Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Unlocked by Casey Bond
Narrator: Amy Melissa Bentley
Published by Tantor Audio on December 4, 2018
Length: 9 hours, 25 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm
Princess Raya of Paruth lived alone on a deserted island in a towering lighthouse, forgotten by time. With only a loyal albatross as a friend, she had little hope or joy in her life until he washed up on her shore in the middle of a raging winter storm.
Prince Trevor of Galder left his father and kingdom behind to travel north in search of a wife. It was time to settle down and forget Ella Carina, the woman who chose to love a peasant and follow her heart instead of choosing Trevor and fulfilling her duty to her people. He didn’t heed the warnings about the North Sea in winter, and his ship, crew, and captain paid the price.
Raya and Trevor must work together to find a way off the island, or risk being trapped there for the rest of their lives. But sometimes the simplest lessons are the hardest, and each will have to learn that the only thing that can truly set you free is love.
Unlocked is a very loose, semi-Rapunzel retelling and definitely falls into the realm of Romantasy. A few things of note are, this is most definitely a YA book and even though it is technically the third book of a series, you can read it without reading any of the others.
This started out fantastic, with Dark Fae coming with a plague to kill a witch, being helped by a Kingdom. The plague kills everything in its wake and the Queen beseeches her friend, the witch, to save her daughter, Raya, and take her somewhere safe. That safe place is a lighthouse in the middle of a deadly sea. Now Raya has spent about ten years alone in that lighthouse, with only a bird for a friend, until a prince washes up on shore.
Prince Trevor has never met an obstacle he doesn’t want to overcome. He renews Raya’s hope that there will be a way to get off that Island and they work towards that goal, becoming close friends and allies through their struggles. Possibly there could also be a little love kindling between them. Once rescued and back on the main land though it is harder to spend time together and the struggles to remain close to the person they trust the most might end a budding love.
Overall, this is a pretty good story. I was really excited about the witches and the dark fae but then we don’t see them again at all in the rest of the story. I was really looking forward to seeing more of the magical side of a fantasy in this but mostly it is more medieval in nature, with kings and princes and choose the ‘appropriate princess’ to wed.
There is a bit of angst, a lot of ‘but he/she could never feel that way for me’ going on. It is clear how -much Trevor and Raya care for each other but they spend a lot of time on self-doubt and general angst. Also, besides the prejudice of the king and court, there isn’t a big baddie happening. I think the story could have benefited from a true bad guy.
Not my favorite retelling due to prolonged angst but still mostly enjoyable and the Albatross best friend was a cute addition to the story.
I listened to this at my normal 1.5x speed. I’m a fan of the shifting narrators for each PoV and each did very well for their gender but the male narrator made Raya sound like everything out of her mouth was a question and the female narrator didn’t do the best job with male voices. Still overall it was a decent narration.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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