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Synesthesia Shift #1
Description⎮Reviewed May 2016
Narrator: Karen Krause
Length: 6h 36m
Publisher: Ronna Hochbein⎮2014
5 ★ Audiobook⎮ I’ve thought long and hard about this and can find no reason not to award Where Bluebirds Fly five stars. The reason I had to think long and hard about it was because it wasn’t one of those stories that absolutely blew my mind in an obvious sort of way. Instead, it left me with a subtle awe-like stillness. Truthfully, it haunted me a little and I am semi-ashamed to admit that I slept with my television on last night because of it. The part of this story set during the Salem witch trials oozed eeriness, but Chapman balanced it out nicely with alternating chapters set in the 21st-century. Everyone might not find this story as disturbing as I did (in a good sense, though), so I certainly wouldn’t classify it as a horror/thriller, just the best kind of creepy.
The number one thing that made me decide to give Where Bluebirds Fly the full five stars was the amount of research that clearly went into writing it. Believe me, readers can tell when an author does their homework and it is always appreciated. As someone learning to counsel those with disabilities, I particularly appreciate the extent to which Brynn Chapman went to not only put a spotlight on children with various types of disabilities, but the empathy and tactfulness she exhibited when doing so. That aspect of the story should be especially appealing to psychology students and enthusiasts.
I feel like Where Bluebirds Fly will stick out in my mind for a very long time for the reason mentioned above and because of the unique way it approached time travel. In my experience, all of the time travel stories I have read involved the main character living in the present and traveling forwards or backwards in time. Where Bluebirds Fly decided to take the opposite approach by sending someone from the 17th century to the 21st. The method used to facilitate the time travel was not the product of scientific invention, as is more typically seen, but the product of a temporal phenomenon (a naturally occurring time portal). As I write this, I’m just now realizing how well of a job the writing did in persuading me to suspend my disbelief. In a brief synopsis or review, such as this, that type of story line seems a bit on the preposterous side, but it never occurred to me while reading the book. That is certainly the mark of excellent storytelling.
There were several elements of this story (the Salem witch trials, time travel, psychological aspects, the idea of synesthesia, romance, etc.) that seemed rather unrelated and foreign to each other at first, but they were woven together brilliantly in the overall design of Chapman’s work.
Narration review: Let me tell you, Karen Krause truly had her work cut out for her in narrating this audiobook. In the beginning, I started counting the number of different accents she performed, but I must have lost count somewhere along the way. Suffice it to say, there were a ton. I swear, her Scottish accent is still stuck in my head. If it were up to me, I would give the woman an Audie Award for just being able to pronounce synesthesia correctly so many times. Hats off for a great performance! I hope she sticks around to narrate any following installments. ♣︎
➜ This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its narrator, Karen Krouse, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Karen!