“Prophecy of Thol” can best be classified as a young adult (YA), coming of age story, written by Dawn Greenfield Ireland. It is a story centered around a young woman (D’lane) who is suddenly whisked away into a parallel universe where she has to utilize all her skill and knowledge to survive the recurring nightmare which has come true. As a listener, we are given the privilege of seeing this young woman grown into a more mature lady in all aspects. The audiobook edition is quite well narrated by Kelley Hazen who is a veteran to the craft with over seventy titles available on Audible; at the time of this review. It appears there may be an agreement between the author and the narrator as she has voiced all of the author’s current audiobooks. If you are someone who enjoys a decent coming of age story, with a few twists, I think you may find “Prophecy of Thol” a book you will want to listen too. The book is over eleven hours of audio, so it is worth the time and credit if you are able to get past a few bumps in the road along the way.
Let me say up front that I’m not one who is a fan of either young adult nor coming of age stories. And, based on the book’s summary, this is not made clear as I assumed I was a more in deep and complex science fiction tale. If you come to the book understanding where it is coming from, it may be less of a shock when you listen. I did want to say that the book’s opening was what drew me in and kept me wanting to listen. The author did a good job of hooking the listener from the beginning. In the opening chapter, we are presented with a father telling his young boy about this mysterious person in a picture with odd looking creatures. It is like we are watching a flashback of events as the book unfolds. For me, the writing style felt more Young Adult (YA) based on the sentence structure, character communication, and the descriptive nature of the scenes or objects. At time, I felt that the author was overly verbose and did not give the listener enough creativity in their own minds. There were even a few items that seemed to be referenced incorrectly such as using Bluetooth as a device and not as a communications protocol, etc.
The characters, overall, seemed defined and multi-dimensional. At times, I felt the main character’s family had just too many tragedies making it a bit too complex at times. Maybe this is due to my rather uneventful upbringing. Our main character also seems to be rather confused in her spiritual beliefs, and much of her faith comes by way of new age beliefs; including the power of crystals. The rest of the family, though loving to one another, seems quite dysfunctional as a whole. The author does a decent job of creating a new and unique world. We are shown very different creatures, some distinctive plant life, and various means of communication. The book felt like a modern day take on Alice in Wonderland set in a science fiction realm having dual suns. Although the book mentioned many different technologies, often these gizmos lacked details on how they worked or why they were created in the first place. I simply wanted more details on these items and at times less on the scene description.
The book was told as if it were read out of a diary. It felt more like someone was telling facts of events and not a grand journey. Yet, the book at times felt like it lacked personality, action, and suspense. Sure, there were elements of action and suspense along the way, however these did not seem to really surface until the last few chapter of the book. Apart from this, the tale felt like it lacked the more traditional story aspects keeping the listener engaged. That is not to say that the book lacked twists and turns, but it was not overly suspenseful nor mysterious as I would have liked it to be. I did like the author’s use of switching back and forth between the two worlds from chapter to chapter. It was good to get an understanding of how the family was coping with the loss of their daughter/sister and the steps being taken to get her back. The conversations between the characters as times felt forced and rather predictable. The use of language also did not always match the characters age or personality in a few of the characters. It seems the author intended a couple of characters, such as Stanly, to be comedic relief, but this often did not work for me. He seemed less like a true scientist and more like the character Beaker from the Muppets.
The book’s narration was what I would expect from someone having a number of performances behind them. The audio quality was solid, and I do not recall any issues with background noises or volume inconstancies. The many characters all felt unique and the voicing was dependable throughout the book. A few areas that I will say could have been improved were some of the younger character’s voices and the voice of Stanely. At times, these voices were simply annoying, and you wanted to get past them as soon as possible. Other than this, the narration was spot on and professionally produced.
For parents or younger readers, I’m sorry to say that this book contains vulgar language which mostly occurs during the last few chapters. I was going to say that the book would be great for younger readers as the violence was not overly excessive and the romance was light and not overly sexualized, yet I was surprised that vulgar words were thrown in last minute. There was no reason these words needed to be added and I was quite surprised that the one character I assumed would not use vulgar language was the one who did. Apart from this language usage, I would recommend this to younger audiences. However, if you are offended in any way, I would advise you not listen.
In summary, the book was an average coming of age young adult story. If you go into it based on this understanding, or if you like this type of book, I would recommend it as long as you are not offended by the use of vulgar language. It took a bit longer than I would have liked to get into the meat of the story, but once there, the unique worlds, creatures, and events made the book interesting. If you are planning on picking up this book, you should be aware that it is the first in what appears to be a series of books. This is not clearly stated on the Audible page, so you should know that the book ends with many of the book’s plots unanswered. There is some closure given, but not enough to call this a stand-alone title.