First, a thanks to the GraphicAudio staff for providing this for review. I’ve reviewed quite a number of their productions in the past, including several in their World of Lipi, Ghost Finders and Rogue Angel, so I’m going to lead this review off by talking about what they do and also about the GraphicAudio app, which is how I’m listening to this work.
I’m using an iPad which of of course runs Apple’s iOS. When I installed the GraphicAudio app, it granted me access to a number of their works that I read and enjoyed enough that I may well give some of them a second listen. Once in a Blue Moon, like those works, has the best audiobook production I’ve ever experienced bar none. Keep in mind that this is not a reading but a full cast adaptation of the novel complete with sound effects (footsteps are particularly well done) and music that’d make a composer for an Emmy winning film envious. When they say ‘It’s a movie in your mind’, they indeed are telling the truth.
Terence Aselford is both the narrator and director of all of the Forest Kingdom Saga books. Need I say that he does an absolutely magnificent job in both roles? His voice would have earned him a prominent role on the stage between the Wars as it’s that good.
Hawk and Fisher, husband and wife, are at the center of the novel Blue Moon Rising, which starts their story off with them merely Price Rupert and Princess Julia, minor royalty in different kingdoms. So they meet, fall in love, get adopted by a dragon that collects butterflies, and defeat the Demon Prince. Sensing they’ve no place in the Forest Kingdom, they move to Haven, a most foul seaport, and become Hawk and Fisher, City Guards who cannot be bought off. Blue Moon Rising takes place before the first Hawk and Fisher novel; the series apparently will be wrapped up in Beyond the Blue Moon, in which the defeated Demon Prince returns.
Once in a Blue Moon is apparently the final work in this story, as the author has said he’s seriously ill and has two other writing projects he wants to do with the short time he has left. This is big, sprawling affair that does indeed rather nicely wrap up the story of Hawk and Fisher, though I cannot even discuss that aspect without spiking the novel.
The story is that the King of Redhart has sent his daughter off to the Forest Kingdom. When she falls in love with the Prince in the arranged marriage and refuses to come home when ordered to so, her King orders an attack on the Forest King and summons the Unreal — think of your worst nightmares made flesh. Need I say the Demon Prince is back and manipulating him and many others?
So can you read it without having read the novels that preceded it, all of which GraphicAudio has made into splendid audiobooks? Yeah I think so as it’s highly entertaining even if you don’t know the back story. Between the superb cast, many of which go back to the adaptation of Blue Moon Rising, and a fast moving story, well stories really, that turns fantasy tropes on their heads quite often, this is a stunning work that makes full use of the inventive mind of Simon R. Green.