Cover Image: On the Isle of Sound and Wonder

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was never really able to get into this book. 
I liked the writing style, but I just wasn't for me, which sometimes happens. 
Maybe I'll give it a chance another day, but for now, it just wasn't something I enjoyed.
Was this review helpful?
'On the Isle of Sound and Wonder' is a steampunky, modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'. With flying air ships, robot advisors, and plenty of dark magic, Alyson Grauer has done a wonderful job with this re-telling. 

What I loved most was the focus on female characters. Both Mira and Corvina were really well executed and gave the original tale a bit more of a feminist angle. The backstory of Corvina was my favorite part of the book and it added a complexity to an otherwise easily-overlooked character. In fact, all the back stories were really well done and this is where the story deviated from - or added to - the original tale. The more the book progressed, the more it shifted and the more I enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you again to Netgalley and the author for sending a review copy my way.
 This book was a nice little fantasy romp. Definitely better than I expected. The beginning scene really drew me in and got me invested in both the characters on this island and what kind of magic they possess. I wasnt a huge fan of the steampunk element but it wasnt overbearing enough to turn me off to the book. Mira was a beautifully written main character and really drove the story forward. I didnt enjoy the father's characterization as much. He sort of felt almost like a Disney villain, but he still wasnt awful. 3.5/5
Was this review helpful?
4*
Pros: Beautiful narrative style, much like the old tales and classic novels. An enticing and fascinating retelling of The Tempest. Multiple points of view, that did not disconnect the reader from the story. Fun and interesting characters. LGBT representation. Mentions rape and surviving sexual assault.
.
Cons: Lack of emotional depth. Unsatisfying ending.
Was this review helpful?
Very well written but not my jam sadly. :( 

Thank you Netgalley and publishers for sending me this arc. I will be reviewing this book.properly in the near future with an honest teview.
Was this review helpful?
I just couldn’t get in to this book, I am sorry but it never picked up off the ground for me. The characters and narrative fell flat.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book! I have never read The Tempest before so I wasn't sure what the story was about so I looked up a quick synopsis of Shakespeare's original. When I read Grauer's steampunk retelling I noticed that she kept the names of the characters similar to the ones in Shakespeare's original (Mira vs. Miranda). In the beginning I was a bit confused by all the characters so it would have been helpful to have a list. However, as the story progressed I got to know all the characters and care for each of their stories. Grauer did a great job with building her character's emotions and personalities. The addition of steampunk was really creative and I enjoyed it. I found that the plot stayed similarly true to Shakespeare's original and Grauer did a great job of incorporating elements of his play in her story. I could not stop reading this book and I highly recommend it!
Was this review helpful?
On the Isle of Sound and Wonder is a clever retelling of The Tempest. It follows all the original characters (with modified names) as they navigate the Island and each other.

The wonderful thing about this book is that it’s easy to enjoy regardless of the reader’s experience of Shakespeare. For someone who knows the original text very well, this novel is different enough that it’s still entertaining. For people who haven’t read or don’t remember the original, it’s highly enjoyable as its own story.

I will be honest here, I’m one of those people who don’t really remember much about the original version of the tempest. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it or seen it. I did remember it vaguely but not in details so I can't really speak for someone who knows the original so well. But even if I had remembered the story better, I believe. it's just different enough that it would’ve kept me on my toes any ways.

As it stands, I think it’s saying something for this book that it’s still so good on it’s own. It really drew me in. I was so completely engrossed that I just couldn't stop reading. Even though I already kinda knew what happened, I was constantly curious to see how Alison Grauer was going to put her own spin on it. And she always surprised me. 

The plot is entertaining but it's the characters that really drive it. They are well written and believable for a modern day audience. Mira, who can probably be considered the protagonist (I say probably because there are lots of characters being followed around) is a wonderfully compelling mix of innocence and determination. Aurael is delightfully wicked, Karaburan is pitiful and sad. I could go on and on about every single one of them but I think you get it. 

The only thing that bothered me is the barely modified city names. I found it so incredibly distracting and less clever than it intended to be. My view is that the Grauer should have either kept the original names or changed them completely.
This was only a minor annoyance though, and I did get mostly used to it. It gave me momentary frustration but it didn’t overshadow my enjoyment of the book. 

Overall On the Isle of Sound and Wonder is a highly engrossing, highly enjoyable, and well written book that I would recommend to anyone interested in Shakespeare and/or anyone who enjoy fantasy books.
Was this review helpful?
"Shakespeare’s classic, The Tempest, bedecked in the trappings of Steampunk."

For the first few chapters, I thought I was really going to enjoy this one. However, from that point, the only two emotions I felt while reading were confusion and discomfort. The plot feels rushed, yet nothing seems to happen. The characters all felt extremely empty, and, oftentimes, came off as caricatures of a stereotype. The setting is confusing, and the steampunk elements are all-but nonexistent. And while I believe the author's intentions must have been in the right place, the rep for mental illness and the female body were, in my opinion, both distasteful and potentially harmful. 

