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The Double Shadow Audio Download – Abridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 22 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Abridged
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group Limited
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 3 Nov. 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00631VHXY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Double Shadow is Sally Gardner's latest novel, targeted at older teens and one of the first releases from Orion's new young adult imprint, Indigo. I've read and loved most of Sally's previous books including the excellent I, Coriander and The Silver Blade as well as her wonderful books for younger children which are reread frequently in our household. This new novel is a new venture for Sally as it is aimed at an older age group and is, in the author's own words, " a family sci-fi saga".

Our story begins in 1937 with Amaryllis Ruben, an impetuous, spoilt, almost 17 yr old, being expelled from yet another school. Her father, widowed millionaire Arnold Ruben, hopes to atone for past errors and neglect by bestowing on his only child the "memory machine" which should erase all painful memories and preserve himself and Amaryllis in an alternate world safe from the impending war. However this gift ends up being more of a poisoned chalice and there are nefarious plots afoot to use the device for evil ends.

Sally Gardner has a wondrous almost wizardly way with words, using simple prose infused with touch of magic. Her characters are so vividly present, you can appreciate her talent as an illustrator complementing her skills as a storyteller. The result is a very special novel which sounds like it's very much set in the 1930s yet remains accessible to modern readers. It's a story about relationships, between father and daughter, mother and son, man and wife. It's about love in all its shapes and forms. It's also about memories and how they can both comfort and haunt us, having a life of their own as a double shadow of our own reality.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Double Shadow, firstly, is utterly non-linear. You cannot read this book thinking it will make sense from the outset. This definitely put me off because I'm impatient. But as you stick with it, all of the different vignettes and arcs start to coalesce into a single story of multiple layers. It is encompassingly sinister, with little relief: as we begin to piece together the mystery, it gets worse and worse. In book-terms, this is, of course, not necessarily a bad thing.

Confusion aside, the early part of the book paints Amaryllis unsympathetically. She's manipulative, capricious, and...disturbing. Even when something awful happens to her, natural compassion as a reader warred with my character-dislike - which I think is the point. Feelings are not meant to be simple, and Amaryllis is Exhibit A, a proof to the reader that you can never be as secure as you think.

In contrast, Ezra's character is everything Amaryllis isn't, and he provides a counterpoint to her: he is warm, loyal, constant...and real. In time. (This becomes very important in the story when Amaryllis enters the 'Memory Machine' her father makes for her, hoping to create a haven of good memories and protect her from a world on the brink of WW2 - storyline already summarised by previous reviewers.)

I have one significant nitpick, though. The author repeatedly makes reference to dimensions, but makes a crucial mistake. The Memory Machine exists in what she calls 'the fourth dimension', giving time as the *third* dimension. Bad physics: the fourth dimension is time, and therefore the machine should really exist in the FIFTH dimension at least, to be outside of time. Every time the science came up wrong, it was a jarring immersion-breaker.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've just finished The Double Shadow and have been left with this feeling that I've read a very clever book but yet I can't quite put into words what I think about it and it might be one of those that I have to keep mulling over for a while while I get it clear in my head.

For me this book had two parts. During the first part the reader meets Amaryllis a lonely teenage girl who lives in a creepy old house with her father. She is on the brink of being chucked out of her latest school and quite confused in herself as she is unable to remember most of her earlier memories. During the first section of this book you get to know her as a character along with all her idiosyncrasies meeting along the way some of the different characters you get to know as the book goes on. During this part you start to find out about her father's memory machine which he built to protect Amaryllis from having to live in a world of bad memories.

The section second of the book launches when something goes wrong with the memory machine trapping several characters within it and setting off a huge fire that engulfs the family home. From here on out the story gets more and more complex as the characters inside and outside of the machine start to explore what has happened. During this part of the story you get a real insight into what it means to have a family and what life was like living during the war. You also get a good idea about loss and how it affects people.

This book is a uniquely different offering in the current YA market which is beautifully written and absorbingly clever.
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