Pyxis: The Discovery (The Pyxis Series), By K.C. Neal, Narrated by Lisa Cordileone. Published by StoneHouse Ink, Dec. 17, 2011. Length: 5 hours, 35 min. Availability: Audible
The mysterious wooden box labeled “Pyxis” belonged to Corrine’s recently deceased grandmother. Filled with glass vials containing various colored liquids, Corrine doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do with the box, but she does realize it’s intended for her use. If only there had been time for Grandma Doris to talk with Corrine before her unexpected demise!
Being a somewhat typical teenager, Corrine divides her curiosity about the box with other pressing matters, like working at her dad’s café, planning schemes with best friend Angeline, and obsessing over the return of her maybe-boyfriend Mason, after his year-long absence on a mission trip with his family. And don’t forget plotting against her arch-nemesis, Sophie, who lives to make her life miserable.
Author K.C. Neal does a lovely job of intricately weaving the magical world of the pyxis into the day-to-day concerns of a group of small-town teenagers. It’s not long before they discover sinister forces from an alternate reality that threaten those they love. It’s up to this unlikely group of teenagers to discover their own latent powers, compliments of the pyixis, which will help them in their fight to save their community.
To the author’s credit, both the real and magical worlds are made much more compelling by her development of the characters. Learning more about each of the main characters drives the story as much as the mystery and suspense of lurking danger.
Narrator Lisa Cordileone takes these engaging characters, lifts them from their print descriptions and gives them three-dimensional personalities that are a delight to hear. Cordileone simply knows how these kids should sound. From righteous indignation to heroic confidence to self-conscious questioning to withering sarcasm, Cordileone voices it all and when she does, you know she has nailed it.
The review copy was provided by the narrator -- I did not hear the copy available from Audible. I did detect a very slight reverb or echo effect in the narration, but my ears tend to pick up on this kind of thing. The final mastered copy may not have this issue, but even if it does, it is not noticeable enough to distract from the listening experience. A preview sample is available on Audible.
Although intended for a teen audience, this title can be enjoyed as an entertaining, rather quick listen for just about anyone who likes teenagers as protagonists. The first in an ongoing series, the second title, Alight, has not yet been published.