Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig

October 30th, 2023 Kimberly Review 13 Comments

30th Oct

I enjoy Chuck Wendig’s brand of horror & fantasy storytelling. I knew going in this would be perfect for the spooky season and he did not disappoint. I listened to the full cast narration and will never look at an apple or apple orchard the same. Grab a cup of coffee and check out my thoughts…

Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig
Black River Orchard
by Chuck Wendig
Narrator: Xe Sands, Brittany Pressley, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Cindy Kay, Kalani Queypo, Gabra Zackman, Victor Colomé
Length: 22 hours and 18 minutes
Genres: Horror
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Narration: 4 cups Speed: 1.35x

A small town is transformed by dark magic when a strange tree begins bearing magical apples in this new masterpiece of horror from the bestselling author of Wanderers and The Book of Accidents.

It’s autumn in the town of Harrow, but something else is changing in the town besides the season.

Because in that town there is an orchard, and in that orchard, seven most unusual trees. And from those trees grows a new sort of apple: Strange, beautiful, with skin so red it’s nearly black.

Take a bite of one of these apples and you will desire only to devour another. And another. You will become stronger. More vital. More yourself, you will believe. But then your appetite for the apples and their peculiar gifts will keep growing—and become darker.

This is what happens when the townsfolk discover the secret of the orchard. Soon it seems that everyone is consumed by an obsession with the magic of the apples… and what’s the harm, if it is making them all happier, more confident, more powerful?

And even if buried in the orchard is something else besides the seeds of this extraordinary tree: a bloody history whose roots reach back the very origins of the town.

But now the leaves are falling. The days grow darker. And a stranger has come to town, a stranger who knows Harrow’s secrets. Because it’s harvest time, and the town will soon reap what it has sown.

fantasy HORRIFIC Mythology Scary

I am going to share my thoughts on the audio narration and sound first. The audio is narrated by Xe Sands, Brittany Pressley, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Cindy Kay, Kalani Queypo, Gabra Zackman, and Victor Colomé. Overall, I enjoyed the narration and was thrilled that it was a full-cast. One narrator was disappointing, as I felt like he just read the story with little inflection. The sound quality on for one narrator was poor, and you clearly heard the difference. Aside from those pesky problems, I enjoyed listening.

Now to the story. Wendig imagination is twisted! How he came up with this story was quite the tale. I hope he keeps twistings these stories, but for goodness’ sake man, stay away from pizza.

We travel to the town of Harrow, a small farming town where land has been owned by the same families for generation. A down on his luck farmer, who lives with his teenage daughter, grafts apple branches from an ancient tree with his own trees. The apples it produces are sweet, juicy, and the skin is almost black. One bite and you’ll want another. Soon you will feel better, stronger, happier, but you’ll want more and soon things will turn dark.

The tale that unfolds was creeptastic and followed several characters from the farmer to his young daughter. Some will eat the apples, others choose not to. There are things in the soil, dark things from the town’s origins. Slowly, the town’s secrets are revealed and I could not stop listening. It was dark, disturbing, and held me spellbound.

Wendig offered diverse characters and touched on evil, racism, sexism, and prejudices long rooted. I loved the Native American mythology and blending of folklore. He took the time to develop the characters and capturing the town of Harrow and it’s secret society. Fans of Stephen King will appreciate his style of storytelling.

Perfect for listeners and readers alike, looking to sink their teeth into a fantastic horror story.

Amazon | Audible

About Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, Wanderers, and Book of Accidents. He’s also worked in a variety of other formats, including comics, games, film, and television. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his books about writing. He lives in Pennsyltucky with his family. His agent is Stacia Decker, with Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.

About Brittany Pressley

Brittany Pressley

Audiobook Narrator of over 450 titles. Voice Over for brands including Stouffer's, Tic Tac, Ulta Beauty, Whirlpool and more. Series regular on the Netflix animated shows Robocar Poli and Winx Club.

About Gabra Zackman

Gabra Zackman

Gabra Zackman is the award-winning narrator of over 300 audiobooks and has been in the business since 2004, when she started recording for the National Library Service for the Blind (a program she still participates in). She is a classically trained actress who has been seen all over the country in theaters and occasionally on film or TV. Gabra is also an author and has penned the Bod Squad series, a funny and romantic spy caper series. She is based in New York City.

About Xe Sands

Xe Sands

Xe Sands is an award-winning narrator known for her authentic characterizations and intimate delivery. She has more than a decade of experience bringing stories to life through narration, performance, and visual art, including recordings of Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo, The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro, and Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman. Sands has also been recognized for her engaging romance narrations and was named Most Impressive Narrator Discovery for titles such as Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins and On Thin Ice by Anne Stuart.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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