Review by Linnea ‘LiteralGrill’ Capps
Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to and review the audiobook for Legends of Heraldale by Brian McNatt. Honestly, I was quite excited to sit down while working from home and listen to a story while cuddling my partner. I figured, what would be better than getting lost together in a tale of furries and fantasy right?
The sad truth of the matter is I wasn’t able to have that experience. From the moment the book began, my partner and I both looked at each other with one of those looks, the kind that makes it obvious we both noticed the same thing. We had a prologue that discussed some great war, a child taken away from a parent, and a lot of typical fantasy tropes.
Still, sometimes we set expectations in an attempt to subvert the genre, so we kept listening in hopes of the major twist. We got to meet Galaxy the hippogryph, who was so obviously “the chosen one” in some manner from the start that it was a bit eye-roll worthy.
Then after that, she saves the son of who is basically her mortal enemy, and the story keeps rolling at the same obvious to guess what happens next pace. The child is conflicted about being saved, evil parent says be evil anyways, Galaxy needs to run and face major challenges to stay alive, etc.
It may be obvious from my tone, but unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the story — so much so that I wasn’t able to actually complete reading the book as it became a chore to listen to each chapter. This was not due to the reading by Naomi Rose-Mock, which was utterly fantastic, but simply due to the story being a paint-by-numbers fantasy that didn’t feel like it had anything new to offer. Now, there’s nothing wrong with sinking into a book to listen to or read for comfort. Those who want a simple fantasy story to sink their teeth into will likely enjoy Legends of Heraldale. Readers who want something more will sadly need to look elsewhere.