• Beneath the Twisted Trees

  • Song of Shattered Sands, Book 4
  • By: Bradley P. Beaulieu
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 25 hrs
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (65 ratings)

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Beneath the Twisted Trees

By: Bradley P. Beaulieu
Narrated by: Kate Reading
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Publisher's Summary

The fourth book in The Song of Shattered Sands series - an epic fantasy with a desert setting, filled with rich worldbuilding and pulse-pounding action.

When a battle to eradicate the Thirteenth Tribe goes awry, the kingdoms bordering the desert metropolis of Sharakhai see the city as weak and ripe for conquest. Çeda, now leader of the Shieldwives, a band of skilled desert swordswomen, hopes to use the growing chaos to gain freedom for Sehid-Alaz, the ancient, undying king of her people. Freeing him is only the beginning, however. Like all the people of her tribe on that fateful night four centuries earlier, Sehid-Alaz was cursed, turned into an asir, a twisted, miserable creature beholden to the kings of Sharakhai - to truly free her king, Çeda must break the chains that bind him. 

As Sharakhai’s enemies close in and the assault on the city begins, Çeda works feverishly to unlock the mysteries of the asirim’s curse. But danger lies everywhere. Enemy forces roam the city; the Blade Maidens close in on her; her own father, one of the kings of Sharakhai, wants Çeda to hang. Worst of all, the gods themselves have begun to take notice of Çeda’s pursuits. 

When the combined might of Sharakhai and the desert gods corner the survivors of the Thirteenth Tribe in a mountain fastness, the very place that nearly saw their annihilation centuries ago, Çeda knows the time has come. She was once an elite warrior in service to the kings of Sharakhai. She has been an assassin in dark places. A weapon poised to strike from the shadows. A voice from the darkness, striving to free her people. 

No longer. 

Now she's going to lead. 

The age of the Kings is coming to an end....

©2019 Bradley P. Beaulieu (P)2019 Bradley P. Beaulieu

What listeners say about Beneath the Twisted Trees

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Change of narrator, both good and bad.

If there is one thing I hate when listening to an audible book series, its when they change the narrator in the middle of the series. I appear to not be the only one considering Song of the Shattered Sands has been a successful series so far, yet there are no reviews for this book months after it's release.

I have written reviews for the other books in this series, and I'll have to admit that one of my complaints in each review has been the narration of Sarah Coomes. Her slow speech, odd pronunciations, and feminine voices for male characters was far from ideal. However, after 3 books you kind of get used to the characters having a certain voice. When a new narrator comes in and changes what you have grown used to being the voice of that character, it's a bit jarring, especially for main characters such as Cheda who has gone from a very feminine voice to a husky one.

Taking all this into account, I have to admit I was hesitant to begin listening to this book, and in fact put it off for others for awhile. However, if you are going to change narrators mid-series, it does help when the new narrator is not only far superior in her field than the former narrator, but is pretty much a known legend in audiobook recordings. I don't think you will find many who wouldn't agree that Kate Reading is both of these. Even so, It probably took me a third of the book before I stopped thinking about the character's voices and began just enjoying the book.

As far as the book itself, once I overcame the change in narration I found that the story I had come to enjoy so much was still here, and I really enjoyed it. Beneath the Twisted Trees moves the story arc on towards a conclusion with plenty of action on the way. So if you are waiting to listen to the book because you are unsure of the change of narrator like I was, do yourself a favor and give it a try. After a bit of strangeness, you will eventually be happy you did, and probably wish the series had been read by Kate Reading from the beginning.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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New narrator

There's a new narrator that pronounces everything in another way than in previous books. There's also a whole different feeling in this book, and I can't tell if it's because of the new narrator, or because a tone shift in the actual book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I love the Series but.........

I love this story, the way it is told, but I thoroughly hate the change in Reader. Kate Redding reads in a monologue tone of voice.
She is one of the reasons I never "listened" to The Wheel of Time. I Certainly hope they bring back Sarah Coomes for the next book upcoming

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Struggled to get through this story

As in the previous books Beaulieu intertwines multiple storylines following different characters. However many of those storylines were quite boring in this book. Çeda and her fascination with tattoos does not interest me, Brahma pining for Rümayesh was utterly unbearable and Emre had to do a lot of diplomatic visits. I had to drag myself through 3/4 of the book until finally some action happened. As a positive note, I did enjoy the storyline of Anila as a necromancer. Her actions and emotions were understandable while many others seemed to act to a hidden master plan, but it just made them erratic.

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Disappointing, but not BAD

It has been years since I read the first three books. I honestly had forgotten about them until recently, and decided to see where the series was at, and found three more books! Sadly I think three is too many more, this story DRAGS and frankly I am having trouble caring about the ending. To make matters worse, they changed narrators and while I've enjoyed Kate Reading's work in the past the accent here kills it for me.

I'm not sure why they would take someone as reasonably well known as Reading and force an unnatural accent into her performance. I needed to speed the book up to 1.5x to avoid being distracted by how bad it was. I wouldn't have had a problem with the change in narrator if they had just let her read in her natural voice. If they wanted a British accent they should have stuck with Sarah Coomes, who did fine work if you ask me.

Anyway, I'm hooked just enough to keep going on to book 5. Not sure if that's because I'm actually interested to see where it goes or if it's because I already used my credits to finish the series and I'm stubborn.

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Missed Sarah Coomes

Love this author and this story, but something was missing by hearing a new voice telling the story.