My first audio book review!
Narrated by Sara Powell
5 hours 21 mins
The terrifying new Hammer novella by Minette Walters, bestselling author of The Tinder Box and The Sculptress.
Muna’s fortunes changed for the better on the day that Mr and Mrs Songoli’s younger son failed to come home from school. Before then her bedroom was a dark windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. She’d grown used to being maltreated by the Songoli family; to being a slave. She’s never been outside, doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English. At least that’s what the Songolis believe. But Muna is far cleverer – and her plans more terrifying – than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine …
The wicked step mother stories pale into insignificance when cast against this wicked step family!
My first audio book and audio book review! To start I would like to say how relaxing I found listening to an audio book – to sit back and close your eyes and just listen is so pleasant – even if the book you are listening to is regarded as Hammer Horror. Hammer Horror is a term I am not familiar with – I have researched and found a few references to this phrase mostly in relation to the classic horror movies made between 1950 to the 1970’s, you know the sort of thing Bride of Dracula, The Mummy, The Plague of Zombies, The Nanny (the Bette Davis classic) Fear in the Night etc. I wouldn’t class this book as Hammer Horror – there were no goose bump moments, or fear of turning off the light but instead a deep and profound sadness at the horrific things that people do to each other and to the most powerless – to children. For this is a story of horrific abuse inflicted on a young girl and the effect that abuse has on her…or is it the effect the house has on her?? There are hints of some elements of paranormal in the narrative but the implication does not really become obvious until the chilling final chapters.
I think the narrative is more chilling in this audio format – listening to the horrors that were inflicted on Muna rather than just reading about them is so powerful. In particular I found Muna’s childlike innocent naïve voice recounting her perspective of life perfect for the audio format, so many layers are added to her story; despair, fear, acceptance and guile are part of her complex story . Sara Powell does an excellent job with the narration inflecting her speech with elements of fear, anger, acceptance…deftly transforming her style with each character she is representing. Her voice is a tool she uses superbly and effectively in this narration.
My first audio book will not be my last.
NB This book was provided for review by the publisher