The story had potential, and perhaps I would have felt differently about it had I known more about the original story but overall, it wasn't for me.
Was this review helpful?
As well written as it is, it seems I'm not at all a fan of retellings, and this is the only reason I'm giving it 3 ⭐.
Was this review helpful?
"This is no ordinary storm."

Lost meets Shakespeare in On the Isle of Sound and Wonder and I greatly enjoyed it! I loved the author's take on Mira and Prince Ferran’s relationship and how she was treated as her own being, with an intricate backstory, skills and personality and I loved how unexpectedly creepy the story would get from time to time, those backstories gave me chills more often than not. I would have appreciated if the "villains" in this book had been given much more space and depth, their outlook was so captivating and interesting (embarassed to say I crushed on Aureal just a tiny little bit 👌) and I would have loved to explore them some more. Nonentheless, I really enjoyed reading this and it made me want to re-read its original!
Was this review helpful?
*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.* 

Interesting, well-written but at times hard to keep up with the storyline as it seemed a bit disoriented and jumbled  in places. For me there was too much back and forth between the characters and took away from the story quite a bit. It was so back and forth that if it was less between character pov it would create less jumble. 

While this book wasn't a huge hit for me I did love the story, Mira and the twists. It is a good book once you get into it and I think I will read it again in the future.
Was this review helpful?
I found it difficult to become fully immersed in this story, starting and stopping a few times. I am glad I persevered though as I did enjoy the story. Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for an advanced egalley.
Was this review helpful?
"How can I own something that flies and is free?"

I really wanted to like this book when I started it. And, partially, I did. The writing is enthralling. The author gave so much attention and details to setting, characters and their actions. Prose is exceptional. On the other hand, I had a feeling of stretching. It took quite a while for story to actually start; the pace is so slow I've almost abandoned this book.
These mixed feelings lead to mixed rating, so it will be 3.5 stars.
Also, I must admit, I didn't read the original The Tempest by Shakespeare, but I have all intentions to do that, so maybe I'll appreciate this story more after that.

"There is no such thing as destiny. There are different little paths for all of us to choose from, but we create what is, and we determine the endings. You choose your paths, and those paths brought you here."
Was this review helpful?
#OntheIsleofSoundandWonder #NetGalley
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the E-arc copy of On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer.
Was this review helpful?
It seems gutsy to tackle a Shakespeare story, but this author achieved success. Another book w lots of existing reviews by smart people. So my conclusion = Recommended for fantasy fans. Looking forward to the next one.

Thank you very much for the review copy!!
Was this review helpful?
This definitely is an intriguing retelling of William Shakespeare's The Tempest.

I best loved the mise en scene that took quite a while to set up within the book. 

We get to meet the main character, Mira, who has grown up very wild, isolated on an island, with her imaginary or not so imaginary friends, discover the strained relationship she has with her father, and then we go and visit with the shipwrecks that have been scattered all over the island in the storm that was not natural and brought the airship down with Prince Ferran and his father, the Duke, amongst others on board. 

For a large part this books feels like reading a stage production put into words, as you move from scene to scene. And I absolutely loved this part. 

The tone changes and the story and its telling gets somewhat heavier as the dots are being connected, the characters happen upon each other and start to interact with each other. There are parts of the back story that are repeated and told from a different point of view. I still have to make up my mind if this works for me in this story or not, or how this could have been done differently.

The bigger plot behind theshipwrecking and the relationships between the characters are revealed bit by bit. Love is declared and a lot of wrong doing in the past comes to light.

There are amazing moments in this book that I am glad that I got to read. I love how the main character sorts out things in the end. She is a young woman, all by herself, deciding as to where she wants to go, once her prison is broken, staying in relation with every one who ever cared for her.

The ending itself? I wonder if she liked what she found where she decided to go.
Was this review helpful?
A mediocre retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest, with the characters' names nominally altered, a fantasy quasi-European-ish setting, and an airship. The retelling does nothing to illuminate the play or riff on it an an interesting way, and instead uses the play as though the author couldn't come up with a plot of their own. At the same time, the alternate setting and the inclusion of an airship--which the author seems to think makes the book steampunk--aren't particularly original or compelling, leading to the question of why this book was written at all. Perhaps-inadvertently problematic writing on mental illness, the body, and gender weaken the book further.
Was this review helpful?
I put this book down several times because I just couldn’t keep my interest. I found it disjointing without me putting it down. The different povs would have been fine but it’s the added amount of foreshadowing that is distracting.  I also found it difficult to keep track that they were referencing an airship and not a ship. Better descriptors would have been beneficial. 

I have never read The Tempest so I can’t speak to that element of the story. 

I really enjoyed Mira a bunch. I kept wanting to go back to her perspective more often than not.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great retelling of the classes story "The Tempest".  I really enjoyed this one and can't wait for another.  I hope this author does another classic retelling soon as I really loved this one.  The characters were wonderful and the pacing was beautifully done.
Was this review helpful?