Amazing Audiobooks 2019 (#AA2019) Nominee Round Up

It’s time for more selected lists nominees! Stay tuned to the Hub as we reveal the nominees for 2019’s Quick Picks, Amazing Audiobooks, Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and Best Fiction for Young Adults!

Today you can see our first two Amazing Audibooks 2019 (#AA2019) nominees.

The Cruel Prince
, by Holly Black, narrated by Caitlin Kelly
Audio Published by Hachette Audio
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
ISBN: 978-1478923732

As children, Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and older sister Vivienne witness a Fairy general named Madoc murder their parents. He then whisks them away to live within the confines of the High Court of Faerie, a realm away from the human world. Desperate in trying to find their own place in their new world filled with deceitful cruel fey creatures; the sisters face hateful stares and injustice within the Faerie realm.

Years later, the sisters have their own agendas. Vivi, the only sister with Fey blood, wishes to return to the human world. Taryn finds that the only way to live happily is to assimilate with the Faerie rules. Between  their peers Prince Cardan, Locke, Valarian, and Nicasia, Jude and her sisters have plenty of drama to go around. Prince Cardan, the youngest son of the ruled-for-centuries High King, is wicked, charming, smart, and utterly cruel. He seems to have found a target in Jude and makes every effort to make her life utterly miserable. Nicasia loves having power, Valarian likes violence and Locke is intrigued with dramatics; they all have their own ways in torturing Jude and her sisters.

Jude finds comfort in rebellion, bloodshed, and proving her worth as a mortal by taking place in the King’s council. Although the Fae community depends on humankind, as Fae women are not able to conceive and bear children, they are treated as inferiors; constantly reminded of their lesser status within the community. Jude makes it clear that she wants to prove that she will become one of the greatest knights that the Faerie Court has ever seen. Tension rises as hearts are played with and emotions run awry with secrets lurking around every corner. With Jude constantly under pressure, Taryn, her twin sister, must watch and endure it all.

Caitin Kelly does a remarkable performance for this piece as she captivates the essence of each character’s words and actions throughout the reading of Black’s The Cruel Prince. The tone changes between each character, depending on type: whether they are angry and violent, sweet, or spine-chillingly meeting the face of death. Black’s novel is suitable for ages 13 and up, due to the nature of the story: violence, bullying and abuse. This book comes highly recommended for those that are very interested in creatures of the Faerie world, High Court, and the politics that lie between humans and Fae. If you’ve enjoyed Carrie Jones’ Need series or Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, this may be one that you’d like to pick up.

–Joyce Fong


Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 9, 2018

Neal Shusterman’s Thunderhead starts from where Scythe, the first book in this series, ends. Rowan / Scythe Lucifer is still on the run from the Scythdom especially since he has chosen to continue gleaning other scythes. Citra / Scythe Anastasia is also making waves in the Scythdom, choosing to give her victims 30 days to get their affairs in order and choose how they will die. Then there is the Thunderhead, which has chosen Grayson Tolliver to act on its behalf, and work around the laws that bind it from interfering in the Scythdom. Even Scythe Faraday has his own mission, looking for information on how to restore order to the Scythdom, taking him from one ancient library to the next. All forces collide throughout the story, making this a fast-paced dystopian drama and leaving every listener on the edge of their seat.

Thunderhead, while a sequel, brings to light many new topics as well as continuing to unfold topics we have already discovered while reading Scythe. The story is thought provoking, epically when it comes to technology, authority, and ethics. While Rowan and Citra continue to be the main characters, new characters are thrown into the narrative as well, and are all give their own distinct voice by Greg Trembley. Trembley’s narration and tone emulate that of the Scythes, who are powerful in a world where everyone else is equal, and the all knowing Thunderhead. There is emotion where it is needed, and a lack of emotion when it is needed as well, for the Thunderhead does not feel emotion.

In Scythe, we learn a little about the Thunderhead, but in this novel we get to be inside of the Thunderhead’s mind, so to speak. The Thunderhead is the supreme of A.I., which brings movies like I, Robot, Passengers, and Ex Machina to mind, and books like The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman. While the topic of A.I. can be quite deep and possibly scary, Shusterman has a way of throwing some dark humor into the story, Scythe Beyonce would have to be the best example of this. So with intelligence and wit this story comes together, and keeps the reader/listener intrigued until the very end, of course leaving us wanting more.

–Samantha Jackson