Author: Mackenzie Flohr
Narrator: Chris Walker-Thomson
Length: 6 hours and 57 minutes
Series: The Rite of Wands, Book 1
Publisher: BHC Press
Released: Sep. 24, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
One boy…one Rite… And a world of deadly secrets that could change the course of history—forever.
And so begins the tale of Mierta McKinnon. When a horrible fate reveals itself during his Rite of Wands ceremony, he must find a way to change not only his destiny but also the land of Iverna’s.
Forbidden from revealing the future he foresees to anyone, he is granted a wand and his magical powers, but still must master the realm of magic in order to save himself and those he loves.
But Mierta is not the only one with secrets…especially when it’s impossible to know who to trust.
Mackenzie is a multi-award-winning author of the YA Fantasy series The Rite of Wands, published by BHC Press, which has caught the attention of Doctor Who and Harry Potter fans worldwide. Readers agree that Mackenzie has crafted a robust tale of secrets, mystery, and uncertain destiny that rivals the works of Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling.
A storyteller at heart, she loves to inspire the imagination. Mackenzie makes her home in Mount Morris, Michigan, where she is currently penning her next adventure.
Chris Walker-Thomson is a versatile British actor, voice artist and impressionist based in Chelmsford, Essex. He is most known for his highly-acclaimed portrayal of Doctor Who actor Patrick Troughton in various productions – as well as being a well-established character actor. Chris is also an exceptional impressionist, voice over artist and comedy performer.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Mackenzie Flohr. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
This is a 3.5 for me. I received the audiobook as part of an audiobook blog tour, so this will be a review of the performance of the audiobook as well as the plot of the book.
Let’s talk about the thing that drove the rating down for me, that would be the narration. I really tried to like the narrator, but at times it felt like he was trying a bit too hard, and at others his voice was monotonous. It really distracted me from the story to the point that I had to stop listening about half-way through and just continue reading on my Kindle.
The story itself is very imaginative. You can tell that Flohr spent a lot of time developing this world with love and care.
I’ve seen mention in other reviews that Orylnd’s dialect threw some readers. However, I really enjoyed it and wonder if has anything to do with the speech each person is used to hearing regularly.
Flohr is terrific at describing her beautiful settings in detail, making them come to life within your mind.
The plot of this book is very fast paced, and sometimes that left the problem and resolution to that problem feeling a bit convoluted. A little more development of the ideas within the dialogue or actions would make these seem more natural.
There is a time jump, and I have to say, I really enjoyed seeing how each character changed and matured into their adult selves. I think it leaves a wonderful opportunity to do a short story or novelette with the missing time for hardcore fans.
Overall, I enjoyed the book but not the audiobook.
Q&A with Author Mackenzie Flohr
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
- It wasn’t easy, believe me! In fact, if anybody would have told me I would go through 3 narrators before finally getting the whole thing recorded, I would have probably thought “yeah, right”. Normally making audiobooks isn’t difficult at all, but my project, you could say was…unique. However, it has opened up some wonderful opportunities to appear at Comic Con and various writing conferences to teach others about the process of making an audiobook and especially, what not to do (because I probably did them all!)
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- Oh, absolutely! My ultimate goal is to have The Rite of Wands series become either a movie trilogy or a television show (preferably done by HBO or the BBC), so I definitely had the idea of an audiobook in the back of my mind when I was writing the first book.
- How did you select your narrator?
- When I was auditioning various actors, I wanted someone who could do an impression of Matt Smith (11th Doctor/Doctor Who, Prince Philip/The Crown) since my MC was written for him, as well as someone who could read/perform Scottish dialect. I was fortunate to come across two actors, who are the best Matt Smith impressionists on the planet, and one of them was available and approached ME after hearing about my project through Doctor Who Online.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- I was very fortunate to be able to work as close as I was with Chris, considering he lives in England and I’m in America. I do have a day job where I work as a manager at a call center, but I also wanted to be available for him as much as I could. Not only so I could answer any questions he may have, but also because I honestly wanted the opportunity to get to know him a bit on a personal level, so I could get an idea of how it was best to get the project completed as smoothly as possible. (I can be overwhelming sometimes because I am so direct). I did provide him a character sheet with descriptions of the characters as well as a language guide. But as some of my spells don’t necessarily follow the mother language they came from, I had to occasionally provide some extra pronunciation help.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- Yes. As I mentioned above, I wrote the main character (Mierta McKinnon) for Matt Smith. There are personality characteristics of the character, which are similar to him, as well as some inside jokes, too. Other than that, there are some key elements Matt has stated he’d like to play in a character, and I’ll admit I did give Mierta some of those, with more to come!
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Audio dramas. When I have listened to audiobooks in the past, the narrator has been so monotone, I’ve honestly fallen asleep. But then I got introduced to Big Finish Productions, and my love for audiobooks regenerated.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
- Yes, there’s a particular scene between two characters where one of the characters is near death, and the reaction of the second character just comes through as heartbreaking. I actually started crying the first time I heard it performed, which is strange for me because I’ve never cried at my own words before!
- Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
- Know what your budget is, determine where you want your audiobook distributed to, and, if you decide to do the 50% royalty share option with ACX, make sure that narrator actually honors the terms of the contract.
- What’s next for you?
- I’m currently finishing up my first draft of The Rite of Abnegation, which is the second book in The Rite of Wands series. Then, I’ll be working on a standalone novel called The Burning Man, which will be perfect for YA ghost hunting readers.
Author MACKENZIE FLOHR’s Dream Cast for The Rite of Wands
- Jacob Dudman/Matt Smith as Mierta McKinnon
- David Tennant as Orlynd O’Brien
- Tom Hiddleston as Lochlann McKinnon
- Lily James as Queen Anya
- Tom Felton or Toby Regbo as King Deor
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