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
Narrator: Xe Sands, Brittany Pressley, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Cindy Kay, Kalani Queypo, Gabra Zackman, Victor Colomé
Length: 22 hours and 18 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
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.
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.
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