Author: Alex Lidell
Narrator: Kaitlin Bellamy
Length: 6 hours and 57 minutes
Publisher: Danger Bearing Press
Released: Sep. 8, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Master and Commander meets Sarah J Maas in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.
After a lifetime of training, 17-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission – and fails.
Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battle worthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.
But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.
Air and Ash is the thrilling first installment of the TIDES series. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Tamora Pierce, and David Weber.
Alex Lidell is the author of Amazon best sellers AIR AND ASH and WAR AND WIND (Danger Bearing Press, 2017) and an Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s life long love for YA fantasy books.
Kaitlin Bellamy is a freelance performer and acting coach residing in Central Florida, with a theatrical history spanning more than twenty-five years.
Since relocating to Orlando in 2012, she has worked at multiple theme parks and various theatrical venues, in a career style she calls “Buffet Performing:” or, the idea of keeping several jobs active at any given time, so she may pick and choose where to work, and life never gets boring. Her specialties include Shakespeare, Voice Acting, and Puppetry. But above all, she is passionate about the performing arts, and all they stand for.
“Very good.” My mouth is dry. Tucking my hair back behind my eyes, I glance over the rail and survey the lowered boats. All in order, trim and neat despite the carnage. Another young middie, a fourteen-year-old girl named Vast, is overseeing the final inspection and shouting orders, most of which I suspect originate from the quiet suggestions of the experienced sailor hovering beside her. As an officer, it’s her job to know what the sailors should do, theirs to know how to do it. But she is smart enough to listen to experience, and the seamen are smart enough to subtly shore up the girl’s authority lest the crew falls to chaos. Someone retrieves Vast’s fallen hat. This is no game. This is the discipline that earns the crew’s trust in its officers and keeps panic at bay. And it will keep us alive. I force my voice to be calm and clear as I speak. “Very good. Inform Captain Fey we are ready to take the hands off, if you please.” I realize what I said a moment too late and fight against choking breath. “My apologies, Mr. Jax. I meant the commander.” Jax’s face falters. “I…He…The commander is dead too, ma’am. You are the most senior now.”
Would you choose a free life with magic or an imprisoned life in a loveless royal marriage? For Nile Greysik, princess and lieutenant of the Ashing Navy flagship, the sea calls to her. Being one with the seaman is such a better life than to be cooped up in a castle with royalty commanding her every move. Where is her freedom? Where is her passion? After a mission aboard the navy flagship fails very badly, Niles wakes up two weeks later in the safety of her own bed…not aboard a ship.That isn’t even the worst part…she discovers that she has failed her captain, his death and many others who died weigh heavily on her. But, then her twin brother drops the biggest bombshell of all. She is to be in an arranged marriage…per her mother’s wishes as a way to keep her away from the sea. What could be any worse than giving up your freedom for the rest of your life? Lidell spins an invigorating story, filled with adventure and magic.
Niles and her twin brother were close, but then he was “diagnosed” with a magical ailment. The magic is not so much the burden…but what comes as a side effect of being able to possess such power is mind crippling. She is surprised that he even still has the capacity to keep himself alive. Through rigorous testing and countless evaluations, it was finally determined that she did not possess the magical gene…which tends to run in families. Being that the sea calls to her, she knows that she just can’t be tied down forever. After her brother has a near death experience, she meets a man who seems nice enough but later finds that nothing is ever as it seems. To run away from everything on the nearest ship seems to be the only escape from the life that she is sure to dread. What adventure or challenges will be in store for her next, being that she will have to hide her identity. As if that wasn’t enough…strange headaches and magical sensations begin spiraling through her blood, threatening to end her life if she doesn’t let it out.
Lidell has a terrific story-line with exceptional character development. All of her characters are entertaining, fierce, and determined. The pace is fantastic; fast-paced and the narrator was highly entertaining. Bellamy’s accent is absolutely beautiful and perfect for this story. She changes pitch and vocalization for every character and adds sounds for special effect. Bellmay’s representation of each character seemed to be spot-on! This review is complimenting the audiobook. If you are a reader of science fiction and young adult fantasy, you may want to pick this one up.
A copy of this audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions, but this in no way affects our honest opinion of the book or the review that has been written. We provide a five-star rating for Air and Ash by Alex Lidell, narrated by Kaitlin Bellamy.
Q&A with Author Alex Lidell
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- At the time I was writing AIR AND ASH, no. But now that I am on the third book in the series, having heard Kaitlin narrate AIR AND ASH, I do hear the characters speaking in her voice as I write.
- How did you select your narrator?
- I listed to sample reels of many narrators and then invited Kaitlin to audition. I really like the range of emotions and undertones she has within each character’s voice.
- 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?
- Very closely! I was really shy about sending her an audio file of my voice pronouncing some words, but it worked 🙂 We also have a shared google doc with character descriptions and we spent some time on the phone “auditioning” character voices. It was one of my favorite parts of the process and the reason I SO love working with Kaitlin.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- Often by listening to audiobooks or watching some TV shows with the right atmosphere, and then analyzing the story/plot. What did I like about it? Why did I keep watching and listening? How can I apply that fun thing that got me excited to my own writing?
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I’m a HUGE listener. I fell in love with audiobooks listening to Master and Commander, where the narrator helped me understand some of the technical seamanship. My favorite narrator (aside from Kaitlin of course!) is Jennifer Ikeda
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- I say Safety First! When I get into a book, I can’t pull away from it – so I end up walking down the street, reading my phone (yeah, i’m one of those horrible people). With audiobooks I can walk and listen!
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- I have a habit of traveling to meet people who I’ve e-met during the writing process. After finishing WAR AND WIND (TIDES book 2), I went to see Rachel E Carter in CA. And in October I’m going to go see Kaitlin to celebrate AIR AND ASH audio.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
- I think YA fantasy fans are often comfortable with a series – I know I am – and expect it. Other genres have different fan bases. From an author perspective, a series lets me tell more complex overall stories, but makes logistics difficult. IE in book one, the distance between A and B might not matter so I say “umm, half a day by horse, sure, why not”. And then in book 3 it becomes vitally important that it take a WEEK to get from A to B,… and I have to somehow deal 🙂
- Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
- Talk to your narrator and make sure you click as professionals. I really lucked out with Kaitlin because of her excitement level and flexibility – but some people prefer to have more “distance”. It was a match with Kaitlin herself, not just her voice, that finally closed the deal for me
- What’s next for you?
- WAR AND WIND (Tides 2) comes out in audio in December. SEA AND SAND (Tides 3) comes out in print/ebook in January!
➜Sign up as a host here