Author: Amy McNulty
Narrator: Kaitlin Descutner
Length: 5 hours 50 minutes
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Released: Jul. 18, 2017
As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp, 16-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn’t worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn’t want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song.
When Mack, a lord’s dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena’s can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion’s music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena’s relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won’t help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn’t need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn’t have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.
A prequel to the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.
Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently writes professionally about everything from business marketing to anime. In her down time, you can find her crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.
In 2010, I graduated from California University….of Pennsylvania (yes, you read that correctly) with a BA in Theatre and Dance. I have been a professional actress for 7 years in Columbus, OH working in both Musical Theatre shows and Dramatic plays ranging from Classic, Rock & Roll, Modern, British, American Southern, etc. I work as a Children’s Theatre teacher as well as a Commercial Actress where I specialize in voice acting, photo, commercial and tutorial video work. I am interested in new projects and pursuing new opportunities.
I am a big, avid reader, and listen to audio books more than the radio in my car. My favorite genres are historical fiction, fiction, nonfiction and biographies/ memoirs. This is a new endeavor for me, and I am thrilled to explore different characters through storytelling. Reading is a big passion of mine. Bring on the books!
It was a good thing neither Krea nor Clarion had to keep their secret for long—Krea couldn’t keep if for more than a second, she told her ma the instant she peeled away from the window—as it was all made clear by the next day. Well, it was made mostly clear by the next day. Clarion couldn’t stop thinking about the carriage, and how it had stolen through the alleyways at night, and that face. She didn’t even notice how the mystery eased the pain that had drawn her to Krea’s to begin with. She sad in the back of Jackin’s cart, her hand atop the sheet that covered her harp. (It was still her harp, if just for a little while.) Her mother was on the other side of the harp, hitching a ride along with it to the mayor’s mansion, having offered both her and Clarion’s services to help prepare for the ball.
This tale is an interesting retelling of the original and well known fairytale called “Jack and the Beanstalk”. If you saw a giant plant sprout from the earth and travel all the way into the clouds, how would you react? McNulty does a really great job with explaining the confusion, suspicion, and curiosity that passes among her characters after a giant beanstalk takes up precedence in a magical garden which coincidentally belongs to the town’s witch. This adventure has tons of creativity, originality, and entertainment, while still encompassing some of the consistency of the original fairytale. McNulty lures her readers in with her enticing, yet mysterious characters and an adventure waiting to unfold up the beanstalk.
Clarion kind of feels like an outsider. The women and men that she calls friends, view her as highly emotional and uncomfortable to be around after the passing of her papa. Alana has been her dearest friend, and quite frankly, perhaps something more. Clarion’s views about her lifestyle change after her papa’s passing though and she can no longer continue a relationship with Alana. After meeting the mysterious Mack, a lord’s son, who is supposed to marry her best friend, she can’t get over him. She begins falling in love with him after talking to him over her much loved harp that she was tasked with playing at the mayor’s mansion. Then an earthquake erupts and Clarion and Mack are the other two who see a giant beanstalk out of a window as it fills their view. With curiosity and awe, both go together to investigate, but fail to tell anyone of their whereabouts until after Mack vanishes by climbing up in the fog and the clouds. Now, Clarion has to convince the skeptical village and not even the town’s witch, the one who cut down the beanstalk, will help her convince anyone of her story.
McNulty has an interesting and terrific retelling with “Ballad of the Beanstalk”. The book has fantastic character development, interesting characters, and a creative well, put-together story-line. Throughout the entirety of this audiobook, the narrator spoke in an inconsistent pattern though. It very well could have been common for women in this era to speak very fast to reflect intelligence, knowledge, and power, but it does tend to be really difficult to understand in an audiobook. Descutner’s representation of other characters were fun and inviting, especially for a king. This review is complimenting the audiobook. If you are a reader of fairytales 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 four-star rating for Ballad of the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty, narrated by Kaitlin Descutner.
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