Thursday, 6 June 2013

Audio Review: Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Author: Meg Cabot Website|Twitter
Narrator: Debra Wiseman IMDB
Published: 27 December 2005 (Listening Library)
Format: MP3 download
Running time: 6 hours, 50 minutes
Buy the paperback: Amazon|Waterstone's|BookDepository
Buy the audio: Amazon|Waterstone's
Buy the e-book: Kindle|Kobo

Source: Borrowed from e-library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Avalon High seems like a typical high school, attended by typical students. There's Lance, the Jock. Jennifer, the cheerleader. And Will, senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy.
But not everybody at Avalon High is who they appear to be... not even, as new student Ellie is about to discover, herself. What part does she play in the drama that is unfolding? What if the bizarre chain of events and coincidences she has pieced together means — as with the court of King Arthur — tragedy is fast approaching Avalon High.

Worst of all, what if there's nothing she can do about it?

Plot review:
I'll admit that when I started Avalon High I didn't know it was a retelling of the King Arthur legend. I'd downloaded it from my library's e-library based on the fact it was written by Meg Cabot, and I'd enjoyed a previous audiobook by her. Going in blind didn't bother me too much, and I actually quite liked figuring out what was going on, but I think in hindsight I would have liked to have known a little more beforehand.

The first half of this book started out pretty well. I quite liked Ellie as a character and I could sympathise with her as a character. Her parents are academics who have taken a sabbatical, which means Ellie is uprooted from her regular life and planted in a new environment, which involves starting a new school. I liked the fact she was using it as a bit of a fresh start.

The book features excerpts from the poem The Lady of Shallot at the beginning of each chapter. I remember doing that poem at school so it was quite cool to have it slotted into a book like this! It also fitted in with what was happening in Ellie's life as she pieces together who the modern day character represent in the story of King Arthur. It was a really nice way to break up the story/chapters.

The first half of the book was really interesting and I loved learning who all the characters were and the theory that there was something a bit bigger going on. I did like the relationship between Ellie and Will, even if she was a bit giggly and annoying around him sometimes. The second half of the book, however, was where I started to lose interest. The pace slowed down a bit too much and then the plot got a bit overcomplicated. There's one scene where Mr Morton, Ellie's teacher, explains a lot of what's going on and that exposition seemed to go on forever and I just found myself getting a bit bored.

It's an interesting concept for a novel but I'm not sure it was one that completely paid off. There were bits I liked and bits I didn't. Overall I can really appreciate how good Meg Cabot is as a writer and her books have really made me laugh, this one included. And the characters were pretty cool.

Plot rating: 3*

Audio review:
The narration of the book really did draw me in. I thought the narrator was really natural and I really liked Ellie's voice throughout the story. Where it really won me over was the excerpts of the poem which were read out before each character. They were read in such a lyrical, softly spoken way that not only did they stand out from other parts of the text, but they were really enjoyable on their own as well. I loved all the different voices for the characters. The only place it really fell down was when there were long conversations between two characters which happened a lot. I would liked to have got them over more quickly but that's hard with an audiobook. Really enjoyed the listening experience overall though and would definitely recommend the audio!

Audio rating: 4*

What to read next: Teen Idol by Meg Cabot
Books like this: Oh. My. Gods. by Terra Lynn Childs

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