A Thousand Steps into Night

HarperAudio. Mar. 2022. 1,150p. $27.99. ISBN 9780358639565.
Gr 6 Up–Grace Rolek, who was part of the audio cast for Chee’s We Are Not Free, makes her solo debut with this rousing Japanese-inspired epic. In fictional Awara, where demons, spirits, magical beings, oh—and humans—all coexist, 17-year-old Miuko is deemed “average by every conceivable standard,” except for being “uncommonly loud.” Out when she shouldn’t be, Miuko gets infected with evil “rot, spreading slowly.” Before she’s consumed by malevolence, she’s got to find the exorcising cure. Chee’s detailed worldbuilding is enhanced with footnotes and pronunciation guides, crucial to Rolek’s effusive narration. Admirably unflagging through exploits and adventures, Rolek is particularly memorable as excitable, unpredictable Geiki, a trickster magpie Miuko once rescued who will return her kindness manyfold—albeit not without well-timed, hilarious snark.
VERDICT With Rolek as aural sidekick, Chee triumphs again.

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