Audiobook review: A Curse of Krakens by Kevin Hearne
A Curse of Krakens is the third and final book in the wonderful Seven Kennings fantasy series from one of my favorite authors, Kevin Hearne. The massive story is set in a world where certain members of the population are blessed with Kennings: the ability to manipulate one of the four elements, plants, or animals. The six nations of Teldwen are dealing with the aftermath from an invasion of a previously unknown race, the Eculans, also known as the Bone Giants, and the knowledge that a second invasion is being planned. The book picks up immediately after the conclusion of the second book, A Blight of Blackwings, on Day 40 of the Bard’s tales. Reading the books of the series in order is a MUST.
As with the previous books, over half of A Curse of Krakens is shared in two ways within each chapter: both in present day and in flashbacks that cover the past several months (and are getting closer to current time). The present day narrative is shared by Dervan, a Brynt scholar and historian. Dervan continues to accompany Fintan, the Raelic Master Bard, creating a written record of the knowledge and tales Fintan shares with the masses on Survivor Field. A Raelic bard has perfect memory recall and the ability to transform shape into the character whose story he shares.
Which leads to the second method of storytelling: Fintan’s recounting of the events of the very recent past. By taking on the personas of key figures of the invasion and its aftermath and sharing their stories, Fintan allows the survivors (and readers) to slowly learn about how the lands arrived in their current state. Each character is carefully selected, and over the course of the book, we begin to see important connections that aren’t obvious at first. There is action and personal growth, grieving and joy, all serving to paint an accurate picture of what life is like. I appreciate that not everyone has a larger-than-life persona and some heroes are everyday people. The stories are both informative and personal, not only providing important puzzle pieces, but also creating a heart for this epic tale.
Fintan’s stories allow the survivors to learn about the discovery of two new Kennings, the birth of two cities, meeting people from across the sea, and witnessing a god in action. Hearne gives readers an original and completely satisfying history to his world, and my mind may have exploded a few times in the telling. About midway through A Curse of Krakens, Fintan completes his stories, and at this point, the joint forces of Teldwen and their allies take the fight to Ecula, and the story is shared in the first person of several key players that support the confrontation.
Overall, A Curse of Krakens and the Seven Kennings series share the stories of a world at the point of tremendous change: the uprising of the oppressed who demand a new government, relationships reevaluated, making new friends and allies, finding new ways to navigate the globe, and learning that the world is much bigger than the lands of Teldwen. The story is epic, but told in a way that makes it personal and intimate. I have come to care about these characters, following them on their journey, and I am thankful to witness them through a trial for the ages. The world is diverse and amazing, with so many peoples, animals, settings, and manifestations of the Kennings. Mr. Hearne created a full and lush world that fills my mind with awe, and the truths discovered in this book continue to blow me away days after finishing the story.
Narration: The performances of Luke Daniels and Xe Sands are phenomenal! As I mentioned, the story is shared in two different ways. Dervan is shared via his first person POV, with Fintan’s seemings and stories shared via first person of that character. Most of the narrative is read by Mr. Daniels. He is the primary voices of Dervan and Fintan, as well as all male flashback/memories. Ms. Sands jumps in to share all female-centric stories and POVs. Both provide a massive array of accents and tones, ranging heavy and deep, to airy and light, giving each character and race unique and identifiable traits. Both provide such a variety of inflections and emotions; their ranges wow’d me. It was so easy to get lost in their storytelling, enabling me to sit back and enjoy this story.
In the end, I have fallen in love with the world of the Seven Kennings. Mr. Hearne brings his epic tale to a satisfying close and allows readers a glimpse of where the world is headed after so many changes. I appreciate that the author checks in with most everyone by the end of the book, whether for good or bad, there is closure. I have laughed and cried along side many of the characters, parting ways until the next time I jump in for a re-read.
About the Book:
Seeker and Sower
Pen Yas ben Min’s cousin was one of the legendary heroes of the wars against the giants until her untimely death. Pen has grown up in her famous cousin’s shadow, but when she’s given a quest to plant the seed of the magical Fourth Tree, she has a chance to step into the light—and usher in a new age for her country.
Fighter and Friend
Abhi’s life—and the world—changed when he discovered a lost magic: the power to speak to animals. After fighting so many battles, he’s weary and longs for home and his love, Tamhan. But before he can return, there is one last mission that only Abhi can complete: to speak to the colossal creatures who wait beneath the waves—the krakens.
Sailor and Explorer
Koesha and her shipmates have already made an impossible journey by navigating the Northern Yawn, at the end of which she secured an unusual cloak. But when that cloak turns out to be the key to unlocking the mystery of the Seventh Kenning, Koesha has to risk everything on another life-threatening journey and hope that she can steer her crew to safety.
Author: Kevin Hearne
Narrators: Luke Daniels & Xe Sands
Series: The Seven Kennings #3 (Final book)
Audiobook Release Date: November 7, 2023
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Length: 23 hrs and 19 mins
Source: Audiobook Publisher
Audio Speed: 1.4x
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)
The Seven Kennings series is one of my favorite series!