Tuesday, July 27, 2010 By: Suzanne

Widdershins: Audio

Widdershins by Charles de Lint is a type of sequel to The Onion Girl. It's a sequel in that it continues Jilly Coppercorn's story a few years after her accident. Where The Onion Girl tells us what Jilly and her sister's childhood was like, Widdershins has Jilly dealing with the emotional scars she still has but thought she had already dealt with. Of course, this is all done in classic Charles de Lint fashion so there are lots of fairies and animal people and everything in between. For fans of de Lint's Newford stories, many of the loved characters make an appearance: The Crow Girls, Joe Crazy Dog, Geordie Riddel and others. Besides Jilly's personal struggle, a war between America's native spirits and the faery that came from the old world is close to erupting. Joe has to make a terrible choice between finding Jilly and stopping a terrible war that would have devastating consequences.

While I loved this story as I have almost all of de Lint's books, I felt there were simply too many story lines happening. It reminds me slightly of The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb in that way. He tried to cram so many ideas into one book that some of the individual story lines suffered a little. It's possible the book wouldn't have been as good if the two main stories were separated but, other than Lizzie, the two stories don't really have any connection. Lizzie's story almost feels like an afterthought, which is odd since she is the character that opens the book. Lizzie's encounter with boguns (a mean, childish faery) brings Jilly and Geordie into the story but, even though she remains through most of the book, she's simply not important to the progression of the story. If the possible war had been separate, it could have been so much more.

However, I did enjoy the book and especially enjoyed Kate Reading's voice in the audio. She also narrated The Onion Girl and I came to associate her voice with Jilly in my head. It was nice to have that consistency. Plus, she's amazingly talented. She's able to give every character a different voice without sounding like a 5th grade teacher reading about scary monsters. Every voice is believable. That's a rare talent when sometimes the first person is a man, sometimes a woman, and (in this story) women in the bodies of children.