With the 1814 London Frost Fair in full swing, Elyse and her troupe at the Ice House Theatre find themselves at the heart of the excitement on the frozen Thames. But when an exotic ship captain, whose vessel is trapped in the ice, turns her attention to Kai, everything Elyse thought she knew about her feelings for her old friend gets flipped upside down.
While the Ice House Theatre's production of A Midwinter Night's Dream thrills the London crowd, Elyse's life begins to take on a distinctly Shakespearean turn.
Elyse must find a way to discover the truth about the captain, Kai, John, and her own feelings if she hopes to escape the Thames with her heart intact.
©2017 Clockpunk Press (P)2018 Clockpunk Press
ABR received this audiobook for free from the Author, Submitted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.Buy from Audible Buy from Amazon.comAdd to Goodreads
This is a retelling of the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. In London, there are two upstairs apartments that share a flower box. One apartment was where Kai Murray lived with his grandmother and the other is where Elyse McKenna lived with her grandmother. The two children grow up this way and become close friends. Kai becomes a doctor and Elyse, an actress. As they still live in the same apartments, their friendship has become even stronger.
I didn’t see a lot of steampunk elements in Ice and Embers. Yes, it was set in 1814 London, however, the tinkers, Mr. Hawking and his daughter Isabelle, who have their own fairytale Beauty and the Beastly, were the only characters that seem to fall into the steampunk category. Now the story definitely has an enjoyable Midsummer Night’s Dream vibe to it which happens to be one of the plays Elyse is performing with her troupe during the Frost Fair (I love the title change her troupe gives it). I also like that Karsak told the Cinder Girl story as it was originally written and not the sweet Disney version. The frozen ships stuck in the iced-over Thames was a beautiful setting for the audiobook. The novelty of a Frost Fair and theatre being directly on that ice makes for the perfect backdrop symbolizing the fragility and magic of falling in love.
I had a difficult time sympathizing with Elyse but that could be because the Midsummer Night Dream romance plot was being mirrored in her heart and life, poor thing. Dr. Kai’s life was also turned upside down much like his character in Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen. I didn’t dislike the audiobook, but I think I was expecting more steampunk devices. I must say I enjoyed seeing how Midsummer Night Dream and Snow Queen overlapped. Just looking for those moments, kept my mind engaged and interested. I ended up listening to the entire audiobook in one sitting.
The narration by Lesley Parkin is spot on. She brought so many characters to life with her ample range of dialects. Her male voices take some getting used to. I found them more distinct when she used regional and social dialects rather than just deepening her voice. She and Karsak are such a wonderful combination. I hope Parkin narrates Karsak’s upcoming Steampunk Rapunzel.
There is some description of nudity and scenes that imply sex took place so I wouldn’t say this is for children. In truth, many fairytales aren’t rated G. The real Cinderella story is pretty gory in parts.
This is a beautifully written story with an HPE.
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