Dark Whispers by Bruce Coville

four out of five dragons
four dragons

As for the cover (which I’m often picky about, especially lately) was acceptable if a bit dated, but for all I know I may be the youngest person still reading these books which would be a tragedy.

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If I could give a rating for half a book I would, but since I can’t Dark Whispers gets four dragons. The first half or less of the book gets two and a half dragons while the second half gets four and a half dragons. With an additional half dragon for the ending. This is also a slightly higher rating because I started this series when I was ten, a very difficult year for me and this series helped me through it.

The writing itself was level throughout. It’s clear that Coville had written and honed his craft before. But the plot didn’t really get going with any pace until halfway through. I found myself struggling to begin reading each time I took a break, but eventually it kicked in and I had to know the ending.

No spoilers, but I love what we learn about the unicorns in this story. They start to become more nuanced and more believably fantastical. And how we learn about this other side of the unicorns is pretty revealing.

I enjoyed that all of the characters were brought into this one and had a significant part. For me, this book revealed to me how much of the previous books were technically set-up for this main storyline. Reading the first book in the series did not lead me to the expectation of a four-book series. Yet now I can see all the little hints.

I enjoyed the additions of Fallon and Rajiv as comrades to Ian Hunter, Cara’s dad. He needed a new group to befriend after the events of the last book. I enjoyed learning about how Luster touched Earth and changed the course of things.

The action scenes were fast-paced and drew me in. The chapter breaks were placed in just the right places to make me want to keep reading (once again, after the halfway point). Overall a very enjoyable fantasy read that doesn’t feel as middle-grade as it once did. Perhaps because I listened to the audiobook version, which I seem to be doing quite a bit of lately.

As for the narration it was superb. At first my husband and I were like “is Rajiv just an amazing white voice actor because this is spot on what a young Indian boy would sound like.” But then we realized that this could not just be a white voice actor portraying an Indian boy because it was too accurate which led me to look up the names of the cast.  Aakarsh Shakhar is the voice of Rajiv and he did an amazing job. Cara’s voice was occasionally grating on the ears because she had to yell, and her voice is quite high (as it would be with a twelve-year-old), but as far as emotional portrayal she was great, though obviously not a pre-teen. Cara’s voice was Rebecca Wemesfelder.

Looking forward to the next and final book in the series, The Last Hunt.

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